(Alternet) -- The Republican Party has a long history of denouncing America’s poor as freeloading parasites, living off the hard work and innovation of the rich while contributing nothing to society. The left, meanwhile, offers a more inclusive and egalitarian perspective, arguing that more poor Americans could join the middle class with the right education, training and opportunities. Too often, however, liberals and progressives end up shaming those they intend to help, criticizing lower-income earners for everything from their dietary choices to their inability to make charitable donations. And in so doing, they’re only adding to the misery of one of the country’s most vulnerable populations.
Below are five ways in which liberals and progressives shame the poor without even realizing it.
1. Diet-shaming from organic food proponents.
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Leftists are often vocal proponents of healthy eating, and understandably so. But nutritious foods can be expensive, which is one reason America’s poor are more likely to make unhealthy eating choices. RedAndHoney.com blogger Beth Ricci has written at length about the challenges of trying to feed her kids on a tight budget, and how “condescending, sanctimonious, ignorant and presumptuous” proponents of overpriced organic food can be. When informed these foods can cost a small fortune, she writes, they often resort to the snide talking point that “cancer costs more.”