Professor Michael Garbarini
Seeing and Making Culture: Representing the Poor What is your perception of the poor and less fortunate in society? Would you say that you have a low perception of them or do you regard them in the highest? Would you do your social duty to reach out to the poor and impoverished to assist them, or help assist, in establishing programs that would aid in leading them to a brighter future? These are the questions that I ask of myself as I read, “Seeing and Making Culture: Representing the Poor,” by bell hooks. My paper examines the perception that pop culture, society, and media have of the poor, as well as, the expectations and responsibilities of society to ensure a response to their needs.
In "Seeing and Making Culture: Representing the Poor," bell hooks argues that the poor are portrayed as lacking integrity and dignity, and is convinced that TV shows and films send out a message that people cannot feel good about themselves if they are poor. She postulates that the low self-esteem of the less fortunate would be restored if society as a whole changed how they share their resources and wealth; restoring a value system that has disappeared. hooks contends that it basically boils down to the fact that society and the government have the responsibility to intervene in changing the way that everyone looks at poverty, and should provide opportunities for the poor to meet and help each other. I agree with hooks; while this was the perception back in 1994 when her book was published, it is very sad to see that the same observations made by hooks of how the poor or impoverished are portrayed in media and society today remain the same.
For the most part, our culture has evolved in that we are more willing to help those less fortunate and our communities have provided and created programs that nurture the poor. Most of us are honest, hardworking, good people; who feel compelled to help those with less than
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