Bell Hooks Representing The Poor

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From the first paragraph of Bell Hooks’s, “Seeing and Making Culture: Representing the Poor,” she establishes her connection to the subject in which she’s about to discuss more in depth. Though she begins by saying, “[c]ultural critiques rarely talk about the poor,” the middle of her first paragraph transitions smoothly into her own experience of being labeled as “poor” and the negative connotation accompanied with that (Hooks, 432). Specifically, she mentions Cornel West and his collection of essays relative to the time of post-modern times, narrowing down on an essay called “The Black Underclass and Black Philosophers.” By referencing his writing, she includes proof that even distinguished writers worm their way around seemingly undesirable…show more content…
Poverty Policy, 1960–2008,” on the other hand, is less centered around soul searching, and more focused on the presentation of facts, a strategy used to hook, inform, and persuade a scholarly audience. The biggest indication as to what audience the work is intended for is the words themselves. There’s a noticeable difference between the vocabulary in the Bell Hooks’s writing versus that of Max Rose and Frank R. Baumgartner. For example, Bell Hooks uses simplistic, yet emotionally heavy words such as “deprived,” “privileged,” and “humiliation” (Hooks). Contrastingly, Rose and Baumgartner mention politics, include graphs, and use the terms “poverty-threshold,” “GGI” and other technical jargon that would likely bore less-educated individuals (Rose and Baumgartner). Granted, they do tell readers what GGI is referring to, but even the explanation is wordy and confusing to the type of audience Hooks wrote for, “The GGI is the percent of total government spending on nonmedical [sic] means-tested programs divided by the poverty gap” (Rose and Baumgartner, 38). The authors make a point to mention other statistics as well, including amounts of nonmedical poverty spending and its rise through the years, various themes about poverty written in newspapers such as The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, and three others, not to mention, noting time periods critical towards the increasingly negative mindset affiliated with the…show more content…
Numbers, statistics, and names will not affect a general audience in the same sense it would a scholarly one, just as emotions or logic might not leave as lasting of an impression on scholars as it would the general public. This distinction does not make one better or worse in an umbrella definition; alternatively, it is relative to the audience the topic and writer’s intended audience. In reference to both Bell Hooks’s and Rose and Baumgartner’s writing, the former more effectively targets an audience lacking the vocabulary a scholar would have. In that perspective, Bell Hooks writes appropriately, as poverty and the judgment associated with the less privileged is an emotional issue (Hooks). With that, an emotional approach seems the most fitting, regardless of audience. Granted, the two articles complement each other in terms of focusing on the issue of poverty and its misrepresentation in the media. Hooks, and Rose and Baumgartner employ different tactics to educate, most noticeably, an emotional sense versus a strictly factual one. However, the objective for both sources is to eliminate stereotypes harmful to the poor community, ultimately for the dignity of the poor and less ignorance about what it means to be included in such a community. With the overarching goal of each written work in mind, the audience should be the general public, as it is easier to persuade consumers to change how they
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