In the “The Attitude of the Bourgeoisie towards the Proletariat” chapter of Friedrich Engels’ Condition of the Working Class in England, there is a letter from a “Lady” in which she goes on a tirade about being forced to see the poverty stricken of England and how she is repulsed by it. The Lady goes on to mention that she, and the bourgeoisie, donates to the charities devoted to poverty causes; therefore she, and others of her rank, should not be forced to view evidence of its existence.
The letter seemed archaic in thought when I first read it, but the truth is that these kinds of opinions still run rampant through our society today. Those of us living in the West have become experts at funneling money into causes while turning a blind eye to the actual problem at the same time. The righteous feeling that comes with donating money to a good cause, such as poverty, should be packaged with the ability to neglect the actual issue. Excuses are often made in order to put the blame on the people in need and relieve ourselves of any sort of responsibility. Any resonating pressure can be absolved by simply throwing money at the issue. Of course, I am not saying that there should not be funds given to institutions and charities, I am simply stating that the ignorance that so many take refuge in needs to be lifted. By disregarding their problems, we are further deepening the segregation between the middle class and lower classes. Acting as though the poor of our cities are in our way or need to be avoided is a gross miscalculation of our own self-worth and a symptom of the overwhelming sense of entitlement that permeates Western society. The middle and upper classes are doing a disservice to those in need by looking the other way, not the other way around.