this particular list accentuates and celebrates it.
Can you imagine a similar piece writing about the woes of
Terminal Cancer or Business Failure or Having An Autistic
people who are actually suffering don't write this way.
As to the rest of this piece: I find several of the viewpoints commendable, but you're conflating them by interpreting this list as 'self-serving bigotry'. The problems of generalisations, pity and lack of understanding really don't need to have anything to do with this list. Only the author can tell.
John Scalzi is not reflecting on his own experiences. He is just as privileged as you or I; he is merely claiming to be so much more aware of poverty that he has the authority to emotionally define it.
Which is not to say that he isn't doing well for himself now, and it's hardly surprising that this wouldn't feature prominently in his "brief bio".
In the original post, he described not being able to scrape together $300 for a test to go to college at all, and "not taking the job because you can’t find someone you trust to watch your kids". Sounds like exaggeration to me.
I still don't think he's writing from experience. He went to a high school he liked, a nice out of state college, and got a nice job. Just like the rest of us. He hasn't had to "try to think of a way to make the kids understand that the box [of Raisin Bran] has to last." Maybe his parents or friends did. Or maybe it's exaggerated and mythologized.
I'd rather access the reality of poverty through reason than emotion. Practical compassion for the people I know personally (and he is not the only one with friends and family who are poor!); statistics for communities and definitions and trends.
Minor correction: the $300 for college story is from a person called Soni in the comments, not in the original blog post. The bit about not taking a job, I can easily see being observation of his parents; that's how I interpreted a lot of the items in the list, as things he saw his family go through as he grew up. He himself has obviously done pretty good, but that's not to say he couldn't have shared at least parts of these experiences.
In general I agree with the superiority of reason over emotion; but there are a lot of people out there who can't be reached easily through reason, for whom statistics just sit there, meaningless. I think it's useful to have these emotional appeals out there, as it hits at a different level.
John Scalzi is not reflecting on his own experiences.