The Westside Gazette

Poverty began in Mind of the State

Poverty began in Mind of the State

By Kevin Palmer

A May 25, 2017, New York Times article titled, Ben Carson Calls Poverty a ‘State of Mind,’ Igniting a Backlash, stated Ben Carson, the head of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, faced an intense backlash for calling poverty “a state of mind.”  In theory, Carson was correct.

However, Carson was wrong to blame poverty on the state of mind of the poor. More accurately, poverty in America began with the state of mind of greedy European colonists who needed an abundance of cheap labor. Without cheap labor there could have been no prosperity. Indeed, since the beginning of the American economy there has been a supply of cheap labor which has created a permanent underclass of poor people.

This underclass began with enslaved Africans. Then, over the decades more whites in large numbers have become impoverished and have now outnumbered poor Blacks.

In fact, the poorest states in America are Republican and predominately white. They include Mississippi, Arkansas, West Virginia, Alabama, and Kentucky. The poorest state is Mississippi, which has the highest poverty rate in the nation at 22 percent. That is the real reason for the intense backlash. It was not the words Ben Carson spoke; it is because the words were spoken by an affluent Black government official against the poor who are now predominately white. Poor whites are now hearing the same heartless criticisms poor Blacks have always heard from white racists and snobbish, affluent Blacks.

In short, poor whites now understand what poor Blacks have always known: the rich, regardless of race, have no sympathy for the poor.


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