Public Perception and Poverty: The Importance of Understanding How We Think about the Impoverished
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American thoughts and attitudes are affected by fact, fiction, and experience. My research explores public perception of the impoverished by considering academic writing and the popular media, then examining one organization that seeks to change negative perceptions of the impoverished. The first section of my research is a brief literature review of current poverty theory, followed by a section examining the role of popular media in public perception. A brief survey of The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Waco Tribune-Herald, among others, revealed positive and negative trends in the way poverty is presented. The final chapter examines the strengths and weaknesses of a Baylor Campus Kitchen, a student-led hunger alleviation group that can help reduce negative stereotypes by introducing the middle class to the impoverished without reducing the dignity of the poor. When engaging in any discussion, it is important to know the topic and recognize your biases. This project seeks to encourage everyone to at least acknowledge both sides of an argument before making decisions.