Shanesha Taylor: The Real Face of Poverty (Photo: Maricopa County Sheriffs Office)
by Leonard Pitts
"We have got this tailspin of culture, in our inner cities in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning the value and the culture of work." -- Rep.
"You're facilitating the problem if you give an animal or a (poor) person ample food supply. They will reproduce, especially ones that don't think too much further than that." -- former South Carolina Lt. Gov.
"There are 47 percent who are ... dependent upon government, who believe they are victims, who believe government has a responsibility to care for them." --
Look at her face.
Spend a few quality moments with that image -- her booking photo.
Taylor was arrested last week in
Taylor left her kids so she could go to a job interview. She is 35 and homeless. She had no one to watch them. She was desperate for work. She took a chance.
Now her children have been taken away and she is facing two felony counts of child abuse.
About the double-dealing banks that helped trigger a 2008 financial crisis that nearly crashed the U.S. economy they say nothing. About the
But let an urban legend spread about some joker using food stamps to buy beer, let some indigent seem a little too content in his meager circumstances, and you can't shut them up. This, they say, is what waste looks like. These people represent all 46 million poor people in this country. They are the face of poverty.
The poor have no lobbyists, no cable TV network, no national interest group to speak on their behalf, so the lie stands. Even so, it remains a lie.
So take a moment with Taylor's face. Apparently, she wasn't a scavenger, wasn't a moocher, didn't feel entitled, wasn't even lazy.
She was just a person who only wanted to work so she could provide for her children. That's the true face of poverty. Not incidentally, it's probably your face, too.