"(Un)Knowing Poverty" by the charismatic Ananya Roy.
This is one of the most wise, smart and courageous discussions I have heard on poverty and our relation to it. Roy deconstructs the “relational” aspect we construct or inherit as part of how we know the world. While this is addressed to “millennials” of the West, I believe this applies to all millennials within a Western public sphere including all of us getting Western-style education back in the East.
This reminds me of my own questions when I walk the streets of Beirut and encounter people begging for money or assistance. While a few people offer so little money to help, the dominant discourse is “why don’t you go get a job!” People tend to dismiss how the same system that privileges them discriminates against their fellow “citizens.” Eventually, it is not the self-enacted joblessness that exacerbates poverty and need but the system that rewards the rich and impoverishes the poor.
"My students belong to a can-do generation of socially conscious millennials who want to catalyze change, who want to undertake poverty action. Central to their ethics of global citizenship is a sense of responsibility towards what feminist geographer Doreen Massey has called spatially distant neighbors. But millennials who have a deep empathy for poverty on a distant continent are often less keen to know the poverty that exists at home. They want to volunteer in the slums of India, but they squirm at their encounter with the homeless panhandler on the streets of the liberal city of Berkeley…the poor at home we have rendered foreign through our ways of knowing poverty.” Ananya Roy