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Poverty List & Privilege List. - where working class & poor women kick ass. [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
where working class & poor women kick ass.

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Poverty List & Privilege List. [Jul. 5th, 2006|08:40 am]
where working class & poor women kick ass.

Being Poor Is...
Being poor is relying on people who don't give a damn about you.
Being poor is people angry at you just for walking around in the mall.
Being poor is people surprised to discover you're not actually stupid.
Being poor is people surprised to discover you're not actually lazy. (read more...)

Being Privileged Is...
Being privileged is running the air conditioner while you're out so your place is cool when you get back.
Being privileged is worrying about the time it will take rather than the money it will cost to fix your broken refrigerator.
Being privileged is moving to a low-income neighborhood and making the property values go up so your neighbors can't afford their taxes.
Being privileged is introducing yourself at parties by talking about your career. (read more...)

The first list by John Scalzi appeared in the wake of the initial Katrina devastation. It is worthwhile reading some of the comments, especially the later ones. Lots of great comments by people who are poor, & by those who, while not poor, get the role classism plays--especially combined with racism & sexism--in institutionalizing poverty. Also lots of comments that illuminate the kinds of rationalizations people use to obscure & deny classism, poverty & structural unfairness(ie focus on the "character" of poor people as the source of their problem (victim-blaming) & claims about the "American Dream" being available to anyone who wants it. Fair warning, this is a specifically North American discussion of poverty & Scalzi has not put it into a context of poverty elsewhere in the world.

The second list began as a result of Scalzi's work. It is not so well organized, but again the comments are worth looking at. I'll add more comments below later.

Thoughts or comments?

xposted to womanandpoverty, johnnydtractive (& maybe later, feminist)

(Deleted comment)
From: johnnydtractive
2006-07-06 01:08 pm (UTC)

deleted & reposted...

Being poor means making decisions like "is stealing food a sin" outside of an ethics class.

Being poor is understanding that the lowest, poorest, starvingest time of the month for anyone on public assistance is exactly when Katrina hit.

Re your comment:
I've thought a lot about how urban geography, public space & class intersect. My community in Ottawa is being gentrified at a nightmare pace--condos where there used to be greenspace, expensive cars idling in jammed traffic where there used to be neighbourhood. I hate it, but I can't afford--timewise or financially--to leave my apartment right now. There's a mens shelter left in the 'hood, just around the corner, & it's now squeezed between highrises full of halfmilliondollar condos. The cops park right outside the shelter--the men have to vacate during daylight hours, so they're stuck out on the street, scrutinized & monitored & disdained & laughed at &...bleh. geography & poverty.

I liked the lists because they named so many of my feelings & experiences. Things that rarely if ever break the surface of the evening news or even the to do lists of my local politicians.

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(Deleted comment)
From: johnnydtractive
2006-07-06 02:29 pm (UTC)

Re: deleted & reposted...

Neat turn! How come no one's being handcuffed for stealing this neighbourhood?!?! :) It's amazing how flexible the word "theft" turns out to be when the people who consistently get to define it are the ones who have economic privilege. Here in northamerica--the land under our feet has been stolen. "MY" neighbourhood belonged to first nations people about 300 years ago. Push came to shove. Just like push is coming to shove today.

Have you read "Hoochie Mama" by Erika Lopez? Amazing novel. She chronicles lesbianity, poverty, racism, america, gentrification, love, creativity, motorbike roadtrips & just sets it on fire (with illustrations, no less!). It's hard to get hold off but worth the read.

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