Friday, January 27, 2012

Do We Look Poor? Finance Friday

This is my daughter.
She's been competing every Saturday on her high school speech team with an essay I posted here a few weeks ago. She's doing very well. She's improved greatly since her first competition. She's climbed from not placing, to sixth to her best ranking; 3rd. All with the same speech.

Her topic? Poverty. Or more specifically the new face of poverty. (You really should take 5 minutes to read it).

As my oldest she is more aware than her siblings of our family's current financial situation.
She knows what I tell her but because of her maturity she knows more than I think she knows.
(like when she caught me swiping the food card at the grocery store a few weeks back despite my best covert efforts)

We're a big family. She's the oldest of 5.
And only in the last year (after our savings were all gone) did things get really hard.
I've stood in lines I never thought I would stand in.
Standing collecting help not because I wanted to, but because if I didn't ....

I don't "look" like I need assistance.
We're a hard working family.
We live very modestly.
And my teenager? She works for what she wants.

Most of her classmates don't have to work for 'fun money'.
They ask their parents to take them clothes & prom dress shopping or for lunch money.
Not my kid.
And never not once has she ever complained about it.

She's a hard worker.
She has an excellent attitude.
She's going to go very far in life.

But at a speech meet last week a team mate had some suggestions for her.
He said perhaps she would score better on her speech if she "...looked, well, more poor."

I am not kidding.

If my daughter - who's competitive speech was about how tough times have hit a record number of people in our county so much so that those you wouldn't expect to be considered living below the national poverty line - looked poorer she would be more believable and therefore do better.

I don't know if I can single-handedly, one blog at a time - make a difference but this is exactly why I started to dedicate Friday's on my blog to finances. There is a discrimination that takes place amongst the poor. Either food stamp recipients are lazy-good-for-nothings or capable-system-milkers who could work but won't.

This is not always the case and to carry such a broad discriminatory attitude in this day and age is very hurtful.

It's hurtful to me and I have my blog to release those emotions
but now
it's hurt my my daughter.
And the MammaBear in me gets really angry about that.

It's Friday. Finance Friday. And this is my blog.


  1. Wow. How does one look poor? I guess we should run her clothes through dirt and smudge some on her face instead of makeup? *Shakes head*

    I just read your daughter's speech and I am thoroughly impressed. And yes, the face of poverty is changing. I can only thank Heaven how lucky my husband and I are that we're living below the poverty line, but it's just the two of us. We can manage more than most, but it's still pretty tough.

    1. thanks Ashley for the kind comment and the tweet. Times are very very tough. I am sorry to hear that you can identify but also... it's nice to know someone gets what we go through. It's something you know? To be in this situation. I never thought it would be where I am at this stage in my life. Thanks again.


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