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Viola Davis inspires conversation about poverty: 'Nobody sees you because you have access to nothing'

Inspired by Viola Davis, Paballo Chauke wrote about how poverty affects every aspect of life where every thought and decision is impacted by poverty.

Viola Davis inspires conversation about poverty: 'Nobody sees you because you have access to nothing'
Cover Image Source: Getty Images / Pool

A tweet recently went viral, sparking a conversation about poverty rendering people "invisible" to others inspired by a snippet of an interview Viola Davis gave to “Through Her Eyes.” In the interview, the "How to Get Away With Murder" actress shared that one of the worst parts of poverty was the anonymity—and the feeling of being rejected by society. “The one thing that I learned when I was poor—and this is something that people just need to say out loud—is that you are invisible,” she shared. “Nobody sees you because you have access to nothing.” The Twitter user, Paballo Chauke wrote, "I’m aware of how a lot of people don’t see me and have never seen—will never dare to see me because they deem me as unworthy due to my poverty. I know how much of my experiences have been shaped by lack and how people disrespect and abuse me because I am a nobody—poor." 



The author continues, saying that every aspect of life is affected by poverty—while trying to run away from it or wishing to stop being poor or waiting for a "better tomorrow with no poverty," adding that "every thought, decision, and energy is POVERTY." He goes on to call poverty a "leech" and a "man-made condition" that saps life of its purpose and identity. Most people in poverty have a lot of guilt and responsibility and feel shame about their condition. "A lot of us wear that shame to the grave because we accept that being poor is our fault hence the deserving of being treated like non-entities. Nobodies! Shame!" he tweets.



Pointing out that poverty is a systemic problem as a result of some accumulating wealth while others are exploited, he says that those in power are "fully aware but would rather continue to paddle lies." He goes on to add that they spread "the false narrative that people are to blame for their own suffering—championing the 'rags to riches' story."

Chauke mentions that poor people are expected to remain silent because they are "a nobody." Quoting Audre Lorde, he says, as Lorde asserts, "Your silence won't save you," we must reject it. He then refers to the dichotomy emerging from intergenerational poverty which doesn't provide people acceptance even when they secure a place amid the privileged as poverty ascribes you to a social class. Calling it a "weird place where you are privileged on paper but not in reality," he wrote, "You went to UCT and Oxford and travelled the world and you’ve set with power and privilege that doesn’t belong to you because at the end of the day you are poor."



He also spoke about how poor people's agency is taken away by people who infantilize them and continue to remind them that they don't belong. "The world hates poor people and they have even taught poor people to hate themselves and each other," he wrote. He stressed the fact that humans crave to be seen, and "to experience life where people look over you or through you damages you especially when it’s not your fault."

"There’s a reason why I tell my story boldly and loudly and refuse to wear shame on a daily basis—I am aware of what it means and how it makes those in power uncomfortable but I do it anyway. I’m called to render visible those in my bloodline who were historically erased," the Twitter user said, concluding his thread with an appreciation for Davis for unabashedly being herself and narrating her experiences of poverty. 



The Twitter thread elicited many responses, with many sharing their experiences of being rendered invisible due to poverty. "As someone who currently is living (and has lived a majority of my life) poor, this is 100% true. It feels like every day is screaming into a room full of people but no sound comes out," a user shared

Another user shared, "We still at that stage where of you're poor and hardship hits you it's still somehow always your fault and that's the ONLY time you're visible. If you're poor but happy people will go out of their way to not acknowledge you."


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