Baltimore’s Kids: Still Poster Children for Poverty in America?

To mark the 50th anniversary of LBJ’s “War on Poverty,” the Center for American Progress (CAP) released a new poll that examines beliefs and opinions regarding the War on Poverty and proposals for fighting poverty in the future.

The most compelling finding is that in the aftermath of the Great Recession, and the public attention to inequality that has followed, public attitudes about the causes of poverty and government’s role seem to be shifting away from victim blaming attitudes of the 1990′s and early 2000′s.

Also interesting, in light of the recent attention given to the increase in suburban poverty, is CAP’s selection of a photo of an African American boy playing basketball with a makeshift hoop attached to an abandoned rowhouse in Baltimore as the “poster child” for poverty in America:

On the one hand, the photo reminds us that continued racialized and concentrated poverty in cities like Baltimore is indeed the heart of the matter.  On the other hand, the image reinforces our perceptions that it is inevitable that poor children must also grow up in high poverty neighborhoods — a double jeopardy that in fact is rarely experienced by poor white children.

Through our housing mobility work, BRHC is challenging the assumption that poor black children should have to grow up in poor neighborhoods.

*Image, copied from Center for American Progress, was originally taken from AP/Patrick Semansky

 

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