The Separation Of Children From Dignity By Poverty

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The Separation of Children from Dignity by Poverty The minds of children are so very sensitive to everything that they encounter. The rest of a child’s life may be affected by what most adults may consider insignificant events and happenings in their own lives. Imagine what damage could be done by large-scale issues like poverty and homelessness. As author Melanie Scheller explains, “Poor white trash were viciously stereotyped, and never more viciously than on the playground… don’t get near them or you might catch [ringworm and pink-eye]” (356). How is a child to learn the meaning of having friends or of dignity growing up this way? Poverty and homelessness are not just temporary conditions: For hundreds of thousands of children, these circumstances will have an effect on the rest of their lives. The effects of poverty and homelessness on children are numerous. Many of these children grow up with no friends and become emotionally, mentally, and socially disconnected. Scheller, growing up extremely poor herself, explains that spending your childhood in incessant, unflinching poverty can replace normal self-esteem with a feeling of shame (356). She also speaks of her financial situation being her “shameful secret,” stating that she preferred having no friends to having anyone find out (356). Some impoverished children are in such terrible conditions that they “think that only rich people have their own bedrooms” (Quindlen 359). Another mental side-effect of poverty on children is the creation of prejudice - the undesired conditions of people must be explained somehow, perhaps by blame. Groups form and some “are united by nothing more – and nothing less – than a hatred of the white world and all its works” (Baldwin 364). These emotional and mental effects also pour into and sometimes form stunted social growth. Scheller shares that “the need to conceal my real self
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