Maria said on Sept. 26, 2012 at 5:10 p.m. Very glad to hear of this work. As an Austinite with family in Houston, I was appalled to hear how Katrina evacuees were demonized by Texans. The gap between the poor and middle class cultures can be ridiculously large. And often leads to victim blaming. In a society as large as ours, it's a challenge *not* to generalize. But if we don't recognize that gap, between poor and not-poor, between individuals and large groups, then we can't explore what we don't know. Which will leave us ignorant of what a cohesive society should be.
For example, a man solicited my husband and I to provide lawn service to our home. He does good work & we have a fine, acquaintance-type relationship. Last week, he came to our door without his equipment asking for an advance from his next job for us. Never asked anything like this in the year he's done our lawn. He said he was asking because he had no food in the house. I gave him what I had, which wasn't much as I don't keep cash around.
But my husband was very put off. He couldn't imagine the need to ask non-family for help. Because he's never been without food in the house while he had a family to feed. Because he's never had to put aside his pride to eat another day. It took me explaining to him that different people have different resources and for the poor, those resources are the people you know. Not bank loans, not credit cards. My husband had no idea, with his middle class upbringing. And so, he didn't know that he didn't know how the other half lived.
Paul Harris said on Sept. 22, 2012 at 6:19 p.m. Excellent article! I hope this gets wider exposure. As a So. Calif. tourist who was stuck in the Superdome I was quite fortunate. I didn't lose my home, relative, social support network, and am not suffering from PTSD; I just drink a bit more.
Author, "Diary From the Dome, Reflections on Fear and Privilege During Katrina"