Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Children of the Poor

By Linda Spector

I remember that when I was a kid I couldn’t wait to celebrate Christmas. I remember that my favorite part of Christmas was opening the presents that “Santa Clause” left the night before in my house. I also remember my mom’s smile looking at me while I was opening all the gifts. In a couple of months Christmas will come again, and for many kids in America the only gift that they are going to get is a big, bitter winter, far away from a home, and the smiles of their mothers will be erased by the cruel reality of being poor. In America the number of poor single mothers is growing and with them many kids have been added to this growing under-class group.
The media has created the myth that the reasons for this growth are that these mothers have been irresponsible, lazy, and promiscuous. The media has ignored many other reasons that have caused their misfortune like having low wage jobs, the death of their partner, domestic violence and the difficult economic situation that the country is experiencing. The media and politicians as agents of socialization have sold the concept that anybody in America can achieve the American dream, and if a person doesn’t reach the American dream it is because she or he hasn’t worked hard enough. Some people in the media have said that single mothers and the elderly don’t want to work hard because they want to live at the expense of the government.

According to the media and some politicians, the poor are deviants in America, because, the poor are breaking the values and norms of hard work. It is common to hear people from higher economic classes say that the poor want to be poor, that they don’t want to work hard and that they ought to have to live with the consequences of being poor. Also, lately some media has been saying that there is no such thing as poor or underclass in the United States because most of the poor families have refrigerators and microwaves, and some have a television or video game system. Even politicians that are running for the presidency are saying that if a person is poor, they should “blame themselves,” because they don’t want to work or they don’t’ work hard enough.

The reality is that many single women have jobs that pay less than the minimum wage and that make it difficult for them to afford a house, health care and a good education for their children. For some upper class Americans and some in the media, it is easy to judge the poor by saying that they are poor because of their lack of education and social morality. It is easy for some politicians to take benefits, security, and schools from the poor, because they think that being poor is a choice or a lifestyle.
The truth is that poor kids and single mothers have fewer opportunities than upper class American families. Poor families are less likely to move up the social hierarchy because they lack opportunities, education and support from the government and society. It is easy to punish the poor for being poor, instead of trying to make programs that could help single mothers to get better jobs with better wages, and programs that bring education and support to the children.

Christmas is coming soon and many poor mothers have to deal with the cruel reality that they are alone; that no matter how hard they work most of them will never be able to have a home or an opportunity to provide an education and a better future for their children. This Christmas many kids are going to learn that not only does Santa Claus not give presents to naughty children; he also doesn’t leave presents for the children of the poor.

1 comment:

  1. Well informed, dont know where to begin. Yes i do believe poor is deviant, and i am disgusted and ashamed by the comments of the upper class and politicans intake on poor.

    First i want to address Governor Christe on his comments to Gail, it was rude and out of character and if you think you are doing the best for all the school system in New Jersey why not utilize them and send your child to a public school. This type of behavior are from the elite dont sound like a governor who have the best interest and want equal opportunity for all children of that state.

    Another problem i find was the way the define what poor families should have and not have without even considering the necessity of having these items such as a refrigerator, microwave, television and video games this is as if when you are poor you supposed to be suffering from everything. I will assume there poor means to be lack of anything of necessity. Without consideration these people give no regard to poor, based on their beliefs. There are poor families who works very hard and are restricted by the government system to work a certain amount because of structural barriers. Why more people arent willing to help others and stop think about what they have and think how best they could help someone else. Social stratification is very important in today society,also the class in which ones born of impacts the outcome of he/she in life.