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Read a Post for Poverty and Education: A Critical Analysis of the Ruby Payne Phenomenon
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Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: response from field-tested Payne materials

Posted By: Elizabeth Rickert on August 3, 2009
Of interest in this discussion may be Harvard professor William Julius Wilson's "More Than Just Race: Being Black and Poor in the Inner City" (W.W. Norton & Co., 2009), in which he takes up the "structure-versus-culture" dispute around poverty. Professor Wilson calls for "reexamining the way social scientists discuss two important factors associated with racial inequality: social structure and culture." His goal is to explore "why poverty and unequal opportunity so stubbornly persist in the lives of so many African Americans." (While Wilson's focus is African Americans, he notes that inequality has also victimized Latinos, Asian Americans, and Native Americans.) Wilson observes that the book will generate controversy due to his serious consideration of culture as one of the "explanatory variables in the study of race and urban poverty" and risks being construed as "blaming the victim."

I was intrigued to read the book after it received a positive review by Richard Thompson Ford in the New York Times some weeks ago, and I appreciate Professor Wilson's studied, research oriented consideration of concepts that have so often been co-opted by various factions to support their version of how the world works. I hope his book does open a wider discussion.

A side note - I read "A Framework for Understanding Poverty" after reading Wilson's book, but haven't had an opportunity to actively consider each up against the other.
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 response from field-tested Payne materials by Jan Lewis on January 2, 2007
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