Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The correlation between anger and poverty

There have been many news stories recently about violence against mostly poor, black people by mostly white police officers.  This has been widely seen as having a large racial component.  I tend to agree but believe economics may run even deeper.

The tension between the haves and the have-nots is well documented at the highest levels.  The headlines in every newspaper and television newscast include daily reports on "the 1%" and how cutting some program designed to benefit poor people needs to be done in order to save the economy while cutting taxes for the rich is seen as having the well-known, if debunked, "trickle-down" effect.

In a society where money is power - and this is certainly such a society - then the absence of money equals powerlessness.  Nothing is more likely to engender despair or anger than that. So, when a young black girl who perhaps has no access to a cool pool on a hot day is ordered off the premises by a white cop, perhaps, she mutters in anger.  His position, which if we are honest, is not far above hers, is to strike out, not only in anger but also as a defense of his precarious position.

I know a little of poverty and a bit about anger.  I am not so presumptuous to think that my own reactions to things are universal but neither do I believe myself unusual.  I think the denial of power to the poor is at the root of even our racial divide.

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