An honest and substantive discussion about poverty is, and has long been, virtually missing from the public debates. When is the last time you read a news article covering the issue of poverty in a substantive way? Chances are slim, according to a recent study conducted by Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting.
Of the nearly 10,500 campaign articles published from January to June 2012 that were reviewed, the study found that national media coverage of poverty-related issues appeared in only 17 of the articles. Yet, the study found that “debt” and “deficit” appeared in 1,848 of the articles. How can we talk about fiscal cliffs, scaling back social insurance programs, and improving the weak economic recovery without having a substantive conversation about poverty, the structural factors that are driving poverty, and how it affects us all?
Our collective inability to talk about poverty is widespread: not only are we ignoring the plight of the poor during dinner-table conversations, the problem of poverty is no longer an urgent national or state priority.
Remaining silent on persistently high poverty levels and its impact is a conscious choice that affects all of us. It does not have to be this way. We can learn and talk about poverty, write about poverty, and fight back against policymakers who claim it does not exist. In starting the conversation, we can also begin the work of collectively addressing poverty in our communities and state.
That is why the North Carolina Budget and Tax Center launched a pledge to talk about poverty. We are urging all North Carolinians to talk about poverty with their family, friends, neighbors, and congregations.
Let’s #TalkPoverty and end the silent treatment. Sign the pledge here.