Sunday, October 31, 2010

Short Post 11/2

I found all of the readings very enlightening, but I was particularly struck by Maria Cristina Rangel's article, "Knowledge is Power." I find it terrible that Welfare organizations seem to be blaming the individual, who needs help, for the situation that they are in. As Rangel tells us, in the waiting room in a TAFDC (Transitional Aid to Families with Dependence Children) office, there are posters that say "Mommy, will we always be on Welfare?" "Work Works!" "Think of your children...Whose footsteps do you want to see them follow in?" (191). This is incredibly condescending. As Rangel claims, they make poverty seem as if it is "a matter of personal failure" and "ending poverty a matter of personal will" (192). While it is true that some Welfare recipients might be in their current conditions because of their own work ethic (or lack there of), for most people, this is simply not the case. Most people have all the will in the world to get out of their current condition, but simply have never had the means to do so. Work ethic and attitude can only go so far. And others might be so beaten down by living in poverty for so long, that they simply have lost this will and "right attitude," and is that really their fault? What do we expect? Making poverty into simply a matter of will, work ethic, and attitude ignores the fact the problem, in most cases, is the SYSTEM, not the individuals.

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