(Ausonius, Epigrams, 19.23.4)
There is no trust for the poor.
(Pron = NOO-lah FEE-days in-OH-pee)
Comment: I do not have access to the full text of Ausonius? epigram, so I
also have no context. (heads up: that was the disclaimer!).
My soon to be 14 year old daughter asked me yesterday why ?people? say that
Gwinnett County, GA (where we live) is ?the ghetto?. I asked her who
?people? are who say this? As it turns out, after having spent a weekend
with friends who live in a more rural county in GA, this comment had been made
I asked her what she thought ?ghetto? meant to these friends of hers. Mind
you, while we were having this conversation, we were driving through Gwinnett
County on our way to the YMCA that we belong to. Finally, she was able to
articulate that to her friends, ?ghetto? is a negative term, and that it
means a place where ?black people live?.
The Latin term ?inops? in this epigram is actually an adjective with a wide
range of meaning that covers many kinds of ?lack?. If you lack money, you
are ?inops?. If you are bald, you are ?inops?. If you have a poor or
deficient vocabulary, you are ?inops?. If you are destitute of, stripped
of, or without, lacking in, deficient in or poor in any regard, you are
?inops?. That covers most of us!
To the point: if you are not accorded respect and human dignity, then you are
considered ?inops?, and this lack of trust for the ?poor? is largely a
problem that reflects as much on the one not trusting as on the poor. I would
say that it reflect more on the ?not trusting one? (which, by the way, in
Latin is ?infidelis??the root of our word ?infidel?).
My daughter and I talked about the historical use of the word ?ghetto?, that
it once included Jewish people rounded up by the Nazis and forced to live in
neighborhoods designated by them, and so, ?ghetto? meant no choice,
coercion, and ultimately, genocide. Those Jewish ghettos, though, included
many wealthy and not so wealthy persons. It had nothing to do with financial
poverty. We also talked about how ghetto has also meant economically poor
neighborhoods, which could be ethnicity related or not. In those cases, people
were limited by their financial means.
I asked her to look around as we drove through Gwinnett County. Did she
generally see people being forced to live here? (no). Did she see vast
amounts of poor neighborhoods (no?though, Gwinnett county has poor
neighborhoods like any place). What we do see, in our neighborhood, at our
YMCA, in our schools, in the malls and stores we frequent, are people from all
over the world. We do not live in a lilly-white world. And then for a few
minutes we talked about having a ?ghetto-mind?, one based on ignorance,
fear, and racism. It was the ignorance, fear and racism that were not to be
(Used with permission)
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