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Old 09-05-2005, 10:44 AM   #1
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The American poor

I hope the tragedy down in the gulf has shown us that poverty is still a major problem here in America too. Rarely, if ever in FYM do I see people discussing the plight of the poor here in America. Don't get me wrong the poor people around the world have it rough too, but let's not let them overshadow those in our own backyard.

Why is it that the American poor are rarely discussed here in FYM? Does it make us uncomfortable? Is it more comforting to think that poverty is "over there"?

I'm just throwing those questions out there, I have a difficult time answering them myself.
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Old 09-05-2005, 11:13 AM   #2
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I don't have to drive too far in any direction in Alabama to see it. I don't think anyone here in this state seriously denies it. Our governor tried to do something about it in a comprehensive plan a couple of years ago, but the plan was voted down by a variety of opposing interest groups.

I think they are discussed in here, but often times in a divisive manner. Rather than calling for class warfare, why not look for common ground and alliances. The 2 Congressmen representing the Birmingham area, 1 black, 1 white, 1 Democratic, 1 Republican, have done that in seeking long-term solutions (not just "assistance") for the Black Belt region. The Hyundai plant down there is already improving the unemployment rolls.

As much as we like to hate each otherfor political purposes, it's amazing how much we could do if we pulled in the same direction on just one issue.

~U2Alabama
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Old 09-05-2005, 11:17 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally posted by U2Bama
As much as we like to hate each otherfor political purposes, it's amazing how much we could do if we pulled in the same direction on just one issue.
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Old 09-05-2005, 11:27 AM   #4
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I think basic education is key in reducing poverty. I'm not talking college degrees, just solid, consistant basic education for everyone not just those in wealthy suburbs. Everyone who is capable (and granted there are some people who will never be capable) must have good solid skills to ever be able to escape poverty. We also all need to be well educated in health matters -- including sex ed. We, as a nation, need to put money and support behind education, not just give it lip service.

It won't solve all poverty related problems, but education is a major component in the fight against poverty.
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Old 09-05-2005, 11:28 AM   #5
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Back home in Richmond I would only have to drive a few miles before I began to see some of the country's worst poverty...for a small city of 1 million the amount of homeless is deplorable. That also means that Richmond has an extremely high crime rate...two years ago I believe it had a higher murder rate than Manhattan.

Something can and ought to be done about the poverty here in America...but I don't see it.
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Old 09-05-2005, 11:30 AM   #6
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Normal wages ?
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Old 09-05-2005, 11:43 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by U2Bama
As much as we like to hate each otherfor political purposes, it's amazing how much we could do if we pulled in the same direction on just one issue.
I don't think you can reduce disagreements to mere "political purposes." There are many issues on which we disagree, not because it's politically expedient to do so, but because different people have honest and principled objections to particular policies.
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Old 09-05-2005, 11:51 AM   #8
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Thanks for bringing this up U2dem

I honestly don't know where to even start with poverty in the US...its not as obvious as in other parts of the world I suppose so it doesn't get as much attention, but its there.

Right in the shadow of Disneyland, there are kids living in the most shameful conditions imaginable. They've been nicknamed "the motel kids" and for some them, school is the only place they get a decent meal. They live amongst drug dealers, prostitutes and hardcore criminals simply because their parents are too poor to find decent housing. These motels are filthy and disgusting...roaches literally fall off the ceilings and crawl over the kids as they sleep. There are used needles and condoms in the parking lots (where many of the kids play), the bathrooms are full of mold and substandard plumbing, there are no kitchens or decent refrigration so the kids eat canned food warmed on a hot place, if they are lucky. Some of these motels were demolished and replaced with new, tourist oriented hotels but all this did was push the families into living in their cars or even worse areas.

This, in a city that has millions of tourist dollars flowing in every year. I'm sure many tourists have been shocked to see women with children begging for money right outside of the "Happiest Place on Earth" It's shameful.



And I was one of those motel kids, btw. Thankfully, my entire family has been able to pull themselves out of poverty and none of us has been hungry for quite some time but growing up like that is something I'll never forget.
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Old 09-05-2005, 12:03 PM   #9
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Needless to say my experience is very similar to U2Bama's as we are from the same place. I also regretted that the special interests killed the governor's reform package. That left a great big budget mess in the state, with several key programs swimming in red ink. There's no way for us to look after our poor what with shenanigans like this going on.
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Old 09-05-2005, 12:08 PM   #10
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I agree with Indra about education being a key in reducing poverty, but as a student of education, I'm learning that the simple act of providing the education is not enough. How do you make people value education? You do all you can in the classroom to teach the students but what happens when they go home?
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Old 09-05-2005, 01:13 PM   #11
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I'm glad to see this thread getting some response.

But why isn't this issue discussed much? Do we choose not to acknowledge poverty in our own lives? Is it too painful for us to look at? Is it really easier to talk about poverty around the world because we don't come in close contact with it?
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Old 09-05-2005, 01:28 PM   #12
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The American poor - that's me you're talking about.

But no one wants to hear the truth about how easy it is in the country to fall into poverty through no fault of your own and almost impossible to get out of once you're there.

Why?

Because most Americans want to put a face of color to poverty when most Americans who are poor are white.

And education isn't the only answer because I have a college degree which means shit in the local economy that I'm competing for jobs for.

In short, the only time that most Americans "care" about poor people is at the Thanksgiving and Christmas food drives or in an emergency like Katrina.

Otherwise, we seldom cross your minds.

Americans overwhelmingly see the poor as helpless and hopeless and write us off.

But there are MILLIONS of us who are hard-working and tax-paying who have as much self-respect as anyone else.

I came from the white middle class and fell into poverty as a single mother of three twenty five years ago and have yet been able to get myself over the poverty hump.

Still, I never forget my responsibility to help those much less fortunate in other parts of the world.
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Old 09-05-2005, 01:33 PM   #13
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The working poor are in a terrible position in this country...they're caught in a cycle that they cannot get out of no matter how hard they try, it's essentially a Catch-22 situation.
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Old 09-05-2005, 01:33 PM   #14
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Believe me Jamila, poor people in the States cross my mind, especialy when the best job i can find in my line of work is a fucking $8.50 without benefits. If hardworking people not can make a serious living, there is no hope for the real poor.
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Old 09-05-2005, 01:41 PM   #15
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You're correct, Rono, there really is no hope in this globalized economy.

I used to make $8.50 an hour - I now make even less than that.

It's disgusting.
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