Saturday, April 3, 2010

Are Poor People More Violent Than Rich People?

Image of Indentured Servants, U.S. Colonies, 1600s

A few days ago, students in my World Cultures class were discussing the issue of morals among different groups of people. Someone said that rich people do not kill others as often as poor people do. While our media and the general talk among ourselves tells us that the poor are more violent, this is not actually so.

If its not true, then why do so many of us believe it - or at least believe this without wanting to to admit it?

Making the poor look bad has always been around. About the time England was colonizing the Americas, there were many people in trouble for not paying their debts. Back then, you would go to prison for not paying someone what you owed them. Many of our first American colonists came as "indentured servants" -they had been arrested for their debts and were forced to be someone else's servants without pay until the debt was paid (don't always believe people when they say their ancestors, who were some of the first colonists were from rich or important families).

There was this religious idea that if you were poor, God did not bless you (or like you). While this may sound like the Lakewood Churches of the 21st Century, its an old idea. Of course, if God didn't bless you, you were not considered a good or worthy person. Well, then it would be easy for others to think your type of people could easy murder others...

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