- Cities enforcing camping laws on people who do not have homes.
- A person refusing to hire someone because, although qualified, they don’t have an address.
- Services not being available to people because they don’t have ID or the means to obtain ID.
- Looking down at obese poor people who became obese because they bought what food they could afford
- Seeing wealth as a matter of wisdom rather than a combination of luck and hording resources
- Telling a beggar to “get a job”
- A doctor telling a person that to be healthy they need a prescription they cannot afford.
- Church members looking askance at a visitor who is not dressed well or who smells.
- Laws reducing welfare because the poor “abuse” the system
Classism, like racism or sexism, has three different levels:
1. The distrust, anger against or hatred of another person simply because they belong to a different class than one’s own.
2. Making assumptions about another person based on a stereotype of their class.
3. Societal structures which make it difficult for a person of lower classes to obtain the status of “normalcy” in society.
Because of the three different levels of classism, it is difficult for people to communicate to one another when they are speaking of different kinds of classism. There is a kind of classism that speaks evil of all wealthy people (definition 1 or 2), but wealthy people are not affected by the societal structures, because they have enough power to overcome them. Some wealthy, like Donald Trump, suffer under societal infamy (whether deserved or not), but Mr. Trump is not struggling to obtain the everyday benefits of American society.
Classism is still at the starting gate to be battled against. The poor and homeless are still represented in the mass media as pathetic, not real people. Politicians and pundits are allowed to call the poor “lazy” without mass outrage. The assumption that it is easy to get a job or assistance is rampant among the population. There are many more blocks to raising one’s class than ladders to overcoming blocks. And classism is often ignored in discussions that speak about racism and sexism.
The first steps to overcoming classism are simple and can be done by most people with access to cyber social media:
1. Don’t let anyone make stereotyped statements about the poor without being corrected, whether personally or publicly.
2. We need to battle our own prejudices against the poor by finding out more about them. Two good places to begin is with Barbara Ehrenreich’s journalistic expose’, Nickel and Dimed, http://www.amazon.com/Nickel-Dimed-Not-Getting-America/dp/0312626681
or Anawim’s site about homelessness: http://hogansheroesfanclub.com/articles/dehumanization-articles/
3. We need to pursue relationship with the poor. We can meet with and ask questions about the life of people we know who are struggling. Or we can go to a local shelter and ask the homeless how they became homeless and what they do. Only if the poorer classes and the middle classes communicate can prejudice be overcome.
4. We need to actively oppose any legislation that openly harms the poor, or that makes assumptions about the poor that are untrue. It is not enough to shake our heads in shame, we can email our Congress Persons, Senators and President and speak to them about the classism in legislation.
This morning I journeyed to the parts store again for the fuses and a relay switch. There was something I was forgetting but I couldn’t bring it up to the front burners of my mind. When I got to Stark street I remembered……Breakfast. I hadn’t eaten anything and now my stomach was reminding me in a continual barrage of rumblings.
Well, there was a Jack in the Box and so I went to get Breakfast. So for $3.49 you get 2 eggs 5 silver dollar pancakes hash browns and 4 strips of bacon and a small coffee.
Then I turn around and there are 5 homeless pooling the fortunes for something and so I go to them and said if you would order off the dollar menu I’l cover the tab. So for $10 dollars 5 people had breakfast with coffee. None of them knew about Anawim and so I told them ow to get there and the times we were open.
They had come in on a rail car from Albuquerque New Mexico Someone said they heard their were jobs to be had here in Oregon but they are finding out that it was just a myth…….Brought back memories from the eighties and people chasing the phantoms of a possible job and a escape from the streets.
I got my parts and am now waiting for my feet to stop aching and my homeopathic muscle relaxers to kick in. One of the guys here had a pedometer to measure walking distances and so I had borrowed it and it is 3.97 miles round trip to the part store. 4 miles even if you include Jack in the Box. Not bad for and out of condition ol’ Geezer. Heh, heh, heh.
On Tuesdays in Gresham we have a work day where some folks work for pay and others just volunteer and some for community service. But I am finding that even after they have fulfilled their community service requirements for the justice system they return on their own because this is their place. They are taking ownership of the grounds and the church and they are becoming disciples.
But they are still living on the street. It is a constant dream of mine to secure a house with property a couple of acres maybe 5 or 10 where they could live and grow deeper in the wisdom of the Lord and in the depths of the Holy Spirit.
There are many others I love and exemplify:
Francis of Assisi
Martin Luther King, Jr.
but I only love these because they love Jesus.
These are the experts in following Jesus, without Jesus they are nothing.
I follow their example of following.
The power of deliverance is not physical
for we are not delivered from that which binds us.
The power of deliverance is not ethereal
for ghosts are only whisperers, not chain-breakers.
The power of deliverance is not political
for deception cannot build what is true.
The power of deliverance is not religious,
priests are for comfort, not revolution.
The power of deliverance is unseen, raw and angry
more solid than solid
imperious to fear or bribes or weapons.
And He is triggered by the whispered cries of a child.