concept

the poor Quotes

30 of the best book quotes about the poor
01
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“Out of the frying pan and into the fire. Chaos begets chaos. Instability begets instability. Welcome to family life for the American hillbilly.”
J. D. Vance
author
Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis
book
society
poverty
chaos
culture
the poor
hillbillies
concepts
02
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“We don’t need to live like the elites of California, New York, or Washington, D.C. We don’t need to work a hundred hours a week at law firms and investment banks. We don’t need to socialize at cocktail parties. We do need to create a space for the J.D.s and Brians of the world to have a chance. I don’t know what the answer is, precisely, but I know it starts when we stop blaming Obama or Bush or faceless companies and ask ourselves what we can do to make things better.”
03
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“I was happy about where I was and overwhelmingly hopeful about the future. For the first time in my life, I felt like an outsider in Middletown. And what turned me into an alien was my optimism.”
04
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“There is nothing lower than the poor stealing from the poor. It’s hard enough as it is. We . . . don’t need to make it even harder on each other.”
Mamaw
character
stealing
the poor
concepts
05
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“Pajamas? Poor people don’t wear pajamas. We fall asleep in our underwear or blue jeans. To this day, I find the very notion of pajamas an unnecessary elite indulgence, like caviar or electric ice cube makers.”
06
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“I want people to know what it feels like to nearly give up on yourself and why you might do it. I want people to understand what happens in the life of the poor and the psychological impact that spiritual and material poverty has on their children. I want people to understand the American Dream as my family encountered it. I want people to understand how upward mobility really feels. And I want people to understand something I learned only recently: that for those of us lucky enough to live the American Dream, the demons of the life we left behind continue to chase us.”
07
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“Our eating and exercise habits seem designed to send us to an early grave, and it’s working: In certain parts of Kentucky, local life expectancy is sixty-seven, a full decade and a half below what it is in nearby Virginia. A recent study found that unique among all ethnic groups in the United States, the life expectancy of working-class white folks is going down.”
08
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“We’re not poor.”
09
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“For kids like me, the part of the brain that deals with stress and conflict is always activated–the switch flipped indefinitely. We are constantly ready to fight or flee, because there is constant exposure to the bear, whether that bear is an alcoholic dad or an unhinged mom. We become hardwired for conflict. And that wiring remains, even when there’s no more conflict to be had.”
10
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“When the Khalils get arrested for selling drugs, they either spend most of their life in prison, another billion-dollar industry, or they have a hard time getting a real job and probably start selling drugs again. That’s the hate they’re giving us, baby, a system designed against us. That’s Thug Life.”
11
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“My voice is changing already. It always happens around ‘other’ people, whether I’m at Williamson or not. I don’t talk like me or sound like me. I choose every word carefully and make sure I pronounce them well. I can never, ever let anyone think I’m ghetto.”
12
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“I ought to have thought of the people who had no armour.”
13
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“There were hardened criminals and innocent men too poor to give bail; old men, and boys literally not yet in their teens. They were the drainage of the great festering ulcer of society […] Into this wild-beast tangle these men had been born without their consent, they had taken part in it because they could not help it; that they were in jail was no disgrace to them, for the game had never been fair, the dice were loaded. They were swindlers and thieves of pennies and dimes, and they had been trapped and put out of the way by the swindlers and thieves of millions of dollars.”
14
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“A very few days of practical experience in this land of high wages had been sufficient to make clear to them the cruel fact that it was also a land of high prices, and that in it the poor man was almost as poor as in any other corner of the earth; and so there vanished in a night all the wonderful dreams of wealth that had been haunting Jurgis. What had made the discovery all the more painful was that they were spending, at American prices, money which they had earned at home rates of wages – and so were really being cheated by the world! The last two days they had all but starved themselves – it made them quite sick to pay the prices that the railroad people asked them for food.”
15
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″‘How could any Lord have made this world?’ she asked. With her mind she had always seized the fact that there is no reason, order, justice: but suffering, death, the poor. There was no treachery too base for the world to commit; she knew that. No happiness lasted; she knew that.”
16
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“When the rich are too rich there are ways, and when the poor are too poor there are ways...and that way will come soon.”
17
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“All throughout Scripture and history, the principal suffering of the poor is not that they can’t pay their rent on time or that they are three dollars short of a package of Pampers . . . The principal suffering of the poor is shame and disgrace.”
18
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“Rich people acquire assets. The poor and middle class acquire liabilities that they think are assets.”
19
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“Here is what we seek: a compassion that can stand in awe at what the poor have to carry rather than stand in judgment at how they carry it.”
20
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“The only time that I hear talk of shrinking resources among people like us, among academics, is when we talk about things that have to do with poor people.”
21
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“Underdogs win all the time. Why, then, are we shocked every time a David beats a Goliath? Why do we automatically assume that someone who is smaller or poorer or less skilled is necessarily at a disadvantage?”
22
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“So many black families spend all of their time trying to fix the problems of the past. That is the curse of being black and poor, and it is a curse that follows you from generation to generation. My mother calls it ‘the black tax.’ Because the generations who came before you have been pillaged, rather than being free to use your skills and education to move forward, you lose everything just trying to bring everyone behind you back up to zero.”
23
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“I had a natural talent for selling to people, but without knowledge and resources, where was that going to get me? People always lecture the poor: ‘Take responsibility for yourself! Make something of yourself!’ But with what raw materials are the poor to make something of themselves?”
24
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“One can never work overtime for the poor.”
25
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“That Prendergast was a troubled young man was clear; that he might be dangerous seemed impossible. To anyone who met him, he appeared to be just another poor soul crushed by the din and filth of Chicago.”
26
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“Feet are what connect you to the ground, and when you are poor, none of that ground belongs to you.”
27
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“Have compassion for all beings, rich and poor alike; each has their suffering. Some suffer too much, others too little.”
28
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“The poor are crazy, the rich just eccentric.”
29
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“The burial took place amongst the other paupers’ graves in the walled cemetery behind our church. It was there the priest and I dug her grave, in water-laden clay. There was no coffin.”
30
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“It’s called making yourself homeless. And so here I am sitting in this doorway which is now my bedroom, hoping some kind of punter will give me a bit of small change so I can eat.”

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