Monday, July 29, 2013

The shame of being poor

I believe this is an education issue that is not often talked about, or usually just ignored.
There are some frightening statistics about poverty in this country, let alone in the world. Some recent studies show that 80% of the U.S population will at some point experience severe financial hardship. For those who work, we often live paycheck to paycheck; it can be a fine line between having a home and being homeless, especially if you have no family support.
There are a lot of pundits out there who feel that “the poor are the reason the country is not doing well”, we have heard politicians refer to “the welfare state” and attempting to insult each other by calling the other “a welfare supporter”.  
 Being poor continues to be a “political football” (hate that cliché), with those who need the help being kicked.
If you are poor, you have to pay a higher interest rate on everything, a you get ripped off on these payday loans, nutritious food is more expensive than fast food, etc. You become just a number not a name. Do you know that some banks will freeze your debit card if you are late on a car loan, even if you are within the grace period of the loan? That means even if you have some money in your account you cannot use your own money to get gas, by groceries, etc. You have to go into the branch to get the cash. Of course, while you are there, the bank employees will tell you quite publicly that you are late on your loan, even though rent might be the priority for you that day. Juggling bills becomes a skill.
Meanwhile, banks, bankers, and financiers get the best interest rates, loan forgiveness and they are the ones who cause our latest financial crisis! Yes, we know people bought houses that they could not afford, but who gave them those loans? Who made money off the foreclosures and continue to make money off the foreclosures? I assure you not the poor.
There are those who could qualify for all kinds of public assistance, but because of the shame involved in applying for it they never do it. Have you ever been to a public assistance office? There are a lot of good people there, ashamed to be seen and they are just praying no one recognizes them, even though they have done nothing wrong. I guarantee you the majority of those folks who are on some kind of public assistance are just counting the days until they can get off it. Most people do not want handouts, contrary to popular belief, and you would be surprised how many educated folks need them as well.
Nobody asks to go through financial hard times, and when they do, the last thing they want or need is to be told that THEY SUCK, just because they are poor.
Educate yourself about this topic, have some compassion, show support and do not shame people for being poor, because one day it could be you on the receiving end.
Dr Flavius A B Akerele III
The ETeam

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