NBC12 Viewpoint: the poor and the working poor

By: Kym Grinnage - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Something I heard very recently caused me to do some homework about how the poor are defined in our society. And although my findings may not be new to many of you, you may find this information interesting. Here's one definition of the poor: People lacking enough money to comfortably live in society. And according to the census bureau, a family of four with one working parent earning $22,000 is considered to be living in poverty.

The census bureau also states that an area that has 20% of their population living below the poverty level is considered to be a" poverty area".   A prominent politician said that poor children in poor neighborhoods rarely see people going to work and receiving money for work. And that many of these children only see people making their living through illegal activities.

I don't disagree that some of this is true, but what gets lost in this discussion are the number of children who see their mothers or fathers go to work each and every day earning a legal wage and they still find themselves in poverty, They are called the working poor. So what kind of role models are these parents? Are they positive role models for these children? Are they exemplifying a good work ethic? My answer would be yes.

Some politicians need to use more care in characterizing the poor in such a negative light. Many of the so called poor are the same people serving food in restaurants, cleaning hotel rooms, landscaping lawns and working in many service industries that make the Greater Richmond area a desirable place to live and work.   Many of you can attest to a healthy work ethic watching so called poor parents go to work each and every day and exchange work for money.

And for those of you that were fortunate enough to grow up in households that were not considered poor, you learned your work ethic by the same example.   Fortunately, most of you recognize the inherent value of these members of our society. And because of this, many of our fellow citizens have something money can't buy, and that's Hope.

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