29 December 2009

How to write about poor people

From aid watch blog:

Use a precise definition of poverty: living on less than $1.25 a day, adjusted for purchasing power. Give the precise number who fit that definition.
Ignore the recent revision of this number by 42%.
Do not excessively analyze geographic or ethnographic distinctions amongst poor people.
Discuss the following: poverty traps, vicious circles, aid financing gaps.
There probably won’t be time left to discuss the following concepts: initiative, savings, inventiveness, resourcefulness, adaptation to local conditions, or local knowledge.
Discuss only income, health, access to clean water, and literacy. Leave it to anthropologists to cover areas like happiness, traditions, ceremonies, festivals, friendships, kinship, love between men and women, or love between parents and children.
Display pictures of poor children (alternatively women).
Don’t show pictures of poor men, who make your audience think of drunkards, wife-beaters, or janjaweed.
These topics are only for Marxists: power, class, discrimination, oppression, or history.
Your knowledge about poor people should come from other writers who observe these rules.