The Beegle reading was a perspective of the issue of poverty I had not really been confronted with or considered before. In my experience as a student studying any topics concerning how institutions are structurally biased, poverty was inextricable from issues of race. Any discussions about poverty were built into discussions of race and the discussion was usually about how disproportionate numbers of minorities, particularly Blacks and Latinos, live in poverty.
While Beegle acknowledges this fact, she also made the argument that white is the only race that you can attach “trash” to and remain culturally acceptable. At first, I had an adverse reaction to this quote because I felt, and still to a certain degree feel that there is hesitancy to acknowledge that the privilege of being white encompasses more than economic privilege. However, the more I dwelled on it and especially after the group facilitation of this topic, I think I am taking more of Beegle’s argument to heart than I did before.
In order to eradicate systematic, inherited poverty, we have to stop making assumptions that white people who are poor are poor by choice. People in poverty, regardless of race, have to fight the same systemic issues in order to successfully meet their basic needs.
Education is almost universally acknowledged as being “the great equalizer.” The people within the institution, then, should make sure that we are, at the very least, the one place where being poor is not a barrier to success.