This article was published by Hanna Brooks Olsen. It is important to understand that those who have not experienced poverty, ought to consider the feedback and advice they are about to give. She articulates her insights with her own personal experience and journey.
Well-meaning people who have never been poor are convinced that they know what I should have done. That subtle tweaks to my budget could somehow stretch my $9.50 per hour. I should have gotten a roommate. I should have lived somewhere cheaper. I should have found a better job.
Anyone who’s ever lived in poverty has probably had this experience.
In the U.S., we have become so accepting of the fact that poverty is not a symptom of a grossly unequal economy, or the result of numerous systemic failures, or the product of years of trickle-down economics, but instead, that the only thing standing between a poor person and the life of their dreams is their own decisions, their own choices, and their own failures.
This is why I would advise any person whose immediate reaction upon hearing about a friend, relative, or stranger on the Internet who is living in poverty is to offer unsolicited advice to hold their tongue (or fingers), at least long enough to consider what other forces contribute to poverty and how their “help” may actually be insulting, incorrect, and downright damaging.
Her article highlights how disadvantageous the advice is. She appears to focus on some of the common feedback. How it is problematic and lacking in understanding of those caught up in poverty.