Dignity & Respect in Back Row America: Chris Arnade

A lot of politicians like to say that there are “two Americas,” but do any of them know what life is really like for the marginalized poor?


We speak with journalist and photographer, Chris Arnade, about the forgotten towns and people of back row America. In 2011, Chris left a high-powered job as a bond trader on Wall Street, hit the road, and spent years documenting the lives of poor people, driving 150 thousand miles around the U.S.


His new book is "Dignity: Seeking Respect in Back Row America." In his many columns in The Guardian, Chris writes about broken social systems that have betrayed poor people on the margins of society. He speaks to us about drug addicts and prostitutes he met, and their faith, resilience and ties to community.


"I think if I had one suggestion to policy people, it would be get out of your bubble," says Chris. "I think when you blame a group of people for their behavior, without addressing the situation they find themselves in, then you are doing it wrong."


In this episode we explore the stark division between elite, globalized "front row kids" in the media and knowledge industries, and most of the poor and working-class people in the back row.

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