Invisible Child Response
The “Invisible Child” is a New York Times article that follows the daily life of a homeless girl name Dasani and her struggle living in the shelter while trying to achieve her goals. The article discusses how the New York City shelter system is corrupted and broken and it brought a huge impact to the life of children like Dasani.
Dasani, who was eleven years old, is rather mature for her age. She does not try to compare herself with other children; she learned how to read the situation and can often socialize with children that are very different from her. She is very independent and often helps her mother take care of her siblings. Dasani lives in a compact room with her parents and six other siblings in the homeless shelter. The homeless shelter’s living condition is inhumane. There were infestation, residents of the homeless shelter are not safe due to the constant sexual assault, and residents were not treated as a human. Even after the residence filed a complaint, their complaints were completely ignored.
As I was reading this part of the article, it puzzled me. How are the people who are in charge getting away with these hideous crimes? How are the police not taking any action to take care of the situation? Then I realized how this system in New York City exhibits qualities of a dystopian society. One hand, the mayor promises safe housing and proper living for the homeless, and yet, on the other hand, these facilities are terribly run. Nobody was aware of the living conditions in these shelters and how the resident’s voices are not being heard. Also—something that angered me—the police enforcement, which is supposed to provide a sense of security for the citizen, is powerless in situations like this.
Despite poor living conditions, Dasani is also under the influence of her parents, which inhibits her to strive. Because of her parents’ drug addiction, Dasani often find herself in a position where she has to the adult in the family. Dasani is aware that her mother is struggling and tries to help her mother in everyway possible. The security in the building is so terribly manage that her mother cannot trust anyone to take care of her baby, which often became Dasani’s responsibility to do so. This is particularly dystopian due to the fact that while shelter was promised, security is not. This ultimately inhibits a child’s development. This type of family should receive some sort of aid, maybe a possible day care or social workers to help the family cope with the problems that they are facing. Unfortunately, Dasani is one of the victims of the loophole in this system.
Another dystopian qualities that were showcase in this article is that whenever there is a problem, we tend to immediately think of medication. When a child shows symptoms of mental disability like ADHD, we immediately think of medicating the child. Same happened in the article, in which Dasani’s parent were treated with methadone which is suppose to suppress the urge to take drugs but ironically addictive.
Although Dasani’s mom, Chanel, tried to get clean, because of stress, she went back and caved to drug taking. This has a negative influence on Dasani because she has to be strong, to protect herself and her siblings. At one point, her mother has encouraged her to fight, which resulted her being suspended from school. School was Dasani only escape and it was taken from her, she fell into early stages of depression for a period of time. I believe that Dasani has so much potential, she was a smart girl, and she could had done more with her life if she had proper support. Although social worker come over and tries to help the family, the se have so many cases in hand that they cannot help much. This is also something that I did not realize about the society we live in. People are not getting the help they needed, and the local government has less to none regulations over situation like this.
This article enlightens me in how unaware I am of the surrounding I live in. I see people struggling, and just assume that they are taken care of by the government. Those who are homeless, that lives in the street just did not get a chance to be enrolled in the shelter, and that people who live in the shelter are provided with proper living. I never thought, there are more issues even within the shelter.