Both the video and the story seem to be about poverty, but they are really about shame. In the video Barbie explains how she was taught never to talk about her life and that even as an adult she would try to conceal her situation. All the people at Salvation Army, who would be able to relate to what was going on in each other’s lives, did not talk to each other, but even more extreme did not even make eye contact. They felt shame. They felt, as Barbie sad, that they did something wrong. When the women wanted to question her for the survey she said no because she didn’t want to tell all of her secrets, she was ashamed. The story by Toni Cade Bambara also has the theme of shame. When the children were told they could go into the store Toni stood back a second. He felt shame. He didn’t understand why at the time, but something in him was ashamed. I think in both of these instances, in Barbie’s experiences and Toni’s, shame was holding the two people back. In Barbie’s case shame stopped her from letting go of some of her troubles and being able to talk to somebody else and share her story. In Toni’s case his shame held him back, if only for a second, from going into the store. I think their shame made them feel that they were not worthy, not worthy to have someone to listen, or to be in a store that sold such nice toys. I believe that if we want to start to fight poverty we must begin by fighting shame, and letting people know that they are worthy of help, worthy of a listening ear, worthy of nice things, worthy of happiness, worthy of love, and worthy of a right to life.
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