Poverty Porn

Poverty Porn by definition is “any type of media, be it written, photographed or filmed, which exploits the poor’s condition in order to generate the necessary sympathy for selling newspapers or increasing charitable donations or support for a given cause”, and it is something that we all at one point in our lives have witnessed or seen with our own eyes, whether we realize it or not. This used to be showcased with photos of frail looking individuals sitting by their bare-boned homes, today we see it in TV commercials and even more prevalent on social media. The day and age has changed, but the content of what poverty porn is has remained the same. The creation or commercialization of Poverty Porn has many different goals but the main outcome that is hoped to achieve is to generate sympathy for their own good. Much of the time people who organize poverty porn Ads or campaigns want to use these images to raise money and gain momentum for their campaign and their fight.

Poverty Porn has benefits for the people that are trying to exploit the usage of it, but all in all it’s very harmful. It’s harmful to the individuals that are in these photos and in these videos. Poverty Porn is an absolute invasion of privacy. In these photos we see people who are struggling, they are struggling most of the time in the place they call home. At home is where we should most feel safe and most feel that sense of privacy, these images do not allow for that or provide that. When I see these images on TV or on social media I sometimes think about what I would do if it were me in their position and I can’t help but feel I’d feel a sense of embarrassment. And that’s not their fault, those who are using these images to exploit feelings of sympathy for their own selfish use are at fault. Some may make the argument that the people running these ads and making these commercials genuinely want to help, and they make make the argument that they’re not trying to exploit these struggling people. But if they truly are, I’d say they’re going about it the complete wrong way. There are people all over the world that truly do need help, and they can be helped. I don’t think they need their faces plastered all over the internet and television networks to accomplish that. I don’t believe they want or need our sympathy, they need our help.

The Problems with Poverty Porn

I’m sure we’ve all seen commercials on TV or adds on social media that depict thin, emaciated kids, a row of small, run-down houses, or homeless people begging on the streets. This is known as poverty porn. Poverty porn is defined as “any type of media, be it written, photographed or filmed, which exploits the poor’s condition in order to generate the necessary sympathy for selling newspapers or increasing charitable donations or support for a given cause”. Poverty porn was introduced in the 1980s when charity campaigns became popular. Organizers of these campaigns found the most heart wrenching photos and videos to show to the audiences to generate sympathy and increase donations. While poverty porn has been successful in helping to raise more money for people who are in need, it also has its faults. Many people argue that poverty porn is inappropriate in many ways.

First of all, it can be seen as an invasion of privacy. No, American people who see poverty porn will probably never cross paths with the people in the photos, however that’s not the point. If any of us were in that position, we wouldn’t want our face to be broadcast all over the world. It is just simply not right to exploit people because of their circumstances to make money – even if that money is supposed to help them. There are other ways to make money. Second of all, poverty porn creates stereotypes. For example, there is a stereotype of the starving African. For some people, poverty porn is the only exposure to Africa that they have. When this is the case, it can lead someone to believe that everyone in Africa is starving and poverty stricken, and living with false stereotypes like that can cause problems. There are no doubt lots of people in this world that need help, however exploiting them and turning them into puppets that charities play with the create sympathy is probably not the best way to help them.






Income inequality between races

By Bo Liu

African Americans systematically have less wealth than whites. Tables 1 and 2 summarize several wealth measures by race including median wealth, average wealth, and the share of households with no or negative wealth. The median black wealth in 2016 amounted to $13,460—less than 10 percent of the $142,180 median white wealth. (see Table 1) The average black wealth was 11 percent that of whites, and slightly more than one-quarter of blacks had no or negative wealth, compared with only a little more than 10 percent of whites. (see Table 2)

The black-white wealth gap has persisted for decades. As shown in Table 1, the median wealth for black non-retirees over the age of 25 has never amounted to more than 19 percent of the median wealth of similarly situated whites since 1989. Additionally, the ratio of average black wealth to average white wealth never exceeded 21.6 percent in 1992. Roughly speaking, the best-case scenario for the past 30 years occurred when blacks had about one-sixth the median wealth of whites in 1998.
These above two tables along with table interpretation somewhat reflects the income and wealth inequality as one form of systemic injustice among African-American. wealth in this country is unequally distributed by race—and particularly between white and black households. African American families have a fraction of the wealth of white families, leaving them more economically insecure and with far fewer opportunities for economic mobility. As this table shows, even after considering positive factors such as increased education levels, African Americans have less wealth than whites. Less wealth translates into fewer opportunities for upward mobility and is compounded by lower income levels and fewer chances to build wealth or pass accumulated wealth down to future generations.

Now, the historical circumstances leading to the sharp systemic wealth and income inequality between white people and black people originated from white wealth accumulated from the trading and enslavement of Africans, and from the taking of black-owned property to pass down to white children and grandchildren. Government policies such as racial housing covenants, redlining, financial handouts for white war veterans, and highway expansions provided additional wealth expansion for white families while providing net-zero wealth opportunities for African Americans.

Hanks, Angela, et al. “Systematic Inequality.” Center for American Progress, www.americanprogress.org/issues/race/reports/2018/02/21/447051/systematic-inequality/.

The Big Problem with the Money Bail System — Aaron Kienzle

Image retrieved From -https://www.prisonpolicy.org/reports/incomejails.html

I was watching a T.V. that followed around people in jail. From participating in this course, I got to thinking about the systemic injustices that lie in our criminal justice system. I believe there are a lot. One of these would be the money bail system that we currently have in play. The money bail system is where someone gets arrested and they are given the option to either stay in jail or pay a payment so they can be released until their court date. Once they show up to the court date they get their money refunded. However, there are a lot of problems and injustices in this. First of all the presumption of innocence (where people are considered innocent until proven guilty) is completely thrown out. If you are falsely accused and could not afford bail, you would be stuck in jail until your court date. Bernadette Rabuy and Daniel Kopf in their article named Detailing the Poor stated that “34% of defendants were detained pretrial for the inability to post money bail.” This means out of 100 people charged and booked for a crime, 34 of them were offered bail and could not afford it. Innocent people sitting in jail because they cannot afford bail is definitely a problem. This is highly impactful to the lower class people who do not have a lot of money. Why is it right that a person with more money can get out of jail and a poorer person can’t? It simply is not. Upper class people are given a major advantage just for having money in their pocket. This system can be related to the theoretical work of othering we have learned in class. The system sets upper class people up as the one and lower class people as the other. All based on how much money the person has. Justice should not have a monetary value. In order for this wrong to be righted a new system must be put into play, a system that does not focus on social classes to decide if you can or cannot stay in jail. This reformed system must focus on equality among all people and fairness in the trial process. There are two articles linked below that help understand the injustices that lie in the money bail system. If you have the time, check them out!




Environmental injustices in Southeastern North Carolina

By Kristin Power

Far too long have non-white communities in North Carolina had to suffer from injustices. More recently, these communities in the eastern part of the state have been enduring environmental inequities due to the large concentration of hog and poultry farms. The problem is commercial hog farms are permitted to be placed (by the state of North Carolina) within proximity to already existing residencies. The counties in which they are established are predominantly black counties. These farms utilize open-air waste lagoons and spray fields. The residents of these counties “had higher mortality due to infections, anemia, kidney disease, and perinatal conditions, and higher rates of hospital admissions and ED visits for LBW infants. The observed higher rate of all-cause mortality is consistent with the lower life expectancy in this area” (Kravchenko, Rhew, Akushevich, Agarwal, & Lyerly, 2018).

I believe this to be systemic injustice because the state of North Carolina is permitting these farms to be within proximity to preexisting homes. Furthermore, North Carolina is not addressing the environmental inequities faced by these residents. In the latest public hearing, North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality stated, “cumulative health impacts are not currently in the Department’s purview” (Poupart, 2019).

In my opinion, a simple change in how hog waste is handled would be a solution. Also, future hog and poultry farms should not be permitted to be established unless a specified distance from residential areas is met. NCDEQ should also be reviewed based on the blatant disregard of the communities’ health disparities as a result of hog and poultry farms.

This problem is relatable to the hardships, injustices, and inequities faced by Martin Luther King Jr. and John Lewis. These people are trying to fight for equality. However, these people are fighting for equality long after the Civil Rights Act was passed.

Here are two links describing the situation:





Kravchenko, J., Rhew, S. H., Akushevich, I., Agarwal, P., & Lyerly, H. K. (2018). Mortality and Health Outcomes in North Carolina Communities Located in Close Proximity to Hog Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations. North Carolina Medical Journal79(5), 278–288. doi: 10.18043/ncm.79.5.278

Poupart, J. (2019). Environmental Justice. In Hearing Officer’s Report and Response to Public Comments for the Renewal of the State General Permits for Animal Feeding Operations (pp. 24–24). NCDEQ. Retrieved from https://files.nc.gov/ncdeq/Water Resources/Report-of-Proceedings-FInal-04.11.2019.pdf