POVERTY & What one pastoral couple did to address the problem.

by The Highbury Centre, Islington, London, 8/13/19.

In 19th century London, the gap between the very richest and the poorest of the poor seemed unbridgeable. Aristocratic families flitted between their country estates and their town houses, enjoying the very best that society had to offer, while the newly wealthy middle classes flocked to the West End’s department stores to fill their houses with the latest must-have artefacts. In stark contrast to this conspicuous consumption, poor and working-class people lived crowded together in the most abject poverty, with no sanitation, in crumbling and dangerous housing.

Poor children were fortunate to live until their fifth birthday. Cholera, typhus, dysentery, smallpox and TB were all killers. Their parents fared no better, often dying from over-work or disease.

In 1865, a married couple, William and Catherine Booth, both ardent Methodists, felt called to take the good news out on the streets. They offered practical support to those who needed it most, “soup, soap and salvation.” By 1878, they were known as the Salvation Army and became a familiar sight in the poorest districts of London.

By 1893, the year of the foundation of the Foreign Missions Club in Highbury New Park, the Salvation Army had expanded hugely, taking the news of God’s love out on the streets to thousands. Extreme poverty and its related issues, addiction, hunger, malnutrition, desperation and crime was rife in the capital, leading William Booth to deliver passionate speeches to his growing ranks about the need for help. “While women weep, as they do now, I’ll fight; while little children go hungry, as they do now, I’ll fight; while men go to prison, in and out, in and out, as they do now, I’ll fight; while there is a drunkard left, while there is a poor lost girl upon the streets, while there remains one dark soul without the light of God, I’ll fight – I’ll fight to the very end!”

The work of the Salvation Army, started over 150 years ago, still goes on worldwide. William and Catherine Booth are buried at Abney Park in Stoke Newington, just over 1.5 miles from The Highbury Centre. Their legacy of love, practical care and salvation for all lives on in our century, where sadly want and poverty are still very much a part of our society.

At The Highbury Centre, our heart has always been to offer Christian accommodation, rest and relaxation to missionaries, workers for the Lord and anyone in need of a comfortable bed for the night. A great deal of things have changed since we first opened our doors in 1893, but much remains the same. We are proud to offer good value, welcoming and accessible accommodation in the heart of North London.

If reading this has interested you, you can find out more about the work of the Salvation Army by clicking on this link: www.salvationarmy.org.uk/

Find out more about the Highbury Centre, an affordable guest house in London, at https://www.thehighburycentre.org

POVERTY & The trauma of perpetual poverty.

“Dr. King, Racial Trauma, and The Church”

by Kyle J. Howard, 1/29/18.

THE TRAUMA OF PERPETUAL POVERTY

Historically, the black community in America has always lived in an airtight cage of poverty. From enslavement to ghettos and now through the agenda of mass incarceration which has robbed many black families of their sons and fathers; the black community as a collective whole is a forcibly impoverished community. This reality is largely the result of racialized systems that are in place that allow white people to flourish while black people fight to simply survive. Dr. King recognized the psychological toll that this reality had on his community, and it fueled him to fight for their equality. King saw economic equality as a key to the cage of poverty his people were in, King states, “WHEN YOU SEE THE VAST MAJORITY OF YOUR TWENTY MILLION NEGRO BROTHERS SMOTHERING IN AN AIRTIGHT CAGE OF POVERTY IN THE MIDST OF AN AFFLUENT SOCIETY… THEN YOU WILL UNDERSTAND WHY WE FIND IT DIFFICULT TO WAIT.” Witnessing your community suffocating and without hope is a devastating thing to experience. Poverty plagues the black community, and there are racialized systems that have been in place for centuries ensuring that such poverty continues. Families have been broken as sons and fathers have been displaced due to mass incarceration. The pain and angst that comes from being a person of color in a racialized society can lead to various forms of self-medication and the “war on drugs” has seen to it that such self-medicating (racially traumatized) people are locked behind bars rather than cared for and rehabilitated. Once said people are released from prison, they enter into an even darker crevice of their cage as opportunities for work disappear as well as opportunities to be a productive citizen through acts such as voting. School systems in dense minority areas are left without proper funding, and so the hope of education being the key to exit the cage is abandoned at an early age. Living life knowing that you are stuck in poverty and there is no hope of ever flourishing is depressing and leads to deep despair as well. These feelings of hopelessness and despair are compounded as the media and political parties present such people of color as simply free loading criminals who are inconvenient burdens upon society. In light of all this, the black community and other communities of color witness the white community benefit from the same systems that have been put in place to keep them from flourishing. These realities can lead someone to question not only their humanity but their inherent value as well.

Read more at … http://kylejhoward.com/blog/dr-king-racial-trauma-and-the-church/

POVERTY & What people keep getting wrong about Appalachia

by Elizabeth Catte, The UK Guardian Newspaper, 2/6/18

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Cora Hairston, in West Virginia, photographed by Roger May. Hairston’s father surrendered his body in both life and death to coal, writes Elisabeth Catte.
Photograph: Roger May

… I’d invite you to perform an image search for “Appalachian photography” through the search engine of your choice.

If your results are similar to mine, you’ll find an overabundance of stark black and white portraits – a stylistic choice often made by photographers to signal that we are of the past and lost to progress – and images of white people experiencing extreme poverty and suffering because of it.

My search engine helpfully prompts me to narrow results by adding “hillbilly”, “trailer” and “inbred” to my search terms. Every time I perform this search, I notice a new element of its grim ratio. Today, for example, I calculated there are three times more images of white people in coffins than living people of color in my search results.

The visual archive made for us is a mournful one, which stands in sharp contrast to the vivid images of youth captured by Kentucky-based photographer Meg Wilson. There is a stillness to images favored by the press, a photographic trick that confirms a narrative of our complacency and presents Appalachia as the dominion of the barely living. Wilson sets us in motion, in color, and full of life. I can see myself in her images and sense a connection to my place and history that does not occur when I gaze at those image results.

This sad tradition is enduring. Even long after the election, Appalachia continued to receive the morbid interest of the national press that, in its endless quest to discover how poor people swung an election, only succeeded in raising a question far more complex: why so many Americans needed it to be true when it wasn’t.

As I detail in my new book, the media enshrined communities with low voter turnout as the beating heart of Trump Country. There has also been a journalistic disappearance of nonwhite people in the region, seemingly to satisfy a narrative fetish about the white working class and their anxieties. And that’s before questioning why so many readers on both sides of the political aisle used a memoir (Hillbilly Elegy) written by a venture capitalist (JD Vance) to decode the political choices of the region’s poor.

Read more at … https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/feb/06/what-youre-getting-wrong-about-appalachia

WEALTH & Rich People Just Care Less? Yes, says research. Here’s why… #NewYorkTimes #research

“Those with the most power in society seem to pay particularly little attention to those with the least power.”

Dacher Keltner, a professor of psychology at Berkeley, and Michael W. Kraus, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, have done much of the research on social power and the attention deficit.

Mr. Keltner suggests that, in general, we focus the most on those we value most.

While the wealthy can hire help, those with few material assets are more likely to value their social assets: like the neighbor who will keep an eye on your child from the time she gets home from school until the time you get home from work.

The financial difference ends up creating a behavioral difference.

Poor people are better attuned to interpersonal relations — with those of the same strata, and the more powerful — than the rich are, because they have to be.

While Mr. Keltner’s research finds that the poor, compared with the wealthy, have keenly attuned interpersonal attention in all directions,

in general, those with the most power in society seem to pay particularly little attention to those with the least power.

To be sure, high-status people do attend to those of equal rank — but not as well as those low of status do.

This has profound implications for societal behavior and government policy. Tuning in to the needs and feelings of another person is a prerequisite to empathy, which in turn can lead to understanding, concern and, if the circumstances are right, compassionate action.

Read more at … https://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/10/05/rich-people-just-care-less/?_r=0

EQ IQ emotional intelligence

EQ & How can I be emotionally intelligent?

Answer by Betty-Ann Heggie, Speaker, author, mentor on moving past gender stereotypes, on Quora, 1/25/18

…A helpful definition comes from Psychology Today: “the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others.” It’s a combination of emotional awareness, the ability to harness and apply emotions to tasks, and the ability to manage and regulate emotions.

It’s also set to become more important than ever over the next decade. As artificial intelligence and machine learning transform how businesses operate, people will need to focus more on uniquely human skills like empathy and awareness. So not only is emotional intelligence a competitive advantage for the businesses of today, it’s also a necessity for the businesses of tomorrow.

But right now, things are moving in the wrong direction. The higher up the ranks you go inside a company, the lower the EQ scores (measures of emotional intelligence) drop. A study of 1 million people by TalentSmart found that CEOs, on average, have the lowest EQ scores in the workplace.

Of course this is the case. To understand why, we can look at two helpful examples: poor people and President Obama.

Research shows that as people’s wealth increases, their compassion and empathy go down. Poor people are more likely to be generous with money and to stop for pedestrians in the street. They may depend more on interpersonal relationships, and therefore be more attuned to them.

This same idea applies with power in the workplace. As people work their way up to the highest ranks, they lose touch with the daily challenges and aspirations of people at lowest ranks. They start to see people in large groups, rather than as individuals. And they treat people as problems to solve, rather than fellow human beings to relate to. This helps explain why research finds power reduces concern for others

Here are some of the ways I encourage leaders to build up their emotional intelligence:

  1. Share power…
  2. See everyone as equal…
  3. Be conscious of unspoken communication…
  4. Encourage people to question you…

Read more at … https://www.quora.com/How-can-I-be-emotionally-intelligent

SOCIOECONOMICS & The Original Underclass

by ALEC MACGILLIS and PROPUBLICA, The Atlantic Monthly, 8/9/16.

Sometime during the past few years, the country started talking differently about white Americans of modest means. Early in the Obama era, the ennobling language of campaign pundits prevailed. There was much discussion of “white working-class voters,” with whom the Democrats, and especially Barack Obama, were having such trouble connecting. Never mind that this overbroad category of Americans—the exit pollsters’ definition was anyone without a four-year college degree, or more than a third of the electorate—obliterated major differences in geography, ethnicity, and culture. The label served to conjure a vast swath of salt-of-the-earth citizens living and working in the wide-open spaces between the coasts—Sarah Palin’s “real America”—who were dubious of the effete, hifalutin types increasingly dominating the party that had once purported to represent the common man. The “white working class” connoted virtue and integrity. A party losing touch with it was a party unmoored.

That flattering glow has faded away. Today, less privileged white Americans are considered to be in crisis, and the language of sociologists and pathologists predominates. Charles Murray’s Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960–2010 was published in 2012, and Robert D. Putnam’s Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis came out last year. From opposite ends of the ideological spectrum, they made the case that social breakdown among low-income whites was starting to mimic trends that had begun decades earlier among African Americans: Rates of out-of-wedlock births and male joblessness were rising sharply. Then came the stories about a surge in opiate addiction among white Americans, alongside shocking reports of rising mortality rates (including by suicide) among middle-aged whites. And then, of course, came the 2016 presidential campaign. The question was suddenly no longer why Democrats struggled to appeal to regular Americans. It was why so many regular Americans were drawn to a man like Donald Trump…

“Welcome to America as it was,” Nancy Isenberg, a historian at Louisiana State University, writes near the outset of White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America. Her title might seem sensational were it not so well earned. As she makes plain, a white lower class not only figured more prominently in the development of the colonies and the young country than national lore suggests, but was spoken of from the start explicitly in terms of waste and refuse…

One of America’s founding myths, of course, is that the simple act of leaving England and boldly starting new lives in the colonies had an equalizing effect on the colonists, swiftly narrowing the distance between indentured servant and merchant, landowner and clerk—all except the African slave. Nonsense, Isenberg says: “Independence did not magically erase the British class system.” A “ruthless class order” was enforced at Jamestown, where one woman returned from 10 months of Indian captivity to be told that she owed 150 pounds of tobacco to her dead husband’s former master and would have to work off the debt. The Puritans were likewise “obsessed with class rank”—membership in the Church and its core elect were elite privileges—not least because the early Massachusetts settlers included far more nonreligious riffraff than is generally realized. A version of the North Carolina constitution probably co-authored by John Locke was designed to “avoid erecting a numerous democracy.” It envisioned a nobility of landgraves and caciques (German for “princes” and Spanish for “chieftains”), along with a “court of heraldry” to oversee marriages and make sure they preserved pedigree…

Accounts of this underclass as “an anomalous new breed of human,” as Isenberg puts it, proliferated as poor whites without property spread west and south across the country. These “crackers” and “squatters” were “no better than savages,” with “children brought up in the Woods like brutes,” wrote a Swiss-born colonel in the colonial army in 1759. In 1810, the ornithologist Alexander Wilson described the “grotesque log cabins” where the lowly patriarch typically stood wearing a shirt “defiled and torn,” his “face inlaid with dirt and soot.” Thomas Jefferson’s granddaughter came back from an 1817 excursion with her grandfather telling of that “half civiliz’d race who lived beyond the ridge.” In 1830, the country even got its first “Cracker Dictionary” to document the slang of poor whites…

At various junctures, politicians (think Davy Crockett and Andrew Jackson) turned humble roots into a mark of “backwoodsman” authenticity, but the pendulum always swung back. The term white trash made its first appearance in print as early as 1821. It gained currency three decades later, by which point observers were expressing horror over these people’s “tallow” skin and their habit of eating clay. As George Weston warned in his widely circulated 1856 pamphlet “The Poor Whites of the South,” they were “sinking deeper and more hopelessly into barbarism with every succeeding generation.” Speaking of this class as a separate breed—a species unto itself—was a way to skirt the challenge it presented to the nation’s vision of equality and inclusivity. Isenberg points up the tension: “If whiteness was not an automatic badge of superiority, a guarantee of the homogeneous population of independent, educable freemen … then the ideals of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness were unobtainable…”

The distinction’s relevance persists today. Large areas of “real America” are almost entirely white. In Appalachia, that homogeneity, along with the region’s populist tradition, helps explain why white voters there took so much longer to flip from Democrat to Republican than in the Deep South. This does not mean that racism is absent in these areas—far from it. But it suggests that the racism is fueled as much by suspicion of the “other” as it is by firsthand experience of blacks and competition with them—and that political sentiment on issues such as welfare and crime isn’t as racially motivated as many liberal analysts assume. A focus on the South also eclipses places where low-income whites consist mainly of descendants of later European immigrants. (Think of the South Boston Irish, or Baltimore’s Polish American dockworkers depicted in the second season of The Wire)…

Read more at … http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2016/09/the-original-underclass/492731/

Also see:

White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America, by Nancy Isenberg (Viking).

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis, by J. D. Vance (Harper).

POVERTY and U. Calif. research sheds light on why some women put motherhood before marriage

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: Catherine J. Edin and Marla Kefalas immersed themselves in the lives of unwed mothers in Philadelphia. The result was the best-selling book, Promises I can keep: Why 516CP2TE97L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_poor woman put motherhood before marriage, (Univ. of Calif. Press, 2005). An important read to understand poverty and its impact upon women, The Los Angeles Times summarized it this way “She (Edin) found that many of these women sought children as a source of love and meaning while disdaining marriage to men unable to provide economic stability” (Julia M. Klein, “Clear-eyed compassion for those stricken by poverty,” Los Angeles Times, October 4, 2015, p. F10). Read their book for more insights. In addition Edin’s follow-up tome (co-authored with H. Luke Schaefer) is another insightful read, titled $2.00 a day: Living on almost nothing in America, (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015).

Read more at … http://www.latimes.com/books/jacketcopy/la-ca-jc-edin-shaefer-20151004-story.html