I've talked before about growing up dirt poor, and how that affected me and my family. I'm not sure I've ever lived above the poverty line, actually. Poverty is a very real problem around the world as well as in our country. I appreciated this article by Jeff Nall of Truthout because it makes some very valid points about how poverty is treated in our society, and how and why that treatment should change.
Scholarly communities generally agree that it is wrong to disallow a fellow scholar's participation in a conference due to their race, sexuality, nationality or citizenship, or gender. There is not, however, an equal objection to excluding people on the basis of their economic standing. As a poor scholar tasked with supporting a family, I have been embarrassed to have had to apologetically cancel participation in conferences because of economic limitations that made me unable to pay for registration fees and travel costs. In the realm of health care, poverty has meant choosing tooth extraction over tooth repair because I didn't have insurance and couldn't afford the procedure. My missing tooth is a constant reminder that the poor are routinely denied basic human dignity in our society, even when they are recipients of racial, gender, and/or sexual privilege. If this is true of white, male, heterosexual, educated American poor people, then it is likely worse for those who are additionally "othered" due to race or ethnicity, sexual orientation, nationality or citizenship status, and/or education.
Some people who are poor often try to "pass" as middle class. They simply keep silent about their economic conditions, quiet on the healthcare they need but can't afford, quiet that the reason they can't attend an event or outing with friends, family or coworkers is because they don't have the money.
Perhaps most gravely, poor people hide their status by being silent when others speak about the poor. Since being poor is associated with vice, the last thing many poor people want to do is both be poor and be identified with other poor people.
Click through to read the entire article. What are your thoughts on the subject?
Poverty and Hunger (Blog Action Day)
Women Bear the Brunt of Hunger
We Need a New System of Economics