Unnatural causes: In sickness and in wealth

The video reflected on the daily lives of the people in Louisville, specifically the lives of individuals from different socioeconomic rungs. There is a drastic contrast between the CEO of the Hospital who belongs to the top 1% of the society and lives in the sophisticated suburban neighborhoods with the availability of fresh food and the janitor, who’s total income along with his wife is barely enough to keep him above the poverty line. A lab supervisor falls in between; not quite struggling financially, but with student loans to pay, a full time job and school, she seems to be still drowning while trying to give herself a better life than her parents. At the lowest rung is the unemployed mother, who has 5 people to feed and regrets the life she is giving her children, but sees no way out of it. All of them are stressed, but three out of the four can do very little about it and the consequent health issues.

I think I was most surprised by the unemployed mother who claimed that getting a job at this point would be actually detrimental to her. She would stop receiving insurance and welfare to support her disabled husband and 3 children, and she needs the insurance to afford the medications she is already on, calling on arthritis at 40. I was also surprised that she was motivated enough to volunteer and keep up a social circle despite her conditions. I think she hit on a very important aspect about her history: her mother was poor, so she has not known any better. It was echoed through the stories of the janitor and lab supervisor; they have not known any better as their parents lived in similar squalor. It starts a vicious cycle of poor leading to poor and the corresponding health issues that rise not just from genetics but rather from being in a stressful environment.

This calls back to what we discussed earlier in class; better schools are in the best neighborhoods, but the schools are funded by the high housing prices in the neighborhood, limiting them to the top 1%. Since education seems to be area locked, opportunities to get a decent education, like the lab supervisor would have wanted, so that people can try to guarantee a better lifestyle for their children, does not remain an option. This is still ridiculous to me. When I lived in India, my school was a 40-50 minute bus ride away, and I did have a school bus that would carry me there. My school in Bahrain was on the opposite side of the island to where I lived, and a school bus picked me up there too. I do not know, if distance is a good reason to keep someone from getting quality education, and perhaps that would not be an obstruction if the option was available. I have always thought that the US would have given me more opportunities if I had lived my high school life here, but it appears as though I would have to belong to the richest few to live out that dream.

Published by