Dictionary.com defines social justice as “the distribution of advantages and disadvantages within a society” and poverty as “the state or condition of having little or no money, goods, or means of support” Some people believe that poverty is a part of social justice. They believe that people who work hard get money while people who are “lazy” experience poverty. Sociology even teaches that poverty is needed in order for society to function. I, however, do not believe either of those statements. I believe that social justice has nothing to do with poverty. I believe that our problem with poverty is just our own selfishness. We have enough food to super size everything at McDonald’s, but we do not have enough food to feed the hungry? That is screwed up! That sounds like selfishness to me. It is the same way with money. We have enough money to buy the nicest stuff, but we do not have enough money to house or clothe the homeless? Again, that is not right!
I actually used to believe that people in poverty are just lazy and are getting what they deserve, but I have changed my mind. I am currently finishing up a class that I took this quarter about poverty. I also did my practicum for the class at a food pantry for the homeless. The class and the practicum taught me a lot. I learned that people do not choose to be poor. They work, but sometimes they just can not make enough money. We even read a book in my class, Experiencing Poverty. It had real stories by real people who have experienced poverty. It also had some statistics. That book taught me a lot, too.
If anyone is lazy, it is us middle- and upper-class citizens. People with money do not want to do the work necessary to help put an end to poverty. Why? I am sorry, but people like that just make me sick.
Poverty is nobody’s fault. It just depends on the person’s circumstances. It is a sad situation. But something can be done about it. We just need to realize that.
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