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Definition - Essay Example

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The first time I became aware of the way in which poor was used to encompass a litany of different emotions and understandings within our society was when I was around the age of 7 or 8 years old. Sadly, it was my parents that helped to instill a negative and pejorative meaning to the word; even though they were not likely aware of this at the time nor have any idea concerning this today…
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Download file to see previous pages The conversation inevitably turned to the suitability of this individual to handle the task at hand. Keenly aware of the fact that someone was being judged in this matter, I listened closely for any determination; fully aware that whatever was decided would impact me specifically. What I heard was my mother and father agreeing that the woman was not suitable due to the fact that she was incredibly poor. At the time this made a large impact on me; as I realized that people’s abilities and talents could be classified with respect to whether they were poor or not. Within our entire culture, the term “poor” has taken on a highly pejorative meaning. Individuals are summarily grouped between those that can be classified as “poor” and those that cannot. As with many pejorative words, the actual meaning behind the word “poor” differs significantly from what is connoted when this word is so carelessly and continually thrown around by the likes of politicians, news pundits, and stakeholders at every level within society. In seeking to understand this term to a more full and complete degree, the following analysis will consider the direct denoted meaning of the word as well as the connotations that it espouses within the current culture. Firstly, it must be understood that “poor” in its most basic denoted meaning merely involves the state of being without; and/or having a very small amount of something. Generally, this denoted meaning involves money or financial instruments of some variety. However, within the connoted meaning of the word, the societal participant is lead to understand that this involves a lack of education, propensity to crime, oftentimes even a certain socio-demographic. From the connoted and denoted meanings that have thus far been defined, it can be fairly securely understood what specifically defines “poor” within the current culture and society. Yet, it must also be understood that the term itself is incapable of defining many of the connoted meanings that have been referenced. As was described, the traditional definition has to do with material want; not personality traits and/or a proclivity away from education. These connoted meanings only act as a disservice to the way in which people understand what poverty and poor actual means. As a direct result of this misunderstanding, the definition of poor has come to take on a life all its own. One thing that should be manifestly clear, a topic that is not often discussed, is the fact that even though poor has a level of impact with regards to material possession, it cannot begin to define the level of skills, talents, ideas, creativity, passion, work ethic, motivation, or intelligence that a person has. Merely because poor can help to define the net worth of an individual in monetary terms should not be misconstrued to mean that it is somehow equally useful for delineating the overall net worth of a person physically, psychologically, emotionally or spiritually (Hom 391). By their very nature, humans seek to define and categorize information into easily understandable facts. Unfortunately, these “facts” are oftentimes incorrect and passed on from one person - or worse yet – from one generation, to another. As these misconceived understandings continue to gain strength, these definitions take a life of their and begin to not ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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