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Poverty pimp or "professional poverty pimp" is a pejorative label used to convey that an individual or group is benefiting unduly by acting as an intermediary on behalf of the poor, the disadvantaged, or other "victimized" groups.
Those who use this appellation suggest that those so labeled profit unduly from the misfortune of others, and therefore do not really wish the societal problems that they appear to work on to be eliminated permanently, as it is not in their own interest for this to happen. It could be applied to someone who sees poverty as a career, and as such alleviation of poverty-related issues would be a threat to their livelihood.
The most frequent targets of this accusation are those receiving government funding or that solicit private charity to work on issues on behalf of various disadvantaged individuals or groups, but who never seem to be able to show any amelioration of the problems experienced by their target population. It has also been used to describe the leader of a civil rights group who creates hysteria over some real or imagined fear (usually racism) and keeps a major portion of the donations.
"Scoggins's experiences with government intervention confirmed his political heritage. At age ten, he had helped his family campaign for Eisenhower in the 1956 election, carrying the basket from which they sold chicken sandwiches up and down Tulsa's historic black business district. "You had every last thing you wanted there. Welfare was not even thought of," Scoggins says. Businessmen represented the black community, not a "bunch of ministers or poverty pimps, like today," Scoggins recalls."
"During one particularly heated moment, Rep. Joe Baca called Wal-Mart executives 'poverty pimps,' arguing that they exploited the Hispanic community, then tried to make up for it by contributing to Latino organizations, according to a House Democratic aide with ties to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus."