Blog Action Day seemed like as good a way as any to get back into blogging after my random, unexplained hiatus.
The idea is for everyone to discuss poverty to raise awareness and cause some action.
I’ve skimmed a couple of other posts in my RSS feed, and they were very “us” and “them.” Given the resources you need to be involved with blogging and other interactive social media, I’d be very surprised if the majority of voices raised today were saying “we.” Still, discussion and awareness are good things. Let’s just be aware of whose voices we’re hearing and not hearing.
So here are my rhetorical questions:
- Are you living in poverty? I’m not asking if you can afford that motor boat you’ve always wanted. I’m asking about poverty.
- Do you know anybody living in poverty? I’m not asking if you pass them on the street. I’m asking if you know them.
My guess is that most (not all) answers to both of those questions are “no.”
I think there’s a divide. I think it’s sad and dangerous. I think a lot of people agree with me. I’m not going to get into it here because it’s not my main point.
My main point is that the divide doesn’t have to be there. Difference in resources doesn’t have to translate to parallel lives lived entirely separately.
- What are you doing to build relationships across the poverty line?
- What are you teaching your children about poverty, equality, and humanity?
Poverty in itself is unfair and tragic and theoretically avoidable. We should end it. But until that day comes, let’s not sit back and say “those people.” One post I skimmed suggested that you give something to someone who lives in poverty. Yes, resources are important, but in my opinion, that’s the “those people” mentality talking. How can you share instead of just giving? How can you make a friend instead of just talking? How can you cry with someone instead of just for them?
I guess what I’m saying is that money isn’t good enough. Lip service isn’t good enough. Education isn’t good enough. Genuine pity isn’t good enough. Intellectual outrage isn’t good enough. Without the deep and widespread understanding that each person is a person, anti-poverty efforts will just skim the service.
It’s not something anything but your own experiences with people can teach you. What are you going to do about it?