- Sep 2022
One reason for this is that poverty is not something that people wish to ac-knowledge or draw attention to. Rather, it is something that individuals andfamilies would like to go away. As a result, many Americans attempt to concealtheir economic difficulties as much as possible.22 This often involves keeping upappearances and trying to maintain a “normal” lifestyle. Such poverty downthe block may at first appear invisible. Nevertheless, the reach of poverty iswidespread, touching nearly all communities across America.
Middle Americans, and particularly those in suburbia and rural parts of America that account for the majority of poverty in the country, tend to make their poverty invisible because of the toxic effects of extreme capitalism and keeping up appearances.
Has this effect risen with the rise of social media platforms like Instagram and the idea of "living one's best life"? How about the social effects of television with shows like "Keeping up with the Kardashians" which encourage conspicuous consumption?
More interesting is the fact that most of these suburban and rural poverty stricken portions of the country are in predominantly Republican held strongholds.
Is there a feedback mechanism that is not only hollowing these areas out, but keeping them in poverty?
- Jul 2021
‘Don’t get fooled by those mangled teeth she sports on camera!’ says the ABC News host introducing the woman who plays Pennsatucky. ‘Taryn Manning is one beautiful and talented actress.’ This suggestion that bad teeth and talent, in particular, are mutually exclusive betrays our broad, unexamined bigotry toward those long known, tellingly, as ‘white trash.’ It’s become less acceptable in recent decades to make racist or sexist statements, but blatant classism generally goes unchecked. See the hugely successful blog People of Walmart that, through submitted photographs, viciously ridicules people who look like contemporary US poverty: the elastic waistbands and jutting stomachs of diabetic obesity, the wheelchairs and oxygen tanks of gout and emphysema. Upper-class supremacy is nothing new. A hundred years ago, the US Eugenics Records Office not only targeted racial minorities but ‘sought to demonstrate scientifically that large numbers of rural poor whites were genetic defectives,’ as the sociologist Matt Wray explains in his book Not Quite White: White Trash and the Boundaries of Whiteness (2006). The historian and civil rights activist W E B du Bois, an African American, wrote in his autobiography Dusk of Dawn (1940) that, growing up in Massachusetts in the 1870s, ‘the racial angle was more clearly defined against the Irish than against me. It was a matter of income and ancestry more than colour.’ Martin Luther King, Jr made similar observations and was organising a poor-people’s march on Washington at the time of his murder in 1968.
examples of upper-class supremacy
This seems an interesting sociological issue. What is the root cause? Is it the economic sense of "keeping up with the Jonses"? Is it a zero-sum game? really?