To define the culture of poverty in one’s own words, a person will have to articulate the concept using terms that make sense to them and help them personally understand it. When it comes to the United States, the culture of poverty can be talked about in relation to the institutions, policies, and discourses that continually fail to address the issue of poverty in this country.
When it comes to policies, one can claim that the United States’ government generally offers little help to the people who most need it. Whether it’s Republicans or Democrats, American lawmakers have a history of cutting funding and access to crucial services like food stamps and housing assistance.
As for discourse, consider how the media diverts attention from the problem of poverty in the United States. One United States politician, the Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, lambasts the media for ignoring the poverty throughout America. As Sanders told a podcast in 2018,
There are senior citizens a mile from here who are trying to survive on $12,000 a year social security. Does anybody give a shit about them? Does anyone cover them? The answer is no.
The absence of media coverage of poor people links to institutions. Many institutions—whether they’re tech companies, retail brands, or media conglomerates—align themselves with social justice movements by promoting certain causes in their marketing campaigns and hiring practices. Yet one might wonder how a Nike commercial featuring Colin Kaepernick directly helps poor people of color; they might question if Sheryl Sandberg’s ascension to Facebook executive tangibly aids poor women of any skin color.
As for a program that could be created for one’s community that might help end the poverty cycle, this will depend on one’s community and what programs are missing or already there. In general, any robust program that directly assists with housing, education, healthcare, procuring food, or finding stable employment will probably begin to make a dent in the cycle of poverty and the culture that keeps it going.