Article: “Poverty, Dignity, and Public Housing”

Article: Jamie Lee, “Poverty, Dignity, and Public Housing,” 47 Colum. Hum. Rts. L. Rev. 97 (2016).

Antipoverty efforts are persistently subverted by broad societal contempt for poor people. The belief that poor people are morally and behaviorally inferior, and that their personal failings are the cause of their own poverty, is a staple of American opinion polls and political rhetoric. This presumption is so widespread that it even permeates antipoverty programs, which treat poor people with disdain even as they offer aid and assistance.

Income discrimination creates not just social stigma, but legal inequalities. The Supreme Court recognized some forty years ago that welfare law promoted wealth-based Constitutional inequalities, and responded by invoking the doctrines of equal protection and due process to protect the rights of the poor. The Court grounded these rulings in an affirmation of the human dignity of all people, regardless of wealth. Yet these dignitary rulings have not prevented societal discrimination against the poor from flourishing. This societal discrimination has consistently undermined antipoverty initiatives and turned programs meant to alleviate suffering into tools of subordination.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s