American Hustle: Ignoring Poverty in U.S. Needs More than 50-Year Anniversary

radical eyes for equity

It is 2014, and publications such as Education Week are offering 50th-year anniversary looks at the War on Poverty.

It is 2014, and race and racism remain words that shall not be spoken, lingering scars on the American character [1] that are routinely concealed beneath a heavy foundation (something in a Caucasian, please) and a bold but not too flashy shade of red lipstick.

It is 2014, and almost everyone will say poverty, but the great irony is that this American Hustle is achieved through constantly mentioning poverty in order to ignore it.

The trick is to keep the public gaze in the U.S. transfixed on people trapped in poverty, to reinforce the myth that poverty is the result of individual weaknesses (a lack of “grit,” for example), and to perpetuate the idea that the wealthy and privileged have earned that wealth and privilege.

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