Poverty In America Essay

1171 words - 5 pages

People in America often suffer from poverty and the treatment that comes with it, throughout their everyday lives. The question raised is why are poor individuals dehumanized by high structures of power? Some people with a higher income feel like they have a choice and a real recourse to justice rather than a lower class individual. They also believe that they are entitled to the world and their opinion matters because of their financial status versus someone who doesn’t have material things. Lessin’s and Deal’s film , Natasha Trethewey’s Memoir, and Bell Hooks’ excerpts, depicts that the poor are often dehumanized and neglected by structures of power, such as the government and media, because of their lack of money and education, however some of structures of power are ignorant to how the lives of poor people really are.
The film, Trouble the Water, directed by Tia Lessin and Carl Deal, is a testimonial story of an inspirational couple, Kimberly Roberts, who is an aspiring rapper, and Scott Roberts, an ex-drug dealer, that survived Hurricane Katrina, the failed levees of New Orleans, and their horrible past. After the storm they found inspiration, and gained a new outlook on life. Even though, Kim and Scott were dehumanized and neglected by the government, they still managed to keep faith and stay strong throughout their recovery process. Kim and Scott heard about the Hurricane but couldn’t afford to leave New Orleans. The couple lived in the ninth ward, which was a place where people with low or no income would live. After the disastrous storm hit, they believed that even though they did not have much, life wasn’t over yet. They didn’t resist agency and with the very little education they had, they found quick strategies to help rescue themselves and others from the tragic storm and were able to get away from New Orleans to find better living conditions. They rescued families using nearby equipment such as a boat, and tools, since the government didn’t send out help until days after the hurricane. On TV, the media showed the helicopters flying over the city of New Orleans “pretending” to help them, but instead they were looking at the city, neglecting the devastated citizens. They also displayed pictures of homeless people begging for help. The government didn’t want to help the poor people during or after the storm because they felt like they didn’t contribute anything to the city, and they were useless, so they government spent more time helping the rich people. Kim and Scott helped more people than the actual rescue team. Later, they received money from FEMA, (Federal Emergency Management Agency), a federal agency that coordinates the response to disasters in the U.S, moved in with relatives in Memphis, Tennessee, and positively turned their life around. Without a high school diploma, Kim ended up starting her music business, and Scott received a job that helped rebuild New Orleans. The Hurricane was a living testimony for them.
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