The myth of the culture of poverty

Article Review of the myth of the culture of poverty 

Reading Paul Gorski’s article, “The myth of the culture of poverty” has helped to shed light on what I have suspected all along- that the plight of poor people is highly prejudiced based on the perceptions that society has created regarding these individuals. The rest of us then end up taking some of these myths as the gospel truth without caring to know what has informed such prejudices or whether indeed there is a scintilla of evidence to support such claims. I am totally opposed to the myth that poor people lack motivation and that they tend to have a weak work ethic. I have friends who come from very humble backgrounds and despite their situation.

I would not describe them as unmotivated. In fact, poor people as I have come to learn by observing my friends, are as equally motivated as their rich counterparts. The only exception is that they lack equal opportunities to pursuing wealth as the rich do. They also have a lot of baggage to carry, such as thinking about what the rich may only view as trivial thoughts, like where to get the next meal. Such simple thoughts may end up dashing their dreams and by extension, their motivation. In addition, poor people have a very dedicated work ethic. I know of a single mother of 3 teenage sons who works 3 to 4 jobs every day in order to provide the basic needs to her family of three. The ability to juggle between 3 or 4 jobs everyday shows a high level of resilience and discipline.

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A number of educators are inclined to believe that poor parents do not value the education of their children at all, and they wrongly assume that this makes such parents not to attend to school functions. In this case, It is worth noting that most parents would not wish to their children to struggle through life as they did. They recognize the value of education and the need to ensure that their children attend school so that they can enjoy a brighter future. With regard to the issue of drugs and alcohol abuse, is it not ironical that poor people without the money to buy such things should be labeled as abusers and not the rich who have the means to do so? All in all, Gorski has rightly analyzed the myths that surround the culture of poverty in such a way that we can all identify with his reflections.

 Reply to the initial post – What is culture of poverty?

The author of the post has endeavored to provide real-life experiences regarding the widely held myths about the culture of poverty. For example, the author has talked of an encounter with a young seventeen-year-old teenager who despite his disadvantaged background, has made his mark in the academic field by partaking in various honor classes and participating in numerous academic teams at school. This is indicative of the high level of motivation among poor people, a position that Gorski has also supported in his article.

However, some of the ideas of the post as presented by the author are somewhat disconnected.  For example, he talks of the young man’s wish to join an Ivy League school and then attributes this desire to the wish of low-income parents to have their children succeed in life. It is not clear whether the need to attend n Ivy League school is the teenager’s idea or that of his parents. Also, the author talks of his wide knowledge of poverty, and yet he still finds the myth about poverty quite shocking and sad. This may be the case because there are different viewpoints on this issue and our judgment and convictions depend on what we read or learn.

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