Daily Archives: October 7, 2007

It is all in the words

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Have you ever noticed that when people talk about children in the street in the United States and other Western Countries they refer to homeless children or runaway youth, but when they talk about the same population of children in other places they refer to street children?

To tell you the truth– I hadn’t noticed it until it was pointed out to me.  Then, after seeing it, I can’t help but wonder what effect the different connotations have on public policy and people’s perception.  Not to mention, I wonder why they come about.

My first instinct is to think that homeless and runaway youth are used in the states as street children connotes too much poverty.  Somehow the street children of the states are either 1) with a whole family unit that has no permanent place or 2) they choose to leave and head to the streets.  On the other hand, street children are referred to in primarily poor countries.  Here they are not seen as having any family (either one living on the streets or one that they left).

What do you think?