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Synthesis Kozol Amazing Grace Essay

1478 words - 6 pages

SynthesisKozol Amazing GraceCleveland and Stephenson suggest that the poor fail to seek opportunity and therefore are poor. They also claim that poverty is caused by refusal on the part of individuals to take responsibility for their own economic well-being. However Robert states that it is the government's fault that there is a lack of opportunities. He also states that it is because people cannot receive a decent wage that they are poor. Neither point is right or wrong. Both sides have valid reasoning and evidence to why the poor are impoverished. I believe that people are poor because they fail to seek opportunities and make unwise individual choices. The mentality of today's poor is far off of the mentality the people from our forefathers, because they posses a level of understanding, and discipline that was passed on from a generation of immigrants who struggled to make a days salary and still managed to put food on the table. This is the reason why the poor cannot create opportunities and make legitimate choices to enhance their situation. Cleveland and Stephenson, whom are advocates of individual responsibility, believe that poverty is caused by the refusal on the part of individuals to take responsibility for their own economic well-being. They believe that, "this attitude is encouraged by government social assistance programs that actually increase, rather than alleviate, poverty." (ViewPoint3 79) Cleveland and Stephenson claim that Decades of U.S welfare programs have failed to satisfy the urban and rural poor. They believe that the only way to live happily is not to rely on the government for assistance, but to take responsibility for your own actions. They remind us that through individual choice, "it was the poor, the uneducated, and the unskilled that came together and transformed this country into an industrial giant." On the other hand, Robert Lieberman, an assistant professor of Columbia University, believes that, "poverty is not caused by a refusal to seek work or by a welfare state that encourages perverse values but by a lack of economic opportunity." Lieberman asserts that, "the society should offer the poor greater economic opportunities rather than blame them for their poverty." He believes that the lives of the poor are concealed either by charts and graphs or by moralistic categories of virtue and vice. Lieberman claims that, what is missing is not the charts or graphs but the willingness to look at the actual lives of the poor. We have all heard the saying, "you can be anything you want to be if you put your mind to it." The mind yields a powerful tool. It is something most people take fore granted, but yet it's something we all use incessantly. We can blame the government for our current state, but it is what you make out of the situation that's going to either allow you to break away from poverty or keep you incased in the cycle. Cleveland and Stephenson give us an example about breaking away from...

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