Friday, July 22, 2005


I know nothing. To its credit, my new school district takes poverty very seriously. As they should--ninety percent of my students will be on free and reduced menus.

Lots of good intentions today, even a little good advice. Still, I started to squirm when a woman dressed in a cream-colored business suit with matching earrings, watch, and pumps explained that people in poverty think "concretely" whereas "we" think abstractly. They speak "in circles" whereas "we" speak directly and logically, etc. Then she started defining the life of Tammy Crabtree according to a matrix of financial resources, emotional resources, spiritual resources, mental resources ... You get the idea. It seems all wrong to me.


Blogger mal said...

Jessica, you make a good point. I think if you have not been there you can not truly appreciate it. The lady in the cream colored suit (matching pumps and bag I assume) does not seem to have a clue

6:34 AM  
Blogger Ernie Flapps said...

That does sound very wrong to me.

That lady is an ass.

6:42 AM  
Blogger Balloon Pirate said...

I have a Master's Degree and work fulltime in a highly specialized field where I'm paid a decent wage for my abstract thinking.

If anyone reads my blog, they will know that I do not speak in circles. I speak directly and, to the best of my abilities, logically.

I also live paycheck to paycheck, and in constant fear that my 1996 van will die on me and not be able to get to my job 14 miles away.

I'm in the 4th year of a 5 year bankruptcy reorganization plan.

I am not in poverty, but I know poverty. My 9-year-old's best friend lives below the poverty line, as do many of the kids in his school.

That being said, I would never presume to speak for anyone's abilities, disabilites, or reasons for being in the situation that they find themselves in.

Once I had a meeting with a client, who, to illustrate a point, said, 'so let's just say you're going to go on vacation. How much are you going to spend?"

I shrugged.

"You'll spend about a thousand dollars, right?"

Again, I shrugged, hoping that she would continue on with the point she was trying to make, but she persisted.

"Tell, me! How much are you going to spend?"

"Nothing," I replied. "I don't have any money for vacation."

She wouldn't give up. "Take it from one of your other funds!" she said. "Everyone can find a thousand dollars to spend, right?"

Np matter how many times I tried to explain to her that no, no matter how you looked at it, I didn't have a grand to drop on a vacation, or anything else, she could not grasp the concept.

Anyone who thinks they can speak for anyone else is an ass.


12:32 PM  
Blogger Jessica said...

BP, you defy any stereotype.

Here's the conclusion I've reached: Kids in poverty need dignity, respect, and kindness, as we all do. I'll watch my analogies about thousand-dollar vacations and try to remember that we can all learn a lot from eachother.

I think even Miss Cream would agree with that.

4:56 PM  
Blogger Cranky Yankee said...

Here's a thought. I recently broke my arm. Typical, emergency room, cast, xrays, surgery to put pins in the ones, follow up, physical therpay.

We have insurance. We pay about $250.00 a month for it for a family of 5. It's not a bad deal. United Healthcare seems Ok. Well the bills are rolling in. The total, so far, is around $12000.00 and should end up being ~$15000.00. Wow. Thank god for insurance, right?

Here's the rub. We are getting billed for about $5000.00 of that. We can debate the high cost of health all day, but my point is how does someone below, at or near the poverty level living paycheck to paycheck pay that back? Not to mention that if I swung a hammer for a living I would be out of work for 6 months.

Something is wrong in our society when a huge segment of our population ends up bankrupt, buried in debt for having an accident.

In my case I was doing something dangerous so I'm not bitching. Also, I can do most of my job sitting on my ass. Thank god I didn't break that.

5:27 PM  
Blogger Jessica said...


6:29 PM  

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