I had consumed a lot of American culture, but I was not quite prepared for the reality of American poverty.
One of the things that struck me when I came to the U.S. was discovering American poverty.
I think one of the most important American films is "Jackie Brown", which is such a humble depiction of humble characters but so powerful. The film was pure depiction of the American poverty of the 90s.
I lived below the official American poverty line until I was 31.
There is a deep sadness to American poverty, greater than the sadness of any other kind. It's because America has such an ideology of success.
The psychological pain--and the ethical shame--of American poverty are made greater by the fact that this country possesses the wealth and the energy to raise all children to a minimally decent standard of living.
If you want to get at African American poverty, the income gap, wealth gap, achievement gap, that the most important thing is to make sure that the society as a whole does right by people who are poor, are working class, are aspiring to a better life for their kids.