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Even During Pandemic Poverty Is Your Own Fault
Something I’ve noticed from recent comments and commentary is that even during a global COVID-19 pandemic people living in and experiencing poverty are vilified, demonized, and seen as the lowest common denominator of our capitalist society. At a time when rich white leaders of big business are co-opting the billions set aside for small business, the airline and hospitality industries are receiving massive bailouts, poor people are gaslit and told that their unemployment and loss of income is their own fault. Of course, we have to acknowledge that those who experience the most significant levels of generational poverty and are more often than not the lowest wage earned essential workers are BlPOC (Black, Indigenous People of Color) and immigrants.
If there was nothing more clear about this pandemic it’s that poverty will always be seen as a personal moral failure, an inability to pull oneself by their bootstraps, and a lack of will to do better.
The viewpoints that are most striking are the condescending takes from lower middle class and middle class folks that are legitimately angry at the people receiving unemployment benefits. This despite the fact that most of us have not been able to tap into this earned benefit because of largely inefficient antiquated servers and websites that were designed to fail.
The restaurant workers, servers, housekeepers, janitors and many other low wage staffers that were put out of work literally from no fault of their own are routinely called everything but a child of god for receiving the penance that is the state/federal unemployment benefit. A benefit that anyone that receives a paycheck has paid into for years and earned. Whats more ironic is that most of the vitriol is from other poor and lower middle class people. Capitalism has so brainwashed the masses that many people instead of calling out an inequitable corrupt system that rewards the corrupt rich would rather direct their energy to disparaging the poor even when this mindset works against the best interest of everyone that isn’t the one percent. If there was nothing more clear about this pandemic it’s that poverty will always be seen as a personal moral failure, an inability to pull oneself by their bootstraps, and a lack of will to do better.
The pandemic is highlighting the deep seated hatred and disdain that our neighbors; our fellow community members have for the havenots and instead of calling out a woefully corrupt system most double down on their hate for the individual.
About Calvin Eaton
(he/his/him) Calvin Eaton is a community educator, content creator, and social entrepreneur, whose area of expertise includes antiracism education, instructional design, and program development. In 2016 Mr. Eaton founded 540WMain a non-profit online and community-based organization for accessible education and events that promote justice for all.
Throughout the month of June, 540WMain will celebrate 4 years of community enrichment. In just four years the organization has become a pillar in the Susan B. Anthony neighborhood and a convener and curator of important and vital community conversations, classes, and programs. Your financial support helps us scale up this work in 2020 and beyond with a year long fundraising goal of $40,000