Monday, June 29, 2009

ISDs and the culture of poor folk

This originally started as a comment on Ed's blog, but I thought it would veer way offtopic and detract from his original posting. I'll put here instead.

"poor people with forethought *gasp*"

I should probably show my cards a little bit here so that my approach is more obvious.

My characterization of the culture of poor folk is not an outside-in condemnation. I have done my share of living in trailer parks and surviving on dirt farms in East Texas. We ate squirrel, rabbit, and frog many nights. As a boy I just thought Dad and I were having fun out there with the frog gig and the .22, but years later realized it probably wasn't a matter of choice.

I can be a little rough on the culture of poor folk because I have seen/lived that experience. I know firsthand how the entrenched culture of the poor can make it hard to make any headway against the constant, oppressive weight of poverty and ignorance.

I would gladly beat up on the culture of rich folks a bit if I had firsthand experience with their dysfunction. But I don't. So I won't."

It's a grinding, depressing existence to be poor. It's a death march. The people who could get the most value out of basic coping skills are the very people who lack them. So, yes, I am a little tough on my poor brothers and sisters. I hope my intent is pure, that I am taking a Tough Love stance rather than beating them up.


  1. Hey, Ed completely agreed with you.

    I was just pointing out that I had seen otherwise.

    Now remind me again which person in this banter's a Republican.

    Y'all bring out my bleeding heart.

  2. Btw, now that I know you have eaten squirrel, I question your judgment on Pizza Villa. (: Guess I'll just have to go and see for myself.

  3. Understood.

    I've seen otherwise, too; individuals can (and often do) rise above the actuarial destiny that demographics predict. My concern is that the unreflective take the default course of action (as dictated by culture), and that default is generally not always useful, productive, or in their own self-interest.

    BTW, squirrel's pretty tasty. It's just a lot of work for not much meat. Like a big rat. Frogs, while yielding even less meat, are trivial to field clean. It's almost exactly like taking off a latex glove. Fwoop!

    Too much information? :-)