In his profound essay “A Taste for Danger,” Theodore Dalrymple comments on his growing disgust for middle- and upper-class younglings who delight to dress in the rags of poverty to show their “solidarity with the poor” as well as, not coincidentally, posturing as a self-referential moral rebuke to “the privileged.” Dalrymple observes that the vast majority of the truly poor in history have felt burden and shame in their lot and wished to do all they could to escape it. For privileged, usually white, young adults to ape their forbears’ poverty is cruelly to mock and scorn the poor. But, apparently, mockery of the shamed and downtrodden is a small price to pay for the satisfaction that feelings of moral superiority — particularly to one’s parents — can inspire.
Author: P. Andrew Sandlin
I am founder & president of the Center for Cultural Leadership, core faculty of the H. Evan Runner International Academy for Cultural Leadership and De Yong Distinguished Visiting Professor of Culture and Theology, Edinburg Theological Seminary, and an ordained minister in the Fellowship of Mere Christianity. I am happily married to Sharon Lynn Sandlin (nee Habedank) and have five adult children and four grandchildren. View all posts by P. Andrew Sandlin