Prejudice against the poor August 17, 2005 5:03 AM
Various articles and URL's dealing with this subject:
Prejudice against the poor
‘They spend their money on wrong things like bread and jam and then go out to bingo.’ Most people are persuaded in the West that we have no poverty, and even if we have it must be the individuals own fault. So attention is diverted from those who are doing well within a system of social injustice. Peter Golding looks at the myths about the poor.
from Google cache (my internet provider was not allowed on the New Zealand embassy's site, so I went to Google's cache instead):
Teaching Prejudice Against the Poor in Private Schools
"Teaching Prejudice against the Poor in Private Schools
Here's some extracts from an Australian textbook, 'Issues of Today: Poverty', that used to be in the library of 'St Bedes College', a private Catholic school here in Christchurch.
A large proportion of those in positions of power today were 'educated' in such private schools.
These extracts show how prejudice against the Poor are indoctrinated into the minds of authority at an impressionable age.
The Poor don't stand a chance. "
Christchurch urged to stop prejudice against the poor
"Christchurch people have been urged to stop prejudice against the Poor.
This message formed the basis of a display in Chritchurch Community House during the Three Days of Global Action to End Poverty called by the Kensington Welfare Rights Union (news item). Community House is a building sponsored by the City Council which is home to about 30 community agencies.
The building was chosen for the display by Poor Peoples Embassy not just because of its access by the general public but also to make aware to staff of agencies that they also should check their own behaviour when dealing with poor clients. Although a lot of the staff are sympathetic to the Poor a few have gained a reputation for being snooty and down-right nasty.
The display included posters showing prejudice in an Australian text book 'Issues of Today: Poverty' used by New Zealand private schools [text]. The book deplicated poor parents as violent and drunk. It also pushed the rich man's agenda of lowering taxes, and even took a detour to decry birth control. The concluding chapter of building 'A Poverty-Free Australia' was illustrated by an aborigine leaning against others while contented women looked vacantly on. The suited businessman was the only one with a plan but it was rolled up under his arm so others couldn't see it.
A pamphlet to help agencies overcome prejudice was planned but never saw the light of day. I ceased up under the weight of general oppression against the Poor - as John Lennon sang in Working Class Hero "You really can't function/You're so full of fear". Hunt for material on discrimination
I tried to gather general information on discrimination but with little success. I sought information on identifying discrimination, how to deal with discrimination from others, and also how to do self-evaluation checks to stop yourself from practising discrimination even subconsciously. I didn't expect material specifically on poverty but thought other prejudices could give some pointers.
The city council's public library seemed to hold only books on specific issues (eg, racism, sexism) and then only in a case-study vein. The Human Rights Commission office only dealt with statutory law requirements and not general pointers. The office did hold workshops on discrimination but nothing was written down. 'Self-evaluation tests' didn't appear to be part of the staff's vocabulary (as in only other people practice prejudice). However, I was told the new commissioner of the Auckland office thought along similar lines to me.
A unionist I talked to at the Trade Union Centre knew of no such material.
Local mp Tim Barnett is the government's spokesperson on human rights (there is no ministrial portfolio) but his electoral office staff couldn't furnish any material on the subject. However I got a phone call later from a staff member who knew me, suggesting I try the Mental Health Education and Resource Centre.
The Mental Health Education and Resource Centre hunted around for a while in their smallish library of publications before suggesting I go upstairs to the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand.
There I was guided to a pokey little office housing two staff member of the 'Southern Project to Counter Stigma and Discrimination Associated with Mental Illness'. There I found people who believed in the same things about prejudice - that it is universal and fuelled by similar assumptions.
Although they didn't know me from Adam, as soon as I mentioned prejudice against the Poor one said she didn't think the council's taskforce on poverty would achieve anything.
Anyway they gave me 'A travellers guide towards equality respect and rights for people who experience mental illness' (may not be the correct title). Apparently it had come out of a national workshop. Although based on discrimination suffered by those with mental illnesses it was very helpful in understanding and coping with prejudice in general. I had intended to put some of it on this website but time has run out.
Among the material was the following. Discrimination says:
We don't want you here.
You're not as good as us.
You're not worth listening to.
You're not important.
You don't belong."
continued next post
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Prejudice against the poor,2 August 17, 2005 5:10 AM
Other posters included one based on the Embassy's 'Political Epochs of Poor Peoples>'. A staff member of one agency asked for and was given a photocopy. She was interested in it because she plans to take a social science course at university next year and thought it would be helpful in understanding poverty. A number of full-colour lamenated copies of the poster already grace the walls of some Christchurch agencies and community cottages. A copy was even sent to the Poor People's World Summit to End Poverty held in New York last year.
Another poster, Stop Prejudice against the Poor, listed common assumptions about what causes poverty. "
Kensington Welfare Rights Union
Harmony (comment)- "prejudice against the poor" was a google search I did- was not trying to single out New Zealand/Christchurch... prejudice against the poor happens in every locale, unfortunately
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