Despite living in a modern and technologically advanced world, poverty is stronger and more prominent than ever. Billions of people are clothed with a poor blanket, yet instead of trying to fight the war on poverty, it seems that the United States is more content on waging a war on the poor instead. An overwhelming cloud of disrespect and disgust has been placed on the poor leaving them to be lumped in the same category as criminals. The poor are considered undeserving of the lifestyles of the middle and upper classes and it is time that America makes a change.
Three different articles, “Born Poor and Smart” by Angela Locke, “The War Against the Poor Instead of Programs to End Poverty” by Herbet J. Gans, and “Middle of the Class,” which appeared in The Economist, all discuss poverty from different angles and show the reader and hopefully the world, that poor people are not only people like the rest of the world, but they are deserving of the same lifestyle as the richest man in the world. In order to fight the war put on the poor we must remain calm and find solutions to stopping stereotypes, improving education, and finding solutions for job opportunities for everyone. It is time to bring the poor into a good and prosperous life.
The biggest problem in modern American society is stereotyping. Stereotyping leads the many different peoples of the world to despise and resent vast groups of people that they might never even get the chance to know. The rich tend to look down on the poor because money equals respect in this country. The stereotypes of the poor need to come to an end and be destroyed once and for all so that we can inch toward living in an equal world.
Locke’s essay discusses the stereotype that poor people are not educated, (Locke, 2005) while The Economist article says that poor people do not work as hard. (The Economist, 2005) While both of these stereotypes can be true based on a certain person, they cannot and will not be true for an entire group of people. Each and every person on this earth is different; therefore, no entire group can be the same.
When it comes to education, the poor are given the short end of the stick. From not being able to afford school, to working many horrible jobs and commuting through terrible cities to get to school, the poor are not helped at all unlike the upper and middle classes. Gans says that once a person is poor, its harder if not impossible to escape poverty, (Gans, 1992) while the Article in the Economist states that America needs education reform more than ever. (The Economist, 2005)
We need to reduce class sizes and prove to the American public that education is more important than being rich. (Gans, 1992) The poor are considered dumb and unable to fend for themselves, but if we can teach the rich to except the poor and teach the poor the education they deserve, we can even out this social caste system and hopefully, rid ourselves of it once and for all.
The American view of poverty is that the poor are undeserving and if they really wanted to work, they could find a way. But it is not that simple, not every one is graced with the same advantages of middle and upper class citizens. Sometimes if when you are on the bottom tier, it is too much to climb up. Locke’s essay discusses the gap between social classes and how it makes the poor feel like they have nowhere to belong to. (Locke, 2005)
Gans theorizes that most of America is concerned about the poor because of economic issues, when if anyone was actually educated on the issues, they would see that welfare is actually cheaper than creating jobs. (Gans, 1992) But alas, the point is not specifics, but whether or not we can change the minds of America and prove to them that being poor does not equal being a bad person and therefore, poverty does not excuse a single person to be treated like a criminal when they have not done anything wrong. America is so entirely focused on capitalism that it is almost considered a crime to not be rich and stimulate the pockets of the 0.1% percent. The poor deserve just as much, if not more than the average middle class American. (Gans, 1992)
In order to stop these stereotypes Angela Locke can talk about her article and how it is from a personal perspective. She grew up on the bottom of the social and economic chain, but was blessed enough to have a loving, hard-working, and intelligent mother who showed her that even poor people can be smart. Her mother, who worked many awful jobs in order to barely get by, found the little things in life to help her stay positive.
Her mother read and was very bright, but due to her status, she was deemed unworthy of intelligent conversations with her coworkers, let alone respect from them as well. Her birthright cursed her into a world where not only was being a women working against her, but her intelligence was over looked and considered unwarranted. This treatment in return led the author to believe that she does not belong in any group and no matter how hard she works to break free of her poverty-ridden upbringing, she will never truly be deserving of middle class status.
As we look back on all three of these articles, we can see that each author has a common theme. Yes, the common theme is poverty, but to dive a bit deeper, all three writers have expressed the American view that the poor just are not deserving of living well off lives. American is supposed to be the land of dreams, the place where anyone can take their life and turn it into something amazing. This dream however, is untrue, especially to Americans, yet the fight continues on. Millions of Americans work themselves to death in order to consume and capitalize on the dream. For those not smart, or tough, or even willing enough to succumb to the dream, they are throw to the bottom of the heap and disregarded like a bad cut of meat for an Independence Day BBQ.
Each author proves that regardless of status or intelligence, all people are deserving of a grand lifestyle. Each and every person deserves to have a huge mansion, but more reasonably, a nice place to live with enough money to pay the bills. We need to stop waging a war on the poor and put together our money and resources to help those who cannot help themselves. We need to find a balance in this country of ours and try our best to actually make the American dream a real and obtainable thing for all.
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