One of the assignments I give out in my sociology classes is to watch documentary about poverty in the United States called, The Line. After watching the documentary the students are asked to submit a 2 page summary of what they saw and how they felt about what they saw. Below is a portion of what one of my students wrote. It is based on her own experience of living in poverty. The report she turned in was quite raw. I took the liberty to clean it up and smooth it out.
Living in poverty is the worst thing anyone can go through. Not knowing what your next move is and how you are going to get what you need to survive is horrifying. The stress of living in poverty causes health problems, the health problems causes the bills to pile up, which causes even more stress. Living like this is overwhelming…and makes you want to give up and quit…
People are not perfect. Everyone goes through difficult times, and at times tough times get tougher when expected things pop up out of nowhere. This happens to everyone so why treat people wrong because of their problems, knowing you have problems to. It’s just that no one sees your problems.
Back in the day it was hard to get the assistance you needed. Now it is even harder…you just have to go with the flow…but the environment of poverty has an effect on children…and so the cycle continues.
I can’t lie, some people put themselves in situations that keep them living in poverty. Like when young boys get a juvenile record. That can mess you up for the rest of your life because it makes it difficult to get a job. Knowing that a record can ruin the rest of your life at a young age is why many teenage boys in poverty drop out of school. I mean, why try if things aren’t going to get any better? The only option is to sell drugs and do what you can to get by…No one will want anything to do with you and others will constantly put you down and laugh in your face.
These minimum wage jobs only help out a little bit. Once the government sees you have a job and are making a little bit of money, they take away all your assistance and don’t even give you a chance to get on your feet. It’s a trap! The government makes it so hard to get assistance and then they take it from you before you have a chance to fully support yourself and your children. All the while fathers are getting a free ride…and going to jail for not paying child support is a wast of time…In my neighborhood most of the kids grow up without a father or they look to the neighborhood drug dealer as their father figure.
They say if you don’t have a little struggle in your life you will not know how to survive in the world…I guess I’m a survivor.