No Shame in My Game: The Working Poor in the Inner City

[Reading] ➸ No Shame in My Game: The Working Poor in the Inner City By Katherine S. Newman – Powerful and poignant Newman's message is clear and timely The Philadelphia InuirerIn No Shame in My Game Harvard anthropologist Katherine Newman gives voice to a population for whom work family and s Powerful and poignant Newman's message is clear in My PDF/EPUB Â and timely The Philadelphia InuirerIn No Shame in My Game Harvard anthropologist Katherine Newman gives voice to a population for whom work family and self esteem are top priorities despite all the factors that make earning a living next to impossible minimum wage lack of child care and health care and a desperate shortage of even low paying jobs By intimately following the lives of nearly inner city workers and job seekers for two No Shame ePUB Æ yearsin Harlem Newman explores a side of poverty often ignored by media and politicians the working poorThe working poor find dignity in earning a paycheck and shunning the welfare system arguing that even low paying jobs give order to their lives No Shame in My Game gives voice to a misrepresented segment of today's society and is sure to spark dialogue over the issues surrounding poverty working and welfare.No Shame in My Game: The Working Poor in the Inner City

Katherine Newman is Professor of Sociology and in My PDF/EPUB Â James Knapp Dean of the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences at Johns Hopkins University Author of several books on middle class economic instability urban poverty and the sociology of ineuality she previously taught at the University of California Berkeley Columbia Harvard and Princeton.

No Shame in My Game: The Working Poor in the Inner City
  • Paperback
  • 416 pages
  • No Shame in My Game: The Working Poor in the Inner City
  • Katherine S. Newman
  • English
  • 02 February 2016
  • 9780375703799

10 thoughts on “No Shame in My Game: The Working Poor in the Inner City

  1. says:

    I seem to have a habit of choosing public policy books because I am interested in the personal stories of individuals affected by the socioeconomic problems at hand but then find myself tuning out when the author gets into the nitty gritty of the actual policy issues Maybe for leisure reading I should stick to fiction for awhileAnyway the book is great and I wish it was updated for the 21st century as it is based on research from the mid to late 90s when the US economy was growing and the labor market was tight pause for sigh of nostalgia for the Clinton years But even then the fast food chain known under the pseudonym Burger Barn was turning away the vast majority of its applicants in Harlem The author and her research team followed a large number of Burger Barn employees and rejected applicants over several years studying how their lives functioned or not economically and sociallyTwo things stuck with me from the book First I was remiss in not really understanding how impossible it is to make it financially on the minimum wage At the time it was around 425 an hour and almost everyone who works at Burger Barn makes the minimum wage Even the shift managers were only making 5 At today's rate of 725 a minimum wage worker is bringing home less than 300 a week assuming zero taxes The authors note that many of these workers in cities are not high schoolers earning spending money but adults supporting extended families and parents and most of them have a high school education I'm trying to fathom how a single parent in NYC could expect to sustain herhimself on 300 a week in today's dollarsThe second point is related Despite the fact that the odds are severely stacked against them most of the Burger Barn workers the team interviewed subscribe to the conservative principle of achieving the American dream of pulling themselves up by their bootstraps They might be making 5 an hour with no benefits for five years living in substandard housing lacking affordable or safe childcare but they are ambitious seeking further education or planning to dedicated to working even when pre reform welfare would have provided them with income and optimistic that they will make it up to management or find another higher skilled job that will allow them out of poverty and into the middle class To me this seemed laudable How many of us would find the same inner strength if we were in their position? But it also seemed a bit depressing and unrealistic especially given how much the economic and political picture has changed in the past 15 years When our Congressional leaders favor low taxes for millionaires and perceive expanded access to health care as a violation of freedom I lack the Burger Barn employees' optimism for their own prospects

  2. says:

    Read it for an anthropology class I really did like this book because the author does her best to breakdown stereotypes of the poor particularly the poor people of color However in her zeal to portray them as just like anyone else but hit with hard times particularly hard times reinforced by racist capitalistic institutions she creates this vacuum of personas where she is only essentially providing information about the most stellar of community members We essentially ONLY have stories who are in some way dedicated to their education or are only working on honest lawful jobs I wish she had expanded on the themes of the book a little to show that those who fall into crime also are essentially trying to provide for themselves and their families and fall into crime because they have been failed by the sister The book is set in the 90s so though it deals with a lot of public policy that has stayed the same the economy since then has tanked An update on this book will be a welcoming refresher

  3. says:

    KS Newman a sociologist at Princeton University wrote No Shame in My Game 1999 an ethnography portraying the paradigm of the working poor in inner city New York specifically Harlem Newman communicated years of research in depth interviews onsite observation and participant observation in a very logical easy to understand manner This information was organized thematically into chapters ie Getting a Job in the Inner City Family Values etc with several participants being followed throughout the book No Shame in My Game was written to fill a gap that exists in the literature on inner city poverty Many social scientists have focused their research on the unemployed welfare reliant populations in the inner cities across the United States Newman draws attention to the people who are working often full time jobs that do not pay enough to pay rent and other bills let alone provide healthcare childcare or retirement benefits This book completely dispels the myth that people who live in poverty are lazy and “if they would just get a job they could live the American dream” To address this topic Newman focused on the low wage earners at a fast food chain pseudonym “Burger Barn” in Harlem Not surprisingly much of the book focuses on young people ages 14 to 23 not deviating from the typical low wage earners at a “Burger Barn” establishment In my opinion No Shame in My Game makes a solid case for social reform for the working poor In many cases it is easier for the working poor not to work at all and simply live on welfare Those working at the “Burger Barns” or countless other low wage jobs are not oblivious to their situation Many of the interviewees in the Newman’s book acknowledge the fact that they could be living on welfare However they choose not to because they see inherent benefits in working for a living and not relying on government assistance Even as a middle class white suburbanite I was able to truly understand the people Newman interviewed through her constant references and analogies to middle class workers One character I could relate to was Jamal a 22 year old man who was married and had a child While he was able and willing to work at any job he was not able to get full time employment He still worked all the hours that his boss would give him At age 22 I was recently married and looking for a job Even though I had no children it was nerve racking being out of work for a month and eventually I was hired a telemarketer a job I hated and appreciated greatly Unlike Jamal however I had the luxury of having family who would have gladly helped me He had no where to turn no family no friends no mentors or other social support It would have been easy for Jamal to give up and do what all of his friends were doing collecting welfare leave his wife or deal drugs but he worked at “Burger Barn” and struggled to make ends meat This book is an excellent example of public scholarship I would recommend this book to anyone interested in educating themselves about the struggles of the working poor Though I loved this book there were several items that should have been addressed in detail including elaboration on the impacts of teen pregnancy and childcare; better explanations of welfare regulations; and a stronger focus on the constraints of continuing education through or past high school The above considerations for further clarification in no way suggest that I would alter the current content of this book Newman did a wonderful job communicating the plight of the working poor to the general public Again I would strongly recommend this book to anyone interested in understanding the struggles of the working poor

  4. says:

    The fast food industry meets Columbia University in this absorbing sociological study of the working poor The author followed the daily lives of a number of “Burger Barn” employees and you can’t help but respect these people They work at low paying disrespected “McJobs” even though other paths like welfare and crime might actually pay at least in the short run But for those who can stick it out rude customers and all a job at “Burger Barn” can lead to promotion into store management and from there community college and upward mobility Many of the owners of the franchises at least in Harlem worked themselves up in precisely this way and see themselves as community activists as much as entrepreneurs Of course not everyone has a success story Flipping burgers can be a great first step for a teenager but it’s a tragedy when a fully grown adult gets stuck there And many doWritten in the 1990’s in the midst of Clinton’s welfare reform the author makes many policy recommendations Simply reuiring welfare recipients to work does not in and of itself help For one thing most of the women receiving welfare were the child care providers for the working poor so sending them out to work sent many others among the working poor back home And that is just one of the many vicious cycles the book points out I imagine this book would be popular with Democrats than Republicans but really I think its point is something universal and human something beyond politics Poor people’s values aren’t that different than those of the middle class They value an honest day’s work and they recognize that education is the key to upward mobility Arguably they value them even than the average middle class person for whom these things are a given And there are things that can be done to help people raise themselves out of poverty Some of the programs she cited at the end most of which are locally based really seem worth replicating So I recommend this book to everybody I have yet to figure out what I personally can do to improve the situation but the book has certainly made me want to try

  5. says:

    This was probably a good book to read in 1999 when it was first published I found it so out of date that it was actually hard to read and could not complete it I think an updated version would be much better

  6. says:

    No one who works full time should live below the poverty line 272

  7. says:

    Katherine Newman's No Shame in My Game The Working Poor in the Inner City is one of those books I've been meaning to read for uite some time I first encountered excerpts from it about a year ago while taking a class on Family Policy that focused heavily on urban poverty but we didn't read the whole book for class so it found its way to my personal reading list A year later I actually picked it up from the library and started reading itIt's uite good Newman is an anthropologist at Columbia and she and her team of graduate students spent the better part of two years talking to hundreds of employees managers owners and job seekers at several fast food restaurants pseudonymed Burger Barns in the book in Harlem Newman's goal was to bring the perspective of the working poor into the poverty debate which at the time of her research and writing the second half of the 1990s was heavily centered on welfare reform She and her students work hard in the service of that goal logging hundreds of hours of interviews and even in some cases taking jobs at Burger Barn themselves in order to get a better view of the culture and the employeesAlong the way in a combination of anecdotes from her interviews and evidence from academic and popular sources Newman dispels several myths that anyone can get a job in the fast food industry that only teenagers who aren't trying to fully support themselves much less anyone else work for minimum wage that people who work full time year round make enough to support themselves and that an education is a magic panacea for all employment ills Newman painstakingly chronicles the hurdles her subjects must overcome in order to even get a job at Burger Barn much less move beyond minimum wage and points out key differences between the unlucky job seekers she interviewed and those who were actually employed She also makes a strong argument about the moral conservativism of many of Harlem's poor residents and how strongly work is euated with dignity just as it is or is supposed to be in America's middle classFor anyone who is interested in poverty studies this book isn't to be missed Though the slice of American poverty Newman chooses to focus on is uite specific narrowed down to just a few blocks in Harlem many of the arguments she makes can be broadened to include all of the working poor in this country Where they can't if you feel you need perspectives I'd highly recommend David K Shipler's The Working Poor Invisible in America Knopf 2004 which takes a broader look at many of the same uestions Newman addresses

  8. says:

    If you know nothing of urban poverty except that it doesn't look appealing while driving past at 65 miles per hour on the interstate or it looks dangerous in movies then this book and When Work Disappears by William Julius Wilson are the two books you should pick upThrough years of interviews and following entry level workers at Burger Barns around the boroughs of New York plus hands on experience working those jobs the author and her assistants have put together an even handed if a bit pie in the sky account of how the urban poor actually live and workThose anecdotes of people not wanting to work living off welfare milking the state well yes they are true sometimes But so too are the people who wake at 5 am take 2 buses to school leave school to go to work then head home for an hour of homework and five hours of sleep The former get the attention in the mainstream media and politics it is easy to demonize that type The author gives the attention to the latterThe book is a bit pie in the sky it does not hold most of these people responsible for their poor choices Yes having children as a teen is a choice One can abstain from sex use birth control practice oral all those things that most of us did to avoid children in high school by choice or not I feel that she should hold some of her examples to account for their behavior and the results it brings but can forgive the optimism In all this book presents an unseen picture of the struggles and tribulations these people go through working unforgiving unrespected jobs in an attempt to better themselves I certainly have a different idea of the working poor as a result

  9. says:

    I just happened to see this at the library and so I picked it up The first problem with this book is that it was written 20 year ago Minimum wage was 400 Clinton's welfare reform had just started and there was no universal health care It is just a problem is sociology reports that once they are 5 years old they world around has changed enough that it isn't on point any Good things with the book It improved my opinion of the burger flippers Granted this book was written purely from and inner city Harlem perspective But it did show that usually the young people employed at Burger Barn as they called all fast food restaurants were working towards finishing school and they knew that education was important to get them out of the rut It also showed that some of the hardest issues with working poor is dealing with the extras Children spouses divorces single parenthood extended family issues not having an extended family support system I was glad that I read the book but also Very glad when it was over There was a lot of repetitiveness and MANY personal stories Which is good but it allowed me to disengage myself from the text As for what we can do for the working poor the author had several ideas wage subsidies and tax breaks for hiring 'hard to hire' groups like paroled criminals 2nd moving people to the jobs which isn't that credible 3rd revitalize unions 4 create better child care and health care

  10. says:

    This book was informative in regard to statistics on the working poor and the realities that many of these individuals face I was particularly interested in the discussion of stigma in regard to fast food jobs and the chapter on family values though there were a number of other topics exploredOne of the advantages of the book was the use of individual stories to help illustrate her claims I was hooked by the tales of real people names changed to protect identity and their lives woven in nicely with the facts and opinions the author aimed to presentOn the other hand I felt that a lot of her claims needed to be taken with a grain of salt Her sample was arguably not representative of the working poor as a whole being that it focused only on fast food employees in Harlem Additionally some of her claims were hard to substantiate based on the methods she presented I would also be inclined to agree with critics in that her portrayal of the working poor seemed rather romanticized perhaps for the sake of keeping an audienceOverall I would not discount the book as it clearly represents one view of the working poor and it certainly captured my attention as I was able to get through it all in a day I don't necessarily believe however that this is the only perspective one should take when looking at the working poor

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