Thursday, January 28, 2016

U.S.A., Land of Limitations? - Nicholas Kristof

U.S.A., Land of Limitations?
Nicholas Kristof

January 28, 2016

Nicholas Kristof argues that in 2015 people have become "the socially rigid society our forebears fled, replicating the barriers and class gaps that drove them away."

Nicholas Kristof talks about the fact that people who live in a low income family will grow up in the same low income.  There are only a few cases in which people who come from a low income family will strive to be in a higher income.  People are only in an upper class because of the wealth that their family is currently in.  I believe that people are only "as good" as they strive to be.  If you were raised in a home of drugs and alcohol with no reinforcement, you might as well grow up to be like that.  There are only a few of people who go in the completely different direction and want to have a life of success and achievement.

Nicholas Kristof talks about an old friend, Rick Goff, who practically raised himself.  He was the very few people who grew up poorly, without finishing high school and used his work success to help other people.  People who are rich, are rich, they don't want to help other people in need they want to help themselves with making their societal rating go up.  The people who have less amounts of money find happiness in themselves and their family, they want to help the people in need.

Children in need are the ones in a home of no help, a child in poverty.  As Kristof states, "Now, that's what the presidential candidates should be discussing."  Children who are living in poverty are not experiencing the opportunities that they should be.  Our society is growing up in the ways that "our ancestors" lived in.  Today's people are highly determined by the way that our beginnings starts; without them, we'd be nowhere. 

Questions/Comments/Point To Share:
Even though this article was published last year, the concept is still there.  The fact that the stats are so high on low income families and poverty are crazy.  Why is it that our future is based on our past?  Why is it that children still do not have the opportunities that they should have?  Why are people so ego-driven that they can't focus on the real matter: the children in need.


  1. I also agree "that people are only 'as good' as they strive to be". Great summary of the article. We should be focusing on the children in need and not basing our future on our past. The children are the future so we need to help them.

  2. I had a very similar view on this article! I agree, why is it that our future is based on our past? The past should not define our future. We should always strive to be the best we can be. America needs to acknowledge that. If we encourage people no matter how much money they have, to do their best America would be a much happier place. I am sure that many people who were not brought up with a lot of money have so many great things to offer that unfortunately go unrecognized. The problem today is that this lack of opportunity thing kills peoples confidence. They feel like they stand no chance at succeeding. Thanks for the insight :)

  3. I agree with what you said about how even though this was published last year, it applies to this year and still holds to be true to today. And also when you mentioned your question about why should out past be a prediction of our future and I feel as if that question is asked a lot and brought up a lot in todays world. It is important that children and even people our age and older realize that they can make their own path and go their own way, they don't have to be like everyone else, they can be different and show the world what they are capable of. I also admire how you mentioned that the people with less money find happiness is such small and more important things like families and helping the people more in need because it really is true and makes a point that money isn't everything yet thats not how the rest of the world sees it.

  4. I think his article is very true that some people get stuck in the situation they were in as a child. Looking into the article that Kristof wrote about Rick, he grew up with his grandmother and didn't have a great support system because of his situation. When he grew older he raised his children as a single father after going through two divorces. He strived to be a better father than his and succeeded; however he was still in the same sort of environment that he grew up in.

  5. I agree with everything you have said! I think its a horrible thing to think that our future depends on our parents, and what can we do to make that untrue? I also enjoyed how you mentioned Rick as an example in your argument, because I feel like that was a very large piece of information in the article. He was really just set in that situation because of the way that he grew up, and it seemed as though he was aware of it! No matter what he did, he couldn't make it out of that rut that he had been in all of his life.

  6. I agree with your questions and points to share at the end. Like Rick Goff others may be in a situation similar to his and are not being offered the best opportunities but that shouldn't hold them back. Building a better foundation is what America should strive for in children and I think that's what you were getting at.

  7. I completely agree with what you said. It is crazy to think that over a year the stats are still the same if not higher for low income families and poverty. People believe this is based off our past and how we carry it over to our future, which I believe is not true. Children need to have every opportunity to become successful and we shouldn't be holding them back from that.