Contempt for the poor who get public aid

This is not one of those “other people suck but I am so wonderful by comparison” posts. I am talking about an attitude that I am prone to as well.

This post stems from seeing public reaction of the Baltimore riots, listening to people talk about the anti-poverty activities that they are involved in, discussing family situations and the like.
This is not a discussion about police actions; clearly there is a problem there.

This post is more about my reactions to hearing about the poor.

Example: someone told me that a principal at a low income school found that some of her students didn’t have warm winter coats (we live in Illinois, where the winters are very cold). So she called up a local Rotary club, which provided some. Yes, that was a good thing, but I felt anger toward the parents of those kids.

I feel the same way when someone says that they are outraged about child poverty and child hunger in the US: isn’t it PARENTAL responsibility to feed and clothe the kids?
Anger and contempt for these “parents” wells up in me.

Look at the biological mothers who have multiple kids (often via many different men) and think it is someone else’s job to provide for them:

Yes, these are individual examples, and I know that the question of “who uses welfare: chronic users or short time users” is a question which answer depends on how the question is framed: “at any given time, are they more chronic users than one time users” versus “of all who have ever used it, are there more chronic users or one time users”.

But this phenomenon of poor men having kids via multiple women is a real one, as even this “poor people friendly, liberal slanted” article admits:

Edin sees in these obstacles to full-time fatherhood a partial explanation for what’s known as “multiple-partner fertility.” Among low-income, unwed parents, having children with more than one partner is now the norm. One long-running study found that in nearly 60 percent of the unwed couples who had a baby, at least one parent already had a child with another partner.

Multiple-partner fertility is a formula for unstable families, and it’s really bad for children, which Edin acknowledges in the book. But rather than view “serial dads” as simply irresponsible, Edin suggests that they suffer from unrequited “father thirst,” the desire for the intense experience of being a full-time dad. Consciously or not, they keep trying until they finally sort of get it right, usually with the youngest child, to whom they devote most of their resources at the expense of the older ones.

Note the psychobabble employed to excuse the actions of these irresponsible men.

I should point out that the contempt is not an attitude exclusive to white conservatives. Read what Snoop Dogg (a black rap artist) had to say when he was defending his song lyrics when they were compared to what Don Imus said on television:

Snoop Dogg has issued a new warning: Don’t dare to compare his lyrics — or any other MC’s — to syndicated radio host Don Imus’ recent racially inflammatory comments about the black women on the Rutgers University women’s basketball team. Imus called them “nappy-headed ho’s,” among other insults.

Admittedly, Snoop and some of his peers have called women “bitches” and “ho’s” in their lyrics, but as the Dogg put it Tuesday afternoon (April 10), there is no parallel to what Imus said.

“It’s a completely different scenario,” said Snoop, barking over the phone from a hotel room in L.A. “[Rappers] are not talking about no collegiate basketball girls who have made it to the next level in education and sports. We’re talking about ho’s that’s in the ’hood that ain’t doing shit,…

And yeah, I feel that attitude too. I wonder why someone who is poor is also..well…fat, a smoker and making kids that they have no hope of being able to afford to raise properly.

Now as to causes, well, this post really isn’t about that. You have the conservative side that blames crappy morals and bad attitudes, and yes, even among the white poor.

On the other hand, the data suggests that, statistically speaking, social pathology follows joblessness and poverty and not the other way around and that, well, poverty itself leads to bad decision making.

But that isn’t always the reason.

That reminds me of what I saw recently. Many years ago, a brother and sister were left with an equal inheritance (low 6 figures). Both siblings had educational opportunities growing up; in fact both have masters degrees. But the life paths diverged. The “reasonably well off” one still has her money. I had predicted that the “perpetually in need” person would lose it all in 2 years time. Instead…he lost it in UNDER SIX MONTHS.

So, in some cases, stupidity plays a role in ending up poor to begin with. People indeed piss away opportunities.

And lottery winners frequently lose it all (70 percent do!)

Of course, the lottery is a poor risk to begin with…

So, what is this all about?

For me: it is probably fear. I know that I am….perhaps, one lay-off or one untimely illness/accident from being just like that. I’d like to think that I controlled ALL (or most) aspects of my life and don’t want to think that much of it was merely good fortune.


May 8, 2015 - Posted by | Personal Issues, poverty, social/political |

1 Comment »

  1. […] But who in the heck really fact-checks their own candidate? The more important thing is that the candidate makes the followers feel welcome and that the candidate appears to share the resentments that their followers share. […]

    Pingback by Donald Trump: much more politically savvy that many think. « blueollie | November 23, 2015 | Reply

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