tion of the public will only bring about further rejection. It is necessary to find ways of calling the attention of the public at large to this problem without making arguments and explanations which will reinforce the status anxieties of the middle American.
Related to this is the second possibility, one of educating the public about the poor. The problem is not middle-class misperceptions about the poor, implying, as that does, that education with the facts will help. That solution ignores the psychological energy and needs behind views of the poor. The argument here is that the conceptions have much more to do with the concerns of all classes for themselves and are not, in any specific sense, directed only at the poor. The poor themselves have misconceptions about the poor. We thus need to make new attempts to provide facts that may change the images in people's minds.
Third, these results suggest a set of problems for professions which systematically deal with the poor, especially social work. Specifically, there is not much support, in these responses, for pleas for support of the poor due to the external nature of the causes of poverty. And unlike education, which is connected with the myths of upward mobility, social work can draw strength from no deep reservoir of values. Perhaps it could seek in some way to connect itself with mobility and achievement values as a way to enhance its ability to be helpful.
Fourth, it is now clear from the responses that the middle class is one important source of hostility to welfare programs. Those involved in designing new programs to help those in the lowest class will need to think of ways to avoid the stigma attached to many current programs, stigma which comes from a sense that the lowest-class members have a heavy hand of responsibility in their own fate.
The important point here, however, is to see that the problems are centrally, not peripherally, related to key American values, and it is therefore necessary to take those values into account in both analysis and policy.
The old explanation, which points out that "support of an ideology is strongest among those who profit most from the system which the ideology explains" ( Rytina, Form, and Pease 1970, 715), still rings true. The question remains, however, as to who profits from certain ideologies about the poor. As Pogo, the comic strip possum created by Walt Kelly, famously said, "We have met the enemy, and he is us."