By: Kevin Thomas ~Copy Editor~
White poverty is something that is almost never spoken about. Poverty in general is though. Whenever I hear politicians mention poverty, I usually think about some slum in an urban area. I don’t think about an overflowing, dirty and disgusting trailer park, filled with toothless White people. I’ve always been taught that poverty is mainly a problem for minorities, which is one of the worst things that I could have been taught.
When discussing poverty, there are two ways it’s generally talked about: a systemic problem brought about by outside factors or a problem that’s been made by a person’s bad decisions.
Generally, poverty when relating to minorities is viewed at as a result of systemic racism and is therefore not a result of bad decisions. This is, in my opinion, true. Systemic racism is a huge issue that we have been addressing more and more as time has g one on.
However, when it comes to poor Whites, there is no systemic racism. If there is no systemic racism, then the only real reason why a white person could be poor would have to be due to his or her own bad decisions with money. It cannot be systemic in any way, shape or form.
Therefore, poor Whites are told that it is their fault for their poverty. It’s not due to factories cutting jobs and moving away, leaving entire small towns without enough jobs for their population. It’s not due to unions shrinking and having the least bargaining power since the Great Depression.
“White trash” is what I was taught to call poor White people. Calling someone “White trash” isn’t a dirty word, because that’s exactly what they are. They’re people who made the stupid decision to be poor even though they aren’t a minority—therefore they’re at fault for their own poverty.
Now, why is it important to change who is at blame for White poverty?
According to research from the National Center for Children in poverty, “at least onethird of the 13 million children living in poverty are White.” Yet, for some reason, it seems to me like almost no one knows exactly how big of a problem White poverty is, simply because of the presence of such an unbelievable amount of White privilege that exists for any White person who is not poor.
A second wonderful reason is the hope of the impoverished. If a person is taught that they’re the cause of their own problems, that it’s not the result of exterior circumstances, they will generally have less hope for themselves. It’s easy to fight against something when it’s outside of you, when it’s something larger than you, because then you have a clear picture of your enemy. If your enemy is yourself… then it gets more complicated.
Another reason is that when an individual with no political experience whatsoever runs for president, and acknowledges their poverty in a way that hasn’t happened in a long time, they are able to entirely ignore any God awful thing that he or she may say because for once in their lives, they have someone in power telling them that it isn’t their fault and that he or she is going to do something about it. And they will believe that that person will do something even if his or her entire business history has shown the exact opposite.
A poor White person might also begin to hate a poor minority because the poverty of that minority is due to external forces, and they are the only poor people that are cared about by the government or society. The poor Whites will hate poor Mexicans, poor Blacks, poor immigrants, simply because a non-White person will get sympathy from the masses and they will not.
Recognize that poverty itself is an external issue for all people. It is not because a group of people are lazy, stupid or less capable of doing something. It is not because of their bad choices. Poverty is a multifaceted issue that affects a large number of people, and these people are not just minorities. They are people of every single color. Poverty is not only an urban issue. It occurs in the suburbs and in small towns. Stop calling people “White trash.”