Rich and poor people suck? Only because you're making stupid generalizations

posted by Jeff | Thursday, May 14, 2015, 9:36 PM | comments: 0

President Obama had a discussion at Georgetown recently, where he made the point that Fox News had been propagating a narrative that insists that poor people are poor not because of any particular circumstances, but because of their poor character. Of course there will always be schmucks who take advantage of the system, but to trivialize a massive group of people by suggesting they're all "bad people" and ignore the larger socio-economic context is lazy and stupid.

But wait a second... the right doesn't have the market cornered on being lazy and stupid (though they do have an entire cable network for that). The other side isn't much better. Outside of the issue of whether or not well-off people should pay higher taxes, there's a ridiculous narrative, pushed mostly by Internet pundits, that everyone with money is a scumbag. They're immoral to the core, and made their money by ill-gotten means. This isn't much better than generalizing about poor people. Mind you it's in technology circles, but I've known a lot of people who have done really well for themselves, not by lying and cheating, but by working their asses off. Why do we now disrespect success and generalize it as immoral?

If you play into either of these narratives, you're playing into the fear mongering. It's bad enough that people need to be scared of virtually everything, but you don't need to be scared of the poor or the rich. You don't need to hate them either. Their situations are not the exclusive result of character flaws. This divisive bullshit has got to stop. It doesn't move us forward.


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