A couple of days ago I came across the Fuck the Poor short film and wanted to address the issues it raises.
Despite poverty alleviation being on the policy agendas of all sides of politics to some extent, the piecemeal strategy of encouraging individuals to get back on their feet with limited Government intervention has never worked, and will never work.
Besides that, it’s not just about choosing how much money we do or don’t want to throw at poverty. The value we place on money has created a sick society, and the foundations of eradicating poverty reside in generating values and ideals that are conducive with egalitarianism.
It’s a beautiful thing to see people taking a stand against social injustices. Community development strategies such as social action, protest and consciousness-raising are the interface for connecting with other like-minded individuals who want what you want. Through these relationships, we can develop strategies that aim for the vital organs of the Government bodies that continue to deliver social policy that simply doesn’t cut it.
The thing is, there’s expansive and general misunderstanding of what it means to be an effective social activist.
In order to make a lasting impact, social activism needs to be a way of life that extends beyond reactivity to seeing or hearing something that rubs you up the wrong way. It’s not just about giving, either. Philanthropy is a fine and noble thing, and if that’s all you have the time or resources to do, great. You’re still making a valuable difference.
But what would be even more valuable is marrying these two things together, and always being present and active for the causes that you care about – especially the wicked problems such as poverty. Many suggestions are put forward to alleviate poverty, but eradicating it isn’t high on most policy agendas, because it looks like very hard work.
Note the metaphor contained within the Fuck the Poor short film. Plenty of people recognise the injustice and stamp their feet loudly, but how many of us are committed enough to take action?
Knee-jerk reactions are a waste of energy if they aren’t backed up by sustained commitment to an issue.
Instead, pour the energy into seeing what you can do about fixing it.