American society has generally tried to confine private charity and governmental assistance to the ‘deserving’, while insisting that the ‘undeserving poor’ improve their character as a condition for receiving relief. Like many people in our individualistic culture, the poor ultimately blame themselves for their lack of success, and can easily lose whatever self-confidence they have been able to muster. What little public assistance exists is often administered in ways that make it difficult to move back into the world of self-sufficiency, especially when self-sufficiency is defined as a series of exhausting jobs that don’t pay a living wage. The causes of ghetto poverty do not lie in the individual behavior of inner city African Americans, but lie primarily in forces outside their control. It is up to them to do what they humanly can; it is up to the rest of society to change existing programs and create new ones to allow everyone to enjoy a decent standard of living.