Thedistribution of time has been a major question among most peoplewhich has been viewed to be dependent on gender, social class as wellas the marital status of an individual. According to thespecialization theory by Becker, there is a gap in leisure timedistribution between men and women whereby it has been found thatwomen are deprived of much of their leisure time, unlike men.Similarly, the middle-class people are fond of behaving like theupper-class people have much time than them hence the reason fortheir low standards of life. Time is equal to every individualincluding men and women, poor and rich as well as the young and oldin the society. The major factor that differs is how each personutilizes his or her 24hours daily. Time poverty is used to describethe concept of spending so much time on paid and unpaid activitiesthat lead to deprivation of free or leisure time. The idea of themiddle class and time poverty has been expounded in the literaryworks of Bittman & Wajcman (2000), LydiaRose’s "Middle Class Poverty, Time Poor: Race and ClassPassing", and Thandeka (1999). ‘The Middle-class’ is a termpopularly perceived to refer to the working class in the society. Inthe recent years, the size of the middle class has been shrinking asmore of those who were in this group initially, fall into the lowerclass. This paper will explore the major themes explored by the threearticles in relation to time poverty and a personal response to thetopic under study.
Thewhiting of American natives has become a norm in America wherebyeveryone wants to become white allowing a severe cultural genocide totake place (Thandeka, 1999). Having lived in the suburb, I have seena lot of this. Our immediate neighbors, for example, are a family ofHispanic origin. They might have moved to America in the early 60s,and over time they have been acculturated into the white society thatone would hardly know they are Hispanic. It is once I paid a quickvisit when I heard the old man, probably the first member of thefamily to immigrate, yelling at his son in fluent Spanish. Peopleknow that being white is property. You get better jobs and privilegesif you assimilate into the white culture, but is this not a way tofuel racism in America?
Historyplays part in the making of a busy work centered society. Evidentlyrecorded by the immigrants who crossed over to America in the 19thcentury, including the Irish, Poles, Slovakians, and Italians, theywere forced to be white by the natives of America, white beingconsidered as the better race. The Americans therefore “whited”these aliens. The immigrants were to work for the natives and were tobe assimilated or acculturated to the white society and failure to doso would result in being treated as the black slaves who were thenbeing treated in the most inhuman of ways (Rose, 2017). Many of theimmigrants lost their identities, and this is referred to as culturalgenocide (Thandeka, 1999). No time was spared for leisure activitieslike meeting friends for parties and drinking beer. To earn a life atthe posh neighborhoods with an excellent reputation and recognition,people had to give up their former identities, race-passing.
Timeis selective. For one to have more free time, it depends on theirgender, marital status, and type of work (Bittman & Wajcman,2000). Women have been deprived of their leisure time because of thenature of the activities they have been socialized to. Roles of womenare domestic-based such as food preparation, child caring, doinghousehold tasks such as laundry and subsistence farming which areclassified under unpaid work (Bittman & Wajcman, 2000). Men, onthe other hand, engage in paid employment characterized with monetarybenefits, breaks and off where they fully enjoy their leisure time.Before my mother went to work, she had to prepare us for school andthen drop us so that she could rush to work. In the evenings, she hadto do the laundry, cook and supervise our homework. I never saw herhaving leisure time. There is multidimensionality of experience intime in different individuals (Rose, 2017). There is inequity in timedepending on who you are and what you do.
Inconclusion, Time poverty has consumed the middle class. Many peopleare struggling to maintain their social statuses as well as flappinghard to ensure they do not drown in poverty. The job industry isbecoming more demanding each passing day depriving many people oftheir leisure time. I would argue that it is mostly the work of thepublic, and not the government to try finding a solution. On issuessuch as race-passing and class-passing, the people should spread theword that creating unity among people of varied races and classes isimportant. I do not exclude the duties of the government. Thegovernment is entitled to formulate working policies that protect thepeople from overworking and promote equity in time.
Time poor- Where one spends a lot of time doing paid and unpaid work and therefore get minimal time for personal or leisure activities.
Middle-class -The people occupying the working group in the society.
Poverty- Being unable or having little ability to afford the necessities of life. Lacking property or necessary resources.
Race-passing- Trying to meet the standards of another race that you do not belong to and that is classified as the better race by society.
Leisure – The free time spent outside paid and unpaid work.
Second shift- The concept used by sociologists to refer to the extra work that comes after unpaid work like in the case of working women.
Acculturation- Forcing people to take up a new way of life and abandoning their original cultures.
Cultural genocide- When people are assimilated they lose their original cultural identities, and they equate it to losing lives.
Multidimensionality of experience- The variation of skills according to race, gender and ethnicity.
Whiting- The concept of the native white people in America assimilating the immigrants to adopt the white culture so they can be eligible for the privileges that the white people enjoyed.
Bittman,M., & Wajcman, J. (2000). The Rush Hour: The Character of LeisureTime and Gender Equity. SocialForces, 79(1),165-189.
Rose,L. (2017). Middle-Class Poverty: Time Poor: Race and Class Passing.Wealth,Poverty, and Power.East Liverpool.
Thandeka. (1999). Middle-Class Poverty: Race and Class-Passing Within White America. Journal of the Unitarian Universalist Association