with eyes open wide
Nicholas Kristof wrote an article that I re-posted a few days ago (here).
Unfortunately he received some very negative comments from that article and decided to write a follow-up on March 1st.
I was raised in a Republican home and grew up with the belief that if you are poor, it’s because you did something to be in that position. You didn’t study hard in school, you were lazy, you don’t care to move up out of your position, etc.
I learned a lot of lessons in the Peace Corps, but one of the most important was seeing and experiencing poverty simply because there were very very very little opportunities to rise above.
The fact of the matter is that most poor people live in a cycle of poverty because of many factors against them – crappy schools, dangerous neighborhoods, parents who don’t care enough, unhealthy meals, bullying at school (for not wearing new clothes, eating reduced-cost meals, etc.), and friends who are just like you or worse.
The middle class and above don’t realize how even subtle things like having dinner as a family, having books in the house, having parents who model “successful” behavior, etc. makes a HUGE difference on the outcome of a child.
Not to mention, the connections that an affluent family has when it comes to getting into college, finding a job after graduation, helping with a downpayment on a home, etc. And not even always people connections, but the simple know-how to act in these sorts of environments.
I encourage you to read Kristof’s response below, to see how it touches your heart.