Why did poverty become dually associated with race? Maybe the same reason we see the use of Black African children in commercials asking for $0.50 to “feed a family” or to “get this child some medicine?” Maybe that’s too generic. Is there, as Oscar Lewis suggested back in the 60s, a “culture of poverty” that breeds within particular racial groups? Is it different for every racial group – their own racialized production of “culture of poverty?” This even seems odd to type… such and such racial group that happens to be poor acts this way, this other race and their poor people, act this way… What?? Maybe you all can explain…
We spent a few nights troubled with the idea that blackness or black identity and poverty were somehow related, and that the relationship of those two, is also related to a mentality or chronic laziness. But we NOW see there’s more to this argument, both in support and in response. What do you deduce from the empirical research data in tonight’s article, that suggests that “poor Blacks” hold a mainstream attitude towards work, and work-ethic?
I got the sense that a workers disgruntled feeling about his/her job could easily be interpreted as lazy, when perhaps it is the anxiety created by unjust and dysfunctional work conditions. Is the suggestion: “If you’re unhappy about the job you have, should you be grateful that you are working and keep your mouth shut,” or should you voice your opinion, fight for better conditions (raises, etc.,), risk unemployment for speaking out, or simply accept the situation as a key to your sustainability and survival? Perhaps this is the pimple we try to pick at every night – if there are benefits to support unemployment, is it better than working a miserable job that will keep you as poor? Let’s see… get the same wage unemployed as you would with a shit job?
With reports like Moynihan’s, as racist, and outdated as it is, they continue to perpetuate ideas used to criminalize the poor and the working poor without offering any real method of progress for them to follow, try, and eventually use to lift out of their situations, even at a minimum. This is why the radicals who wish to engage in change have uphill battles, and later feel animosity towards those who dont support our ideas and help us progress. Uphill with no shoes, or water.
What do you think? Did the article hit a nerve? How come there are no commercials that show dirty, hunger, and impoverished “American” or “white” children? Is it because of what we said last night – that Black faces generate more sympathy and funds? If that’s the case, then the same sympathy is later turned back on particular groups to suggest their laziness; especially if it’s funded. I’m a softy for children too, any color or creed or gender – just like you all.
I’m with Eric on this one… something is really really sick with this way this structure works, especially when it comes to homegrown poverty.