I have seen enough of these posts, and others like them, plastered all over Facebook to last me a lifetime. They represent a way of thinking about the poor that is not only classist but often ignores the realities of nuance and the institutional failures that create cycles of poverty.
I will never like such memes! The reality is that the poor didn’t choose to be poor, and often the issue is not their laziness. Many do not have the opportunities that middle and upper class citizens had to achieve financial, career, or personal success. Yes some have “beaten the odds” and made their way out of poverty to become very successful, but such individuals are not the norm. And to suggest that because a few do it that everyone should be able to do it is at best naive.
Are there people who abuse the system? Yes, of course. But that can be just as easily attributed to a faulty system as it can be to individual failures. Are there people who are lazy and self-indulgent? Yes. And there are also self-righteous middle-class people who look down their nose at those with less than them. The truth is, it’s too easy to be a classist when you don’t know, spend time with, or have never been poor.
There are many, and mixed, causes of poverty. Obviously personal decisions play a part in that. But there are also cultural and institutional causes behind poverty, and especially cycles of poverty. It is naive to assume that everyone who is poor is simply lazy and or ethically dubious. When we plaster memes like this all over Facebook not only are we painting with a broad brush, but we are perpetuating the worst stereotypes about the poor. Christians, above all, should be better than this.
Just have you have painted the middle class with a broad brush stroke without knowing all the nuances behind such posts.
Some still have compassion but choose to be a little more judging about where their money and hearts go. Seen too much of it and become a little jaded in four years of working the VERY flawed system.
I’m glad somebody finally said this. Just the other night my wife was talking to me about the same thing. Good post, Dave.