Tuesday, October 31, 2017

[NJFAC] If You’ve Never Lived In Poverty, Stop Telling Poor People What They Should Do

If You've Never Lived In Poverty, Stop Telling Poor People What They Should Do, Olsen, Everyday Feminism 7/17

The Most Common Advice Doesn't Add Up

The over-simplification of poverty is often apparent in the advice that gets disseminated by people who have money and companies who make money off of other people's financial predicaments.

Earlier this yearan infographic circled around which underscored this fact. Created by a company called InvestmentZen, the infographic showed how to "build wealth on the minimum wage."

Aside from the fact that it contained numerous logistical issues – it used the federal minimum wage, which isn't accurate in most states, either because their wage is higher or lower due to tip-crediting – the graphic also seemed to be concerned about moralizing the decisions of poor people and less about actually helping anyone.

Advice from the graphic included "learning skills on YouTube," only eating in-season produce, and remembering that "the best things in life are free."

"You can make excuses, or you can do something about it," the graphic chided. "It's your choice to make."

Twitter instantly took it to task; the response was so heated that it eventually led one of the men responsible for circulating to issue a retraction, calling many of the criticisms "fair."

I suspect that the graphic was so easily mocked because the advice it selected was familiar. Despite the myriad systemic reasons that many people live in poverty, there are a handful of "tips" that well-meaning (most of the time) folks recycle with alarming regularity.

Move somewhere cheaper. Buy in bulk. Get rid of your car. Get a roommate. Eat out less.


June Zaccone
National Jobs for All Coalition

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