What is most offensive about Ben Carson’s latest remarks to CNN, saying that poverty is “largely a state of mind,” is not just the obvious oversimplification of what causes poverty, but the really insulting assumption that something is wrong with the way people in poverty think.
A change in mindset won’t provide affordable childcare.
A change in mindset won’t improve a failing neglected school system.
A change in mindset won’t bring jobs to areas where there are none.
A change in mindset won’t raise the minimum wage or pay the rent on a decent apartment.
A change in mindset won’t change how other people look at you and treat you.
People don’t live in poverty because of their mindset. But they do survive in poverty because of their mindset — because of the courage, determination, kindness, and solidarity that facing a daily struggle cultivates.
If poverty is a state of mind it is one that we would all do well to learn from and cultivate —to be more like Toni in this ATD Fourth World story.