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How the Other Life Lives, Still

  • Date Submitted: 04/29/2014 09:26 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 43.4 
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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 is in an age where the rich are extremely wealthy, and the poor are devastatingly impoverished and because 2/3 of the population is enjoying an average life outside of poverty, there isn’t much attention drawn to the ongoing travesty.   This phenomenon is best explained by Harrington with this phrase, “That the poor are invisible is one of the most important things about them. They are not simply neglected and forgotten as in the old rhetoric of reform; what is much worse, they are not seen.” 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...


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