Final Reflection Essay // Medicine and Racism

When I was choosing courses for the Fall 2019 semester my advisor had noted that I needed another class in Literature that would fulfill the general education requirement. As I’m sifting through the registrar of various types of literature courses my eye suddenly got caught on a class titled, “Literature; Medicine and Racism”. It stood out to me because I immediately started thinking about how medicine and racism could be related and/or connected through literature. I just had never put those two together in my head before. My sister is in her last year of pharmacy school at the University of Buffalo so if you can imagine, she was the one blessed with the science brains. However, I wanted to learn more about the coexistence of medicine and racism. I gained interest by the second and signed up for it. Before classes began I was set in stone to the fact that either way this class was going to be either one of my best or a challenging one due to the fact that going into this I knew writing and reading wasn’t my strong suit. The framework completed throughout class discussions, the essay writing templates reviewed, comprehension strategies practiced, independent work, and group projects have all been an enjoyable challenge to overcome. I can confidently state that what I’ve learned in this course like the different approaches to reading, writing, and listening, has given me an exceptional opportunity to boost my knowledge on the current issue of how medicine and racism are unfortunately still currently becoming more and more intertwined all over the world. Also the ability to apply what I’ve retained in this course to my everyday life.

Since I was a young child I’ve been a ‘show me or I don’t believe you’ type person. Prior to enrolling at Geneseo, this is how I had always been.  This course and Dr. McCoy’s tactics taught me to dig deeper and really utilize your brain so that I could ‘show’ myself. I was also able to learn how to use surrounding context more and more each day because with some of the challenges these books brought me, I was inclined to refer back to the Reflective Writing article. “My job is to notice…and to notice that you can notice”. This is a quote from Dionne Brand that has been brought up numerous times in class and it is also the course epigraph. Acting as a general theme for everyone, my classmates and I were able to notice different things that stood out to us in each book. Then the following class we would come together in a group and discuss what jumped out at us, what didn’t make sense to us, and if there were any themes that were able to be tied back to another book that we had already read or been reading. One of the most helpful articles of this whole semester was the article about reflective writing. This article taught me the most about myself as a writer while feeding my brain with new knowledge on how to become a more effective and also reflective writer. The first thing we did in class was stand up and throw a bouncy ball of a wall continuously. One can think of this procedure as how the act of noticing and thinking flow in a group of people. When working in groups during class this semester I was more comfortable than I thought I would be because of the ball off the wall tactic. My classmates and I whether we had the same ideas and thoughts or polar opposites, were able to assist each other by offering new perception. So I wasn’t worried to say how I felt knowing that someone would bounce off of it soon after with what they feel about the topic being discussed. As noted on the syllabus for this course “We are here to listen, to learn, to teach, to debate, to change, to grow.” All of these things were achieved each class by listening to Dr. McCoy and cooperating with peers in group activity. For example, with the group blog post assignment, Dr. McCoy stressed the importance of working together in a group and bouncing ideas off of each other to get started. With having a serious case of anxiety, talking in front of people and stating my opinion has always been burdensome. However, as each class went by I became more confident in what I had to say because I kept becoming a better reader, listener, and speaker. As I read on for this class in my dorm room every week, the reflective writing article written by Kate Williams, Mary Wooliams, and Jane Spiro was always pulled up on my computer. The part about asking strategic questions, specifically, aided me the most by allowing myself to pause whenever needed during the book  to ask myself important critical questions like, What? Why? And Who? These questions may seem shallow but they give you good insight on who you are writing for and reading about. Sometimes, especially with the book Zone One, I would find myself stumbled upon words that I had never seen before like emporium, menagerie, which is like a training habitat for animals, and spirochete that is a vicious bacteria due to the effect of it being diseases like Lyme disease and Syphilis. Before Googling all of the words I was barely able to pronounce throughout this semester, I was able to remember back to the reflective writing article and the What, Why, Who strategy. Then I could piece together context clues and sometimes not even need to look up a word. Combining the use of the course epigraph, the strategies of the reflective writing article, and many more sources Dr. McCoy has given us to utilize as resources to make writing our essays less painless like the Gibbs Reflective Cycle, I have become a more well rounded reader and writer. 

During the year while I wasn’t reading a novel for this course or any of my other classes I tried to make enough time to read the biography of Tony Dungey who was an NFL player when he was younger and is now retired, a Super Bowl winning coach and an analyst. I started at the beginning of the semester when I myself didn’t believe I had the skill to absorb information at all when I would read, causing me to re-read and take double the time. Now at the end of the semester, I’m about 10 chapters in and I catch myself stopping every chapter and asking myself what just happened and how that chapter makes me feel. Along with the rest of the questions that the Gibbs Reflective Cycle follows with including the conclusion which makes me ask myself if I read it again knowing what I know now would I think or feel differently about it? It has made reading more enjoyable for me knowing that I have these templates and cycles in the back of my head now. I’ve become more of a proactive reader which I’ve noticed has helped me in other aspects in life as well.

While reading Medical Apartheid, I was exposed to a lot of new information that I had never heard before. My perception on the topics in the book had taken a side because now I have proper knowledge on topics like African American reproductive rights and the amount of abusive medical practices being done on African Americans. Prior to diving into this novel I had not much of a viewpoint on the linkage of Medicine and Racism but in finishing it I was able to form an educated opinion. The whole science and medicine industry needs to come together and fix this recurring issue because minorities anywhere in the world shouldn’t be treated like lab rats and lied to about their medication. Washington in the beginning of the book speaks about back in the day when slaves weren’t able to get medical care due to their unpleasant working conditions and they were actually used as lab rats for new medicines (Washington 29). Many people who are a part of the science or medicine industry often argue that the aboloshment of slavery was so long ago and that is also when unfair medical treatment was halt to a stop. However, according to the “sixth U.S. census (of 1840)”, the free blacks suffered far worse mental and physical issues and diseases than did enslaved blacks and of course white males and females (Washington 145,146). What Washington was trying to tell readers is that sadly racism is still present in relation to medical treatment regardless of slavery officially being banished in the United States.

Now that finals are just about over and classes are wrapping up, I noticed the usefulness of the things taught to me during this course. With the Reflective Writing article and all the tips and templates practiced over the semester I not only feel more confident internally with my speaking skills, I also feel like I am more able now to help people with writing and word play. Increasing my ability to comprehend in general and speak aloud in front of a group of people is the one thing I think has been most important to my personal growth this semester because I truly can apply those skills to everyday life.

Concussions in Youth Sports

owadays kids playing youth sports has been deemed dangerous by many parents and families and still safe and normal for others. Consider the NFL, in recent years the multi-billion dollar organization has been taking serious precautions during each offseason on how they can keep their players as safe as possible without ruining the efficiency of the game. This has included improving helmet padding, cleaning up dirty hits during the game, and changing the rules of where you are and aren’t allowed to hit players while on the field. Many people have said they don’t like the so called ‘cleaning up’ of the game, however others are beyond satisfied with the new rules because they weren’t fond of the way the game was played before.

There is an estimate of about 3.8 million concussions a year in youth sports with probably around 50% not even being reported or known about. That sentence alone can force a lot of parents to take their kids out of competitive contact sports which is a serious problem in our society because you could be crushing their dreams and aspirations at such a young age. Which to me is one of the worst things an adult could do to a kid. When young kids are experimenting with activities like that, I believe , as well as many of my other comrades and peers that they should be able to decide if it is something they want to do or no. Among all children and teens, sports and recreation related concussions are a leading cause of emergency room visits and each year out of all the patients checked in and out of the emergency room because of concussions are 70% youth teens. These numbers are terrifying and scary for mothers, fathers, grandmas, grandpas, and any other guardians.

A concussion can occur pretty much in any situation just as long as you bang your head hard enough. Unfortunately but truthfully, the sports with the highest concussion rates are football, soccer, rugby, hockey and basketball.  Another common way of getting a concussion is bicycling. Especially racing bicycles. One little pebble or stone that gets under your wheel the wrong way will send you over the handlebars. In each sport, they need to come up with more precautions and safety actions. The numbers of youth concussions increase every year and as a society we should be protecting our youth because they are mostly our society’s future.

Not only are they our society’s future, what about their own futures? The kids that were gifted to be able to play sports and grace the pen in the classroom sometimes are stopped short of their potential in whatever it may be due to a very unfortunate injury. It has happened in the past and it will continue to happen in contact sports which is unfortunate but there are more things that can be done to protect our youth. By creating a safer sports culture, enforcing stricter rules, and certifying equipment more often are just a few of the things that are able to prevent head injuries to the youth in the future.

Music Therapy

If someone were to try to put together a timeline for all of music history since the beginning of time, they wouldn’t. It would stretch around the world who knows how many times. What I’m trying to say is that music has been a part of human culture since the actual start of time. A simple drumbeat, or a simple rock smashing against another rock, to streaming 6 different studio albums in the matter of 5 minutes. Music has come so far and the way we get it also. There’s always one thing that music does though and that is affect your mood and the way you are feeling at that moment. Healthline has a great article on their website that informs readers about the fact music, whether it be sad sounding or upbeat, can alter your mood in a positive manner. Researchers and scientists have been doing tests all over the world focusing on the memorable experiences and emotions felt while listening to sad songs or upbeat songs.

A study that came from the Journal of Consumer Research stated that people tend to listen to sad music when they are experiencing a loss or grief in their life. This is because the music could be filling up that missing spot that they lost in them or they found something or someone through music that makes them feel less alone. Whatever the case may be, it is apparent that humans are attracted to sad music to make them feel better during times of struggle. Of course, however, not everyone reacts the same way and it is also true that many people are actually more sad while listening to sad music, which still could be helping them depending on their mental situation at that time. Other researchers found the results that shows the enormous amount of joy that can come from upbeat music. In 2013, the Journal of Positive Psychology published a study that stated it could take up to two weeks for music to completely boost your happiness and mood. Similarly, a 2015 review from The Lancet says that patients who listened to music before, during, or after the surgery experienced less stress and anxiety than the patients who didn’t care for the music. It just so happens that those patients also didn’t even need as much pain medication. Parkinsons, strokes, dementia, and much more are proven to be diseases where music therapy can be effectively used as treatment. The World Journal of Psychiatry did 25 tests and now can truthfully say that music is proven to reduce depression and anxiety, as well as improve overall quality of life and personal self esteem.

While I’ve mostly been focusing on talking about listening to music, it is also proven that creating music can also have major impacts on mood and self esteem. In the United Kingdom, there is a unique orchestra where people with dementia are actually together making beautiful music. The research shows music gives people something to do to make themselves happy. Creating something like music can boost so many neurons in your brain and actually change the way you feel right when you listen to it. To me, that’s the most fascinating part about music is what it does for people mentally and emotionally. The fact that sounds put together in an artistic way can elevate your life is the most cool form of science in my opinion. 

Can it actually change your mood? As mentioned earlier, even cavemen stomping their feet and smashing rocks making sounds and simple beats can feel the positive effects of listening and/or creating music. Musicians today are so passionate about what they do and that inspires me that something they can create with their imagination and creativity can in turn elevate the quality of their own life. Although not everyone is affected by music in the same ways as others, everyone has that one song that you turn on in the shower and belt the lyrics to because it just feels right. For this reason I love music and I appreciate the fact it will continue to impact people’s lives everyday.

The Power of Adaptive Clothing

Many people don’t even realize how much clothing affects our everyday life. From the first sock you put on in the morning to your pajamas at night, it all affects our brain. Not everyone is as interested in clothing and fashion as others (or me), but I’m willing to bet that everyone in this class has at least one pair of jeans or one T-shirt that when they put on, they feel more confident and happy about themselves. The reason I am so into clothing is just that. Watching other people get joy from getting a new piece of clothing or pair of shoes actually warms my heart. Mindy Scheier, a fashion design expert who now has her own clothing company spoke on a Ted Talk that my Mother sent me the link to. The video is Mindy telling the tear jerking story of her young son and her experiences with trying to make a difference in the fashion industry and for people with disabilities.

Fashion Designer Mindy Scheier sharing an amazing story on the psychology of fashion.

Mindy Scheier has three kids and is married. She has been working in the fashion industry years and was already a fashion design expert after attending fashion design school. A personal connection I share with Mindy is that before she goes to bed every night she catches herself thinking about what she’s going to wear the next day. I laughed out loud in the library when I heard this because it reminded me so much of myself. Her middle child, Oliver, was born with muscular dystrophy which if you aren’t aware of, is a disease that affects your pulmonary system and your physical strength. As a young toddler, Oliver had to eat food out of an eating tube. He also wasn’t able to get up in the morning and dress himself. He already had a rough and isolated life to begin with. His mom and him decided the best thing for him to do was wear sweatpants to school because he wasn’t able to work zippers and buttons. 

One day in 3rd grade Oliver came home from school and told his mom he wanted to wear jeans to school the next day like everyone else in his class. Mindy explained how hard that hit her. This is when she realized her kid had a love for fashion just like she did. After that she started designing adaptive clothing which is defined as clothing designed for people with disabilities, elderly, or anyone necessarily struggling. She did this because she knew that the jeans would make her son feel alive, feel like him again, and have that self esteem to be able to put something on and be happy about it. Mindy saw the negative effects the isolation of simple clothing for the disabled and wanted to make a change. Adaptive clothing had already existed prior to this, however, since it wasn’t stylish it wasn’t making the people who already felt isolated and targeted, confident about the way they looked.

Scientists actually created a name for this. ‘Enclothed Cognition’ is the co-occurrence of two factors: the physical experience while wearing the clothing, and the symbolic meaning of the clothes directly affect how you feel about yourself through your brain. Mindy started talking about how there is a professor from the UK named Karen J. Pine who wrote and published a book on the psychology of fashion. A specific thing that Mindy shared with us during the video was that Karen J. Pine wrote that when you put on clothes you adapt the characteristics of that piece of clothing. Which goes back to Oliver, this is why he was feeling so isolated, because when he got up every morning to only be able to put on the same sweatpants he was mentally damaged already. With around 1 billion people in the world suffering from a disability, Mindy Scheier created Runway of Dreams which is Mindy’s  fashion brand that collaborates with other high fashion brands to make high quality and stylish, adaptive clothing. Mindy managed to be the first designer ever to create a mainstream adaptive clothing collection. I am super inspired by Mindy and loved sharing this.

Don’t Forget About Mental Health

Mental health is a topic that is disregarded in society. Nowadays, not only is it misunderstood by most people, it is ignored as well. There are many stereotypes tagged with mental health and they carry more weight than one would imagine. To many people, if you have a mental health issue you are automatically known as weak and unable. So many things can stem from poor mental health including eating disorders, mood disorders, sleeping disorders, depression, anxiety, etc. The most prevalent among humans ages 18-25 is the mental sickness of depression. Since 2009, the percentage of people between the ages I just mentioned reportedly having at least one horrible depression episode rose 63 percent. The massive increase in numbers displays the troubles young people are facing in society today. The question many health experts and the rest of the world are facing today is what is causing this rapid increase of what seems to be a damaged group of people.

Not shining enough light on kids and mental health is not new to the public. Only up until the 1980s would doctors not even test the youth because there brain is still developing and they thought a kid so young wouldn’t be able to be depressed yet. Back then, some naysayers could say that social media wasn’t involved and that could be another reason that there couldn’t be any depressed youth. According to an article I read called Teen Depression is on the Rise, nowadays about 95% of teens have access to smartphones. Access to smartphones and the internet and social media is a lingering topic that a lot of experts have deemed one of the essential roots of teens depression. It is a sense of warmth and activity that stimulates teenagers brains when they’re feeling depressed. Social media comes with social comparison which leads to personal negative thoughts and self shame. 

Another true fact that can alter a humans feelings and mental state is the amount of sleep the human gets. Everyone knows how it feels to wake up after a horrible, sleeplessness, tossing and turning night and vice versa with a perfect and uninterrupted night’s sleep. Insomnia is one of the primary symptoms of depression. During the years of being a teenager, we begin to notice the magnification of life to scale and things like that can keep us up at night. Biological ties have also been proven to be connected to depression. People in your family who are older than you and had some sort of mental health disorder, it is more likely that you are to suffer from some type of poor mental health. Personally, I deal with depression and anxiety and as easy it sounds it took me probably about 10 minutes to write this sentence alone. Teenagers are afraid to admit what is going on inside of them because of what the media has created of our world. Our world is no longer a judge free zone and while some people aren’t affected in the slightest by judgement from other people, others crumble and melt and smile all at the same time. 

Especially during the 21st century, kids are living a different childhood than their parents. People who are parents now really didn’t have a half of the distractions and things to do that kids these days did and still do. Our whole world has morphed into more of a go go go go get things done now type of society. We are all to blame for it and it isn’t one single thing that did this. This is just how time works with human society, things are constantly changing. Poor mental health and mental health disorders can stem from poor sleep, traumatizing life experiences, biologically, or internally. But one thing we as a whole world have to focus more on is teenagers and their mental health.

Connections Between Texts and Slavery

As we all know, racism and slavery is one of the most talked about topics in the history of society. For decades and decades, minorities all over the world have received backlash and poor treatment because of the way they look, carry themselves, or practice religion. Some people believe slavery and racism was completely gotten rid of during the civil war times of America. However, people on the other side of the debate believe segregation and unfair treatment of minorities is still present today. Especially veterans like the instance we saw in Toni Morrison’s Home. Also, the connection that came along in my head after reading Zone One was the aboloshment of slavery and the potential end of the humane society in Zone One.

Frank Money, is a 24 year old Korean War veteran who serves as our main character in Home. Unfortunately, Frank suffers from post traumatic stress disorder which is defined as a trauma and stress related disorder that may develop after exposure to an event or ordeal in which death or severe harm occurred or was threatened. On top of that, he faces racism as he is summoned to Georgia to find his sister. A random woman sends him a letter saying “Come fast. She be dead if you tarry” (Morrison 8). This is in the second chapter of the book. Having some knowledge on the background of the book I knew that him traveling to Georgia being a black man was only gonna stir up more chaos. Being that Georgia is a very southern state which, people in Georgia were not going to be fond of his presence. He did not need more chaos after he woke up the morning after being found passed out by the police due to manic acts which is a side effect of his post traumatic stress disorder. Specifically, he has post traumatic stress disorder because he witnessed a young defenseless Korean girl get shot and killed after he had felt a certain way about her.

I was alerted to the kind of connection that racism and slavery had in Zone One. During class, the term “notice” was brought up a lot. It is a verb that I’ve begun to start doing way more. It sounds sort of cheesy but ‘noticing’ more when you read can help you write much better. I noticed Zone One was really unique when I realized the author was trying to display a snapshot of a dead society. Race is a social characteristic that has no serious evidence to stand behind. It’s something that we as a culture and society have adopted into our brains and everyday life because that’s just how it goes. In Zone One the plague is a huge part of the plot and if you think about the abolishment of slavery, it is a landmark in American history. Even though the plague in the book had no positive benefits, it is still very important because of the idea of holding onto past ideas and theories that will not blend in society anymore. Since slavery is a huge part of or history as a coutntry and it had a positive benefit on the society, people still to this day in 2019 are practicing racism and using slurs that are harmful to minorities and African Americans in specific.

Thanks to Dr. McCoy and the rest of my classmates, I was able to notice thoroughly the connections between these two books and slavery and racism. The topic of slavery will continue to be argued upon even though the conversation should be considered one hundred percent outdated.

The Importance of Names and Nicknames

Everybody in the world has a name and nicknames are prone to be created throughout time as they have been apart of human society since way back when. Dating back to the 14th century,  ‘ekename’ was the word used for nickname because in Middle English ‘eke’ meant also, so it was like “also name”. Over time however the term ‘eke’ became less familiar as a word and it was turned to ‘nickname’. A personal connection I have with nicknames relates to my Father. His middle name is Louis, however, when he was growing up in Rochester in the 70s he was apart of a very racially and religiously diverse neighborhood and his friends called him Luigi. They would use this nickname on him because he was the Italian one out of his friend group and as many of you know Mario and Luigi are two Italian brothers. 

As I think to myself after I finish the book, Zone One by Colson Whitehead I realize many things. I noticed that it sounded like a living hell on Earth was the setting. It revealed to me how Whitehead views the Earth now and how we are treating it and acting on it. Also, the way he used names in this book really intrigued me. It didn’t even hit me until the end of the book but then a lightbulb went off in my head. Mark Spitzer, that name for some reason made me think twice. I did a quick google search on Mark Spitzer and one of the first things to pop up was how he won 7 gold medals in the 1972 Olympic games which is the most by any individual. The irony behind this is that in the novel, Mark Spitzer is a black man and the people he was with gave him the nickname because he wasn’t able to swim. This is a racial stereotype used in the book on the character Mark Spitzer. “It was perfect: From now on he was Mark Spitz” said his mates (Whitehead 182). 

Spitzer’s buddies never called him anything else. This goes to show the importance of the name in the book and nicknames in general. They have a tendency to stick longer than actual names given at birth. I have a friend named Mitchell that has not been called Mitchell by any of our friends since middle school. He will forever go by Gibby to my friends and I. We started this nickname the first year we all met each other in junior high and that was around the time when iCarly was huge all over the internet and television. The character ‘Gibby’ in the show reminded all of us of Mitchell, so it stuck from then on.

The use and display of the importance of names to people is present in Medical Apartheid as well. Saartjie Baarman was one African American female that Washington writes about in the novel. In one instance, the female gets her name taken away from her during dangerous operations as she loses the precious right to identify as her real name. She is given the disrespectful nickname of “Hottentot Venus” (Washington 84). The fact that this is included in a book that goes into detail the horrible things done to African Americans during medical treatment exhibits the concern of people and the names given to them.

Nicknames have been prevalent since the beginning of time and will continue to implement in people’s lives. The importance of a name is astronomical and many do not even realize. It is a way of identity and a way to stand out and be unique among a world of boring and plainness. It is just one more way people can describe themselves and have a good feeling about knowing where you got the name and what you are going to do with it. Throughout the school year, everyone has to learn new names that someday might be in our lives somehow. That is why I enjoyed the first few weeks of this class when Dr. McCoy would start every class with everyone’s name.

The Recurring Issue: Income Inequality

According to an article in The Washington Post, income inequality in America is the highest ever measured (Telford, 2019). The rich are getting richer, while the wages of the lower class remain the same. 

Politicians promoting a capitalist society argue that more money in the hands of the rich will be dispersed among the poor in the form of more jobs and increased wages. In reality, the wealthy hoard their riches and exploit the poor. 

The problem with income inequality is not that there are different economic classes of people. The problem with income inequality is that society has grown to accept these differences, and it is blind to the injustices committed against the poor due to our economic structure. This structure is designed to maximize wealth on the backs of those who do not have it. This may be in the form of tax loopholes, political power, or other parts of the structure that yield little benefit to the poor. 

Zombies vs. Homelessness


It may not seem like income inequality could be compared to a post-apocalyptic zombie world, but it can. Today’s poor are like Mark Spitz in Zone One, accepting of their fate and just trying to survive. Today’s homeless are like the zombies. Everyone wants them gone, but the rich are able to avoid and ignore the problem. The rich continue to live their luxurious lives, albeit with less of a population, and the middle and lower class, like Mark Spitz, continue to “sweep” the zombies that remain in the city (Whitehead, 2011). 

How is this like income inequality? Our homeless don’t have a voice, and it would be better for the elite if there was no fight for equality. Thus, the reality of the world is handled by the middle and lower classes, while the homeless squander. 

Everyone wants to pretend the zombies don’t exist in Zone One, so they can live their “normal lives, but someone has to deal with the zombie problem in order for this to happen. This is like the lawyers, bankers, servants, and salesman to the elite. The workers deal with the dirt, so the elite don’t have to. 

The more-tragic comparison is of homeless people to zombies. The homeless are no more valued in real life than zombies are in Zone One. Instead of “sweeping” them, we try to remove them from the cities by shipping them elsewhere. They are discarded like they are not human, and many people who are better off could care less. 

Is Income Inequality Humane?

Placing unequal values on lives is natural. We place more value on children’s lives because they are our future. There is more value in the educated, at least in career opportunities, than someone who did not pursue education. Those who work hard are sometimes able to rise to the top, but too often this does not occur, and that is not fair. 

The extremely wealthy often make their way to the top through their bloodline as opposed to their actions. They can be extremely uneducated, lazy, and immoral but still remain among the elite. In this way, many of the elite do not deserve to be at the top. These people may also consider themselves superior to all other classes, which is why exploitation and apathy occurs. The bottom rung of society is no more wanted than zombies. 

Eliminating Billionaires

Whether or not you agree with the politics of Bernie Sanders, it is difficult to deny that nobody needs billions of dollars, and he proposes taxing billionaires (Telford, 2019). If the billionaires of the world cannot redistribute their wealth in the form of increased wages and philanthropy, than the government should make them. At least by eliminating tax loopholes, social services would have enough money to be sustainable. 

Having Heart

I am as guilty as so many others for walking by homeless people and pretending they don’t exist. Giving them food or money can put you at risk for injury. Instead, I try to donate when I can. I am not in the elite population, but I try to do my part. 

What I don’t understand is having billions of dollars and living in a nation where there is hunger and homelessness. I don’t understand the poor state of our schooling system when there are billionaires who could contribute to bettering communities. 

Are all billionaires bad? I don’t know the answer to this, and I know many have developed philanthropic organizations to help those who are less fortunate. If they are still billionaires after their philanthropic efforts, then I would argue that they aren’t doing enough. If they run companies and are billionaires, I would argue they don’t pay their employees what they are worth. In this way, billionaires exploit those below them, and the least fortunate are no better off than zombies. Income inequality to a certain extent is natural and probably necessary. The growth in America’s income inequality has escalated to an immoral level.