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undeterred

(34,658 posts)
Fri Nov 23, 2012, 10:41 PM Nov 2012

Anyone else watching a PBS Frontline special on Poor Kids?

This is devastating.

They are following the lives of poor children in America who are are hungry, homeless, and really living on the edge. Giving up the family pet. Getting food at school. Eating canned vegetables for a snack. Living at a shelter or in a motel. Cutting lawns and turning the money over to mom. Losing possessions because they were in storage and their parents couldn't pay the bill. Sad stuff.

16 million children in America live in poverty.

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Anyone else watching a PBS Frontline special on Poor Kids? (Original Post) undeterred Nov 2012 OP
YES! L0oniX Nov 2012 #1
Thanks for posting the link. undeterred Nov 2012 #4
That is the same culture effects that one could see in the ghetto and the most rural reservations jwirr Nov 2012 #44
Thanks for the link Warpy Nov 2012 #14
Heartbreaking Galileo126 Nov 2012 #2
Hi Galileo126.....Welcome to DU.. Tikki Nov 2012 #26
Welcome to DU! Delphinus Nov 2012 #36
I missed it. Will try to watch it online later, thanks! GreenPartyVoter Nov 2012 #3
it's excellent struggle4progress Nov 2012 #11
That episode is so sad. savebigbird Nov 2012 #5
i grew up like that. i never thought for a second that was my future Heather MC Nov 2012 #6
Lucky lucky you. Guess what? These starving children are not adults Luminous Animal Nov 2012 #8
I just said I was a staving kid Heather MC Nov 2012 #15
Like I said. Lucky lucky you. All these kids need to do is buck up and be just like you and Luminous Animal Nov 2012 #18
Yes, why make reality-based decisions and re-structure this unjust society burnsei sensei Nov 2012 #25
ok you are miss understanding me. Heather MC Nov 2012 #39
Oh we get it. You made it out so why can't every other poor person do the same.. Luminous Animal Nov 2012 #40
I lived it, i lived with people who constantly made bad Heather MC Nov 2012 #43
In other words, you overcame fatalism. burnsei sensei Nov 2012 #46
I am wondering if you had any role models who were outside the family role model? Many of the jwirr Nov 2012 #45
I was one of those kids. Luminous Animal Nov 2012 #7
That's horrible. undeterred Nov 2012 #9
I became a resourceful scavenger eating as much peas and carrots off my Luminous Animal Nov 2012 #10
Same here though it was long before Clinton was even in office. cstanleytech Nov 2012 #28
I can relate... rbnyc Nov 2012 #31
I watched and I Cried! N/T sheshe2 Nov 2012 #12
Watched it earlier. U.S. is among the top 3. . . ProfessionalLeftist Nov 2012 #13
I can remember this as a kid Superbot Nov 2012 #16
I didn't know it when I was a kid liberal_at_heart Nov 2012 #17
I watched it on Tuesday here in Los Angeles. The statistic that coalition_unwilling Nov 2012 #19
I watched it a few nights ago on PBS online... ReRe Nov 2012 #20
I felt the depth of the problem first hand this week. PennsylvaniaMatt Nov 2012 #21
welcome to DU! renate Nov 2012 #34
Thank you. PennsylvaniaMatt Nov 2012 #41
You and your friends are truly kind. ceile Nov 2012 #38
Thank you! PennsylvaniaMatt Nov 2012 #42
Disheartening Picture... kracer20 Nov 2012 #22
Is that a child wearing a plastic bag for clothes? undeterred Nov 2012 #33
God, teach this massively self-deceived country burnsei sensei Nov 2012 #23
+ a brazillion undeterred Nov 2012 #35
I'll try to catch it this week Liberal_in_LA Nov 2012 #24
I wish this were on mainstream television. undeterred Nov 2012 #32
I want every person in this Delphinus Nov 2012 #37
very sad! hrmjustin Nov 2012 #27
My husband and I dog_lovin_dem Nov 2012 #29
I'll watch it this week also.. mountain grammy Nov 2012 #30

undeterred

(34,658 posts)
4. Thanks for posting the link.
Fri Nov 23, 2012, 10:55 PM
Nov 2012

Hearing some of the children sound so hopeless about the future is kind of a jolt. They think life is always going to be the way they are experiencing it right now.

jwirr

(39,215 posts)
44. That is the same culture effects that one could see in the ghetto and the most rural reservations
Sun Nov 25, 2012, 03:15 PM
Nov 2012

years ago. What you see around you is what you know and that is what you expect in the future. It also existed in any poverty area regardless of race. Hopelessness is the power behind poverty.

Warpy

(112,140 posts)
14. Thanks for the link
Sat Nov 24, 2012, 12:20 AM
Nov 2012

The NM station isn't running it. It must be begging season here again because they've got some brainless music thing on instead.

It's a very powerful video and made me glad as I have been all my life that I didn't have kids to drag down with me when my lousy health caused the bottom to fall out of my own life again and again.

What really hit hard was the tone in the voices of some of those kids that said that they'd completely lost faith in their parents and in the whole world outside their families.

Poverty hurts like hell on many different levels. That some people who grow up in that kind of pain become predators is no mystery.

The mystery is that predators also grow up in plenty and create this kind of poverty so that they can get richer.

Galileo126

(2,016 posts)
2. Heartbreaking
Fri Nov 23, 2012, 10:53 PM
Nov 2012

Yeah, I watched that episode of Frontline.

It was sad to see the kids just resign themselves to "oh well, that's the way it is..." instead of thinking that the future would hold some promise.

Sad, indeed.

Delphinus

(11,920 posts)
36. Welcome to DU!
Sat Nov 24, 2012, 10:31 AM
Nov 2012

Thanks for adding to our community.

And, to the documentary, it was heartbreaking. I read the transcript of the live chat and was enlightened further. Just want to take the kids and hug them and help them find hope.

 

Heather MC

(8,084 posts)
6. i grew up like that. i never thought for a second that was my future
Fri Nov 23, 2012, 11:04 PM
Nov 2012

that life drove me to do every LEGAL thing I could do, to not end up like my parents.

Luminous Animal

(27,310 posts)
8. Lucky lucky you. Guess what? These starving children are not adults
Fri Nov 23, 2012, 11:21 PM
Nov 2012

and do not have the luxury of buying their own food to stave off their hunger.

 

Heather MC

(8,084 posts)
15. I just said I was a staving kid
Sat Nov 24, 2012, 12:27 AM
Nov 2012

It sucked like shit, I decided at a very very young age that I was not going to live like my parents. I didn't decide that as an adult, I decided that when I was watching my mother decide between buying groceries, paying the heat bill, or the electric bill.

We lived in a rat/ roach invested house that was heated by a wood stove and it only heated one room, so we had to sleep on the floor next to the stove and hope and pray no rats came out to bite us while we slepted.

Like I said I lived like these kids when I was a kid.

Luminous Animal

(27,310 posts)
18. Like I said. Lucky lucky you. All these kids need to do is buck up and be just like you and
Sat Nov 24, 2012, 12:31 AM
Nov 2012

the problem of child poverty would be solved.

burnsei sensei

(1,820 posts)
25. Yes, why make reality-based decisions and re-structure this unjust society
Sat Nov 24, 2012, 01:15 AM
Nov 2012

when you can just tell those people to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps?
This is a massively self-deceived country, a top-heavy society, a travesty, and a shame.

 

Heather MC

(8,084 posts)
39. ok you are miss understanding me.
Sat Nov 24, 2012, 08:21 PM
Nov 2012

I was merely saying I didn't take on the mindset of poverty being a way of life for me. I got alot of help along the way and I am very grateful. However, if I had developed a mindset of poverty, all the help I got would not have mattered if I had messed up my blessing. You have to want to change your situation long before it begins to change.

I tell my children everyday. everything begins with a thought first. every good idea every bad idea. So think good thoughts.

Luminous Animal

(27,310 posts)
40. Oh we get it. You made it out so why can't every other poor person do the same..
Sun Nov 25, 2012, 03:00 AM
Nov 2012

If they can't then there is something wrong with them. If the poor would only think good thoughts, they wouldn't be poor anymore!

 

Heather MC

(8,084 posts)
43. I lived it, i lived with people who constantly made bad
Sun Nov 25, 2012, 01:20 PM
Nov 2012

choices, that made life even harder. People who decided stealing was the way to go. or dealing drugs, before I graduated highschool I had to attend several funerals of friends who were killed in bad drug deals. Tons of girlfriends who got pregnant multiple times before turning 18. I have a brother who had spent most of his life in jail starting at age 14. No one told him to ride a bike 10 miles and steal from a a
place my mother had a cleaning contract with. He did that on his own. I had all the same temptations around me.
I am not saying people don't deserve help. I am saying you can't help everyone. I have a heart to help everyone but I know some people can't be helped. Some people just make bad decisions. You can't protect people from themselves.

I had family trying to talk me out of going to college. And the college I went to was tuition free

If you have never lived in poverty you have no idea what's going on, on a daily bases. What crappy programing poor kids receive. You have to fight off all that bullshit to survive, you have to believe you deserve better. before you can do better. otherwise you just believe the bullshit and the cycle continues.






burnsei sensei

(1,820 posts)
46. In other words, you overcame fatalism.
Sun Nov 25, 2012, 04:06 PM
Nov 2012

Many of the children in this particular documentary make very fatalistic statements. Their thinking flies in the face of American individualism and optimism, their spirits have been ground down by their poverty.
Now, what you or anyone else can do about that, I don't know.
But I do know that if the society was one in which not just thought, but conscience was cultivated, perhaps the spirits of these children would not have been ground down.
I believe that the inequalities in both income and more important, wealth, must be addressed by those who have both power and authority here.
And I also believe that the society must be re-structured such that education and work have remunerative and concrete rewards.
I believe in a living wage, and I desire it.
I also think that it won't kill this society or destroy American individualism to disempower the wealthy who have stolen and squandered so much.

jwirr

(39,215 posts)
45. I am wondering if you had any role models who were outside the family role model? Many of the
Sun Nov 25, 2012, 03:26 PM
Nov 2012

children I met on the reservation had never been off the reservation. Their parents and their neighbors were almost always unemployed and felt helpless themselves. Then if there is alcoholism etc. it is even worse.

Luminous Animal

(27,310 posts)
7. I was one of those kids.
Fri Nov 23, 2012, 11:17 PM
Nov 2012

My brother and sister and I got into a fistfight once during dinner over who had more tuna on their creamed tuna on toast. We were starving. (I raised my daughter to NEVER say she was "starving" when in fact, she was merely hungry - words have meaning). My mom's breakfast (when we had breakfast) was to take a heaping tablespoon out of each of our oatmeal bowls. That would be her meal for the day until dinner and sometimes for the entire day. Three tablespoons of oatmeal.

Two of three of us nearly died in youth because of poverty. One of us lost most of his hearing.

We are a cruel country. Clinton's welfare reform should be a national shame.

undeterred

(34,658 posts)
9. That's horrible.
Fri Nov 23, 2012, 11:26 PM
Nov 2012

I wish all the people who bitch about Obama expanding the food stamp program would just have to listen to one kid talk about what it feels like to be hungry, even after the food stamps and the food pantry ration are exhausted. What it feels like to be sick and tired of eating pizza or spaghetti and long for something fresh and nourishing after eating just enough to make the hunger pangs go away.

1 in 5 kids in poverty in America.

Luminous Animal

(27,310 posts)
10. I became a resourceful scavenger eating as much peas and carrots off my
Fri Nov 23, 2012, 11:51 PM
Nov 2012

classmates plates that they were going to throw away. And yes, I was regularly mocked.

"1 in 5 kids in poverty in America." Yep. We are a cruel country (the wealthiest country on the planet earth ever!) that allows the least amongst us to go to bed hungry.

cstanleytech

(26,537 posts)
28. Same here though it was long before Clinton was even in office.
Sat Nov 24, 2012, 01:47 AM
Nov 2012

While I am not starving today its still a struggle on a knifes edge to pay even the most basic of bills and the Republicans want to pretend we are a great nation because the 1% are doing fine *Shakes head*

rbnyc

(17,045 posts)
31. I can relate...
Sat Nov 24, 2012, 02:00 AM
Nov 2012

...I was an only child. I used to shoplift candy bars because there was no food in the house and I hadn't eaten in days. My son also knows to never say he is starving. I am also obsessive about having plenty of food in the house all the time. I get very upset when we start to run low...and it's hard. Sometimes it's really hard.

ProfessionalLeftist

(4,982 posts)
13. Watched it earlier. U.S. is among the top 3. . .
Sat Nov 24, 2012, 12:18 AM
Nov 2012

. . . developed nations in childhood poverty. And we don't have one good excuse for this in the richest nation on earth.

 

Superbot

(59 posts)
16. I can remember this as a kid
Sat Nov 24, 2012, 12:29 AM
Nov 2012

I still remember mowing lawns, no food at home. A few years ago, our state started serving food at schools during the summer.

liberal_at_heart

(12,081 posts)
17. I didn't know it when I was a kid
Sat Nov 24, 2012, 12:29 AM
Nov 2012

but I was lucky my father owned the mobile home we lived in. Had he not owned it we would have been homeless a few times. There were lots of times the electricity got cut off. The only source of heat was a single natural gas heater in the living room. In the winter we slept in the living room. I made snacks out of the weirdest stuff. Lots of bread and tortillas. If we were lucky enough to have eggs we would make french toast. We would put sugar in water and melt it and use it as syrup. Sometimes we would heat up a tortilla and put butter on it and roll it up and eat it. Never had a permanent pet. Just fed strays. It's really tough on a kid to live that way. You have no sense of security. It is scary.

 

coalition_unwilling

(14,180 posts)
19. I watched it on Tuesday here in Los Angeles. The statistic that
Sat Nov 24, 2012, 12:32 AM
Nov 2012

1 in 5 American children lives in poverty needs to be placed in juxtaposition to the fact that the six WalMart heirs control as much wealth as the bottom 30 million Americans combined.

This country is an abomination in the eyes of Providence. No other way to say it.

ReRe

(10,597 posts)
20. I watched it a few nights ago on PBS online...
Sat Nov 24, 2012, 12:48 AM
Nov 2012

... my heart just broke. I usually participate each year when the Post Office does a food drive before Christmas. Going to go all out this year for it. And try to donate to the food bank on a more regular basis in the coming year, watch for bargains at the farmers market, like a bushel of tomatoes or corn in the summer. The food banks love to get fresh veggies and fruits. I usually bake mini nut breads for family and friends at Christmas. Maybe I'll just give family and friends a card and give all the mini nut breads to the food bank this year (if the food bank allows it.) Ha! Last Christmas I had to go to the hospital the day after Christmas and didn't have a tank of O2 to last me until I got there. I had never needed to call an ambulance before. Those guys got to my house in less than 3 minutes and treated me with 'kid gloves. By New Year's Eve, I was back home and feeling chipper and baked those firemen up 12 mini loaves and delivered it to them. They were THRILLED. Sorry to preach, but it is good to say thank you and remember the less fortunate who are hungry, and NOT expect anything in return. "There, but for the grace of God, go WE."

PennsylvaniaMatt

(966 posts)
21. I felt the depth of the problem first hand this week.
Sat Nov 24, 2012, 01:07 AM
Nov 2012

I had something happen the other day that really changed my perspective on economics and life. I am a senior in high school, and was in my AP English class when a girl who I have known for many years came in and chimed in on the discussion about applying to colleges. I knew for a while that she didn't have much money and she had an unstable home life with her dad and now lives with her grandmother, so I assumed that her economic conditions had improved a little. I was wrong. She proceeded to tell our small group that she wanted to apply to one of the local colleges, but did not have the $45 for the application fee, and her grandma and Dad didn't have that spare money either. Apparently, her dad has made some bad choices in life (and possibly still does) with drug use, which has caused her to be trapped in this situation. She has ADD, but is very intelligent, and has a drive like no other to improve her conditions.

All of us in the group decided that we were going to chip in and give her some money for her application fee. So the next day, I went over to her and gave her $15 that I had in my wallet. Her face lit up and she could not have been more grateful, she even asked if she could give me a hug. She then proceeded to tell me that she desperately wants to get into college so she can move far away from the life she has been trapped in.

Because my dad owns a business, our family is well off. Not rich, but upper middle class, and fortunately, we have never had to live paycheck to paycheck. $15 dollars was really nothing to me until I realized how much it means to someone else, and how the situation of poverty strikes so close to home.

renate

(13,776 posts)
34. welcome to DU!
Sat Nov 24, 2012, 03:07 AM
Nov 2012

I am so amazed by the thought of how that $15 towards the cost of applying for the college education that will change everything for her will resonate through the rest of her life. You did a kind and wonderful thing.

PennsylvaniaMatt

(966 posts)
41. Thank you.
Sun Nov 25, 2012, 11:43 AM
Nov 2012

It was an eye opener to me about how the effects of poverty strike so close to home. For as much as that $15 might have helped in changing her life, it was also an experience that changed my life.

ceile

(8,692 posts)
38. You and your friends are truly kind.
Sat Nov 24, 2012, 10:48 AM
Nov 2012

Please don't ever lose the drive to help others. We need more like you coming up in the world.

PennsylvaniaMatt

(966 posts)
42. Thank you!
Sun Nov 25, 2012, 11:44 AM
Nov 2012

All of us felt that since we are fortunate enough, we felt like we couldn't go and not help her.

kracer20

(199 posts)
22. Disheartening Picture...
Sat Nov 24, 2012, 01:11 AM
Nov 2012

I saw this picture in one of those meme sites, and I just can't stop thinking about it.

[img][/img]

burnsei sensei

(1,820 posts)
23. God, teach this massively self-deceived country
Sat Nov 24, 2012, 01:11 AM
Nov 2012

to despise and fight that which is EVIL.
To condemn families and children to poverty is evil.
The 1996 welfare "reform" law was a way in which the middle-class and rich made the impoverished suffer, and then congratulated themselves for their "frugality."
Frugality is not opposed to charity.
Evil and avarice are.
Know the difference.

undeterred

(34,658 posts)
32. I wish this were on mainstream television.
Sat Nov 24, 2012, 02:06 AM
Nov 2012

It was so heartwrenching, and so well done, and so worth watching. This is the real American story. This is the real reason to vote for Obama and not for Romney, and yet there is so much more that our party needs to do for the poor. So many people are still falling through the cracks. Children getting off to such a bad start in life.

But if they put it on mainstream television I guess nobody would buy the advertising time.

Delphinus

(11,920 posts)
37. I want every person in this
Sat Nov 24, 2012, 10:38 AM
Nov 2012

country to have to sit and watch this. They need to realize how too many of us live. And the fact that poverty (as well as climate change) was not addressed in the presidential race this year shows how unimportant it is to too many.

dog_lovin_dem

(309 posts)
29. My husband and I
Sat Nov 24, 2012, 01:47 AM
Nov 2012

watched it a few nights ago. It was absolutely gut wrenching. I was sobbing, and my usually tough guy hubby was tearing up. I wish every person in this country would watch this program. It disgusts me that any child goes to bed hungry while the holier than thou citizenry judges their poverty.

mountain grammy

(26,875 posts)
30. I'll watch it this week also..
Sat Nov 24, 2012, 01:53 AM
Nov 2012

President Johnson declared a War On Poverty. The only declared war that really makes sense.

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