Mike the Mad Biologist

One of the quiet assaults on the poor is the criminalization of being poor. This is one reason why many lower-income people are leery of gentrification: policies claimed to make neighborhoods nicer are used to move the lower-income residents out (or to jail). That many in positions of authority and power view making a neighborhood ‘nicer’ as equivalent to moving out lower-income people, especially the Unlovely Poor, goes unsaid (except, perhaps, in Mitt Romney’s ‘quiet rooms.’ Or the NRO website). Barbara Ehrenreich describes how this is done (boldface mine):

In 2009, a year into the Great Recession, I first started hearing complaints from community organizers about ever more aggressive levels of law enforcement in low-income areas. Flick a cigarette butt and get arrested for littering; empty your pockets for an officer conducting a stop-and-frisk operation and get cuffed for a few flakes of marijuana. Each of these offenses can…

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