Barbara Ellen, columnist for The Observer (Guardian), asked readers this weekend, "Is this our new default setting – that the needy are greedy?" She references a new report by inter-denominational clergy titled, "The Lies We Tell Ourselves: ending comfortable myths about poverty." Ellen, and the report, challenges central myths about people living in poverty and how those ideas translate into public policy. Though the report is about the British context, what are the myths we have here in the U.S. about poverty and the people it impacts? Consider this a preview for where State of Opportunity may go as our coverage looks at the roots and consequences of poverty for kids. We're all clearly concerned, but how does that concern translate into impacting lives, public policy, and the media?
Perhaps some of you are aware of the phenomenon of "slut-shaming" - whereby generally a female (why bother pretending, it's always a female) is contemptuously attacked, usually online, for anything from her dress style to what is perceived as sexually promiscuous behaviour.
Sure, we're talking to national experts and researchers about what does and does not work when it comes to overcoming poverty. But we're also spending time with real people who are struggling to get ahead.
Our goal is to follow several kids and families over the course of the three-year project to better understand what challenges they face, what resources are available, and where the gaps are.
Here's a preview of one of the families we've been spending time with: