STOP EXPECTING ALL POOR PEOPLE TO LOOK THE SAME


Black and gold are colors of protection during crises and personal transformation.
Photo Credit: Anita Buzzy-Prentiss

GROWING UP POOR IN AMERICA

Shawn. Kyah. Miracle. A few names battling the same ugly beast I wrestled with my whole life. I’m still wearing my war mask because every citizen is chained to the gates of classism in America. Expectations on education, skills, and social conditioning because of skin color paint a very grim and telling story of the haves and the have-nots. Optics and representation is not enough to curb the corrupt cravings of a failed capitalistic civilization. Your privilege doesn’t protect you and it goes to show that poverty can carry an iPhone too. I cried this morning watching Jezza Neumann’s Frontline film: Growing Up in America after waking up from a weird dream about the death of Bernie Sanders and how his memory was decorated with sticky note condolences in the hallways of a school buildings. Talk about some major dream interpretation there.

I’m familiar with food stamps, charity packages, free lunches, and being shamed away from socializing with the popular kids who came from money, stability, and an educated family tree. Privilege people are rarely self-made, they’re given handouts through marriage, having a friend in the biz, and even inherit their family’s unyielding grandiose confidence about their place in the world. Middle class has become a socioeconomic euphemism to avoid the real pain and suffering that poor people face on a daily basis. Somehow this qualifies socioeconomic ignorance. Poverty doesn’t come only in paper bags and cardboard boxes on the street. Some people fall into poverty for a variety of reasons noted in the film. And the way that politicians want to blame competing political parties or how privileged people pressure poor people to work hard to earn their keep in the world despite their health and well-being is appalling.

Judging people because you want them to meet unrealistic puritanical capitalistic expectations of working hard, contributing to society, and living the “American Dream” fuels nothing but a false and temporary sense of pride. Mindless automatons in corporate america making decisions at the expense of others is the true nature of what’s tearing this country apart. And the chasm between rich and poor is growing. But you know what hasn’t grown in years – the federal minimum wage. That piss poor amount is not livable by any stretch of the imagination. So to those complaining about poverty assistance, unemployment, stimulus checks, and the lack of confidence the public has for the lazy political con artistry that’s used the Coronavirus to pivot political agendas of mass destruction you can shove your arrogance up your ass.

TO CHILDREN, TEENS, AND PARENTS FACING POVERTY

I see you because I see me. I was told college was the answer. I was told moving out of town was the answer. I was also told that people just need people. And those words of wisdom brings much truth. If you’re in an abusive situation get out. But also don’t accept shame or fear-mongering tactics by others calling you a moocher because at the end of the day. Giving is good. Generosity is a medicine that makes being human a whole lot more bearable. Kindness is real. Your mind is a powerful tool to discern and not take shit from no one.

Handouts and legs up are a gift that we must be grateful for because it gives the person on the other side a means to channel their good nature. Of course not every penny is polished and there are a lot of charlatans ruining charity, however despite the antics and the hypocrisy – don’t give up. You being here and being yourself is exactly what this world needs to improve. Poverty has no place on this planet other than to keep people from pursuing life, liberty and happiness. And I very much expect all poor people to not just pursue their rights, but to own their rights.

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