Deon Williams: Retiree Living It Up in Detroit in Residual Poverty

Deon Williams represents how having limited resources plays an ongoing role in shaping personal and social orientations. Deon is our one Atypical giver case. As we have discussed, he has a residual poverty mentality: his childhood experience has left him with the perception that his resources are limited, even though he has actually achieved a comfortable, middle-class adult lifestyle. Deon’s mix of orientations matches the mixed approach to giving that makes him an Atypical giver.

Social Trust (High)

Though Deon rated himself on our survey as very high in Social Trust, he described himself during our interview as “cautious, careful, not necessarily trusting of other people, for sure.” When we asked, “Why’s that?,” he said:

Oh man, because—you read the paper? This world is crazy, man. This world is crazy. There’s just so many con games and crooks out here. Makes it hard to trust anybody, especially somebody you don’t know, shoot. I wouldn’t trust them no further than I could throw a piano... . But like I said, I don’t trust, I don’t trust a whole lot... . There’s so many con games, so many untrustworthy individuals out here.

Just as he does not approach giving in a consistent way, Deon exhibits inconsistency in his responses. It seemed that his responses varied dramatically based on whether he had been drinking that day. Rather than calling his giving style Atypical, we could easily label it Inconsistent. This may be the case with other Atypical givers as well.

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