Quote of the Day

[Content Note: Food insecurity; poverty; classism.]
Some of us hide to shield our loved ones and some because we've watched people shift in their seats when we share something a little too real in a complaint competition over not having enough money. The more we navigate social situations that allow for hints at our near destitution, the more we seek to avoid the sideways glances and uncomfortable check arrival moments while out with friends. We can each do grocery store math at lightning speed to remain inconspicuous to other customers. We become skilled at hiding because we know how uncomfortable poor people make those around them.

No one wants to hear how you triple checked your EBT card before leaving the house or how excited you were about the $2.45 you found in a coat pocket because it meant hitting up the dollar menu during your commute between jobs. You begin to feel more and more Othered until you participate in your own isolation.

...[Polling] responses indicate that many think fewer beneficiaries equals fewer poor people — backing up the anecdotal Twitter experience on the #PovertyIs thread: 50% of Americans are sure that none of their close friends are poor; 63% of Americans think there are no poor people in their immediate or near extended family (aunts, uncles, first cousins, grandparents); a whopping 76% of Americans can't conceive that they might know someone at risk of going hungry tomorrow; and 65% of Americans don't even think they know someone who's been late on a bill.

The reason so many don't think they know anyone living at or near the poverty line also might be because their loved ones are afraid to speak up about the reality of their situation.

Cultural stigma is very real, and poverty is pathologized through intense, systemic victim-blaming.

...#PovertyIs did something I couldn't have predicted or orchestrated: It gave me my voice back.
—My friend Katie Klabusich, on the #PovertyIs hashtag she started on Twitter, and breaking the silence and stigma around poverty in a country where 49 million people live with food insecurity. Read the entirety of her terrific piece here.

[Related Reading: This Is Class Warfare; A Letter About Food and Judgment.]

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