Children Victims of Unresolved War on Poverty

If Dr. Martin Luther King were alive today, one can only wonder how he would assess the war on poverty. According to one radio talk-show host, the war on moral poverty is alive and well, and the scourge of minority America. The victims are children, abused and neglected.

Witness the viral video of a toddler dressed in a diaper mimicking gang-related actions, foul language and racially charged slurs, while being egged on by the adults present in the video. The police re-posted the video entitling it the “thug cycle.” This endangered the child who was taken into protective custody.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed an excessive force suit and accused the police of antagonizing the minority communities. As for the child, it was not his first encounter with the Department of Health and Human Services. The agency had begun monitoring the house following a report of neglect. Later, a drive-by shooting occurred, in which a bullet killed the child’s father and grazed the boy. The family was placed in the home of a relative, an environment that also turned out to be unsafe, after police discovered illegal guns in the house.

As a result of this recent video, the family will again be taken into protective custody. The mother of the boy, who is 16 years old, has dismissed the critical backlash saying, “all kids cuss,” and she believes she is a good mother. The talk show host disagrees, likening the situation to the unresolved war on poverty fifty years after the dream of Martin Luther King.

The case smacks of the issues concerning what type of living condition are in the best interests of a child. In single-parent homes existing on the poverty level and getting by on government assistance, it negatively affects those not taking advantage of the system.

Studies show children raised in single-parent homes are four times more likely to live in poverty than those raised by married parents of equivalent education. The children are three times more likely to end up in jail and 50 percent more likely to be poor as adults.

Dr. King encouraged positive values and told us welfare without work was self-destruction. His “I have a dream speech” spoke of hope and equality surrounded by hard work and peace.

In this case, the young mother passes on a cycle doomed to repeat itself, while a system designed to help the poor vilifies it.

As we observe Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, it’s fitting that we re-examine the war on poverty. The legal issues that propagate victimization of children are part of that.

Source:, “War on moral poverty in honor of MLK” Jesse Lee Peterson, Jan. 20, 2014

Related Posts
  • What Happens to Pets in a Divorce? Read More
  • Coparenting Around the Holidays Read More
  • What Makes a Strong Parenting Plan? Read More