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whitepoverty

NBC's recent story on how 80 percent of Americans will be living at or near the poverty level in their lifetimes was accompanied by the above photo of a "poor white family".

The heart of the the AP's report on the (further) economic imperilment of the American people is focused on the rise in "white poverty", and the struggles faced by the "white working class" in the time of the Great Recession.

Images that feature human beings "work" in communicating political and social meaning because of how the viewer "reads" them. As such, there are stated and unstated assumptions which the person who is "seeing" applies to the "object" of their gaze.

For example, the White Gaze views a photo of a young black man wearing a hoodie and whose pants are sagging and sees a person who exists in a state of criminality, and is a social predator.

A photo of a white man wearing a suit and walking down Wall Street in New York will be seen by the White Gaze as representing a "respectable" person and a "hard worker" living the "American Dream."

In reality, the former may be on the way to his 3rd job, has never been in prison or arrested, and takes care of his aged parents and siblings. The latter could be a child-molesting murderer and rapist, who is also embezzling millions of dollars from his clients.

White and male--and Whiteness more generally--views itself as benign and harmless. Black and male--and Blackness more generally--is viewed by White American society as dangerous and pathological. The power of images is how they harness and channel assumptions about how various types of personhood find representation in, and are configured by, a broader system of dominance, subordination, privilege, inclusion, exclusion, and hierarchy.

NBC.com's photo is an example of those processes at work. There we "see" two overweight white women with a young child, and thus make social and political assumptions about gender and class. We see a small home and generalize from that visual about how "poor people" live, and more importantly, "what type of people" they are.

Images also give the viewer permission to empathize or to condemn the subject. Are these "good" people or "bad people?" What is my sense of obligation to them? Does my sense of community extend to people like them?

Stereotypes serve as cognitive short-cuts which the viewer, and we as a society, use to categorize and evaluate the relative worth of whole groups of people. The way that images of white, "poor", female, "overweight", "unattractive", bodies are processed by the viewer is a reflection of how we as a society think about race, class, and gender. These concepts exist individually while also having meaning in relation to one another.

Moreover, in America, because of the Calvinist-Horatio Alger-Myth of Individualism and Upward Mobility, claims on poverty necessarily involve moral judgments.

The black single mother is a "welfare queen" who is "lazy" and has "bad morals". The poor white person is a "redneck" or a "hillbilly" with all of the stereotypes and assumptions implicit in such language.

Consequently, poor white people are one of the few groups which can me made fun and mocked in American culture without consequence or public sanction.

White elites and opinion leaders do not want to talk about poor white people because that would expose the defects of capitalism. These same elites also avoid discussing white poverty because it would undermine how they have historically been able to mine white supremacy to mask inter-class conflict and exploitation among whites in the United States.

"Race is how class is lived in America." Consequently, the leaders in the black and brown community care about poverty as a general issue because it disproportionately impacts people of color.

White privilege extends to all white people in America. Black and brown folks have to deal with both the colorline and other types of inequality in American society. Attending to our needs, while doing so with a respect for the struggles of all people necessitates a practical focusing of energy where the white poor are viewed as an interest group that should be attended to by the white community.

Moreover--and I do believe black and brown elites are more correct than not in this choice and instinct--there is a deep belief, one hard taught by American history, that poor and working class whites will consistently choose to serve the interests of rich white people because of the psychic wages that are paid to them by Whiteness. As such, why focus the limited political capital of the black and brown community in a time of crisis on solving a "white" problem?

Poor and working class whites may have much in common with poor and working class people of color. But, their greatest allegiance is doing the work of white racism against their own immediate class interests. From Bacon's Rebellion forward, with some notable deviations, this has been one of the key themes in American history.

However, the new white poor are not the stereotypes drawn from the exploitative TV show Honey Boo Boo.

They are the former middle class and non-college educated whites who worked in the skilled trades or as low-level municipal and public functionaries. Many of them are invisible as they couch surf with friends, or move back in with their aging parents or other relatives. The new white poor lost their homes and are living in motels (if they are lucky). Other members of the new white poor are sleeping in their cars, one of the last possessions that marked them as "middle class", after their IRA's and 401k's are drained, the credit cards maxed out many months ago.

The new white poor are the students in some of my classes who share with me how they are using their student loans to support their parents; thus they must pass their courses or the whole family will be homeless. The new white poor are those college students that universities are having to accommodate with showers, lockers, dorms, and other supports because many of them quite literally have no where to go when the school day is over, and when the academic year has ended.

The new white poor are not toothless rural folks sitting around smoking meth and making moonshine as they are depicted in the American popular imagination. They are your neighbors, in the suburbs, rural areas, and our cities, that are right next door, and trying to get by while maintaining their dignity.

The type of white poverty stereotyped by the lede photo on NBC's news item is a caricature that is easy to mock and deride. Those poor white people are an alien Other. "Respectable" white folks (and others) mock them, because poor whites represent a basement below which the white middle class imagines they cannot fall beneath.

It is much harder to minimize and ignore the now poor white folks who are the former members of the middle and working class that shop at Trader Joe's or Target with their SNAP cards and pittance of remaining unemployment monies, praying that no one they know sees them, and then get back into their paid off SUV and drive to a parking lot to sleep for the night with their kids, and who then wake up early the next day to wash up in the McDonald's bathroom.

The mainstream news media will likely not show you a picture of failed white suburban domesticity in the Age of Austerity and the Great Recession. The Fourth Estate are not truth tellers. They support the status quo and the powerful.

As such, a meaningful discussion of white poverty in the Age of Austerity is not an approved topic for the public discourse even while "we the people" are suffering everyday.

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  •  Tip Jar (254+ / 0-)
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  •  And (82+ / 0-)
    There we "see" two overweight white women with a young child, and thus make social and political assumptions about gender and class.
    and two refrigerators.

    It makes one wonder just how carefully they choose the images to craft the slanted storylines they wish to tell to maintain the marginalization and 'otherization' of the poor as long as possible, to prevent any political capital being spent upon the poor, to raise them out of poverty.

  •  Excellent essay. (20+ / 0-)

    Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

    by TomP on Wed Jul 31, 2013 at 10:58:33 AM PDT

  •  Ironic, no ? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nada Lemming

    To have a diary about stereotypes and not seeing people as they are that deals so much in stereotypes

    Touch all that arises with a spirit of compassion. An activist seeks to change opinion.

    by Mindful Nature on Wed Jul 31, 2013 at 11:14:34 AM PDT

      •  Still trying (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Nada Lemming, jabney

        To fight racist narratives.  Tough to keep at it, for sure. To whit:

        White elites and opinion leaders do not want to talk about poor white people because that would expose the defects of capitalism. These same elites also avoid discussing white poverty because it would undermine how they have historically been able to mine white supremacy to mask inter-class conflict and exploitation among whites in the United States
        I'd say that is a PERFECT description of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, those horrid little White elites, wouldn't you?

        Touch all that arises with a spirit of compassion. An activist seeks to change opinion.

        by Mindful Nature on Wed Jul 31, 2013 at 11:24:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  you can pick outliers if you like, i am dealing (19+ / 0-)

          with the greater historical narrative.

          looking at the facts across time and in the present, have white elites manipulated and used intra-racial affinity among whites and anti-black and brown racism as a means of not talking about class inequality?

          your answer will reveal how much (or little) you know about American history.

          as always, your Whiteness is always showing (again). you expend so much energy on trolling my posts. are you paid by the word?

          •  Oh (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            mattc129

            What you call "greater historical narratives" is in fact merely an exercise in peddling stereotypes by completely elides that there has been at the same time efforts among a great many whites (not "outliers") to push back against this racism and division.  I know you want to pretend such a movement  doesn't exist because it runs entirely counter to your narrative about how horrible an morally inferior white people are but we Respectable Honkies exist and always have and in significant numbers.  So long as refuse to acknowledge that such people exists, I am going to call you out on it, just as I call out people who want to portray black people as poor and prone to criminality.  That what being opposed to racial stereotypes requires.  You will never solve a problem by engaging in the same kind of thinking that created the problem

            Touch all that arises with a spirit of compassion. An activist seeks to change opinion.

            by Mindful Nature on Wed Jul 31, 2013 at 11:39:35 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  yawn. deal with empirical reality my friend (13+ / 0-)

              and stop playing games. There are a litany of resources out there on how race and class have intersected in American history to the detriment of cross racial alliances because white elites learned how to play the white supremacist psychic wages con game. Seek them out.

              •  Great dodge (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                mattc129

                That completely fails to address the point. You can entirely write the same diary to point out the dynamics of racism and racial division at the service of powerful economic interests all day long without trying to stereotype ALL white people with your broad brush.  Indeed, to do so would both be more historically accurate and would be too push back against stereotypes thinking that wants to see skin colors instead of human beings.  In fact a great many diarists do precisely that, talking about and working against such dynamics here and nationwide everyday. Yet, persistently you do not, instead choosing to use manichaeistic frame that wants only divide the world into uniform blocks of race.  Race is a social construct and not the only one available.  You'd be better pressed to talk about philosophical stance than Races (sometimes you sound like you've read so many 19th century anthropologists that you start to sound like them).  Instead of black and white, notice that where there are Elizabeth Warrens and Bernie Sanders and Russ Feingolds (and the white electorates who vote for them) and Abraham Lincoln (who had ONLY white votes) or Johnsons, but there are also Allen Wests and Clarence Thomases and Herman Cains who are invested in race division and oppressing the poor.   We here are well familiar with all the nuance of class and race here and we know full we'll it is far more complicated than your "White Gaze" (many whites do not see people this way) or you talk of White America suggests.  We already know that you portrayals work in stereotypes.  I think you do to

                So, develop a more nuanced understanding of America and judge people but the content of their character, not the color of their skin.   I think you will find it will increase your understanding

                Touch all that arises with a spirit of compassion. An activist seeks to change opinion.

                by Mindful Nature on Wed Jul 31, 2013 at 12:00:03 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  i tell myself i won't engage you, but maybe (16+ / 0-)

                  others will read this and learn something.

                  you are playing a very obvious white victimology game here that is a complement to the very same one that is played by the white right. thus, my piece some months ago on liberal racism.

                  i love it when we talk about history, politics, and systems of power and privilege with students. inevitably one or a few read a very well-researched article w. clear and demonstrable claims and get angry, saying that "I don't do that". My response. Great then. You are an outlier. Deal with the general claim.

                  I love this "without trying to stereotype ALL white people". i wish that people of color were extended that courtesy.

                  Talk about white privilege in practice. So whenever we write about inter-group dynamics of the large N variety we should have a nice footnote or citation that reads--of course this does not apply to good white folks or men or heterosexuals, etc. etc.--like you all!

                  Stop playing. If you are down for the cause you know it. Stop playing the you hurt my whiteness and gave me a case of the sads con game

                  For the life of me, I do not know why you troll my posts. Is that your MO? Do you have nothing better to do with your time? Are you a paid activist?

                  •  Ah (0+ / 0-)

                    Here the deal

                    I love this "without trying to stereotype ALL white people". i wish that people of color were extended that courtesy.
                    For most liberals, this is precisely what we do.  This is a bedrock principle of our political and social practice.  

                    I don't think your apologist for your practice of stereotyping is very convincing.  You admit both that stereotyping is wrong headed and that you are doing it.  I think you also recognize that there is absolutely no need.

                    I am not paid.  What I am is a liberal who opposes profiling and stereotyping.  I always have and I always will and I don't pull punches based on who is talking.   Sorry if that cramps you style.  I frequently let this sort of thing slide, but I respond periodically to point out that stereotyping frame so that other people who care about racists and fighting the major problems in our society can read and ask themselves whether they oppose profiling and stereotyping generally, or only selectively.  Maybe it will make people examine their own behaviors to see if they could use a better approach.   Who knows, maybe someday even you will decide that stereotyping is wrong, and then try to lead by example by not doing it anymore.  Yes, it is more work and more effort, but let me tell you, it is worth it

                    Touch all that arises with a spirit of compassion. An activist seeks to change opinion.

                    by Mindful Nature on Wed Jul 31, 2013 at 12:23:45 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  yawn again, i think you should write letters (4+ / 0-)

                      to the american sociological association, american political science association, american anthropological association, etc. and share with them your deep thoughts on large-n studies, methodology, and social science. it would be a good use of your time.

                      you could sponsor a symposium too!

                      again, you are playing a white victimology con game that is part of the liberal racist casebook 101.

                      "Sorry if that cramps you style.  '

                      Inserts laughter. Trust me, nothing you do means a thing to me at all. Just being honest. You are however a drain on my time and are not an honest participant if you won't even own up to your own liberal racism and white privilege laced opines about hurt feelings from the mean black guy who dares to talk about concepts that you don't like.

                      stop playing and move along. no more feeding the trolls from me. perhaps others can throw you some yummies.

                      •  Of course not (0+ / 0-)

                        I don't expect you to listen.  Those who are wedded to their own prejudices and committed to their ideological agenda rarely do listen to reason.  

                        I am reminded of the I/P wars where ideologues all insist that it's the OTHER side that commits atrocities, while bystanders can only look on and observe that both sides are guilty of a range of violence and injustice and that working for peace requires getting past the tired mental frameworks of the past.

                        I'll say it again:  you cannot solve a problem with the same kind of thinking that produced it.

                        Touch all that arises with a spirit of compassion. An activist seeks to change opinion.

                        by Mindful Nature on Wed Jul 31, 2013 at 01:50:06 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  I had missed this (0+ / 0-)

                        The deflecting accusation of racism

                        again, you are playing a white victimology con game that is part of the liberal racist casebook 101.
                        Let me get this straight: anyone who disagrees with you is a racist?  It is racist now to say that negatively stereotyping entire groups of people based on the color of their skin?  I imagine you don't even begin to understand how deeply perverse that is.  

                        I never claimed to be a victim of anything.  I just said that smearing entire races of people is wrong.  I guess you disagree with that proposition.  

                        It is really sad to see that is a controversial position on a "progressive" blog

                        Touch all that arises with a spirit of compassion. An activist seeks to change opinion.

                        by Mindful Nature on Wed Jul 31, 2013 at 04:24:28 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                    •  I think you misunderstand the term (6+ / 0-)

                      stereotyping.

                      And you also misunderstand sociological generalizations and analysis.

                      Just because you can find exemplars of the category that don't fit the analysis does not make the analysis of the category invalid.

                      You're confusing your levels and messing up your sociological terms here.

                      Singular individuals who do not fit larger cultural norms do not render those norms or their normative power less meaningful. In many cases they can actually strengthen them as they are "the exception that proves the norm".  The outliers help you to see the pattern.  You keep assuming that they obliterate the pattern.  That's not accurate.

                      Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

                      by a gilas girl on Wed Jul 31, 2013 at 01:31:22 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Quite the contrary (0+ / 0-)

                        I can point to a major movement composed of many many people who are utterly ignored in the rush to paint with a broad brush.  Your reliance on some general statistical pattern is much the same defense Rush Limbaugh and their ilk use.  It is no more defensible here than there.

                        I'm sorry, but did I say anything about "obliterating a pattern"?  I am talking about taking a more realistic and accurate view of the complexities of the world.  WHat I see as a response is a clinging to an admittedly inaccurate and stereotyped world view for who knows what reasons.  

                        At the end of the day, you either see people as people or you see them as stereotypes.  I know what side of that I am on.

                        Touch all that arises with a spirit of compassion. An activist seeks to change opinion.

                        by Mindful Nature on Wed Jul 31, 2013 at 01:41:21 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                  •  For some examples (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    mattc129, johnny wurster

                    I would recommend Vyan's writing in particular.  Also WillSmith tackles these issues typically without such broad smears.   There are positive examples of addressing these issues without falling back on stereotypes.  Read them.  Learn from them

                    Touch all that arises with a spirit of compassion. An activist seeks to change opinion.

                    by Mindful Nature on Wed Jul 31, 2013 at 12:26:13 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  and of course (0+ / 0-)

                      how could I forget Ian?  He also writes extensively on these issues, and is actively engaged in shaping a new mindset that gets beyond the tired old camps.

                      Touch all that arises with a spirit of compassion. An activist seeks to change opinion.

                      by Mindful Nature on Wed Jul 31, 2013 at 01:52:35 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

          •  Yes. How much was "written" though? (0+ / 0-)

            Have experienced with my own eyes... & have read some very limited history..

            It's there now in the stats & #'s and they do talk about it but not usually & stereotypcially like you have described.

            Much of this doesn't get added into books and approved reading research lists?...

            Read Joseph Conrad's, "Heart of Darkness.." & times haven't changed too much. Even though this was fiction(?)..

          •  don't feed "your favorite troll" please... (4+ / 0-)

            if he|she is really your favorite.

  •  The US economy has been transformed (19+ / 0-)

    over the past 35 years from being one that made it possible for most people to live reasonably decent lives, and for some to live very nice lives, to one where it's possible for some to live reasonably decent lives, a small few to live very nice lives, and the vast majority unable to do much more than just barely get by--if that. It's more productive than ever, but with the majority of the fruits of that productivity going to the top 20%, with everybody else basically a modern sharecropper. While globalization and changing economic realities have had something to do with this, by far the biggest contributing factor has been policy, which whether intentionally or not has made this happen, what with tax cuts for the rich, deregulation and cuts in services and benefits and support for key infrastructure (which includes schools as well as roads and bridges).

    I.e. the government, at the urging of the rich, CHOSE to make this happen. And just as it made it happen, it can make it UN-happen. Starting that process, at the systemic level, has got to be one of Obama's top priorities for the rest of his presidency. Not completing it, as it'll take decades to reverse, but starting it, in a meaningful and measurable way. More than anything, this will be his legacy. Obamacare was a decent if insufficient start. But we need more.

    MUCH more.

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Wed Jul 31, 2013 at 11:20:36 AM PDT

  •  Another factor compounding this (18+ / 0-)

    is the lasting effect of Nixon's Southern Strategy... the white poor Chauncey is speaking of largely do not see themselves as poor...no matter how dire their lot... because for the last 60 years or so white america has been conditioned to see "the poor" as black and brown people and whites that fit the stereotype in the picture. They are just going through a bad patch and attribute their economic decline to the confluence of bad luck and those freeloading black and brown poor people they've been told about...the fact that whites on public assistance receive considerably more from the government than blacks and browns notwithstanding.

    I had a conversation with a former schoolmate who is white  in which he  was going on and on about how "the poor" were screwing it up for everyone...knowing where he fell in the income spectrum as a part time security guard collecting SSI  I mentioned to him that he was probably, by that measure, among the poor... he went apoplectic, of course... he made one too many statements about "those people" just wanting a handout and how all of them are like that... I reminded him that I was part of "those people" and no one was giving me a damn thing...and I asked him "cut to the chase...how much did you make last year? He gave me the number and I told him that I paid more money in tax than he made... and I don't even make Edward Snowden money...

    Fear doesn't just breed incomprehension. It also breeds a spiteful, resentful hate of anyone and everyone who is in any way different from you.

    by awesumtenor on Wed Jul 31, 2013 at 11:30:54 AM PDT

  •  For some "balance" watch PBS's Frontline (21+ / 0-)

    documentary featuring Bill Moyers covering the now poor (former middle class.)  http://www.pbs.org/...

    The mainstream news media will likely not show you a picture of failed white suburban domesticity in the Age of Austerity and the Great Recession. The Fourth Estate are not truth tellers. They support the status quo and the powerful.

    My Karma just ran over your Dogma

    by FoundingFatherDAR on Wed Jul 31, 2013 at 11:31:27 AM PDT

  •  I concur... excellent. (7+ / 0-)

    Thank you for painting another picture... on another group of people. There's more commonality than the divided experts want to address..

    Who do you think most perpetuates the coloring of America?

    Sub-dividing the groups and stereotypes? Prejudices?

    I got in some arguments about "welfare people" and social order in an economics class recently... quite interesting on how people broke it down on other people. Just by oberservations of a culmination of many things that you described...

    I have tried stopping filling in forms on race, religion, sex...

  •  Let's hope that this focus on poverty among (11+ / 0-)

    whites draws more support for real measures to reduce inequality across the board. While you're right that historically poor whites have sided with whites and done the work of racism, there was a time very early on (when whites could still be indentured servants) that there was more cross-racial cooperation, that is, until the plantation owners lifted those whites out of servitude and incentivized them to identify as whites and with white racism. Historian Philip Morgan has written about this, and an excerpt of his is a key part of my students' reading material on colonial slavery. The point is that the plantation owners "taught" the poor whites to be racist b/c they were afraid of a white-black alliance of the poor/slaves/servants.

    Beyond the history, we need to work on changing how poor whites think about race, and get them to stop doing what too many have done historically. I continue to believe that it is unhelpful to tell any people in poverty that they are privileged, even though white privilege is real, at least if our goal is to win them as allies (which is my goal, although it may not be yours). We're all privileged to be human beings as opposed to, I don't know, fish, but that's not a useful or politically strategic thing to emphasize I would argue.

    Thanks for this important post.

    •  In the larger scheme... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cassandra Waites

      ...you're probably right.  There is an arc that many educated people have, where we start out as kids and over the course of our later high school and early college years, get a vision of how privilege informs our view of others and ourselves.  And what could be more natural than to want, y'know, everyone to have the benefits of a liberal arts education, to have the tools of an examined life (both socially and individually).

      But that probably isn't effective politics, at least in the short to medium term.  In that I agree with you.

      But...everyone wants at least some part of their story, of their subjective experience of being a person, to be intelligible to others, to make sense, to be part the big tale of how people live.  "Let me tell you my story" is as basic to people as food, and you can't do that from a minority perspective without bringing up privilege...you need not use the word.  But ultimately I think the idea of talking about privilege is to convey an understanding of how the conditions of our life informs how we perceive and treat other people.  A part of telling our story, however it is phrased.

      And when we understand other people's stories, it is harder to see them as other.

      ...j'ai découvert que tout le malheur des hommes vient d'une seule chose, qui est de ne savoir pas demeurer en repos dans une chambre.

      by jessical on Wed Jul 31, 2013 at 02:26:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I think part of the problem with (0+ / 0-)

      the framing around white privilege is that too many people interpret it as 'reasons white people should feel guilty'. And then there's pushback from people who don't think they ought to feel guilty because of someone else's hiring decisions or something their ancestors did.

      When it's really more a case of recognizing that another group of people have had to deal with the exact same crud you have... plus some more on the side.

      Like how in Appalachia until the era of desegregation and accreditation, there were places where a high school diploma wouldn't be recognized outside the region even if you managed to get one, but the only kids who could get further than the eighth grade were white unless a family had enough money to send a kid elsewhere - oh and it took a job most whites could only dream of in those towns to afford the school elsewhere so forget that unless you're willing to sacrifice everything else in life or a miracle happens.

      Like how I know there HAVE to be a good number of African-Americans in the area where I live, just by counting churches some of them go to on Sunday, but you'd never know just walking around town because nearly none of the retail places have ever hired any of them. Including WalMart. Most of the jobs in the area that aren't related to the coal industry are customer-interaction positions they just don't seem to get hired for.

      Like how by the third grade, some of the white kids knew they'd be trying for college one day... and one of our black classmates thought the most important decision he'd ever face was which gang to join because that was the reality the TV gave him for people who looked like he did. In the 1990s.

      It's not guilt. It's an awareness, but it isn't guilt.

  •  I remember in the 2008 elections, Jim Webb (7+ / 0-)

    pointed out that the Appalachian poor whites (the Scots-Irish) are perhaps the most forgotten about people overall.

    I always thought there was some truth to that.  (Note: NOT the most disadvantaged or abused or trodden upon, but simply, the least talked about).

    Ayn is the bane! Take the Antidote To Ayn Rand and call your doctor in the morning: You have health insurance now! @floydbluealdus1

    by Floyd Blue on Wed Jul 31, 2013 at 11:41:29 AM PDT

  •  The Psychic Wage is Company Scrip. (32+ / 0-)

    My family has been poor since we hit these shores, and only during the post war boom did any of us own homes or attain college degrees.

    The face of white poverty in America - in a suit or in overalls - gives the lie to the popular Liberal Notion that slightly-modified Capitalism is a terrific system which is only flawed due to bigotries such as sexism, racism, and homophobia.

    Poor whites have to deserve it.  It must be that they are poor because they're hooked on meth, not that they're hooked on meth because they're poor.  It must be that they're poor because they live in single parent households, not that they live in single parent households because they're poor.

    Having provided no small amount of service to some the "recently poor", I can tell you that almost none of them have actually figured out yet that they're not dealing with a temporary condition but rather with their new lives.

    Mr. Universe is a known degenerate Robotophile, and his sources include former Browncoat Traitors. What is their agenda in leaking top secret information about the Reavers and endangering us all?

    by JesseCW on Wed Jul 31, 2013 at 11:41:35 AM PDT

    •  Excellent points. (5+ / 0-)

      Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

      by TomP on Wed Jul 31, 2013 at 11:45:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I know quite a few who haven't even (20+ / 0-)

      been able to admit yet that they are losing ground quickly.  It's a fascinating phenomena.  And the more they slip, the easier it is for them to believe the "welfare queens" are the reason.

      It's also frightening.

      But, we can make progress with them.  I take race out of it completely and concentrate on jobs and how much they pay....not who gets the jobs.  Then, take them through the journey of a dollar and how when there aren't that many dollars circulating, EVERYONE loses.

      Real-world examples:

      1.  UPS Supervisor...he's been kicked down to shift-supervisor, on the overnight shift, in order to even keep his job.  Nothing he did wrong, mind you, but he was making too much money and had the choice to get laid off, or take a pay cut.  In order to keep the job, he took the cut.

      2.  Printer - company laid off ALL the employees who had been there longer than 5 or 6 years.  Hired a bunch of inexperienced people at half the pay, and are now going under and won't even have those jobs to offer.

      3.  Nail and hair salons....when folks aren't working, no one has money for that shit.  Those businesses are shuttered, the 5 or 6 people working at each are also out of work, not spending money.

      4.  Teachers - furlough days!  Cars being repossessed because the note can't be paid.  Grocery stores having food rot on the shelves because people can not afford to buy it.

      It all trickles down, alright....right into our communities.  Now that the "white folks" are seeing and feeling it, it is easier to get them to look past the color lines and see the suits that are doing all the damage.

      Keep talking to people.  Keep educating.  Keep commiserating with them.  More and more are seeing how it all works because it's working on them now.

      Listening to the NRA on school safety is like listening to the tobacco companies on cigarette safety. (h/t nightsweat)

      by PsychoSavannah on Wed Jul 31, 2013 at 11:58:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I concur with your comment: (13+ / 0-)
      "Having provided no small amount of service to some the "recently poor", I can tell you that almost none of them have actually figured out yet that they're not dealing with a temporary condition but rather with their new lives."

      After over 3 years of trying to convince myself that things were going turn around and get better....I have accepted my current circumstances as the new normal.  I still try and convince myself that I am right and wrong all at the same time.

      Thanks for opening the discussion, chaunceydevega.  Oh, I am white, former upper, middle class.

      "A weed is a plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered." Ralph Waldo Emerson

      by Yo Bubba on Wed Jul 31, 2013 at 12:08:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  So true... because they're "poor white TRASH". (9+ / 0-)
      Poor whites have to deserve it.  It must be that they are poor because they're hooked on meth, not that they're hooked on meth because they're poor.  It must be that they're poor because they live in single parent households, not that they live in single parent households because they're poor.
      otherwise, they're traitors to their race.  Just ask the elites.
      •  And if they *aren't* trash, and they're poor (4+ / 0-)

        anyway, then maybe this broken system creates poor people.

        With or without racism, sexism, ableism, or homophobia.  We might just have to face the fact those just determine who is most likely to be poor.

        Maybe, just maybe, this is how Capitalism works.

        Mr. Universe is a known degenerate Robotophile, and his sources include former Browncoat Traitors. What is their agenda in leaking top secret information about the Reavers and endangering us all?

        by JesseCW on Wed Jul 31, 2013 at 02:02:15 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  We have met many people who are still using their (0+ / 0-)

      credit cards to live way beyond their [new] means--keeping up appearances?

      They still look down on our family, because we don't bother with the pretense.

      Being poor--sucks. Because even before these "bad times" poor people are expendable, useable, abuse-able targets for blame, shame, etc.,

      That part isn't necessarily predicated on color, it is about your inability to buy your way out of trouble.

      You are absolutely correct--very astute observation:

      I can tell you that almost none of them have actually figured out yet that they're not dealing with a temporary condition but rather with their new lives.
      But with all trouble comes opportunity. Perhaps some will open their eyes and become more compassionate about the issues of economic disparity and conflicts and prejudices regarding race and gender.

      Gentlemen, congratulations. You're everything we've come to expect from years of government training (Zed, MIB).

      by GreenMother on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 07:03:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  "poor" is susceptible to many definitions (7+ / 0-)

    and those different definitions can be portrayed in many ways.

    The article says  that "80% of Americans will be at or near poverty levels" in their lifetime; later in the article we see this defined:

    The gauge defines "economic insecurity" as a year or more of periodic joblessness, reliance on government aid such as food stamps or income below 150 percent of the poverty line. Measured across all races, the risk of economic insecurity rises to 79 percent.
    But it isn't exactly well-defined even here, because of that word "risk" and because of the multiple 'ors'.  Who is at "risk"? What does that mean? Since it is survey research, it is the answer to some question (or set of questions). What are they?  How did different people interpret them?

    Was it

    "Do you think you might be unemployed some time in your life?"

    Were the answer choices on a Likert scale? How was it coded?

    Later in the article comes this more clear fact:

    More than 19 million whites fall below the poverty line of $23,021 for a family of four, accounting for more than 41 percent of the nation's destitute, nearly double the number of poor blacks.

    This is what is happening NOW.  Per the census there are 245 million Whites in the USA, so that's 7.7% of all whites. But those 20 million poor Blacks are out of about 41 million Black people. That's 50%.

    Further, the income level is set the same throughout the country. $23,000 is not much money anywhere. But it's a lot less some places than others.

    So, what's going on?

    Two things (at least): One is what is highlighted so well in this diary: There are a lot of poor White people and they aren't highlighted. The other, though, is a desire to sell newspapers by generating headlines.

  •  Great diary, recommended (9+ / 0-)

    I think you've articulated some very important things that don't get articulated enough as a connected set of ideas.

    There are many stories to be told and sometimes they have to be told in a connected way.  

    My story involves having been involved in producing digital media, recordings and photography.  All those things (some well known) have been stolen without restraint, depriving me of the means to recoup the expenses of making them.  I have to reinvent myself at age 54 unexpectedly.  I have advanced skills that are very relevant today.  More importantly, I have value I can bring to someone's bottom line, but I can't get a foot in the door in many cases.  

    I am in line for a fellowship at an ivy league university -- except the university has frozen new initiatives for the foreseeable future, and the one line that is open to me is getting applicants from other countries who say "no need to pay me, I will bring my own funding."  It only took me a year to develop that relationship to the point where it stalled.  

    I am trying to start up a new business, but in the best case I will have to live for a year or more without enough income to give me health insurance.  I need a colon cancer screening, but I can't get that.  If anything happens to me in the next year or two, I'm in very deep trouble.  And all of this is converging upon the demands of forced retirement which I am nowhere near in a position to meet up with.  

    I wager there are a lot of people on Dkos that have similar stories.

  •  2 refrigs is a sign that there is 2 families (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aunt Pat, a2nite

    sharing this place.  This is very common now, that families double up.  That is what I see in this picture.  

  •  Having ended up (11+ / 0-)

    in what seems like poverty to me, once having been middle class, I'm appalled at the classism that surrounds me. I'm now treated as if I'm deserving of much less respect.

    But the other side of the coin is that working class people listen to my ideas about politics a lot more than before. They know I'm here in poverty with them, and hence, when I speak of the unfairness and the dominance of the wealthy class, they listen, nod their heads, and I can see myself getting through a bit more than usual.

    I suspect that a lot of "rednecks" could be turned my way (towards anarcho-socialism) if I spent time guiding them into a new way of perceiving their plight. They're almost there, but have been lied to and deceived about socialism. They don't know there is a much more liberating version of government that would suit them just fine if they were to experience the empowerment of true direct democracy, in a bottom-up, horizontally organized society. They would have more personal power than ever before.

    And now that I've scared every white person here with my thoughts, I'll recede back into my poverty.

    "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

    by ZhenRen on Wed Jul 31, 2013 at 11:57:06 AM PDT

    •  Once the cold war indoctrination (6+ / 0-)

      wears off with new generations, people may turn back to socialism as a solution.

      In Howard Zinn's book on American history, he tells of the large number of socialists (mostly farmers) in Oklahoma during the 20's and 30's, which surprised me. I didn't know the red states once harbored large numbers of communists.

      Then the cold war happened, and authoritarian, Stalinist pseudo-communism took root as our enemy, and the interest in socialism was eliminated.

      I think the day could come in which poor people once again discover socialism (this time in the non-authoritarian version) and a new movement could begin.

      I know most people here on dkos are capitalists, and in my view, this is as much about American capitalism and class expoitation as it is about race.

      "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

      by ZhenRen on Wed Jul 31, 2013 at 12:50:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Agreed. It's very hard to untangle class/race (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ZhenRen, blueoasis, Cassandra Waites

        for many, many folks. We've been MSM-washed and are a cognitive mess.

        Good luck "enlightening" those around you AND for finding your footing in your current circumstances.

        JV

        The GOP says you have to have an ID to vote, but $ Millionaire donors should remain anonymous?

        by JVolvo on Wed Jul 31, 2013 at 01:44:04 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  "Accompaniment" (0+ / 0-)

      " They know I'm here in poverty with them"

      "Accompaniment" is what Archbishop Romero and Staughton Lynd call it, and it's essential.  "Accompaniment" is not some "community organizer" who's a middle class professional living in another neighborhood and comes into the neighborhood only as required by their for-pay day job.  "Accompaniment" is not even the activist who lives in the neighborhood, but only temporarily.

      "Accompaniment" is a long-term, even lifetime commitment to being present in the community and working with one's fellow residents to better the lot of all.  It's developing skills that are useful to one's neighbors so that one is capable of serving others effectively.

      One reason people start to listen to us is because they see that we are able to listen to them because we share a common life together.

      Lynd talks a lot about accompaniment in Wobblies and Zapatistas.

    •  scared every white person with my thoughts (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      nomandates

      You didn't scare me.  I agree with you. I live in an area that has been decimated by poverty since the economy collapsed. It isn't getting any better either.  It is also an area that is predominately Republican and many are Tea Party believers.  They just haven't gotten it through their heads yet that this state of things isn't because we have a Black president or socialism/communism/natzism has ruined the nation! Yep, they don't know the difference, cause they listen to every crackpot on the right preaching about how the government is the cause of all their woes because the government takes too much money for taxes and gives too much to the poor!  But they are the poor!  I was hoping with Obama we would get another "New Deal" but that didn't happen and I am disapointed, but the alternative to what we would have had if say Romney had won scares the crap out of me!  Plus congress is does not really care about them, or they would do more than figure out more ways to cut SNAP.   Alot of my neighbors would starve without SNAP and the churches who freely give out food in my area.  A part of me actually wonders if it would do them good to find out how much help from the government they really need!

  •  Most human beings like for things to have reasons (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JVolvo

    but a lot of stuff happens by chance.

    That "reason" could be almost anything:

    "They must be on meth"
    "It's a failure of capitalism"
    "They don't try"
    "Jobs are all outsourced"

    and so on.

    But something like poverty has many causes; all four (and many others)  are true for some of the poor.   Are some people poor because of drug addiction? Yup. (Of course, we don't usually mention how many are poor because of alcoholism). Are there failures of capitalism? Of course. But every other system has its own failures (some of those failures are not as grave as those of capitalism, but there's no perfect system).  Do some people not try? Sure. At least, if by "try" you mean "try to make more than enough to barely live on" - I know several people who don't try that - they live marginal lives, economically but pursue their passions. Have jobs been outsourced? Of course

    But simple explanations are wrong.

  •  What's wrong with shopping at Trader Joe's? (5+ / 0-)

    They have some great stuff at very reasonable prices.

    I've shopped there many times myself.

    •  Agreed (5+ / 0-)

      And the prices are not always cheap, but overall the quality is always high.  It's a good place and the people who check you out are quick.  Not sure if the writer has ever been in Trader Joe's.

    •  Most of the poor whites (7+ / 0-)

      in my town shop at the Winco chain, which often has much lower prices than trader joe's.

      When I go to winco, you can easily tell where poor people shop. There is much more diversity compared to other stores, with Muslims, Blacks, Hispanics, Whites, all coming there to shop. Winco does not decorate lavishly, and is a warehouse atmosphere.

      The diarist's notion (if I read this correctly) that poor whites shop at Trader Joe's is a bit exaggerated and is too much of a baseless stereotype.

      When people are poor, it doesn't take long before they find the places that are less pricey.

      Only the non-poor (perhaps a university professor) would think lots or poor whites still drive expensive cars, shop at up-scale stores, etc. People are forced rather quickly to find better values when money is scarce.

      The recently poor are another story. But once they are poor long enough, they discover new ways to make the money last.

      "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

      by ZhenRen on Wed Jul 31, 2013 at 01:03:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I admit to being confused by the title: (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      grover, plf515, Oh Mary Oh

      Overall, Trader Joe's isn't cheap.  

      "We're now in one of those periods when the reality of intense pressure on the middle class diverges from long-held assumptions of how the American bargain should work" --James Fallows

      by Inland on Wed Jul 31, 2013 at 01:22:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Some stuff is, some stuff isn't (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        grover, plf515, poco, Oh Mary Oh

        "Two buck Chuck" is some of the least expensive wine sold in retail establishments.  Their house brand cereals are also a good value.  

        On the other hand frozen crab cakes are probably going to be considered expensive food no matter where you buy it.

        •  Partially, it's an "outlet store". (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          a2nite

          Whatever they can pick up cheap, plus some unusual stuff.

          But the rest is pricey.

          I highly recommend the addictive Triple Ginger Cookies.

          "We're now in one of those periods when the reality of intense pressure on the middle class diverges from long-held assumptions of how the American bargain should work" --James Fallows

          by Inland on Wed Jul 31, 2013 at 08:02:16 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Yeah, I thought Aldi's or some other deep-discount (4+ / 0-)

      chain would have fit better for the concept of the post.

      HRd!

      (not)

      The GOP says you have to have an ID to vote, but $ Millionaire donors should remain anonymous?

      by JVolvo on Wed Jul 31, 2013 at 01:45:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Everyone I know who is struggling (5+ / 0-)

      (And a lot of people who are terrified they could fall into that hole) shop at Dollar Stores.

      Walmart and Trader Joes --heck even Big Lots - are too expensive.

      © grover


      So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

      by grover on Wed Jul 31, 2013 at 02:24:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  NBC did a "biased" and deceptive story? (0+ / 0-)

    OH MY GOD!  Is the world coming to an end?

    The mainstream news media will likely not show you a picture of failed white suburban domesticity in the Age of Austerity and the Great Recession. The Fourth Estate are not truth tellers. They support the status quo and the powerful.
  •  Sad state of journalism... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greengemini, JVolvo

    Yes.  It's almost a miracle that they even reported the story.  An idiot should be able to look at that statistic (taking it at face value, I still have a little trouble with the '80%' number) and realize that 4 out of 5 white people aren't stereotypical 'trailer trash'.  

    “Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.” - John Steinbeck

    by RichM on Wed Jul 31, 2013 at 12:25:33 PM PDT

  •  "Race is how class is lived in America" (7+ / 0-)

    That's a powerful observation and a true one in so many different way.  But you've included it here in quotes, so I'm wondering whom you are referencing/citing here.

    That's an analysis I, for one, would benefit from being able to explore further.

    thanks,
    agg

    Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

    by a gilas girl on Wed Jul 31, 2013 at 01:07:36 PM PDT

  •  Being homeless is about the scariest thing (4+ / 0-)

    I can imagine....no where you belong, no where to go or sleep...i was an actress and that was too scary a place to go

    now I have no parents living and didn't from 17, so while i was never homeless, it always scared me not to have a fall back home somewhere

  •  Very good diary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    grover

    I get it. It's just that, as a black man, I don't know why I should give a damn about them. I don't care why they've set themselves up as my enemy. I just know they're my enemy.

    •  Enemy? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mark Mywurtz

      Nice word.  We can never move forward that way.  

      The sequester is the new Republican immigration reform plan. Make things so bad here in the US that no one will want to live here.

      by Mote Dai on Wed Jul 31, 2013 at 01:26:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Do you really think HE is the problem? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mrkvica

        I read that comment twice and I just felt sad.

        Somehow, I doubt that if I invited Plantsmantx out for coffee, he'd truly treat me as an enemy. But yeah, seeing all of us together as his adversary seems like an understandable conclusion, depending on where he's come from and what his experiences have been along the way.

        And that one "nice word" doesn't change reality either way.

        © grover


        So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

        by grover on Wed Jul 31, 2013 at 02:32:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Very hard to say (0+ / 0-)

          It seems a lot of people here would defend this attitude, which is a natural consequence of division on the part of all comers.   As long as it remains popular to divide people into "us" and "them" it will be hard to move forward.  

          Touch all that arises with a spirit of compassion. An activist seeks to change opinion.

          by Mindful Nature on Wed Jul 31, 2013 at 04:47:48 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Who will (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mrkvica, grover

        never "move forward"? Most black people and the enemies of black America? Of course we won't "move forward". That stands to reason. As a younger person who didn't know any better (and even as a not-so-young one who should have known better), I empathized with them despite how they felt about me. I now see that as having been a huge conceit on my part.

        We were the canaries in the coal mine over and over, to no avail. At this point, I'm about ready to say to hell with it. Let them go on deluding themselves about themselves by slapping an exclusively black face on every "social pathology" even as they sink into the quicksand of those very "pathologies". In the meantime, we should forget about becoming "real Americans", concentrate on being the best black Americans we can be, and when they say "It's those blacks", we should just smile, nod, and watch them sink.

    •  As a white woman, single mother-not-by-choice, (4+ / 0-)

      and longtime leftist, I appreciate your reservations.  These people are my enemy too.  They hated the civil rights movement.  They hated peace activists and feminists. They called us "n-lovers" and "sluts" and "dykes" and "unfit parents" and when we suggested that some of our institutions were not really doing the people's work, traitors; they still mainline Fox news and vote republican and now dislike teachers and immigrants and science and .... yeah.

      But their children, you know, like everyone else's children, are innocent.

      I just retired from 30 years of teaching the poor (rural and urban) young.  It was the work that will keep me out of hell, if there's an afterlife.  It is not finished.  

      We can't turn away.

      •  Yes. (0+ / 0-)

        I offer that when these people deal with the 1 percenters, that making lines in the sand to delineate themselves from the "rabble" is an attempt to not give the powers that be, any excuse to abuse them.

        I am not saying this is fair or right or good--I am just pointing this out.

        People assume the poor are immoral or a-moral. So the poor fight back by living or pretending to live their lives at a higher standard than the wealthy.

        It's an act of self preservation--even if it is extremely misguided and a the source of unnecessary ugliness in the world.

        Add to this, clinging to religion in the hopes of an afterlife that is better than this corporeal existence, adhering to what are considered "high moral standards" would be insurance that their misery will not be continued after death.

        Gentlemen, congratulations. You're everything we've come to expect from years of government training (Zed, MIB).

        by GreenMother on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 07:12:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  spend some time in sparsely populated norcal (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mindful Nature

    there you will see enough poor struggling  people of any description and stereotype to last a lifetime.

       These women are heavy, nice stereotype there as well.
    No tip, no rec. from me here,  unusual in one of your diaries.

    This machine kills Fascists.

    by KenBee on Wed Jul 31, 2013 at 01:28:51 PM PDT

  •  Social class...poor is poor... (8+ / 0-)

    I had a black roommate a few years ago that was absolutely shocked to learn that I ate "fried baloney" sandwiches growing up...and that we drank Kool-Aid.  I kid you not.  He said, "but that is a black thing."  I actually laughed aloud and responded, "No, that is a poor thing.  We have much more in common growing up poor than you think.  Many of our experiences are similar, but there are folks that don't want poor people to realize that."

    The sequester is the new Republican immigration reform plan. Make things so bad here in the US that no one will want to live here.

    by Mote Dai on Wed Jul 31, 2013 at 01:33:06 PM PDT

    •  I ate fried baloney sandwiches and drank (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Alexandra Lynch, Plantsmantx

      Kool-Aid because I liked them, not because I was poor.  If that is a sign of poor,  I would hate to see real poor.

      Though far from rich, my parents were always had enough to eat, a car, and a paid-for roof over their heads.

      In the time it took Adam Lanza to reload, eleven children escaped. What if...

      by Sixty Something on Wed Jul 31, 2013 at 02:03:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  yeah, (4+ / 0-)

       Growing up whenever my father was feeling down or depressed, which during parts of the 70's was often, he used to ask my mother to cook his comfort foods, traditional poor southern cuisine.  Had to explain to some folks when I was in the navy, that it wasn't "Soul Food", it was just food.

      "To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." T. Roosevelt

      by Lowgun on Wed Jul 31, 2013 at 02:14:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It hell to be poor in any race (0+ / 0-)

    But why do these poor Whites listen to millionaire talkshow host ,who always emphasize the reason they are poor is because Obama,Obama probably know what is feel like being poor , they make it look like Blacks have it easy under Obama ,Blacks have lost lots of generational wealth  that was built up during the Clinton years

  •  Living among the poor is an eye opener. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NYFM

    I live in a remote town in the NW corner of NM. There is money here in the oilfields and lots of people are employed there. The people that do not work in the oilfields are left to work in low paying service or govt jobs. Here race is not a factor in who lives in poverty as it crosses all racial lines. It has been startling to me to see how people in lower incomes live and get by.

    One thing does stand out in that bad financial decisions bring financial problems. Living in poverty barely making it and going to the Rent A Center to rent furniture, TVs or computers. Going to the payday loan store for a loan. Buying a car you cannot afford from the local car lot and then getting it repossessed when you cannot pay the payment.

    There are plenty of families that believe the mother/wife should stay home with the kids instead of work to help out the family budget. There are plenty of people that fall into this thinking and when the bread winner loses their job the family does not have anything to fall back on. I know of many couples that have too many children to support on one income. This does not make sense to me. Why live hand to mouth when there is an extra person to work even if it is part time.

    Education is not important in fact is viewed as a threat. My co-worker (white) was badly home schooled and not motivated to reach out to get training to do better in life. She will be just getting by all of her life as her husband if she stays with him is a lazy bum. He refuses to work more than part time because he does not have to with a wife that supports him. Her mother (54) quit her job with the county with no prospective job in Jan and has not found a job yet. She did not work while raising the family as the alcoholic husband did not want her to so therefore does not have a lot of experience. They lived in poverty due to his drinking and after divorcing him twice she has nothing and no job. I could go on and on with examples of this nature. It has been hard for me to wrap my mind around it.

    Good education is key to a start to help people learn to make better decisions in their life. It will never be perfect but it is a start.

    •  It can be hard to avoid (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NYFM, poco, LucyTooners

      Having been poor, a lot of these decisions can be hard to avoid.  Sometimes you just get boxed in and the overwhelming thing is the frantic sense of no escape.  

      Touch all that arises with a spirit of compassion. An activist seeks to change opinion.

      by Mindful Nature on Wed Jul 31, 2013 at 04:54:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I see that too. (0+ / 0-)

        It is unfortunate that we live in such a consumption society as poor people want things too. Especially in the younger ones. They want movies, video games and toys that are take a big bite out of the budget. My co-worker will spend hundreds of dollars on these types of things but no money on decent clothes to wear to work. She also has 2 big dogs and 3 cats which I understand wanting pets but whoa these are a lot of mouths to feed. Oh yea and cigarettes. Between her and her husband 3-4 packs a day. Think about it at $6/pack that is at least $20/day. $7k spent in one year to burn? I had suggested she get a prescription for Chantex (sp) to quit as she has expressed a desire to do so. The drug was too expensive so she did not do it. I explained to her - this a one time shot and you are done. But no. Like I said our education system is so lacking that it does not teach problem solving skills to our young people therefore they are more prone to fall into poverty if that is where they come from.

        •  Asdf (0+ / 0-)

          While there is certainly truth to the notion that some people make unwise or suboptimal choices, for me personally I have a hard time blaming people.  Having had to chose between medicine and gas to get to work, my memories are such that I did it hard to blame people.    This isn't to say you aren't right, just that it is a blind spot for me

          Touch all that arises with a spirit of compassion. An activist seeks to change opinion.

          by Mindful Nature on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 09:24:52 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Great diary. Stability is worth more than money (4+ / 0-)

    In some ways. I grew up with used clothes, shared bed, powdered milk etc. but my family was so stable and my parents' income so dependable that it didn't matter too much that others were rich. Sigh, that was a long time ago.

    “liberals are the people who think that cruelty is the worst thing that we do” --Richard Rorty Also, I moved from NYC, so my username is inaccurate.

    by jeff in nyc on Wed Jul 31, 2013 at 02:45:23 PM PDT

    •  my mother used to say she didn't know she was poor (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jeff in nyc

      my grandfather worked throughout the whole Depression.  while they did not have much, they ate everyday and had a roof over their heads and clothes on their backs.  during the Depression this was a big deal, and she saw the people in the neighborhood around her living the same way, so she thought everyone lived that way (the pre-TV era)

      Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
      Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights for support in dealing with grief.

      by TrueBlueMajority on Wed Jul 31, 2013 at 09:11:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  And some here wonder where all the optimism went.. (3+ / 0-)

    It disappeared at exactly the same moment that one cashed in their 401K to pay the bills and started living life one day at a time, trying not to think too much about what life will be like in another 5 years.

    Cause he gets up in the morning, And he goes to work at nine, And he comes back home at five-thirty, Gets the same train every time.

    by Keith930 on Wed Jul 31, 2013 at 02:47:09 PM PDT

  •  I beg to differ (6+ / 0-)
    Poor and working class whites may have much in common with poor and working class people of color. But, their greatest allegiance is doing the work of white racism against their own immediate class interests.
     I am constantly amazed about how stereotypes of brown-skinned people are rightly flamed here, but stereotypes of whites can be thrown around without consequences. Even applauded.
       I never felt the slightest bit defensive about being white in my life until the past couple weeks around DKos. Do you people even know any poor whites?

     As for your point, where do you think communism, anarchism, socialism, labor unionism, and even liberalism comes from? Poor and working class whites.
      Historically it was usually working class whites that battled the police in the streets and were gunned down by company thugs (although minorities also did their share).
       As long as you stereotype poor and working class whites you will never come close to reaching out to this group of people that you share most interests with. And by doing so you are defeated before you even start.

    None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

    by gjohnsit on Wed Jul 31, 2013 at 03:21:35 PM PDT

    •  Good luck (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gjohnsit, Dr Swig Mcjigger

      This shows an actual historical awareness not widely shared here.  Of course, there have also been significant numbers of political and economic elites who opposed these outcomes, but apparently they are "anomalies" and can be ignored.  I am thinking of course of the Henry Fords of FDR or RFK or Carter etc etc etc

      Touch all that arises with a spirit of compassion. An activist seeks to change opinion.

      by Mindful Nature on Wed Jul 31, 2013 at 04:58:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The elites want to keep us divided (5+ / 0-)

        Race has always been the easiest way to do this.

        So when we stereotype another race we are doing their work for them.
          For some reason a lot of minorities at DKos think they are being clever by stereotyping whites. I'm not going to name any names, but I've seen comments like "all whites are racists". And these comments are actually getting rec'd when they should be getting HR'd.
           Others have broken down the discrimination of racism and ethnicity as if they are totally different. Different to who?

         No one benefits from this racist stereotyping. At least no one that isn't part of the ruling elite.
          Working class people have more in common than people in different classes, or different nations. That's just a fact.

        As for Henry Ford, many people don't realize how much of a bastard he was. I refer to this.

        None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

        by gjohnsit on Wed Jul 31, 2013 at 05:18:40 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Indeed (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          gjohnsit

          I have seen such attitudes frequently, even among front pagers, and I am always mystified by them, since I was raised on a notion that negative stereotyping is a bad thing.  I still think that's a good approach, since at the end of the day equality and justice require treating all people with dignity which is difficult to advance by not doing that.  I'm still scratching my head here.   You express things vastly better than I since I always get too testy

          You know, i am not convinced all elites wantto keep ua divided.  Im pretty elite and i actively work to erase divisions through my activism.  I think that people lile Joe Biden or FDR are part of a long strain of people with power who think the statua quo is wrong.  I think a lot of Obamas wealthy donors think the status quo is wrong. Not all people with power use it in the same way. Thanks for the tip about Ford

          Touch all that arises with a spirit of compassion. An activist seeks to change opinion.

          by Mindful Nature on Wed Jul 31, 2013 at 05:43:31 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Until recently... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Oh Mary Oh, Ezekiel in Exile

    I lived in a trailer on a friend's property. I slept there, anyway. I walked several miles to work, and to the gym where I showered. My car broke down, and is not suitable for sleeping in.

    One night on the way back from work, I walked by a home owned by a black family. It was a nice suburban house with a couple of newish cars out front. I overheard the kids who lived there talking to each other as they rushed inside as I approached.

    It was a little hard to make out, but the older one told his younger siblings had warned them to stay away from "the man with the backpack". I usually walked with a backpack to carry my things.

    I imagine that because of my situation, they thought I might be a sex offender or in some other way dangerous.

    You can do whatever you want to us, but we're not going to sit here and listen to you badmouth the United States of America.

    by Eric Stratton on Wed Jul 31, 2013 at 03:24:31 PM PDT

  •  This is the assured result of "free markets." (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mr Stagger Lee, Oh Mary Oh

    Unregulated capitalism is not sustainable. The "invisible hand," if not properly monitored, crushes more than it produces.

    Fully deregulating a robust economy that created a prosperous middle class is assured to transform it into a peasant class beholden to an uncaring aristocracy for its very livelihood.

    Capitalism, if correctly (heavily) regulated is the best system we've found for raising the general standard of living for a population. When unregulated (or minimally regulated), it eats itself.

    Consumers are the true job creators. This has been shown again and again throughout history. Why are we ignoring that and allowing this to happen once again?

    IMHO

    "I guess you think you can psych me out by saying really random stuff." -Sora, Hollow Bastion, KH2

    by SphericalXS on Wed Jul 31, 2013 at 03:39:29 PM PDT

    •  Your religion is showing: (0+ / 0-)

      "Capitalism, if correctly (heavily) regulated is the best system we've found for raising the general standard of living for a population."

      This is the sort of unproven statement that smacks of religious belief more than factual observation. Ilargi has a nice post on Naked Capitalism today that speaks directly to it:

      Now we’re getting somewhere. Capitalism has nice traits, but it also has a built-in self-destruction mechanism: the demand for never ending growth. And that wouldn’t be so bad, if that mechanism didn’t also spell destruction for much of the planet is has been unleashed on....

      “Capitalism doesn’t function when it starts to contract“, as Tompkins puts it, is not even so much contested as it is flatly denied these days.

      Regulating Capitalism never works in the long term.  It's like putting a serial killer under house arrest.
      •  I don't believe that's true. (0+ / 0-)

        I am not spouting religion. I believe we have enough historical data to support my contention.

        And, I don't believe it conflicts in any way with the post you referenced. I only spoke to capitalism's ability to raise a standard of living. Whether we should use it to do so is another completely separate issue.

        The ecological destruction of our only home (Earth) is a two headed beast, and regulated capitalism with it's continuously rising standard of living (hence, increased depredation of resources) is, in my opinion, the smaller of the two heads. Our continuously rising population is the bigger culprit, and a much thornier issue to address.

        "Regulating Capitalism never works in the long term.  It's like putting a serial killer under house arrest."

        There may be some truth in this. However, we don't ignore murder just because we can't ever stop it completely. What are our options?

        "I guess you think you can psych me out by saying really random stuff." -Sora, Hollow Bastion, KH2

        by SphericalXS on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 09:34:47 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  So many of my friends (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NYFM, Cassandra Waites, Oh Mary Oh

    - while they are not quite this bad off, are in the sad sad situation of having to move back home because they cannot find a job (even with BAs and master's degrees) and have no other options.    These are the "missing households" that NPR was talking about a few days ago.  They should be getting married, having children, and starting to build a nest egg.  Instead, they're living with their parents and trying to scrape together enough cash to get out from part time jobs.

    I got damn lucky.  My master's degree landed me a cushy job with a fat salary a month and a half after graduation, a situation that has made some of those friends not quite so friendly with me lately.  (I majored in business IT, a wise decision.)

    Unfortunately,  I still have $37,000 worth of loans to deal with, and if I'm lucky, I can put forward an aggressive plan to get those paid off in the next three years.   That's three years of not being able to buy a new car, or help out with the house payments (husband still taking care of that), or really do all that much to improve my retirement savings beyond the 401(k) I've just started and the company pension.

    Last generation, folks started their families and began their careers long before age 26.  The millennials are going to be a decade behind.

    The Cake is a lie. In Pie there is Truth. ~ Fordmandalay

    by catwho on Wed Jul 31, 2013 at 03:59:38 PM PDT

  •  The biggest take-away for me (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, NYFM, Oh Mary Oh

    from this excellent diary is the way the white working poor continue to support the very people who plunged them into poverty, because they cannot make common cause over issues of class because race gets in the way.

    I know an administrative worker who left a non-profit in the city partially because he felt culturally out of step (he's a conservative; the non-profit has a very left-progressive ethos), and because his wife who also worked for the organization was assaulted by a mentally ill program participant, who (I think) was black. He moved back to a mid-sized conservative city and now has ended up back in a tiny all-white "sundowner" style town, with few chances for employment and facing real poverty. He's not your standard-issue meth freak in a trailer park.  But it is very sad; he gets upset about "liberal" propaganda, feels that he is deserving but impoverished because of "government redistribution" and "excessive regulation".

    He's this generation's equivalent of my own mom - who, as an unemployed single parent in the 1960's, listened to William F Buckley and refused public assistance because "black people got welfare", even though we really needed the help. Idiotic. White identity and resentment trumps everything.  And now this particular person in Indiana sticks to his conservative psychosis even as he drifts deeper into dead-end rural poverty. He will vote against his own interests, and support precisely the same people who consider him a resource to be exploited and don't give a shit whether he commits suicide except to mourn the loss of a tea-party vote. It's identity, pure and simple. He's white, this shouldn't be happening, and it's easier to blame black folks and Democrats than blame the structural inequality of this nation. I abhor the guy's politics - but I do know him personally, and it really does make me sad.  He shouldn't be suffering like this, but he is. I well understand that racism hurts people of color more than low income whites, but this guy is genuinely suffering and his attachment to his own identity has a lot to do with it. I so wish we could get beyond all this bullsh!t for his sake, and everyone else's.

    “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” Charles Darwin

    by ivorybill on Wed Jul 31, 2013 at 04:08:11 PM PDT

  •  I guess my White Gaze is broken. (4+ / 0-)
    A photo of a white man wearing a suit and walking down Wall Street in New York will be seen by the White Gaze as representing a "respectable" person and a "hard worker" living the "American Dream."
    I would think "I wonder who that guy is ripping of today? And why is he wearing that stupid outfit?"

    I'm not even joking. I assume that white guys in suits are mostly finding ways to get money without making any contribution to society.

    And I'm a white guy.

    It turns out that the skill set required to get elected is completely different than the skill set required to effectively govern.

    by VictorLaszlo on Wed Jul 31, 2013 at 04:18:21 PM PDT

  •  Martin Luther King Jr. spent his last year... (5+ / 0-)

    trying very hard to get America to understand economic justice, and to recognize that poor/middle class whites had a lot more in common with the descendents of slaves than they did with millionaires and CEO's. The truly revolutionary nature of the message had a lot to do with why King was increasingly ignored by Our Craven Corporate Media™ in his last year.

    The concepts of universal economic justice and class consciousness are more threatening to the American oligarchy than racial injustice and civil rights. That's precisely why they are essentially invisible in public discourse.

  •  Fuck poor white people; they vote their (0+ / 0-)

    Bigotry.

    nosotros no somos estúpidos

    by a2nite on Wed Jul 31, 2013 at 04:52:57 PM PDT

  •  I Think Indifference Is More the Norm (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mindful Nature, Oh Mary Oh

    The "gaze" of any hue looks right through you.

    From a different context, but the words ring true --

    “I learned that the world didn't see the inside of you, that it didn't care a whit about the hopes and dreams, and sorrows that lay masked by skin and bone. It was as simple, as absurd, and as cruel as that.”
    ― Khaled Hosseini, And the Mountains Echoed

    "Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything even remotely true." -- H. Simpson

    by midnight lurker on Wed Jul 31, 2013 at 06:11:58 PM PDT

  •  Trader Joe's (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    manyamile, poco

    has the lowest prices for refried beans that my wife can eat and the cheapest coffee in the area.

    Just sayin'.

  •  Psst: All you other "middle class" white folks (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    atana, Ezekiel in Exile, mntleo2

    Guess what -- it is very near the time when they -- the one tenth of one percent -- don't even need us anymore. So far we have been tools to prop up the elite. We hold jobs designed to keep us from creating social change, hung by the golden noose of our paychecks. They have paid us, whether public sector or private, to be the barrier between them and the rest of society. Well, that function is close to being no longer needed. Only the militarized riot police will be left standing, the rest of us will be shuffled off into the ranks of those against whom we have been the bulwark. I become more convinced every day that we have truly entered an end game. One in which we have already been checkmated, we're just to dumb to notice.

  •  Honey Boo Boo makes more per episode (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    WakeUpNeo, a2nite

    than I make in a year

    i' have so far avoided seeing the show but Colbert assures me that a dolla makes her holla so she's hollering all the way to the bank while I need to eat beans and rice at the end of the month.

    Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
    Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights for support in dealing with grief.

    by TrueBlueMajority on Wed Jul 31, 2013 at 09:00:14 PM PDT

  •  This is because poverty is an INSTITUTION (0+ / 0-)

    ...it is not a "choice" like so many people think it is. Let me explain: the reason why so many "nouveau poor" are shocked is that they discover that suddenly they are "members" of this institution, which is there to exploit them and use them for the upper class benefit and profit. it is important to note that these "nouveau poor"  are only coming on board to poverty when there are millions who have been there for decades suffering under the same conditions.

    See, while it is illegal to discriminate against people in certain groups, it is not illegal to discriminate against anyone who is poor.  This is supposedly perfectly fine. But it is what poverty encompasses that is the issue here.  Here is a definition of institution from Websters dictionary:

    institution: [in-sti-too-shuhn, -tyoo-]
    noun
    a well-established and structured pattern of behavior or of relationships that is accepted as a fundamental part of a culture, as marriage: the institution of the family.

    any established law, custom, etc."

    The Institution of Poverty is based on racism, sexism (including LGBT), ageism, classism,and disabilities.  People in poverty are far from a burden for the upper classes as it is often perceived, poverty is the very basis for the rest of society who depend upon the poor in order to keep their own status/class. However, the way these classes shirk the responsibility they all share in keeping this institution alive, is by denying their part in this institution using hatred for the poor and blaming the poor for their "choice" to live within those conditions.  

    Hatred of the poor is a way to group ALL those "isms" into one big package so they can pretend they hate that person of color because they are poor, not because they are of color! Unfortunately this now includes many more whites who are caught within the web of this institution because they also fall under the conditions and stereotypes imposed on their brothers and sisters in poverty..

    And by "hatred" here, this is not often something that is all people in sheets. It is benign and submerged in ways that may even seem "charitable" but is in reality is a way of keeping power over others and keeping them "in their place".

    Whites who have experienced poverty are now just grouped in with all those "isms".  For instance, more whites are on welfare than any other race. Yet whenever you see any depictions of anyone on welfare, you will see a black face, you seldom see any white ones. In this way it will subtly impose on the white person that they are now "one of those". By pretending that poverty is a "choice" instead of the embedded institution it is, this way this person can be deemed as "choosing" to be poor, which includes those of color, any gender, any person who is disabled, any person who has had the nerve to become elderly.

    While able bodied whites can escape poverty more readily than anyone else, it is still no picnic due to their class, which is the institution ingrained into our society, grouping all those other "isms" within it.  The sad thing is rather than understanding this is an institution, the tiny sliver of the economic pie that is left to ALL poor is all any person in poverty has to obtain. It then becomes a battleground where instead of looking to the rest of the pie, they buy the hype that somehow this is all they deserve. They all fight each other for that tiny sliver instead of standing together. They allow themselves to be blamed for their "choice" when in fact being in poverty is not a choice, it is an institution.  

    I could go on all day about how poverty is institutionalized in this country, that is another conversation. But I will try to break it down to saying that the upper classes depend on the poor in many ways. They depend on the poor for cheap (and sometimes even slave) labor. They use the poor for their mega-nonprofits who give them "tax breaks" for their "charitable giving". It is no small thing that when there is discussion about taxing the upper class that "charitable giving" is usually 2nd on the list for the reason not to impose it. Instead of getting those generous tax breaks, the poor pay the highest rate of taxes than any other class in every single state. Check out your state here: http://www.itep.org/....

    The poor are depended upon to do all the heavy lifting in order for the upper classes not to do it such as with care giving. According to the AARP if we were to pay for all the unpaid care giving it would cost over $450 BILLION dollars per year. Women lose on the average of over $400,000 performing unpaid labor over a work life time. The greatest proportion of people in poverty are women. This is because they are not only caring for their children raising the next generation to care for us, they also care for their elders and spouses as well. Each time they have to make the agonizing decisions whether to work for a wage or for the 24/7 care of a loved one. http://www.aarp.org/....

    It would cost $Trillions to replace this unpaid work yet in Welfare Reform, they codified into law that all this work is "doing nothing".  Indeed most of these caregivers are expected to live off their loved one's income if they cannot work for a wage while caring for that loved one.  Social Security calls all this work "zero years" meaning that the laborer does not merit a single cent for saving the community from footing the bill with subsidizing paid care that is being replaced by the 24/7 unpaid work these workers do. They get no pay, no medical benefits, no sick leave, no vacation not a single dime for saving all this tax money.

    One of the biggest homeless populations I see are with well educated, middle aged white women who have performed this unpaid work only to find themselves on the street. They are too young and have no dependents to qualify for any assistance and yet too old and "inexperienced" for anyone to hire them. There is nothing for them after spending their years raising their children, then caring for their elders and/or spouse who has died using up all the resources, and so there is nothing left for them, not even a Social Security check because they are not disabled enough and they will never qualify for a pension (that has been taken away from their spouse by the rich CEO who decided to take the pension fund for themselves for their 2nd vacation home when their company is on the rocks).

    These women are the ones that the upper classes depend upon while not paying for it ~ and most of this labor paid or unpaid come from the poor.

    So the point I am making is that when the Institution of Poverty is ensconced within a society and yet is unseen and not properly dealt with, poverty can then become the way to be racist, sexist, ageist, and discriminatory against the disabled. Then it can be denied that any one of those "isms" are the reason for the discriminations ~ the person is poor and they "chose" to be that way. By including whites within those "isms" is a way to pretend, "See? I did not hate that person because they are African American, I hate ALL people in poverty!"

    I am not saying that race is not an issue within poverty, it is as is the other "isms". I am saying that by stigmatizing ALL people in poverty is a way to cover ALL of these "isms" into one place. The overweight person who is in actuality overweight because they have been malnourished, is a prime example of what I am talking about.  Call them "fat" and discredit any other quality they have, shoving them into the margins and blame them for being so, while expecting that person to work for nothing, be a laughing stock for others to point and jeer at while refusing to allow them to do anything about it with decent wages, any opportunities to advance so they can eat better is one of the ways to take all these "isms" to the next level (and thank YEW you SOBs with the Farm Bill)!  Whites who are poor are just swept along with it and put in the same categories.

    As an advocate for the poor, one of the most annoying things I hear is the surprise and shock at terrible treatment that is experienced by the middle class who have fallen into poverty. They say, "B-b-b-b-u-t I worked so harrrrd! I did all the right things! I got married, I went to church, I paid my taxes.  I am not a drunk or a drug addict like "those others"!

    Like the poor who have been there haven't done all these things too? Most have worked their asses off no matter what "isms" they are, but are grouped into one slimy ball within the Institution of Poverty and then swept under the rug. There is more alcoholism and drug addictions within the upper classes but you would not think it when the neighborhoods where the poor can afford housing (IF they can afford it at all) are swarming with police patrolling and watching for any infraction, while ignoring the gated communities where this abuse is rampant behind those curtained picture windows.  

    As a white woman myself who had a racially blended family, who experienced a few of these 'isms" that I witnessed, I can say I forgive the white middle class for their ignorance. But those who fall into poverty would never have to go through the trauma as badly if they but understood that they themselves participated and believed myths about the poor that are not the true. That they themselves prepared a situation that could be overcome if they but forgot all those "isms" and realized we are all in this together.

    There are so many good people who are poor struggling to make ends meet depending every day on miracles. I go to meetings with those beautiful people whose roots are from all over the world; white, Hispanic, Asian, African. Arabian, Eastern European. We all know we have something in common besides our poverty ~ we all know that while some of us may be treated differently, we are all in this together with the struggle to simply get enough to eat. This ignorance that pretends we are all being treated equally is WHY a prophet once said, "It is harder for the rich to enter through the gates of heaven than for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle!"  

    If whites of any class had any sense they would understand and begin the fight against poverty because poverty, which encompasses racism, affects everyone in so many ways. Not only could they become one of those "isms" at any time themselves, even if they don't, they will pay with more sickness, more ignorance, more crime, even affecting the ones who they can pay to care for them when they can no longer care for themselves.

    First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they hurt you, then you win ~ Mahatma Gandhi

    by mntleo2 on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 10:43:46 AM PDT

  •  I used to be... (0+ / 0-)

    Middle Class, a working professional, actually considered part of the "professional class". I was ejected from Corporate America in the regional recession immediately following 9/11 I in NYC. Now self employed, I still do essentially the same work as a Graphic and Web Dsigner, but my income, clawing back to near-middle class numbers till 2007, has been essentially flat since the Great Rcession has kicked in. Just like most working Americans, who are not Congresspersons, Lobbyists, CEO's or Hedge Fund Managers. With the SAME INCOME, I am now a member of the Working Poor.

    Dignity.

    We're in the process of pulling up stakes from the NYC region to hammer down our overhead, so I don't have to price my services out of my market so I can buy food, clothes and keep a roof over.

    Dignity...  Banzai.

    What th' heck do I know, I work for a living...

    by SamuraiArtGuy on Sat Aug 03, 2013 at 01:08:45 PM PDT

  •  um 'Trader Joes' ??? (0+ / 0-)

    The one here in Madison is really expensive. I wouldn't shop there, with or without a snap card. Target has some good deals, but I'm lucky, I've got 5 grocery store choices,
    2 downtown, & 3 out by mom's place. (I'm her driver).
    I think it's funny that corporate power wants to demonize the poor, while making them so. And now, thru ALEC they want to kill off poor women, children, & ARM everyone at the same time. uh, wait a minute, they want to arm everyone who can AFFORD a gun, & a permit. yeah.
    It looks to me like the rabid right/corporate machine is trying to gin-up a crises, then they can maybe go for ALL the marbles. Greedy bastards...

  •  a bit off point: Trader Joe's can be as cheap as (0+ / 0-)

    regular market. Especially if you are single...because the cheapest way to buy things is in bulk but there is more of a limit to that if you live alone especially in a small apartment. Bulk would be cheapest if you are on Food stamps or a tight budget, but baring that TJ can compete. I know prices so only buy things that cost the same or less than in a regular market...I have staples that I can only get at TJ. Some of TJ stuff is healthier as well...lots of100% whole wheat breads/English muffins etc pretty cheap.

    Also at Trader Joe's their employees are much more helpful. I'm disabled but can't use a wheelchair and shopping and especially standing in line is bad for my injuries and hurts me. At TJ's they will actually shop for me and wait in line for me so I don't have to be on my feet. I just go there when they aren't too busy and ask for help at the desk, give them a list, and wait sitting on a chair.

    It took me a year to get up my nerve to ask. I saw them going around the market with a blind woman, shopping with her, so I finally did ask.

    Regular supermarket, no way. And in TJ the employees tend to be engaged and helpful. I've heard TJ treats its employees well-that they are well paid and get health insurance even if part time. Maybe that is why the attract good people to work there.

    (no affiliation with Trader Joes, just a fan.)

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