The notion of an intractable "culture of poverty" has pushed our country in an especially ugly direction.

White conservatives are quick to tell black folks and other folks of color to 'stop being victims,' and to bash them for adopting a 'victim mindset.' But then they base their entire political existence on the idea that they are victims: of brown immigrants, Muslims, “the gays,” trans folks, secular humanists, atheists, scientists, environmentalists, taxes, government regulations, affirmative action, Hollywood elitists, college professors, political correctness, feminism, anti-Christian bigots, the media, etc. In other words, the biggest professional victims on the planet — whose race, religion, and sexuality are still dominant throughout the society — think its OK to lecture others about the subject…fascinating. – Tim Wise.

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In Under the Affluence, Wise builds on his fierce critique of racial privilege to discuss a related issue: class disparity and a culture of cruelty that demonizes those in need.

As Wise demonstrates, there was a time when the hardship of fellow Americans stirred feelings of sympathy, civic responsibility, and direct support for policies meant to alleviate poverty. But today, mainstream discourse increasingly blames low-income folks for their own situation, and the notion of an intractable "culture of poverty" has pushed our country in an especially ugly direction. Wise shows how the wealthy elite have commandeered discussions about class, moving the nation toward scorn and disengagement from the marginalized.

With clarity and precision, Wise not only documents growing contempt for the nation's have-nots, but also explores the underlying forces that perpetuate it. In doing so, he demonstrates how classism, racism, and sexism are inextricably linked, and how popular culture contributes to a deepening indifference to those who are struggling. Finally, Wise shows that far from a culture of poverty, it is the culture of affluence and power that deserves the blame for America's simmering economic and social crises.