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Poor Essay

1295 words - 6 pages

I once believed that poverty was a state of mind that resulted in a variety of physical and mental manifestations. While this may be true in some cases, the simple truth is that many people around the world are born in poverty with virtually no exposure to any other way of life. Others may find themselves in its clutches due to personal choices or from circumstances beyond individual control. The same as any other social issue, it is important to understand the cause of poverty; however the complexity of the problem is such that society is bogged down in assumptions and attitudes that have permeated the minds of community members as a whole. Likewise, there appears not to be a clearly defined agreement concerning what poverty actually means. In terms of the monetary definition of poverty, a line of income has been established to identify individuals and families living in poverty without consideration for all the variables that exist within individual human beings. It has been determined that even if a person crosses over that line by one dollar, he or she is no longer living in poverty. Common sense dictates that there is no magical line, and one cannot evaluate poverty strictly by financial means. Poverty varies significantly by geography and culture and may be confused, especially in the United States, with a temporary state of being financially challenged. The difference in poverty is not only financially driven, but resides in the prevalence or absence of hopes, dreams, and/or opportunities for the future. Many college students live below the poverty line, but one understands that this is temporary and will be eradicated sometime in the near future. It is acceptable to be poor as a college student, and may even be viewed as a positive experience. Remarkably, attitudes shift considerably as one enters the workforce or starts a family. It is important to remember that poverty is not exclusive, yet it looks like exclusion. No one knows the future or what challenges will arise tomorrow. One should wake up each day grateful for what one may have and grateful for what one doesn’t have. Life can change in an instant regardless of background, status, or income.
In trying to identify what poverty means to me, I realized that I don’t know. I have spent days trying to form a coherent definition of poverty. I have reached deep into my personal experiences and knowledge, and I am still left with only a surface understanding. Thinking of poverty leaves me paralyzed and depressed. The pain of a hungry, sick, or scared child is intolerable, yet I know that it is a reality around the world. Regrettably, like many Americans, at times, I must push the knowledge aside to endure. Sometimes, I just can’t drive down that road; literally and figuratively. So, for self-preservation purposes at this point in time, I can only share what poverty looks like from my perspective. Poverty is hunger that exists when a person has absolutely no idea when or how he or she...

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