Source: Creative Commons“Just ‘cos you’ve got the monkey off your back doesn’t mean that the circus has left town”
This pithy, cynical quotation is attributed to George Carlin; a wonderful American comedian and satirist with an acerbic wit and the ability to cut through a lot of b.s. to reveal reality for what it is.
When I read this quote it struck me that in a few words Carlin had summed up a mindset that I see all too often amongst those who have grown up in less than fortunate surroundings and have gone on to become rich, famous or in authority roles. Many times I have seen and heard from some that have benefitted in this way that because they were able to rise out of the situation they were in then anyone can do it and so those that remain destitute are undeserving of assistance. “I did it, so can they” I hear.
But, as Carlin so sublimely notes the circus is still in town. The circus is well and truly in town masquerading as a system that allows for unbridled greed whilst many go begging. Under the Big Top of Injustice there are communities who remain in poverty and cycles of unemployment, violence and discrimination.
It is because the circus is still in town that community development is so important. Community development is just that, it attempts to develop communities not just individuals within communities.
Furthermore, community development recognises that there are systems, beliefs, worldviews, prejudices and social barriers that restrict and condemn some communities to remaining within the Big Top, never seeing the world outside the circus.