A look at some of the mechanisms that create our distinctions between like people and ‘others’.
It’s common in this country to look down the socio-economic ladder and blame people beneath us for their circumstances while we look up the ladder and lionize the wealthy as better, worthy, and more deserving. Until we overcome this prejudice against the poor we’re not going to come up with solutuons which actually do long term good.
Research consistently finds that Americans exhibit a disturbing level of antipathy towards those on the economic margins. in the case of people living in poverty, it creates manmade barriers to the social inclusion and economic mobility of vulnerable people and communities.
Othering uses bonds of shared identity to deny empathy and a sense of belonging to others. It gives elites and dominant groups an excuse to see social problems as distant pathologies, rather than soluble crises affecting people who are like them.
if we continue to see these brothers and sisters of ours as people who do not really belong in our country, we are not likely to support policies that actually lift them up into economic self-sufficiency.
the equal dignity of all people. And that entails a deliberate, conscious effort to bridge the growing physical, cultural, and emotional gaps that increasingly set low-income people apart as something other than the rest of America.
We are a nation comprised of people with huge variation in our racial, ethnic and religious backgrounds—and in our current economic status. But there are many things we share, and not least among them is the fact that almost everyone is descended from people whose families experienced poverty and marginalization. We respect our ancestors by recognizing and claiming today’s poor people as our brothers and sisters, and by rebuilding a society and an economy capable of creating greater justice for everyone.