Part of the American Dream is working hard to succeed — many of us hope to own a home in the suburbs with a white picket fence, steady job and healthy family.
It is easy to get caught up in the notion that those who are poor do not aspire for this American Dream — or at the very least, that they do not want to work for it.
However, that is not always the case, as many other complex issues lie at the heart of poverty:
High fines and targeted ticketing
Third parties with ticketing agencies take advantage of impoverished areas, making large profits from people who cannot afford to pay continuing fines.
Profiling leading to generational prison cycles
Families get stuck in the father-son prison cycle, and become distrustful of authority.
Lobbying quiets those with small pockets
Policies that may be in the interest of poverty-stricken neighborhoods could be overshadowed by companies who can pay large amounts of money to lobby for certain bills to be passed.
Impoverished communities become everyone else’s dumping grounds
Environmental waste, chemical waste, pollutants- these lead low-income communities to get plagued with diseases and health concerns.
Education is important, but…
How can you compete if your education and resources are inadequate?
Healthy food is lacking
Many live in “food deserts,” without any healthy food, grocery stores or bulk options within walking/bus distance. Not only does this lead into unhealthy eating, but also means that in the long run the poor are paying more for their food.
It’s easy for those who are poor to become forgotten: if we can’t see them, they do not exist.
However, like it or not, they do exist, and becoming poor is an easy reality. From a 2006-2013 study, 88% of manufacturing jobs were taken by automation (robots). It is not just the manufacturing industry, but the transportation, paper work/research, medical and artistic and other jobs that will likely be replaced by more efficient technology.
Without a job, it is easy to become one of the 43.1 million Americans (2015) living in poverty.
Most of the time, we do not know what to do with the countless men, women and children who are poor, homeless, jobless or disabled.
We hope that the government or charitable groups will step in to alleviate the symptoms of poverty with programs and policies.
While many organizations exist to help end poverty, educate yourself, and use your voice to contact policy makers and spread the word. While it is important to address symptoms of poverty, we as a society need to try and stop it at its core.
By Lyndsi Petitti