COLUMN: Examining poverty and wealth

This Op-Ed originally appeared in the Indianapolis Recorder Newspaper

“Societies are built on great wealth disparities, and thus need an exploited class to develop that wealth.”

Those are the words of Dr. Chenjerai Kumanyika, a researcher, journalist and assistant professor at Rutgers University, as heard on the podcast “Seeing White” produced by Scene on Radio.

Dr. Kumanyika said this in 2017 and three years later, we are likely worse off than at that time due to many factors — one being a global pandemic that we are still living through.

But on that note about wealth disparities, the mention of an “exploited class” deserves more examination. Here, he is talking about people. People in our families, our workplaces, neighborhoods. People who are us.

In the Indianapolis Recorder, writers Breanna Cooper and Tyler Fenwick have penned the real-life stories of the people behind those statistics in their recent reporting.

People like Chris Busbee, a young father balancing the debt of child support, rent and utilities on less than $15 per hour and Kyerra King, a 25-year-old who put her education on the back burner to work at age 16 to help support her mother and three siblings. Chris and Kyerra represent the reality of the situation in our city and unfortunately their stories are not unique.

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