Negative Stereotypes Behind Bad & Ugly Gossip: Poverty

If you use negative stereotypes about people who are different from you, you are inviting everyone who hears you to use negative stereotypes about you. Below are some of the negative stereotypes other people could use about you in difficult financial situations. How many elderly people who now live in poverty planned to live in poverty at the end of their lives? None, of course.

My collection of stereotypes comes from books, magazines, newspapers, movies, television shows, radio programs, news shows, conversations, etc.

Stereotypes and categories overlap at times. I create categories of stereotypes as I have stereotype examples to put into those categories.

The research into gossip goes back at least to the middle of the 20th century. Both men and women research gossip. Putting all of their research together, gossip is talk and writing about people — both other people and ourselves — in family, social, workplace, and public settings.

Much of the research shows that gossip is both positive and negative. I define gossip as good, bad, or ugly. Good gossip ignores or breaks stereotypes while bad and ugly gossip are based on negative stereotypes.

Negative stereotypes exist about everyone, no matter their age, gender, race, religion, profession, etc. These stereotype blog posts will help you understand the negative stereotypes about you. Each post will focus on one or two or a few characteristics.

Stereotype Updates

I add stereotypes as I come across them.

I will add the new stereotypes at the bottom of each listing, putting ~~~~~ between the older stereotypes and the new stereotypes.



People living at working class, low income and poverty levels








deviant for not being middle class

don’t work hard enough

don’t work at all

can’t improve themselves

feel bad about themselves

don’t make friends well

unable to defer gratification

lack of respect for or interest in education



apathetic or ignorant about birth control

ethnic minority

lack thrift

loose morals

no personal drive

no willingness to take risks

no initiative

unwilling to work hard

fail to seize opportunities

take advantage of the health care system

deserve to live in poor neighborhoods near garbage dumps and
toxic waste, near noxious industries

deserve poorer school systems, inferior medical care, more
frequent arrests, harsher prison sentences, more severe
social control

should pay for restaurant meals before they eat

should be watched closely in stores

should be publicly humiliated

believe everything they see on television

are the group most likely to have trouble paying their bills

Mothers receiving welfare




lack confidence

abuse the system

practice fraud

get something for nothing

sit at home

lack work ethics

keep having babies for free

unskilled laborers

live high on the hog

on drugs

deserve contraceptive testing, involuntary sterilization,
and coercive treatment during pregnancy, prosecution
for drug use


sits in front of television all day eating potato chips

adopted a child so they could get welfare

Fathers of low income children

deadbeat dads (only good for financial support)

Social welfare programs are meant to help

low income people

Low income people are poor in


verbal skills


social manners




Low income parents

lack educational values

Low income children

lack motivation

do not value education

would not benefit from the kind of education offered in schools in
wealthier areas

Low income women




neglect their children

Low income men



Points to Ponder

Did you notice that people living in poverty might not be able to improve themselves because other people think they “deserve” poorer school systems?

Did you notice the opposite stereotypes that people living in poverty “can’t improve themselves” but can “take advantage of the health care system”?

Did you notice that people living in poverty can take advantage of the health care system, but are poor in health?

Did you notice that people living in poverty might need to take advantage of the health care system because other people think they “deserve” inferior medical care?

How do people living in poverty “live high on the hog” when other people think they “deserve to live in poor neighborhoods near garbage dumps and toxic waste, near noxious industries”?

Personal Note

I wrote letters to the editor about poverty issues for several years. I was low income because a childhood injury to my spine was misdiagnosed for 33 years. Eventually, normal sitting and standing became extremely painful. How would you earn money if you couldn’t sit or stand normally?

Early in my letter writing years, a friend was in a baby sitting coop. My friend attended a meeting shortly after the newspaper had published one of my letters about poverty. One of the other women in the coop asked if anyone knew Paula Kramer. My friend said she did. The other woman asked:

“Is Paula fat and does she sit in front of TV set all day eating potato chips?”

My friend told me she set the woman straight.

My husband was part Native American and our daughter has his darker skin coloring. A neighbor asked me,

“Did you adopt your daughter so you could get welfare?”

Why would any adoption agency allow someone living at poverty level to adopt a child?


Critical Thinking Questions

1.  What’s happening?

2.  Why is it important?

3.  What don’t I see?

4.  How do I know?

5.  Who is saying it?

6.  What else? What if?

Stereotype Thinking Questions

1.  What is threatening my beliefs?

2.  How can I make it unimportant?

3.  What can I reject?

4.  What can I laugh at?

5.  How can I attack people who threaten my beliefs?

6.  How can I deflect?

The stereotype thinking questions are mine, based on my observations of stereotype thinkers.


Online workshop that provides strategies to chip away stereotypes in both professional and personal relationships:

End Negative Gossip & Increase Collaboration

“After participating in the gossip power presentation, I know I now have a better plan to be more effective in understanding how gossip affects every area of a person’s personal and professional life. Using her strategies on gossip power and gossip ears I feel I will be better able to navigate these areas both inside and outside the office. Paula does a great job, using both scientific research and personal anecdotes and examples, to develop strategies for turning the power of gossip into positives for anyone attending her presentation. I left energized and excited about her message and what I learned and am definitely looking forward to learning more at her glass ceiling presentation.“
Mark Spiers
SBDC Consultant

Paula is a fabulous motivational speaker. Not only does she speak on positivity, but she conducts webinars on gossip and how to get out of the trap!! She is very knowledgeable, professional and inspirational! I love Paula’s talks and webinars! She mentors women to bring out their best and believe in themselves! Thank you for all that you! The world needs you right now!
Lauren Ebbecke

Paula M. Kramer
© 2015 to the present
All rights reserved.

Posts on this blog alternate with posts at the link below. Posts for both blogs are published on Wednesdays as they are ready to be published. Time between posts could be weeks or months.

Gossip Posters

Gossip Proverb

Good, Bad, & Ugly Gossip

Resource Websites

Business Directory

Positive Identity Directory For People With Mugshots


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