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Sunday, January 24, 2016

The invisible effects of being poor

     The definition of poor, as defined by the New Oxford American dictionary, is "lacking sufficient money to live at a standard considered comfortable or normal in a society". Although lacking money presents plenty of problems that the definition addresses, one problem not addressed is the intangible effects. There is a social hierarchy along with an income hierarchy in today's society. There is a stereotype assigned to the lower class that they made bad choices because they are stupid. Thus, people who live comfortably feel they have the right to treat people lesser if they are waiters or maids. Barbara Ehrenreich documents this social hierarchy in her novel "Nickel and Dimed". On page 100, Ehrenreich describes how she used to go to a supermarket after work, but she stopped going because of the stares, which is a nonverbal way of saying, "What are you doing here?" Clearly, poor people don't have enough dignity to be in necessary public places like a supermarket. Without self-confidence to brave the ugly looks they will receive, the lower class is restricted to where they can be welcomed. The feeling of not being accepted socially is felt everyday in the life of minimum wage workers. This and a slew of other problems is felt everyday by low income workers.

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