Having spent most of my childhood living with my mom and my three siblings on her meager $8,000 / year income, I'd say I have to agree. Poor is a state of mind.
But, I'll argue that it's not a state of mind that the poor take on themselves. "Poor" is a distinction that others will give to you, not the other way around. Being poor is about being relegated by the other members of society. It's about being isolated, segregated, and honestly, constantly dealing with all sorts of mean-spirited people who believe they could have made better decisions...obviously.
Please try to imagine living a world where you're the lowest status person around, where the kids and adults look upon you in disgust. Imagine no support network, few friends, and a life void of most conveniences. Is it better than the poor of other countries? Maybe. I don't know. But, at least, I would hope that they have some sort of community. Being poor in America is about being alone and laughed at, while suffering.
Are you saying that a poor kid does not start to realize that they are poor by their own observations pretty early on? Mom, can we eat at that restaurant. Mom, why don't we get a car like other people have? Mom, why don't we have a telephone like people on TV do? Why am I wearing worn out clothes, socks and shoes? Why do we eat lentils, rice or beans for every meal? ETC...
I grew up poor and knew we were poor from very early on. Not because anyone stigmatized me either. It was blatantly obvious. If everyone else around me and on TV had was in the exact same financial circumstances that we lived in.
Even in your case, I don't see the point of your statement. Is it to place blame on the haves for persecuting the have nots? This is America. I realize that being poor may negatively affect social status among peers, but I don't consider this a limitation. Look at immigrants/refugees. Not only do they act, look, eat, smell and talk differently. They are also minorities and poor. They have far less going for them at first glance. They are stigmatized for a host of reasons.
A deeper look reveals that they have two assets that most inner city kids do not have. A strong determination to work hard/succeed and a strong family presence to reinforce and encourage that determination.
My guess is that if you had a strong full family with a father at home who taught you kids to believe in yourselves and not to listen to naysayers things would have been much different in your life (even if you still were dirt poor)
Why do I think that? Because that is my story. There are popular poor kids and there are unpopular rich kids. Same with fat kids, skinny kids, athletic, clumsy, ugly, handsome ETC. The biggest determining factor is how much self confidence they have. When people truly believe in themselves, they will rise to the top. Their peers will believe as they do. That they are valuable to others.
The government "nanny" will continue to try to replace God and family, but it will never even come close to succeeding. The more the government tries, the worse things get. No amount of money will ever replace what a child gets from being reared in a good healthy and loving family.
Nothing will ever keep a family together like a true belief and faith in God can. Broken families are a result of selfishness. The government does nothing but promote more selfishness.
Reading through your past posts, I see that there's a trend. You have a distinct, extreme ideology of free market libertarianism. And, you try to cherry pick reality to fit into your ideology. You're not convincing anyone that way.
Poor immigrants and minorities with two-parent households don't succeed any more (and probably less) than poor white kids with single parents.