Part of my job is going around and running workshops/lectures/talks to help individuals better understand generational poverty. So many teachers, social workers, employers, court professionals, and medical teams work with poverty every day and don’t understand the entire culture of generational poverty. Coming from a middle class background, many people like myself are filled with misunderstandings and judgments towards those in poverty. To be honest, I didn’t understand why my clients couldn’t get to their appointments or why their money didn’t last until the end of the month. The material I share has really helped me.
“Why don’t the just get a job”
“They are just lazy”
“Most of them are on drugs”
“Do they even want to get out?”
These are just a few of the things I hear every day teaching this material, and I love challenging people to view poverty different. This is not an easy job, but it is a topic God has given me the passion for. I love being a voice for those in poverty and really advocating for individual and community change here in Summit County.
Well, friends, today was a different story. I gave a talk to a group of 20 individuals who are a part of a service organization… and the room was ugly. When I started to go through my normal material and stories, I was greeted with scowls. When I started to share my client’s experience, arms were folded. When I asked for question, hate flew out of their mouths. I heard a lot of “those people” and “poor people never”. I saw teeth clinched shut as they were telling stories full of bad experiences and frustrations with others in poverty. I could feel my hands grip tight and tears hit my eyes as I saw the complete hate that was on the faces of this service club. It was ugly.
I came home and sat on my couch reflecting on all that was shared in that room. It continually amazes me how people can hold such strong opinions, frustrations, and judgments towards an entire group of people, towards people they probably have never truly had a relationship with. What is it that puts such hate into the hearts of people?
I don’t have a cute ending for this blog. I don’t have a deep thought to share with you. I just walked away sad. Praying for this tonight. Hoping that God will continue to challenge those I speak with to think differently.
Hate sure is ugly.