Describe the relationship between social inequalities and violence in the United States. 

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lhc eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Socioeconomic inequalities have long been thought to correlate with violence; one need look no further than America's inner cities to see communities where poverty is the rule rather than the exception.  Experts have identified various factors that appear to be related to incidents of violence, including one's feelings of isolation, lack of resources and advantages that others around the individual may have, an absence of nurturing role models, particularly fathers.  Even a youngster who has a mother and/or even a father may suffer a lack of boundaries and expectations for success because the parent figure(s) is constantly preoccupied with survival, trying to find work, or working one or more low-paying jobs just to put food on the table.  Sadly, feelings of isolation work together with fear in many poverty-stricken neighborhoods to contribute to gang violence; sometimes young people join gangs because they feel a need to belong to something, or because they are afraid of what will happen if they don't have a gang affiliation.  Additionally, much of the violence in America, but not necessarily restricted to inner cities, is associated with the buying, selling, and use of drugs.  Poverty stricken youth, and adults may fall prey to the lure of drugs as a way to escape their problems, or make money, or both.  Violence sometimes grows out of the conflicts experience by people who live in crowded quarters as well; competition for space and other scarce resources can create stress that leads to conflict and violence.