Extreme Poverty and Human Rights: A Research Paper

English 101

Read Arjen Sengupta, “Extreme Poverty, ” then respond to these questions below in 2 paragraphs According to Sengupta’s definition, did black sharecroppers live under ‘extreme poverty?” Do you think this term captures the entire state of their existence?

Extreme Poverty and Human Rights

Arjen Sengupta’s article summarizes key findings of several reliable reports on extreme poverty in the USA, one of the most developed countries globally. She explains that poverty severely degrades human dignity and is a human rights violation. Besides, it is a “composite of income poverty, human development poverty, and social exclusion” (Sengupta 1298). She further explains that “social exclusion” typifies marginalization and discrimination based on race and ethnicity. In the USA, every prosperous city has several impoverished and racially segregated suburbs and has been like that since time immemorial (Sengupta 1303). In other words, Sengupta implies that black sharecroppers were not excluded from rampant poverty, and their continued margination has led to the emergence of these poverty-ridden suburbs.

In my opinion, Sengupta’s explanation of what extreme poverty means fails to capture the entire state of their existence. Landowners allowed the black tenants to till the land; in return, they could share some of the yields with the landowner. This means that the black sharecroppers were not subject to income poverty and human development composites of rampant poverty. Thus, Sengupta’s description does not cover their entire state of existence.

In their book, Valk and Brown highlight that although racism against black people was at its helm during the Jim Crow era, African Americans lived happy lives, as Olivia Cherry divulged (1, 2). Though segregated, they utilized what they had to live a good life. Litwack, on the other hand, narrates the story of two groups of sharecroppers: the hopeless and the relatively successful (115). These two articles manifest that not all black sharecroppers were trapped in rampant poverty, as Sengupta (2010) alleges.



Works Cited

Brown, L., and A. Valk. Living with Jim Crow: African American Women and Memories of the Segregated South. Springer, 2010.

Litwack, Leon F. Trouble in Mind: Black Southerners in the Age of Jim Crow. Vintage, 2010.

Sengupta, Arjun K. “Extreme Poverty and Human Rights – A Mission Report on the United States.” SSRN Electronic Journal, vol. 42, no. 14, 2007, pp. 1298-1307.




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Published On: 07-12-2017

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