The beacon of hope, the place of opportunity, a new home and a new start. These are the dreams of those that seek freedom in the United States. So many view America through the lens of hollywood, fashion and music. They see a life of extravagance and luxury and they want it because their current state is so unbearable that this can be a dream come true for them. But the reality is, it’s not real-for more than half the population in America. There is just as much suffering here as there is in other parts of the world, but most people don’t acknowledge it because well, this is America the land of opportunity and prosperity. But for some not all.
The education system has become more and more unattainable for a lot of people. The business of universities and the text book industry has driven tuitions to an all time high. Sometimes it’s not enough to get one job and go to school, you will always be forever in debt to student loans. The irony of that, is most people never end up getting employed in the field of their study so they’re paying back something they’re not even using. Experience and hard work mean nothing without that paper from a university that apparently proves your smart. Because the people that have high degrees and are running the country are doing such a great job!
The systematic agenda to keep most people in poverty-especially people of color and ethnicity-is growing. Some immigrants that find themselves fortunate to come here are still living with little and working long hours with no break, they will either give up and go back to their country or find some place else to go. And they are the most hard working people. But they know what it means to enjoy life. Where they come, from you don’t have to be rich to enjoy your life. The stench of capitalism and instant wealth has made America more and more unbearable to live in, for a lot of people. Even people who were born here.
The overall poverty rate in the US in 2016 was 12.7% (40.6 million people), the median income for a family of four was $24,340. The percentage of women that fell below the poverty line in 2016 was 14.0% (22.9 million people), African Americans 22.0% (9.2 million), Hispanic 19.4% (11.1 million) and White Poverty overall was only 8.8% (17.3 million). Women no matter what ethinicity make up a large part of the poverty margins. There are many factors that play a part in that. Attaining a higher education or lack of, income inequality, gender wage gap and accessible affordable housing. One factor that is not included is the high rates of domestic violence in the United States that are forcing women in the streets with not much access to resources or mental health services. We have just as high if not higher food insecurity rates than other countries. According to Feed America the median annual income of families they serve is $9,175. If I was someone from the outside looking in, I don’t know that I would want to bring my family to a place where they may go hungry. Food insecurity is real.
The age of gentrification has everyone wondering, where will I go? It doesn’t matter as long as you’re gone by the time the bulldozers come. Another tactic to oppress and control people who make cities run and infrastucture strong, with out them and others who provide everyday services, the whole system will collapse. According to the New York Times, gated communities are residential areas with restricted access. Privatizing public spaces making it impossible for all to enjoy. Gated communities also prohibit access to public streets, sidewalks, benches, playgrounds, etc. The cosequences include: seceding from public society, excluding others that do not share your socio-economic privilege and creating a man made refuge from a society that’s not like you. This plays a HUGE part in poverty rates all across America. This is a phenomenon that is fast growing-especially in cities like New York.
In some ways we have become the United States of Oblivion mostly because some of us think it won’t touch us or we’ll be protected somehow. Every day that protection erodes more and more showing us that no one is immune. This is a cross country issue, not a one city issue. Every town, suburb and urban area will not be free from gentrification, socio-economic privilege and high poverty rates. This is the world we now live in, this is the country we now live in. So what should we say when we hear how lucky we are to have been born in the United States? Our answers will differ-greatly.