Three things appeared regularly in the launch posts and comments: shame, poverty, and responsibility.
Particularly in early posts, the theme of shame was discussed often. Everyone seemed to agree that shame played a role in poverty. We see this in a number of quotes:
“If we want to start to fight poverty we must begin by fighting shame, and letting people know that they are worthy of help” -Hashubah
“[We fight shame by]…educating, allowing those afflicted to be as self-sufficient as possible, and erasing the stigma that getting help means giving up” -Joycemichelle
“Shame hides the silver lining, making the person feel that there is nothing they can do…” -Daretobepresent
“Those afflicted must also be empowered to act self-sufficiently.” -Daretobepresent
“We have to eradicate shame, and I think a good way to do this is to help people speak up.” -Toastedravioli
These quotes all follow a few general trends I noticed in our thinking about shame. Most of us seem to think that shame damages the dignity of the poor and leads them to despair. Most of us also seem to believe that the poor would be better off if they did things different—and furthermore, that the the way the poor see themselves affects what they do, and who they are.
The unpleasant reality of poverty, and our responses to it, also came up fairly often in our posts. Hellosunshine, twoheadedmouse, limegreenlover, and colonelokeefe all discussed the “ugly truth” of poverty, some in those words, some in others. All four seem to agree that things are not the way they should be, and that we should not, as colonelokeefe says, “sugarcoat reality.”
The final major pattern I noticed was questioning about our, personal responsibility—about what we should be doing. Hashubah says we should be “fighting shame, and letting other people know their worth.” Limegreenlover asks “who do we think about when we spend our money?” Colonelokeefe says “exposure is what’s needed.”