By Jill Duerr Berrick
Such a lot american citizens are insulated from the negative; it really is challenging to visualize the demanding situations of poverty, the day-by-day fears of crime and victimization, the disappointment of no longer having the ability to offer for a kid. in its place, we're frequently uncovered to the rhetoric and hyperbole concerning the excesses of the yank welfare procedure. those messages colour our notion of the welfare challenge within the usa and so they shut the yankee brain to a whole knowing of the complexity of kinfolk poverty. yet who're those terrible households? What will we find out about how they arrived in such determined straits? Is poverty their destiny for an entire life or for just a short interval? In Faces of Poverty, Jill Duerr Berrick solutions those questions as she dispels the misconceptions and myths approximately welfare and the welfare inhabitants that experience clouded the real photograph of poverty in America.
Over the process a yr, Berrick spent quite a few hours as a participant-observer with 5 girls and their households, documenting their day-by-day actions, innovations, and fears as they controlled the traces of poverty. We meet Ana, Sandy, Rebecca, Darlene, and Cora, all of whom, at some point soon, have became to welfare for aid. every one represents a much wider section of the welfare population--ranging from Ana (who misplaced a enterprise, injured her again, and quickly misplaced her task, all in a quick time period) to Cora (who was once raised in poverty, spent ten years in an abusive courting, and now struggles to elevate six teenagers in a drug-infested neighborhood). And as Berrick records those women's stories, she additionally debunks the various myths approximately welfare: she unearths that welfare isn't really beneficiant (welfare households stay under the poverty line in spite of executive assistance); that most of ladies on welfare will not be long term welfare dependents; that welfare doesn't run in households; that "welfare moms" don't continue having kids to extend their funds (women on welfare have, on ordinary, children); and that just about half all girls on welfare became to it after a divorce.
At a time whilst welfare has turn into a hotly debated political factor, Faces of Poverty supplies us the evidence. the talk surrounding welfare will proceed as all the 50 states struggles to reform their welfare courses, and this debate will activate the public's conception of the welfare inhabitants. Berrick deals perception into all the reforms into account and starkly demonstrates their implications for negative girls and kids. She presents a window into those women's lives, brilliantly portraying their hopes and fears and their fight to reside with dignity.
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Extra info for Faces of Poverty: Portraits of Women and Children on Welfare
It is an integrated neighborhood, a mix of Latinos and Anglos. The cars parked on the streets are mostly American made: Ford Escorts, Chevy vans, and GM trucks. Though few of them look new, most are clean and polished. During the week the streets are nearly deserted, a testament to the fact that the men and women in this neighborhood work hard to make ends meet. Ana has lived in this neighborhood, in the same house, since she was a little girl. Her parents moved to this country from Mexico with their parents when they were children, and this extended family has formed a closely-knit community ever since.
I'm not going to spend a fortune. I'll go to a store and I'll look at something, how much does she want for this, and they tell me, $20. Twenty dollars for that basket, OK, so I'll look for one at a garage sale and I'll buy it and I'll spray-paint it. It matches the furniture and I spend a total of $6. And you know how people give you soap sets for your bathroom and you never use them? Well, you take those soaps and old soap and I boil them—it's a big mess—and it turns into that soap that you use—that liquid soap.
After her divorce, she dated several men, but none of the relationships was serious until Miguel came along. Once involved with him, she put aside all of her common sense. Her relationship with Miguel ruined her personal life; and it also caused her to lose everything she had worked so hard to earn. I had a lot of money and I invested it. I invested stupidly in a restaurant—a bar. I let my heart lead my head. I listened to [Miguel] and I could kick myself twenty times over. He wanted to open a business and I said, "No"; I wanted to buy a home, and he became kind of annoyed.