Comparing White Women of Rural West Virginia and Black Males from Michigan
Many of the life changing and life affecting problems white women face in rural West Virginia are consequences of poverty. These problems are of varied categories. For instance, there is a fairly low interest in education among rural white women and a primary reason for this is the lack of future employment opportunities in rural areas. Deteriorating women’s health and domestic violence are also major concerns among white women from rural West Virginia. Psychological issues such as stress and depression are common among women belonging to these areas (Mulder, et al 2000). Many of these health related issues are behavioral in nature with rural women higher at risk compared to women from more urbanized locations. A lack of access to facilities and commodities required to sustain both personal and interpersonal needs is the main cause for such health problems. Most of rural America is politically cut off which results in a lack of economic, infrastructural and personal development.
It is evident that the facilities for education, health, transportation, etc. are far superior in city suburbs compared to rural areas. Thus, as expected, concerns arising out of a dearth of these facilities are minimized significantly. A comparison and analysis on these basic amenities show that despite striking differences between races, black males in Michigan enjoy a much higher advantage over white females in rural West Virginia. Thus, there is a striking difference in the quality of life between those living in the suburbs and those belonging to rural regions.
Perceptions in education are the prime motive for the diminishing number of rural women dropping out or not enrolling in high school or college. Many parents and educators reason against education by giving impetus on hard, physical labor rather than technical or professional careers. Psychological and biological factors arising out of family and school environment have direct influences on the development of academic potential (Chenoweth and Galliher 2004). Economic constraints, lack of financial aid, and the possible inability to make the money invested in education inhibit the women of West Virginia from taking education seriously. The inability to access necessary information and assistance is another reason for low education levels among the rural white women. Studies also show that socioeconomic status can strongly influence the educational choices, access to necessary healthcare, and also determines the form of recreational activities taken up by the students (Chenoweth and Galliher 2004).
Comparatively, Black males in suburban Michigan see a larger success with respect to education. According to a report filed in 2012, 47% of Black males were enrolled in college in suburban Michigan, which, even though compared to the number of white males (76%) was a strikingly low number. However, this comes at a price. With respect to disciplinary issues, the black males face severe charges in suburban Michigan. In Detroit, non-Hispanic Black students received 92% and 91% of suspensions and expulsions respectively. The number of white students facing the same charges was just 4%. Whether this is a case of racial discrimination or any other underlying factor is not known and is a work in progress (Holzman 2006). Another study conducted on black males in suburban cities suggest that many firms and enterprises prefer hiring blacks than whites and in some cases, preferences are given to uneducated black males as well (Holzer & Raeser 2000). A reason suggested for this is the cheaper labour costs as well as staying in accordance with the Equal Employment Opportunity laws.
Economically, rural white women in West Virginia face a significant isolation from their metropolitan counterparts. Rural women of the state earn $8.78 an hour compared to the metropolitan women who earn $11.25. The income rate has increased only by $0.10 an hour since 1979 while that of metropolitan women has increased by $0.50. In a study conducted by Rogers (1997), 42.6% of mother only families in rural West Virginia live below the poverty line. Out of the 46% families headed by women, 27% are living in poverty. The rural economy does not favour women and the same applies for the white women of rural West Virginia with limited employment opportunities existing in rural areas. The scarcity of different socio-economic facilities restrains the economic development of women in rural West Virginia.
Comparatively, the economic progress of black males has increased significantly compared to the white male population. The net earnings of black men in increased by 340 percent compared to 160 percent among white males between 1940 and 1980. Despite equal employment being a constitutional right, racial discrimination is still a concern. However, with employment opportunities being plenty in the suburbs, the number of black males working in suburban Michigan is high, which is evident from the high school and college turnout among black males. A number of initiatives exist today in suburban Michigan that prioritize the education and well being of black males and the strength of these are constantly growing. Educationally, economically, health and wellness, leadership, etc. are being promoted among black males in Michigan, making it easier for them to thrive.
Thus, there is a significant difference in the living conditions of white women living in rural West Virginia and black males from suburban Michigan. There is a strong need to revise the policies governing rural areas and help educating the women into making better choices with respect to goals and ambitions. This would help in causing numerous health concerns to be taken care of, thereby resulting in improved living conditions. While racial discrimination still exists in America, the extent of this discrimination has been reduced significantly among the black males of suburban Michigan. A reason for the increase in black worker community in suburban Michigan is the proximity of industries, small businesses etc. close to residential complexes. Another important reason is the number of black people applying for these jobs. Thus, a comparison between the white women of rural West Virginia and black males of suburban Michigan show that the latter have better life chances.
Mulder, P. L., Shellenberger, S., Streiegel, R., Jumper-Thurman, P., Danda, C. E., Kenkel, M. B& Hager, A. (2000). The behavioral health care needs of rural women. American Psychological Association.
Chenoweth, E., & Galliher, R. V. (2004). Factors influencing college aspirations of rural West Virginia high school students. Journal of Research in Rural Education, 19(2), 1-14.
Holzman, M. (2006). Public education and black male students: The 2006 state report card. Schott Foundation for Public Education.
Holzer, H. J., & Reaser, J. (2000). Black applicants, black employees, and urban labor market policy. Journal of Urban Economics, 48(3), 365-387.
Rogers, C. C. (1997). Changes in the social and economic status of women by metro-nonmetro residence. Rural Economy Division, Economic Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture. Agriculture Information Bulletin No. 732.