What do you think of when you think of affordable housing? Drugs, violence, garbage? When all the news we hear about low-income neighborhoods are in this vein, media tends to shape prejudices in our minds. The problem with news is that it doesn’t regularly report positive activities deemed not newsworthy and, when it does, those often are not what we share with our friends or post on Facebook.
Our post 9/11 society lives in a fear-based mentality that is quick to protect. This makes sense, because we want to protect ourselves, our families and our neighbors. But what I want to challenge you on is your image of who the threat actually is.
Most low-income people do not fit a stereotype that paints them as we might first assume. Many serve your food, baby-sit your children and are employed through social services. And, like all of us, they have families and seek a stable environment. They search for what we are all searching for: happiness.
There are neighborhoods in our city that wish to keep affordable housing in clusters, away from wherever they live. This is discrimination at its finest and plays on our most basic fears, as many of us above the poverty line are one paycheck away from joining the people we fear. So I ask, are we afraid of families that make a humble wage or are we afraid of our own stability that we project on the innocent working class American? Are these people deserving of the prejudices we place on them? Is anyone deserving of discrimination?