by Max Brantley
Many Americans disdain the poor - and science proves it.
When people were placed in neuroimaging machines and shown photos of the poor and homeless, their brains responded as though the photos depicted things, not humans - a sign of revulsion.
Advocates for the poor aren't surprised, saying enmity toward the needy runs thick.
Antipoverty types cite as evidence the ubiquitous calls from state and federal officials to cut food stamps and energy assistance; eliminate or reduce General Assistance, Social Security, Medicaid, Head Start, and welfare; fingerprint anyone receiving benefits; and so on.
"Americans react to the poor with disgust," said Susan Fiske, professor of psychology and public affairs at Princeton University and the designer of the neuroimaging tests. She has studied attitudes toward the poor for 12 years.
This feeling is all the more potent in combination with some other aversions — think race and obesity, for example.