How The Other Life Lives, Still

568 words - 3 pages

How the Other life lives, still
Almost everything worthwhile written about American poverty is essentially about moral failure. It is the failure of the society (according to liberals) or of the poor themselves (according to conservatives) or of institutions and individuals together in a complex combination (according to centrists). Poverty violates core American values. It challenges the American dream’s promise of prosperity for anyone who works hard, a faith central to the national ethic. Michael Harrington’s The Other America was said to be a waking up call to many about the state of poverty in the early 1960s, yet after reading How the Other life lives by Jacob Riis’ it is obvious that not much changed regarding the state of poverty.
In the excerpts from The Other America, it is obvious that America ...view middle of the document...

” 2/3 of America had no idea how poor of a condition a large percentage of the country is in and that they are the only hope of any aid in the situation. Day after day, the poor work for low wages just to feed their constantly empty stomachs, slaving in sweatshops and factories just to stay alive. They are without adequate housing, education, or medical care. At this point in time, 50,000.000 Americans were living in conditions beneath those required for human decency. For a booming industrial country such as the United States, this level of poverty was insane yet it was still not completely addressed in Harrington’s time.
Jacob Riis’ social study examines the crucial elements of sociological studies for the poor. By realizing the sociological premise of poverty within the ghettos of New York City, the conditions of the poor are revealed through the lower class strata of American society. Riis defines these people in regards to their race, income, and other variables that allow a deeper understanding of how these people live in the country's most violent oppressive ghettos. In essence, Riis provides a detailed analysis and sociological study of how the poor live within New York City's lower class urban ghettos in the 19th century. Sadly, Conditions did not change after Harrington’s The Other America. The poor were still in incredibly disgusting conditions and children were being forced to work in sweatshops and factories. The living conditions were abysmal has housing quarters tended to be overcrowded and in terrible shape. There were high levels of crime and alcohol abuse and most poor children never received a proper education. Things however did change after Rii’s expose as it provided definitive evidence and photographs. Has Harrington pointed out, this part of America was invisible and the pictures that Rii’s took proved that this tragedy was occurring in what was supposed to be one of the greatest countries in the world.

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