“Hell is other people,” famously wrote the French existentialist Jean-Paul Sartre at the close of his 1943 play No Exit. While for Sartre this was a philosophically sophisticated point, in America today it has become simply the way we increasingly treat people at the margins of our society. We see whole groups of people as unlike ourselves—as the undesirable “other.”
Many different kinds of people have been harmfully “othered” throughout our country’s history, and the plights of these groups have received well-deserved attention and focus. But there is one group that we systematically other today—with hugely damaging consequences—while hardly even realizing that we are doing it. Those people are Americans living in poverty.
Given all this, it is reasonable to conclude that middle-class and wealthy Americans’ social distance from people in poverty exists in a mutually-reinforcing cycle with the contempt they feel towards them. This textbook case of othering grows even more intense when social distance involves the overlay of multiple identities, such as race, class, religion and ethnicity. When the range of ascribed differences between groups is greater, the outgroup is that much likelier to be viewed as intrinsically different or alien.
Read the full article by Arthur C. Brooks and John A. Powell on AEI
Interested in learning more about Impact Philanthropy? Other readers at Giving Compass found the following articles helpful for impact giving related to Impact Philanthropy.
Looking for a way to get involved?
Learning with others and benchmarking are key steps towards becoming an impact giver. If you are interested in giving with impact for Impact Philanthropy, take a look at these events, galas, conferences and volunteering opportunities to connect with individuals like you.
Are you ready to give?
If you are interested in Impact Philanthropy, please see these relevant Issue Funds, Charitable Organizations or Projects where you can get involved.