Featured letter Poverty is not a result of bad choices

Print Article

We all make bad choices. Sometimes we get lucky and don't feel the impact of these choices. Other times we suffer the consequences.

Having resources, though, cushions the harm that results from these mistakes. Being white or wealthy helps too.

Poverty is complex, but it is not simply a result of "bad decisions made by moms and dads," as a recent BDN editorial claimed. This narrative of personal responsibility disregards the impact of social structures on the "choices" of parents, especially for poor minorities.

Although initiatives such as the SDB's early literacy program show promise, we must remember that minority children are born into a world where they are more likely to be poor, sick, and discriminated against. Unequal starting conditions are reinforced in schools, hospitals, neighborhoods, and jails.

A Stanford study showed that one in four blacks and one in five Hispanics is poor, compared to one in ten whites. "Fathers may be largely absent" because black men are incarcerated at a rate five times greater than white men, despite committing comparable rates of crime.

"Dysfunctional homes" are a result of this broken system too. It is much easier to be responsible when you have access to inherited resources to offset mistakes we all make. It is much easier to win the race when you get a head start.

Without wealth or strong support systems, one accident, hospitalization, or night of unprotected sex can cause a lifetime of struggle for families.

Self-destructive choices may compound poverty, but they're not the cause of it.

Residents in Beloit have a collective responsibility to recognize that we don't start off on equal footing, nor is poverty a result of mere individual choices.

Let's work together to create a Beloit where all residents can achieve the American dream - regardless of race or class.

Megan Slavish

BMHS Class of 2010

Danica Slavish

BMHS Class of 2008

Print Article

Read More Letters to the Editor

'Trump won't enforce sanctions'

February 16, 2018 at 4:00 pm | I hear now President Trump wants to have a military parade like they have in France and Russia. He wants to have the United States in line like Russian is before it gets handed over to Putin, I gues...


Read More

'Unanimous choice is Beth Jacobsen'

February 14, 2018 at 4:00 pm | Beth Jacobsen should be a unanimous choice for City Council on April 3, 2018. I worked with Beth when she was the assistant city manager in Beloit. She was incredibly knowledgeable about city issues...


Read More

'Pick Tim Burns for Supreme Court'

February 14, 2018 at 4:00 pm | Tim Burns is running for the Wisconsin Supreme Court in the February 20 primary. Tim has worked through the American Bar Association for fair and impartial courts. He believes that fair courts ensur...


Read More

'Elect Jacobsen to city council'

February 14, 2018 at 4:00 pm | I want to endorse Beth Jacobsen for city council. I have known Beth for a number of years. She is hard working and dedicated to whatever task she is involved with. Having grown up in Beloit gives he...


Read More

Contact Us

(608) 365-8811
149 State Street
Beloit, WI 53511

©2018 Beloit Daily News Terms of Use Privacy Policy