Does America Hate the Poor? The Other American Dilemma: Lessons for the 21st Century from the 1960s and the 1970s

By John E. Tropman | Go to book overview

Table 5.7 Proportions of Significant Variables, Regression Matrix of Personal, Organizational, and Demographic Variables Predicting to Directors' Own Attitudes, Directors' Perceptions of Friend's Attitudes, and Directors' Perception of Attitudes of People in General (National Sample, 1969)
Independent Director's Own Perception People in
Variables Clusters Attitudes of Friends General Total
Charactistics (N = 6) 0.0% 0.0% 9.5% 4.2%
Competencies (N = 1) 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Organizational Conditions (N = 2) 12.5% 0.0% 25.0% 12.5%
Demographic Context (N = 12) 10.4% 20.8% 16.6% 15.6%
Total 9.5% 11.9% 16.6% 11.3%
Note: Many colleagues would not consider 34%, for example, to be all that "bad." While it is within the usual range for much social science, an R2 of 50% seems to be reasonable to strive for.

of a percentage (Table 5.6 at the bottom) which tells us the fraction of the dependent variable a series of independent variables can explain (10% would be low; 90% high). Results here are not encouraging. Ranging from a low of 7 percent to a high of 34 percent of the variance explained, one must conclude that we cannot explain much about the directors' attitudes. This result supports the notion that the directors are drawing from general, society-wide points of view which they have adopted as their own (at least for purposes of the questionnaire), and that these views are not substantially modified by their own characteristics, the agency, or the community in which they live. 1


CONCLUSION

The welfare directors' views of the poor and their own role in the poverty establishment is in several ways much like that of the Boston and Kansas City respondents: Effort, fault, and morality are all important components (though directors had a more positive views of welfare recipients than the respondents from Boston and Kansas City). The same cognitive elements recur in thinking about the less advantaged. Further, since some of the items referred to one's stance toward the world in general, the link between attitudes toward the poor and more general postures is strengthened. The directors seemed accurate in perceiving a negative public image of the welfare client, but they also felt positive about their agency and that there was no public stigma in accepting help from it. As Chapter 6 will indicate, this view is somewhat in error, at least with respect to a survey of Detroit women. They

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Does America Hate the Poor? The Other American Dilemma: Lessons for the 21st Century from the 1960s and the 1970s
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • Note x
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Part I Who are the Poor, and Does America Hate Them? 1
  • Note 4
  • Chapter 1 How America Hates the Poor 5
  • Conclusion 15
  • Notes 15
  • Chapter 2 Poorfare Culture, Welfare State 17
  • Conclusion 23
  • Part II Pictures in Plenty: Conceptions of the Underclass 25
  • Chapter 3 Laggards and Lushes: Images of the Poor 27
  • Conclusion 43
  • Notes 43
  • Chapter 4 The Decent Poverty Stricken: Images of the Near Poor 45
  • Conclusion 57
  • Chapter 5 The Overseer of the Poor: View from the County Welfare Office 59
  • Conclusion 70
  • Note 71
  • Chapter 6 Mothers: Opinions and Stereotypes 73
  • Conclusion 79
  • Note 80
  • Part III The Life Cycle Poor: Images of the Aged 81
  • Note 83
  • Chapter 7 Images of the Elderly 85
  • Conclusion 91
  • Notes 91
  • Chapter 8 American Culture and the Aged: Stereotypes and Realities 93
  • Conclusion 104
  • Notes 105
  • Chapter 9 What the Public Thinks: Older and Younger Adults 107
  • Conclusion 123
  • Note 123
  • Part IV Why America Hates Poor 125
  • Chapter 10 The Poorfare State: Embodiment and Revelation 129
  • Conclusion 131
  • Chapter 11 Social Exploitation 133
  • Conclusion 142
  • Notes 143
  • Chapter 12: Mirror of Destiny 145
  • Notes 152
  • References 153
  • Bibliography 159
  • Index 169
  • About the Author 173
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