In today’s society there are many people living in poverty. All across America there are different projects and reservations where the less fortunate reside. Statistics show that mostly minorities live in these different locations. Native Americans and African Americans are two of the more popular races living in these places. The group suffering the most in these situations is the youth.
Although both Native American and African American children living on a reservation or in the projects experience a terrible community, have little to no faith, and a broken family structure, African American youth living in the projects have it worse than Native American children living on a reservation. First, one of the most common living situations for less fortunate African Americans is in the projects. A project is a public living environment that is government owned. Although these buildings are government owned they are far from nice looking. Most of the buildings have no windows, are run down, dirty, and old.
The government’s main goal is to maintain affordable housing not to make them the best looking homes in town. The projects aren’t a good environment for a child to be raised. Throughout these neighborhoods different gangs can be found. These gangs are built to defend the different areas in the projects. The gangs bring major violence to the area and are one of the main causes of death. At a young age children join these gangs and are raised to be violent. Many of them decorate the buildings they are living in with graffiti expressing their gang colors, symbols, or motto.
In contrast, while Native American youth also live in poor housing, the environment is safer than the projects. A reservation is an area set aside for a specific type of land use or activity, or for use by a particular group of people, mostly Native Americans. Similar to the projects, houses on a reservation are old, beat down, and dirty. The houses on a reservation are government owned as well. Although these two locations are very similar they also differ. The reservation is a safer place then the projects. On the reservation there is a couple cases of mild violence but they aren’t as severe as the violence in the projects.
Therefore, the reservations environment is a better environment than the projects. Secondly, many of the young people have no faith growing up in the projects. A lot of them believe their only way out of the projects is to become a basketball or football player or to become a top selling rap artist. At as young as sixteen years of age most African American males end up in jail, deceased, or selling drugs. A lot of them are also lead to believe that if they don’t do what every other man on the streets is doing, then they won’t make it anywhere in life.
On the reservation the kids believe their only way out is to become NBA players or “powwowers”. Powwower’s are traditional Native American cheerleaders or dancers. Much like the African Americans growing up in the projects, the life expectancy rate for those living on a reservation is in the mid forties. Considering that both of these locations are in the United States mid forties is very young of age. Many of these people don’t live very long because they don’t have enough money to take care of themselves as well as their families. They also aren’t able to live a healthy lifestyle which shortens their days.
Death is common in the two locations which leaves these two young groups wondering what’s beyond the age forty. Lastly, family structure is very important in a household. In the projects many of the homes lack a very strong family structure. Children growing up in the projects nine times out of ten don’t have both parents in the home. Most of them are drug dealers, alcoholics, prostitutes, or doing any and everything to try and provide for the child. Although these parents are trying to provide for their children a lot of the time they are also on welfare.
Moreover, these children’s parents aren’t ever around, they sometimes go days without having anything to eat. Many of the young men follow after the footsteps of their father, older brother, or uncles which is why this cycle has continued for so long. Native Americans typically stick together as a unit. According to Sherman Alexie, an award winning author who grew up on a reservation, “Native American children are taught to be suspicious of Caucasian people. ” Native Americans teach this to their children because there are many people in America that are against minorities and believe that just because they are the majority they’re better.
A lot of the parents on a reservation go from job to job not being able to keep one job for a long period of time. Many of these parents are also alcoholics. On the other hand, some of these families on these reservations are very family oriented unlike the African American families in the projects. These Native American families have up to seventeen family members living in one house. They keep their families very close and are very supportive of one another rather then being against each other like African Americans.
The parents watch over their children to make sure they don’t go down the wrong path in life. Although these families are experiencing hard times they cheer each other up and manage to smile every once in a while. Therefore, the Native Americans family structure is stronger then African Americans. In conclusion, Native American youth living on a reservation have it better then African American youth living in the projects. Both of these minorities are going through some hardships. From alcoholic parents to not having anything to eat they both are suffering as young children.
Native American families provide a safer living environment, work harder, and look after one another, where as African Americans are against one another, on the streets all day, and are strongly associated with violence. As the years go on these families are hoping that the government will separate people in the projects and those living on reservations and provide them both with a better living situation. If these environments are separated the United States will be one step closer to eliminating violence in America.
Courtney from Study Moose
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