Comments & Discussion

Boston University moderates comments to facilitate an informed, substantive, civil conversation. Abusive, profane, self-promotional, misleading, incoherent or off-topic comments will be rejected. Moderators are staffed during regular business hours (EST) and can only accept comments written in English. Statistics or facts must include a citation or a link to the citation.

There are 10 comments on POV: Stop Blaming the Poor for Their Poverty

  1. Thank you! I spent 5 years working at Lazarus House Ministries, a family homeless shelter with a focus on the whole person and all the elements necessary to break the cycle of poverty including food security, housing, clothing, education, healthcare, childcare, and job training. The mothers I met were dealing with a host of issues, many if not all, NOT of their own making. They were some of the bravest and hardest working people I’d ever met. These women simply needed a brief helping hand up to restart their lives. The vast majority went on to succeed in the form of independent living, employment and active community members with some even coming back to volunteer at the shelter. Sargent Shriver knew this back in 1964 when he used a humanistic approach to design the War on Poverty resulting in Head Start, Job Corps, VISTA and more. At Lazarus House our successful Campaign for Dignity used the tagline – “Dignity is priceless and yet it has a cost.” This still rings true today.

  2. Many thanks to Prof. Bridges for her incisive critique of this country’s attitudes and policies toward the poor. The latter have deep historical roots in Western societies in general. Alas, in the Trump/Carson moment, our country is moving backwards in its approach to poverty. The quicker the moment is over, the better.

  3. I don’t understand why having sex and bearing children out of marriage is not a behavioral and moral problem. This disappointing and sanctimonious bit of political correctness completely ignores what honest studies of the cycle of the poverty confirm: absence of a husband/father at the home is the strongest predictor of poverty for children and their mothers. One might think that empowered women could abstain from sex outside marriage as a means of protecting themselves and their children. Their grandmothers did, even in terrible circumstances like the Great Depression. Why are today’s women less empowered to say no to unmarried sex than women of the 1950’s?

    1. Abstinence-only sex education does not work, unless enforced by a brutally repressive theocracy. Rational, scientific sex education plus access to contraceptives is proven to be the most effective method at controlling unwanted pregnancies, in Europe and in places in the US where the political climate allows it. I have a feeling people casting this as a moral issue secretly would prefer a barbaric theocratic state to a free society that educates people on how to have sex responsibly.

    2. Prof. Wolfe,

      from your comment, it’s seems you don’t believe that recent generations of women are capable of making rational decisions about what they do with their own bodies and lives. My sincere advice would be to never comment on this topic again, as I promise no woman is interested in your moral critiques of their sex life.

      Rocky, Questrom ’17

    3. typical heterosexual male blaming women for something they are equally, if not more, responsible for. Your response boils down to “why can’t women just keep their legs closed?”

      hmm, why can’t men take care of their children and not abandon them? why can’t men restrain themselves from having sex outside of marriage? One might think that empowered men could abstain from sex outside marriage as a means of protecting themselves, their children, and their children’s mothers. Their grandfathers did, even in terrible circumstances like the Great Depression. Why are today’s men less empowered to say no to unmarried sex than men of the 1950″s?

      1. I neither abandoned my wife nor our eight children in 34 years of marriage, and I restrained myself completely from sex outside marriage and we taught our children, especially our sons, not to exploit others sexually. This article focuses on women; however, I hold males equally responsible for their choices.

  4. Prof. Bridge, I so appreciate your pertinent and well informed commentary. That is the kind of perspective we need to hear loud on many outlets in those times of regressive politic and repressive discourse.

  5. It sounds like Prof. Bridge does not like “wealthier women.” She questioned why state bureaucracy did not put in the same privacy-invading constraints to these wealthier women as versus to the poor. The answer is simple: because wealthier women do not spend taxpayers money even though they have the same behavioral problems like the poor, therefore state has no right to bothering them. The supervision of the poor mothers is not about that they are poor, but about where the spent money and its statistics should be accounted for. Secondly, moral construction of poverty should not be looked at from the viewpoint of rich vs. poor, or that of Republican vs. Democrat. It should be looked at from the viewpoint of citizens as members of a society. States need to help the poor in a beneficial and disciplined way. The attitude from the Left condoning anyone who is “lazy, irresponsible, averse to work, sexually promiscuous, criminally inclined” would only make poor people’s unpropitious cycle continue.

  6. As the son of a single parent, I can understand the basis of this article. However, I agree with Carson’s comments about mindset. I was raised to believe that I can do anything I set my mind to. It is why I ended up here at BU. I was raised to use my experience as a driving force, to not being a statistic. so while your heart is in the right place, you don’t speak for everyone because there are people out there who do think the system is against them, people that live in a “cycle of negativity”. whereas, there are people who use it as motivation to be the best that they can be even though they didn’t have it all growing up.

    And before anyone ridicules me, I suggest you imagine finding your homeless parent on the streets, asking for money and knowing you cant do anything about it. Or go stand in line for hours waiting to apply for food stamps. Now that you have that in mind, imagine getting the acceptance letter from BU, and a good job after graduation. Because that is my life. Stop making excuses.

Post a comment.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *