Travelers too often assume that poverty is synonymous with dignity

“One of the cul-de-sacs that a travel writer has to continually watch out for is the pervasive assumption that poor people are intrinsically nicer than rich ones. It looks silly in print but on the ground, in the dust, it’s more seductive. A fond belief that poverty is synonymous with dignity, that kindness, politeness and humor as shown by the less privileged is somehow quantitatively more valuable because they come tempered by hardship. And there’s the balancing assumption that all those things that come from rich people are consequently worth less because they’re bought and paid for with such ease, that their happiness is less real because it’s sullied with money and possessions. What we end up with is a cartoon version of the Sermon on the Mount. An unhealthy belief that poverty is of itself ennobling because riches are demeaning.”
A.A. Gill, AA Gill is Away (2003)

Posted by | Comments (1)  | August 22, 2011
Category: Travel Quote of the Day

One Response to “Travelers too often assume that poverty is synonymous with dignity”

  1. The Twilgrim aka Edgar Neo Says:

    Your’re right, Rolf.
    On my Pilgrimage of Trust I see it happen all the time.
    Travellers mistaken a certain degree of wealth/poverty with dignity.

    Well, let me tell you this: Both rich and poor can be rude, jealous, generous and hospitable 😉