The first session of a new course, Taxation and the Working Poor, had just ended, and senior Suann Hunter left the classroom looking troubled. She turned to instructor Eddie Nabors and said, “I’m going to be mad all semester.”
Nabors smiled. That’s precisely the response he wanted when he created the Collat School of Business class. “The working poor are invisible in America,” he says. “You interact with them every day without knowing it. They could be your cashier at Walmart or the waitress serving your coffee.” But some businesses know exactly who the working poor are, and target them with predatory practices involving loans and tax preparation.
The students “are shocked, appalled, and angry” when they discover the obstacles that the working poor face, Nabors says. “It’s hitting their emotions. I’m trying to enlighten my students so maybe they can change some things.”
Hunter, a 2017 accounting graduate from Pinson, Alabama, took the lessons to heart. She says the class “completely broke down” her long-held stereotypes regarding lower-income individuals. She no longer thinks of them as being irresponsible and lacking motivation, for example. “I can’t judge them,” Hunter says. “It made me grow and become more humble.”