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The Representation of Poverty through the Media: An Analysis of Diana George's Essay "Changing the Face of Poverty"
Transcript of The Representation of Poverty through the Media: An Analysis of Diana George's Essay "Changing the Face of Poverty"
Two Representations of Poverty
In the media, people in poverty are depicted either as "low-life street thugs" or as "helpless victims." But George shares a quote by Paul Wellstone who said, "We can offer no single description of American poverty." There are many different dimensions of poverty, other than just the ones shown in popular images. Sometimes we cannot even see the poverty that surrounds us.
Deserving vs. Undeserving
Non-profit organizations want you to believe that you are dealing with the most needy, the "deserving." They accomplish this through the use of those black and white pictures. Many people who are living in poverty do not identify themselves as in need of help because they do not look like the people in those pictures, even though they are deserving of that help. Many stereotypes of poverty are also built off "an ideology of undeservingness," that poverty is caused by laziness or immorality.
"Then the thing happens"
Jack London's quote of "then the thing happens " means that at anytime, anyone who is not in good financial standing is subject to falling into poverty. Nowadays, many families are living paycheck to paycheck, but are not normally considered to be in poverty. One unexpected occurrence, such as a medical incident, could mean a plunge into poverty though. "The poor are not only always among us, but at any time might be us."
How Poverty is Represented in Popular Culture
Diana George's Project
Diana George wants her audience to know that poverty is much more than what is shown in those black and white pictures. There are many different forms of poverty and it can not always be identified easily. Poverty is not caused from laziness or immorality, it can be the result of an unexpected incident. The pictures that are used by non profit organizations are a misrepresentation of poverty.
Diana George writes about non-profit organizations' use of pictures as a way to convince the public that there are people out there that need help. These pictures, such as children who look as though they are starving, portray people who are in poverty at their worst. Their aim is to convince people that they are looking at people who are most in need of their help. This portrayal is misrepresentation due to the viewer not being able to see the entirety of the situation that the person is in.