… Let’s talk about poverty. Or rather, what poor people deserve.
The minute you start talking about charity (money, gov’t subsidies, church donations, handouts etc.) for the poor an amazing thing happens.
People immediately start to critique the poor’s worthiness.
“But people on welfare have TV’s, so they don’t deserve food!”
It would seem that poor people deserve no common comforts and should be punished with an utterly barren life.
Or new blouses. Poor women don’t deserve pretty frocks or nice blouses.
Once I was forced to ask an employer for a payday advance due to an unexpected family emergency. I went to him asking a favor he could rightly refuse. I was expecting nothing yet desperate enough to ask.
For six years I worked for him and this was the first and only time a request of this nature was made. He didn’t have to say yes, he’d help me, but he did.
He also didn’t have to comment that I needed to learn to save money or note that I was wearing a new blouse, but he did.
Never mind the “new” blouse was actually a hand me down or the idea of a savings was laughable making barely over minimum wage. He was in a position to help me, which entitled him to lecture me for being poor.
And so what if I was wearing a new blouse? Would he have appreciated it more if I showed up to work looking homeless?
How dare a poor person have the audacity to wear a new blouse and look *gasp* not poor! Does being poor make you undeserving of nice clothes and is having dignity reserved for just the well off?
I learned a lot about charity and human dignity from that humiliating experience.
How many of us do the very same thing every time we see a hand out being given?
Do we think, “look at her nice shoes”, “look at the car she drives”, and “are those real diamond earrings?” She must waste her money or is just scamming people, judging them and questioning their lifestyle.
Vacations are another example. Did you know poor people do not deserve vacations.
If I want to take a vacation I am being irresponsible with my funds. Period.
Even if I carpool with a girlfriend to split gas costs and stay on a friend’s couch to avoid hotel costs. Even if I pack a lunch for the long road trip so I don’t waste money eating out.
It’s all irresponsible and wasteful.
How dare I take some time off from my daily drudgery to enjoy my miserable life. The minute a poor person stops working, they are shiftless and lazy. Poor people are not free to enjoy their lives.
If you give someone assistance to help alleviate their poverty do you feel that puts you in a position to tell them what do to with that money? Are you justified in scrutinizing their spending habits and lifestyle choices?
If you believe so, you are doing charity wrong, wrong, wrong.
It’s a very rare person in this world who doesn’t have to ask for help from to time, be it financial or emotional help.
If someone needs help, you either give it or you don’t. You don’t give it and make them feel like shit for having to ask in the first place.
That’s not how charity works.
I really wish we could toss out this notion that poor people are completely undeserving of even the simplest luxuries.