Citizenship and Economic Inequality
Our Initial Assumptions: What is the relationship between citizenship and access to wealth?
If one is a citizen, it is easier to acquire wealth, while if one has wealth, it becomes easier to become a citizen. I feel as though this relationship can sometimes shut people out though. Those with neither citizenship nor wealth have a hard time getting either, and even those with just citizenship still have to work hard.
I have assumed that citizenship and access to wealth are related closely: those with citizenship generally gain wealth more easily and quickly than those without, and those with wealth are more likely to both apply for and be granted U.S. citizenship. Though not based on research, I have assumed that it is more likely that a citizen will be able to get a better paying job and thus have access to a greater number of opportunities for financial growth.
I assume that citizens of lower wealth feel like their citizenship is less important than the citizenship of a wealthy person. Citizenship is supposed to unite people under a certain country, but I assume that citizens of lower wealth feel like their citizenship means less than that of a wealthy person.
In the United States, if a citizen has wealth, I believe that he/she/they gain power. The wealthier people may not be at the rallies and protests, but they have say in what political figures do. Yes, the people in the lower classes can make a difference in rallies, but most of those people cannot directly influence someone of political power, whereas the wealthy can. I don’t feel like this premise is right because of how hard it is to move up out of the lower class.
In specific regard to the United States, I think there's a correlation between one's citizenship to this country and their access to wealth. I think that being a citizen, you're automatically granted privileges (i.e. social security) that others don't have. I also think that being a citizen, you're more likely to become less involved in political or social issues as a result of not personally identifying with the problems others face, having had the privileges that others lack. Conversely, I think that if you were to start off with a high amount of wealth, you're deemed in a higher regard than someone who might not be as financially endowed. Assumptions are made about who you are (e.x. your work ethic, skills, talent) that will institutionally affect your opportunities for the better in a way that it won't for those who don't have a lot of money. In relation to citizenship, I think this would mean that someone who might be well off will have an easier time obtaining a citizenship than it would someone who isn't.
I assume that with wealth comes with a lot of access to power, which therefore allows an individual to change the roles of the citizen and become more a part of the state. Although I do think that wealth allows for the ability to change standards of the citizen, I think that being wealthy might make a citizen not want to change as many things. Generally, I assume that a wealthy citizen may have a lot of the things that the state has the power to give them, along with the respect that other citizens give them. Because of this respect and power that wealthy citizens naturally obtain, I think that they may not want to use their power to change things for other less fortunate citizens because it would not benefit themselves. Although this is not always the case, I assume that this happens much of the time because it is often difficult for a wealthy citizen to not only understand the struggles of a less wealthy citizen but also want to change the way they are treated and live enough to make a real change.
I feel as if often times people who are more wealthy are able to have access to more rights as a citizen. I think that if one is wealthy than their wealth allows them to be rooted deeper into the community than someone who makes little income. For example, if one is more wealthy, I think that one would be able to have more of an influence, like more political pull, than someone who is not as wealthy as they are. I assume that this can make certain people think of themselves as better than the majority of people who are not as wealthy as they are.
I assume that having wealth makes obtaining citizenship easier. I think that money allows people to have better access to education, powerful people, and other resources that would make obtaining citizenship easier than for someone who does not have the same privileges. In this current political climate, I think many people assume all immigrants that are not as wealthy are "illegal." As a society, in terms of immigration, we associate wealth with legitimacy.
Student Reflections on their Previous Assumptions
Students in Activism for Justice in a Digital World asked:
What can we learn from local activists about the impact of economic inequality through the lenses of
environmental justice, racism, housing, education, and immigration?
How can we create change?