Poverty is an issue that I again, hold near and dear to my heart. Faranda wrote about, and it’s a well known fact, that 50% of this country is teetering on the brink of poverty. This was my family. Don’t get me wrong, I had a comfortable life and I never knew any of this was going on…until I grew up and could look back on it subjectively. My parents did a great job with the cards they were dealt and I had a wonderful childhood. I think back to some of how my life was…and then multiply by 10. The fact that the current administration wants to cut government spending without getting proximate makes me cringe. He lives in golden palace and the closest he has come to poverty is driving through the ‘wrong section of NYC’…or should I say, being driven through the wrong section. It honestly makes me sick. Dr. Gower said something in a previous class that really has stuck with me. I believe it was that 25% of veterans who have returned from war are on food stamps. Now, I thought no one does military better. I thought our veterans were going to benefit bigly? THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU DON’T BECOME PROXIMATE TO AN ISSUE. Many of the uneducated, ill-informed voters are the ones who will ultimately suffer under the decisions being handed down from his ivory tower. ANYWAY, I DIGRESS. The book, Just Mercy, reminded me of To Make a Murderer. Remember? The Netflix documentary that everyone thought was to try and vindicate a convicted murderer in Wisconsin. I didn’t realize it at the time, but this documentary was totally to enlighten the country on the injustices of the legal system in this country. It is so incredible easy to convict a person who doesn’t have the means to defend themselves…(money). I think this got lost in translation. It did help get the one young man out of jail though. I just read a heartbreaking article about a man who spent 17 years in jail because he LOOKS LIKE THE GUY WHO DID IT. I mean, granted they are doppelgangers but there’s no DNA or evidence besides they look alike. There literally was more evidence to convict OJ. Back in the early readings for class, there was a diagram that showed how 1% of the world controls 50% of the world’s money. That is disgusting. I also saw Mark Zuckerburg say to Harvard at commencement, ‘it is up to people like me, to balance out the injustices of poverty.’ One last thing I wanted to touch on was the idea of EBT card, food stamps, and other kind of government benefit stealing. Are there people who sell their benefits? I’m sure there are. Everyone has seen that one video where the mom is bragging about living for free, sitting in a Burger King, and being a baller. Just like in the John Stewart article about Fox News, she is now the poster child for all people who are on government benefits. Right, her life seems awesome. How dare she take my tax dollars and do this without working. Also, why does everyone think that poor people are on drugs and going to sell them for drugs? Why should we spend more tax dollars to drug test them. A few states tried this and it didn’t do anything but waste money. Somewhere along the line people wish their government be run more like a business and forget about the one thing it’s meant to stand for, the people. Dangerous combination.
One issue that I feel as though I disagree with a lot of people outside of Higher Ed on is the issue of sexual assault. Sure, I am not immune to the fact that there has been a few cases of sexual assault where people were searching for money and wrongfully accused an athlete or celebrity, but you can’t put that on all victims of sexual assault. I’ve heard even from other women, ‘they probably just make it up.’ I cannot fathom why someone would make something up like that. Having been proximate to victims of sexual assault, it is one of the most traumatic things a person can go through. As a matter of fact, as I was working my way through these readings my fiancée and I were watching a documentary called ‘The Keepers’. The main gist is that a group of young women were sexual assaulted in a Baltimore Catholic HS by a priest. A murder ensued and the victims came out 20 years later against the church. There are two topics that feed into the victim blaming. The first is more scientific and I am not knowledgeable enough on the issue to go one way or the other; it’s called memory suppression I believe. The other was that even the ‘holiest’ of people can have a dark side. Some of the things they said to these victims were horrific. Almost every person that they interviewed had a, ‘you need to prove to me this happened’ attitude. Also, they were blamed for ‘doing this to the Catholic church’. As the similar but very different issue unfolds at Baylor right now and across the country, I’m watching closely.
This article is in no way surprising. I do believe that the research, like any research, should be taken contextually and by no means is a blanket statement for all colleges or professors. Being the minority in a situation doesn’t have to be difficult, but it so often is. The only situation I have to call upon with this is when i get my haircut. I go to a black barbershop and am often the only white person in the room. I rarely get talked to, although I like many of the same things they do…and think I don’t. One thing the readings make come across…I can choose another barber if it ever makes me too uncomfortable, but it doesn’t, but situations like this are unavoidable for so many minority citizens of our country and world just for surviving. It makes me sad.
This was a perfect metaphor for microaggressions. I will throw this out there though…and it may be met with some criticism. I saw the Bill Maher thing from the other day. He said the n-word in a joke to a Nebraskan (senator?). The white Nebraskan senator didn’t take the time to say something on screen. He took to Twitter afterwards and disavowed what Maher said. I saw the clip on CNN on Facebook. I read the comments, because Facebook comments tend to be entertaining but I had a new lens to look through because of this class. I saw countless African-Americans posting, saying that they’re noticing all the white people getting offended. One post, and I will remember this forever, said ‘anyone who is a brotha knows that Bill is cool with us n*****.’ I’m not sure if this is a great example of microaggressions, but it seemed at least from the thread on FB that the wrong groups were poked and prodded by this ‘mosquito bite.’
I’ve read this article before in my Leadership and OB class. I think when I read it this time, I put it through a different lens. I can sum this article up in one story for me. I drove to Charleston, SC for a bachelor party last weekend. I had no idea that right across the NC/SC state line, there is a place called South of the Border. They have debatable signs for a hundred miles that look like Speedy Gonzalez saying ‘Mexican’ phrases to entice passersby to come visit. My mom had called just as I was passing and I asked if she had ever been there. She said yes, and I said, ‘Doesn’t any of it seem a bit insensitive?’ She replied with well when I went everyone wasn’t so sensitive and it didn’t mean what people thinks it means now. No one cared. I said, ‘Mom, just because you weren’t aware anyone cared doesn’t mean no one else did.’