Anti-Poverty and Anti-Racism. by Paul C. Gorski - [email protected] What We (Think We) Know. Class and Poverty Awareness Quiz Humility is key Cognitive dissonance is inevitable . Introductory Stuff: The Agenda. Introductory Stuff (in progress) Stereotypes of Low-Income People
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Class and Poverty Awareness Quiz
Oppressors Are Us:
Stereotypes of Low-Income People
Ah, but: According to the Economic Policy Institute (2002), poor working adults spend more hours workingper week on average than their wealthier counterparts.
Stereotype: Don’t Value Education
Ah, but: Low-income parents hold the exact same attitudes about education as wealthy parents (Compton-Lilly, 2003; Lareau & Horvat, 1999; Leichter, 1978; Varenne & McDermott, 1986).
Stereotype: Substance Abuse
Ah, but: Alcohol abuse is far more prevalent among wealthy people than poor people (Galea, Ahern, Tracy, & Vlahov, 2007). And drug use equally distributed across poor, middle class, and wealthy communities (Saxe, Kadushin, Tighe, Rindskopf, & Beveridge, 2001).
Stereotype: Crime and Violence
Ah, but: Poor people do not commit more crime than wealthy people—they only commit more visible crime. Furthermore, white collar crime results in much greater economic (and life) losses than so-called “violent” crime.
Ah, but: Linguists have known for decades that all varieties of English (such as “Black English vernacular” or Appalachian varieties) are equally complex in structure and grammar (Gee, 2004; Hess, 1974; Miller, Cho, & Bracey, 2005).
Where, then, do these stereotypes come from, and whose purposes do they serve?
Revisiting Key Concepts
Shifts of Consciousness
What We Can Do
Stages of Anti-Poverty Activism
“And one day we must ask the question, Why are there forty million poor people in America? And when you begin to ask that question, you are raising questions about the economic system, about a broader distribution of wealth. When you ask that question, you begin to question the capitalistic economy.”
“I am a socialist because I believe that socialism will solve the misery of the world — give work to the man who is hungry and idle and at least give to little children the right to be born free.”
“In a country well governed poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed wealth is something to be ashamed of.”
“The distinctions separating the social classes are false; in the last analysis they rest on force.”
“We have deluded ourselves into believing the myth that capitalism grew and prospered out of the Protestant ethic of hard work and sacrifices. Capitalism was built on the exploitation of black slaves and continues to thrive on the exploitation of the poor, both black and white, both here and abroad.”
“Who are the oppressors? The few: the King, the capitalist, and a handful of other overseers and superintendents. Who are the oppressed? The many: the nations of the earth; the valuable personages; the workers; they that make the bread that the soft-handed and idle eat.”