Finding Strength in Poverty in There Are No Children Here

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There are No Children Here – Finding Strength in Poverty Being privileged is something that I didn’t understand until I read There are No Children Here, by Alex Kotlowitz. The truth is that I knew I had it better than others, but the absolute difference was not truly recognized until I met the boys Lafayette, and Pharaoh. These boys were presented to me by Kotlowitz, via his book, and the evident pain and sorrow that these young men went through on a daily basis was more than most privileged people experience in an entire lifetime. That is what being privileged is. When I started reading this book, I thought that is was going to be another poor me story about some poor black kids who got a raw deal. That was my ignorant, privileged life rearing its head. When I forged ahead, and read the book, I did so in seek of a grade, not a new perspective. I got to the fifth page, and I felt guilty. The guilt again was a selfish one, for I had been fooled to believe that the poor were poor because they were lazy. I was forced to believe that I had discussed and argued issues of poverty for the last 10 years, only to find that I was arguing in ignorance. These children were poor by birth, just the same as I was privileged by birth. By accident of birth, these children would endure more pain and suffering than I could imagine. The feeling made me shutter with disbelief that people actually lived like this, in America. So I read on further, only discover more terrifying stories of death, abuse, filth, sorrow, poverty, and addiction. Lafayette and Pharaoh are two of the seven kids birthed by LaJoe Rivers in Chicago Illinois. They all currently reside at the Henry Horner Homes that rests nestled away from the city amist anot... ... middle of paper ... ...lan on accomplishing their dreams, dreams of survival. That survival to them though will mean more than nearly anything I will do in my life. For them to surpass their friends, battle the lifestyle, conquer the schools, and beat the streets, is an accomplishment not only in academics, but in life. I remember how much my High School Graduation Ceremony meant to me, and that is why I didn’t go. I cared so little about graduating that the ceremony meant nothing. That is a luxury that is not bestowed on everyone, and especially not these young men. I have a great respect for these kids, for they have battled unimaginable adversity, and will hopefully overcome all of the hell that was forced upon them in their youth. I hope I am half as strong at 70 as they were at nine and twelve. Works Cited: Kotlowitz, Alex. There are no children here. New York: Doubleday.1991.

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