THE POOR AS A MINORITY
The young are a minority in the sense that they have recognizable physical or cultural traits that set them apart from others and operate as a basis for categorical discrimination. The poor may have similarly visible traits-undernourished, diseased bodies, shabby clothes, deteriorated housing-that police, teachers, welfare authorities, and other agents of society use for similar purposes of identification and discriminatory treatment. This discriminatory treatment serves to maintain the cycle of poverty.
The first excerpt in this chapter, drawn from a United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare publication, discusses the problems of defining poverty within a shifting standard of living and suggests that it is necessary to include the near-poverty group in the definition of poverty. The second and third readings suggest that the definition of unemployment should be changed to refer not only to chronic unemployment but to include periods of un-