Feeling entitled to accuse the poor of entitlement
June 23, 2013 § 3 Comments
It is so easy for people to sit on their high horses and behind their high walls of privilege while criticizing the poor’s laziness and feelings of entitlement, as if all they aspire towards is laziness, handouts and always expecting someone else to do something for them. Privilege seems to give people the idea that they know what is wrong with the poor and what they need to do to improve their lot.
Many live in shacks and some in RDP matchbox houses. And then some amongst us act as if they have become poor by choice. One of the most ignorant things I read last year on Twitter was a user who said that the poor are that way because they don’t have enough faith in God. Meaning that if they believed more they would not be poor. I never wish ill on anyone but I wished that the idiot who wrote that would have a bolt of lightening deal with her real quick.
It is precisely this misleading talk, which takes advantage of the poor. There are churches which target poor communities and preach the “prosperity gospel”. There are many churches which do a lot for poor communities, make no mistake about it, but there are those whose sole mission is to take from the poorest of the poor. They promise them that if they give money, sometimes all their savings to the church, they will get jobs and their wealth will be multiplied many times over. These churches are exactly like government officials (if not worse) who steal from the poor through corruption. There is no one more corrupt than he who takes advantage of the poor.
No one wants to be poor. There is no romance in it. Nine times out of ten, the biggest difference between those who have and those who do not, is opportunity. In fact, it is not just as simple having opportunity, but it is access to opportunity in the first place. The poorer you are the more challenging it is to have access to opportunity. You can’t take advantage of an opportunity you are ill equipped to take advantage of.
The first big hurdle that the poor have to jump over is access to quality education. Not only do they not have access to good quality education, they get the worst teachers. Now, if you have the worst quality education and that is compounded by the fact that your educators are no better equipped to make the best of a bad situation, your situation is not going to get any better. No wonder the poorer get poor and the richer get richer. It’s a very difficult circle to escape from. I personally come from such a situation, luckily, I was equipped with an education and had people who understood the value of an education.
For a poor person to be able to get out of the vicious cycle of poverty, they have to have an extra-ordinarily tough mind, because their disadvantages are compounded.
Before we judge the poor and call them lazy, we have to think about where they are coming from. Are they are feeling entitled? They are not feeling entitled, they just lack the opportunities that you have.
The poor do not want to be poor. Nor do they want to be rich without working for it.
Before we who have start accusing the poor of laziness, we have to understand where they are coming from and what the reason is for their continued various states of poverty.
A recent study indicates that over 80% of South African graduates get a job within the first few years of graduating, which is a rate significantly higher than the rest of the population. This clearly means that the opportunities are there, our education system is just not equipping enough people.