Ruby Payne spent an hour and a half talking to the crowd at the United Way’s Women’s Philanthropy Connection during its annual education event to help them understand the very reasonable answers to those often judgmental questions. She put the answers into a context that the mostly middle class group of more than 200 people could understand, and showed them they have their own set of “hidden rules” for navigating their particular class world. Ruby Payne said rather than arguing about the roots of poverty, people should start understanding the roots of people’s lived experiences.

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