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Arthur Hart
Professor Rebecca Agosta
UWRT 1102-016
30 October 2014
Why is it so hard for people to break free from an identity?
During the inquiry process I noticed that people tend to stick with their
natural born identity even if its an identity that they do not like. I came
across a blog post by a woman who is struggling through poverty, which led
me to basing my inquiry on poverty-based identity. Poverty is part of an
identity for millions of people worldwide so I thought it would be interesting
to see what I could stir up with my curiosity. Jenn describes the deeper
meaning of what its like to be living in poverty with a family of four.
Unable to live comfortably with her family she talks about the anger and
injustice she feels on a daily basis. Jenn confronts her identity of being a
poor person but not only that, she also discusses the impossibility for her
to break free of that identity. Her husband works three jobs and sometimes
doesnt come home for 30 hours a stretch. No one who works that much
should be poor. Jenn talks about her acceptance how she doesnt fight the
label of poverty anymore, she figures shell always be poor so this is just
life. Identity is who you are, it defines you. The relationship between

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poverty and identity is like that of an alcoholic you will always be poor or
used to be poor.

"Jenn's Words: "Living in Poverty Is like Being Punched in the Face over
and over and over on a Daily Basis. "" Poor as Folk. 19 Feb. 2014. Web. 30

Is the identity you are born with really all that important?

Specifically, rich high school dropouts remain in the top about as much as
poor college grads stay stuck in the bottom 14 versus 16 percent,
respectively. Not only that, but these low-income strivers are just as likely to
end up in the bottom as these wealthy ne'er-do-wells. Some meritocracy.
(OBrian, 2014) Why work hard when you are going to end up on the
bottom broke and worthless just like before? People will only strive for
success if they actually believe they can be successful. OBrian talks about
opportunity hoarding which is when a child of wealth just inherits the family
money or business. This being said, it means that wealthy kids can be less
qualified and twice as inexperienced and still be better off than a kid who
grew up poor. For example if you are one of the lucky ones and do become
successful, you carry around that badge of breaking free of poverty and

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making it. This carries though the rest of your life and influences the choices
you make.

O'Brian, Matt. "Poor Kids Who Do Everything Right Dont Do Better than Rich
Kids Who Do Everything Wrong." Washington Post. The Washington Post,
18 Oct. 2014. Web. 30 Oct. 2014.

Is athletics a false horizon for kids in poverty?


Karvel Anderson a 22 year old point guard from a hard town in Indiana that
had struggled massively due to the recession. His mother was in jail and his
father was gone, he jumped from house to house just for a place to sleep.
Now hes pro bound and a 4.0 student looking to graduate with honors.
How did Karvel get to this point in his life from such a low moment? Gritty
stubbornness he said, if you try hard enough you will get it. Everyone knows
the story of Micheal Ohr from the movie The Blind Side. We see him as a
kid who grew up with nothing and used athletics as a gateway to success.
Not only is this a pipe dream its a task that is virtually impossible for any
child. Statistically, only 3% of any division one player will become a
professional athlete and only 1% of high school kids go on to play division
one sports. The statistics are even lower for those who play division two or

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three sports. Education is the gateway to success, however education is not


doing what its supposed to be doing here in America.

DOKOUPIL, TONY. "What Does It Take to Escape Poverty? Ask Karvel


Anderson, American Success Story in the Making - NBC News." NBC
News. NBC, 2 Apr. 2014. Web. 26 Oct. 2014.

Who is responsible for the


Another possibility is that many Americans hold the opinion because it jibes
with notion that the United States is still a land of opportunity. Americans,
after all, aren't as quick to blame their government for the gap as people are
elsewhere. Only 24 percent of the country believes economic policies are the
most important reason for inequality, which is well below the median among
all advanced economies Pew polled (32 percent), the median globally (29
percent), and Greece and Spain, where of roughly half of the population says
inequality is the government's fault. (Frerdman, 2014) If the people fail to
recognize the faults in the government then they are just going to blame poor
people for being poor. The stigma of being lazy and poor just causes a pit
that the poor cannot climb out of.

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N ov. 2014.
<http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/10/09/one-infour-americans-think-poor-people-dont-work-hard-enough/>

Why do most people who are poor make choices that will not help them
succeed?

I make a lot of poor financial decisions. None of them matter, in the long
term. I will never not be poor, so what does it matter if I dont pay a thing
and a half this week instead of just one thing? (Golis, 2013) It sounds like
backwards thinking but it makes sense. If you have never had money and
you dont see yourself ever making a decent amount of money you
automatically think that you have nothing to lose. The better your life is the
better choices you tend to make so you can keep that way of living. When
things seem to have no hope you just stay there.

Thompson, Derek. "Your Brain on Poverty: Why Poor People Seem to


Make Bad Decisions." The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 22 Nov.
2013. Web. 3 Nov. 2014.