In both pieces assigned, there is a concise introduction and clear breakdown of how the ‘poor’ is labeled. Many suggest that no matter what label you use, you can always identify poverty, whether by the neighborhood you’re looking at, the way the people carry themselves (Gans/Lewis), and the construction of all the functions in this/that particular place. Gans also discusses that anthropologist Oscar Lewis (1960) believed that the ‘culture of poverty’ makes and keeps poor people, poor. The culture within the impoverished community doesn’t inspire change, and children are the ones that reproduce the same ‘traits’ (as he calls it) as their elders; therefore keeping the ‘culture of poverty’ alive and well, years after their elders are gone.
On the first night of class, many of you agreed with this statement when it came to food distribution/consumption/access! Do you still agree? A great comment from last week’s session suggested that we shouldn’t keep buying from stores that sell the people things that essentially contribute to their impoverished and unhealthy lifestyles/circumstances. However, we also know that LOW prices and quantity fill the eyes of those who lack. Check this out. (The chain supermarket found in most low-income neighborhoods). Now look at this and this . It’s a WHOLE conversation/community of dialogue around the Whole Foods shopping experience (on the website).
Last semester, the students believed (and collectively) that small time efforts to relieve the poor of their impoverished circumstances would take a major overhaul with participation from the government, but I’m of the belief that “small-time groups of folk” can also make change. Freire talks in his piece about two groups (whatever ELSE, sociologically, we want to call them, and label them), the oppressed and the oppressor. Do you straddle both worlds? When it comes to food access/justice do you participate in both groups at a time? How?
Are there things you have noticed about your own neighborhood’s access and the people that live/shop there as well?
For me, Freire puts this into a societal context, but Gans offers an academic interpretation as well. What do you think?