Middle Class Denial of Privileges is Offensive to the Poor
Picture a hungry mob of poor people. Then picture someone in the middle of that mob with a huge platter of food for just them. That is the beginning scenario that mocks current U.S. society. I understand the middle class are playing victim routinely nowadays, whining about things like foreclosures on their homes, but in all honesty, the poor don't even have houses to foreclose on (no, we pay endless exorbitant rent in excess of mortgages, so middle class people inherit)...
Middle Class Denial of Privileges is Offensive to the Poor
By Kirsten Anderberg ( http://www.kirstenanderberg.com)
Written May 21, 2010
Picture a hungry mob of poor people. Then picture someone in the middle of that mob with a huge platter of food for just them. That is the beginning scenario that mocks current U.S. society. This article will break down that scenario in detail as an example of class separation. For these purposes, I will define the middle class as anyone who owns a home in a middle class suburb. I give this definition because the middle class really like to feign poverty and deny their class privileges, so this at least locks people into their class via a tangible definition. My honest belief is without family to help you, there is no way to own a house via minimum hourly wages. You CANNOT "work" your way into home ownership (aka the middle class) without some form of family to help you and I say this because in 50 years, I have yet to meet even one person who bought a house on their own, by themselves, via hourly wages, with no familial help. Thus, I do not believe it can be done and that is a perfect fault line to define the separation of the classes. I understand the middle class are playing victim routinely nowadays, whining about things like foreclosures on their homes, but in all honesty, the poor don't even have houses to foreclose on (no, they pay endless exorbitant rent in excess of mortgages, so middle class people can inherit houses and skim profits off of the property they own via the poor) so the insensitivity on the part of the middle class, expecting sympathy for losing things the poor never are allowed to own, is quite offensive and disrespectful to poor people.
OK, so we have this person with their full platter of food amidst hungry mobs. In an exact duplication of what I see middle class people do daily, the person with the platter is going to *deny they have a platter of food*! Alike the situation with the poor and middle class nowadays, the poor will call out the person with the food, and demand the person ADMIT there is a platter of food there! Once the hungry mobs force the platter-bearer to admit the food is *there*, the middle class person will then try to claim that, OK, the platter of food is there, but "it is not mine." Let me give an example. I just talked to a friend of mine who grew up in a large house in a middle class suburb. She has one sister, so all familial wealth will be split between her and her sister. Her family owns a house on the same street as the house they own that she grew up in, which she lives in now as an adult. When I said to her this week that she owns a house, she claimed she did not own any houses. So here we go... I insisted she did own houses. She claimed to "pay rent" to live in her father's house. She said she pays $600 rent for a HOUSE in an expensive part of town. 1) That rent is lower than ANY house for rent in Seattle so it is not the rent her father would charge me, for instance. 2) She pays rent to her father who in turn will die and leave her that house and the other family house up the block. Seriously, why did my friend play these semantical games? Is she trying to pretend the platter of food is not there? Sort of, but she is at that stage where once caught with goods, they try to deny it is in their possession.
I find it so utterly bizarre that once caught with the platter of food amidst hungry poor people the middle class try to deny ownership! But the way the poor often assert ownership that the middle class deny is to then try to TAKE the goods the one denying ownership has. If my friend and her father did not own that house, for instance, then I, too, could rent a nice house in an upscale neighborhood for $600 a month. You see, the reality is these are called "privileges" because only certain people get access. And usually this access is defined down familial lines. Often the poor come from broken homes, foster care, orphanages, institutions, etc. thus they lost family early on. There will be no familial privileges afforded this group. I am in this latter group and I watch the middle class with their lavish goods, more than they need, always, and I look at my poor friends with so much less than they need and I am disgusted by the gluttony of the middle class.
So now the angry mobs have forced the middle class platter-of-food person to 1) admit the food is there, 2) admit ownership of said food, and now what? Now the middle class person all of a sudden tries to feign commonality! The middle class person with the big platter of food then tries to say that they are just like the poor hungry people. The hungry people do not buy that for one minute and demand the platter of food be handed over to the masses. The middle class food owner now fears they actually will be thrown down to the level of the hungry masses, losing their privileges, and will then kick into defense mode, trying to then establish superiority as justification for them owning this huge platter of food. We then hear this middle class food owner yelling they "worked" for the food. (Sorry, I just have to take a minute to laugh here as this happens so often that it makes middle class people nearly a comedy act for the poor.) So now we have pampered middle class people trying to say they "worked" to "earn" their privileges given to them by their families. When angry, hungry farm workers who work sun up to sun down then show their hands full of cuts and labor to the middle class, to threaten this whole "I worked for it" nonsense, the middle class realize they are busted and now we really get into it. Now, the middle class get into attack mode as they now 1) cannot deny the food platter is there, 2) cannot deny they OWN it, 3) cannot pretend they "worked" for it as the poor work longer hours, and do harder labor than the middle class.
So now we have someone who was in the privileged position panicking that they may actually be thrown in with the poor, and they realize this is the real poverty looming, not that feigned poverty they tried to pull off earlier. Slurs start popping up. The middle class will use class slurs to try to distract attention from the issues at hand at this point. Like racist whites who throw out the N word once threatened, middle class people immediately resort to calling poor people lazy as the first offense. But as exemplified above, all most poor people have to do is document their labor to undermine these claims of "working" for what the middle class own. Next, the middle class will try to highlight the weaknesses of poor people. For instance, most homelessness programs require the poor to not be on drugs to receive housing. But the middle class have no such restrictions on them. They can be coc-snorting, pill-popping alcoholics and no one makes sobriety a requirement for middle class people to live in, own, or inherit houses. That clean and sober requirement to live in housing is a bar a majority of middle class people could not meet yet they demand it of the poor. The double standard where the middle class can act irresponsibly and get so much lauded upon them, but if you are poor, you need to be a damned angel to get any help, needs to be examined.
Inevitably, in the end, when the people are sick of the bullshit from the middle class person with the food platter, the mobs just take it against the will of the owner. In the real world, this is called squatting or adverse possession. It is the legal foundation of America, it is the legal fiction created to justify Europeans stealing the land from the native people here. Ironically, it can be used against the middle class now! I actually believe we need to start an active squatting movement in America to simply TAKE the land away from the middle class against their will since it is more than obvious they are not interested in sharing. Which brings me to another point: Charity is not sharing. Sharing is where you GIVE UP OWNERSHIP RIGHTS. Sharing is equal ownership. Charity is the hording of goods and doling out small amounts to people for brownie points. These are very different concepts. Let's again use the food platter scenario to mimic what people in the middle class do every day in real life. So the person with the platter of food says, "I wish there was something I could do about all of your people being hungry and having no food" while holding a full platter of food!! When the hungry mobs then offer the suggestion that they could give up ownership of the platter of food, and share it, to perhaps do something about the hunger, the platter owner will then squirm, trying in any way conceivable to still retain ownership and control of the platter of food. So then the food owner will try to dole out small pieces of the food on his platter to still retain a larger portion for himself. When I hear middle class people who will inherit or already own houses from their family, saying "gee, I wish there was something I could do," it just sounds to me like the person with the platter of food. It is not rocket science really. If the middle class really wanted to share, all they would have to do is GIVE AWAY some of their property to the poor. But THEY WILL NOT, thus those words I hear oh so often from the middle class, "I wish I could do something," are but the empty ringing bells of bullshit.
Dr. Rev. M.L. King, jr. said that the privileged folks do not share on their own. He said the masses must FORCE the middle class to let others in. He also saw that poverty runs across all races, and had begun the Poor People's Party right before his death. Tupac Shakur said it is like there is this banquet room full of food and people are having food fights, wasting food on the floor, etc. Tupac said some hungry folks come to the banquet door, knock, and say they are hungry and ask for some food. The poor can see them having food fights inside with the food. They close the door on the hungry. So the hungry knock on the door again, and plead for food. They close the door again. The next time the hungry kick the damned door in and TAKE the food. This, in a nutshell, reflects the anger, righteous anger, that the poor are driven to constantly.
It is also hard for the poor to watch the low level of production of the middle class. Poor people on the whole seem to produce more in the way of work product than the middle class. Thus, it is reasonable for the poor to feel the middle class are underachievers. For example, if I had the money my middle class friends do, I would have produced even more work than I have thus far, as a writer and performer and activist, and honestly, right now, I have produced more public work product than any middle class person I know. This reality that I work harder and produce more than the home owning middle class people I know thwarts their class slurs of laziness, and it actually brings the spotlight back onto the middle class as to why they produce so little when they have excesses and abundance. Seriously, if anyone is going to call the other group lazy, it would be the poor calling the middle class lazy, not the opposite. But this is where the middle class try to use the actual possession of goods to pretend they earned those things. Likewise, they use the lack of property as proof of not working. But that logic is flawed. If a middle class person inherits a house and has their college paid for by parents, etc., and the poor person works minimum wage, over 40 hours a week, and cannot afford college or a house, that does not mean the person with the goods worked harder, even though the middle class try to set up that illusion for their own benefit. This is actually the crux of what angers me about the middle class: they try to feign victimhood while they are the perpetrators.
Personally, I think it would be a better system if no inherited wealth was allowed. It would even the playing field and increase production from the middle class up to the level of production of the poor. If everyone started with nothing, and had to EARN everything, as the middle class feign it is now (but it is not), then all people would have an equal chance to earn middle class privileges and it would be "fair," but the reality is the world, and even just our own country, cannot sustain so many people with that level of privilege. The poor allow the middle class their privileges, as society can only sustain so many at the middle class level, and the rest must live in poverty. And this is why there is the consternation, because it seems that for every poor person who claws their way out of poverty, one middle class person must be thrown into poverty hells to balance it all out. This perceived zero sum game is the cause of the loss of integrity on the part of the middle class quite often. To them, it is about survival... but they do not acknowledge that to the poor, it is about survival too.
Additionally, if we eliminated inherited wealth, we could either eliminate all of these middle and upper class slackers and make them work like the poor while being randomly drug-tested at all times for their housing and jobs, or the poor would finally get the perks of the middle class or at least not have to slave so much, as the middle to upper classes picked up more of their own slack. It is the fear of HOMELESSNESS that drives both my son and myself to work jobs where we are not paid enough. We do not have the luxury of waiting for higher wages, we have to take what we can get as the middle class NEED THEIR MORTGAGES PAID BY OUR RENT and if they do not get it on the exact DAY they demand it, we are homeless. We need to make sure to give those multiple property owners their money for their mortgages, for their kids to inherit things, and they have NO humanity whatsoever in this. I actually hope there is a special place in hell just for landlords.
When I was in law school as their token poverty student, there was this pampered little girl there who boldly proclaimed, "I don't believe this poverty crap. If people want to work to not be poor, that is easy. I have been making $17 an hour since I was 15. If they wanted jobs, they could have them." I immediately stood up and challenged this class-insulated bitch. I began grilling her on how she got this job as I had never been offered more than $10 an hour in my 40 years, and of course, after hemming and hawing as all middle class do, her privilege came out and it turns out the job was handed to her by mommy and daddy. How DARE that woman stand up and question the reality of poverty based on her privilege?! Outrageous! Another incident about class in law school I recall is one day in the middle of class the professor began to say how it is worth paying whatever the required fees to fly first class. The crazy woman who denied poverty exists due to her perks then chimed in saying, "have you ever ridden in coach?! It is horrible." I immediately spoke up and said, "Excuse me, but the curtain between first class and coach is open and I CAN HEAR YOU." That was an immediate slap back into reality for these little princesses, and you could see they felt guilty once caught. That is the epitome of this class separation to me. The middle class talk amongst themselves about how much they love their privileges, but when poor people come around, they say, "no, I am just like you." I know that look of class guilt well, as I provoke it often in the middle class, calling them out on their bullshit.
It is not my job to educate the middle class. It is not my job to protect them either. Unfortunately, it is my job to support them and their kids, apparently, via exorbitant rents, low wages, etc. I have no stake in the status quo, and I have no admission ticket to the middle class. I do not have family. I was in foster care and a homeless teen as a minor. I will inherit nothing. No family will sign a home loan for me so I can pay rent towards my mortgage instead of buying middle class people's children houses. I have worked my whole life. I have been stigmatized in the past for the father of my child being a deadbeat dad, provoking welfare to cover *his* child support and then somehow I was blamed for his laziness, when I did my part and his part too. Welfare I received for me and my child was $440 a month and never more. The welfare never equaled the rent the middle class wanted for their own profits so I basically handed the money that the father was supposed to pay, that the state supposedly covered, to the land owners, and I still had to hustle to make the remainder of rent. I felt like a conduit for money from the state to landowners, rather than a human being. Housing has always cost 90-150% of my income to just rent crappy apartments. I have gone into debt just trying to pay rent quite often. Add up minimum wage and then look at rents. It is simple math. Home ownership is not a reality for me. Yet some people acquire home ownership at birth, for doing nothing at all! And those people call me "lazy" when I question what made them so special as to "deserve" things I could never have when I produce 5 times as much product as those inheriting these things! All I can say is something has got to change. I am sick of these middle class games.
The food platter scenario of the masses taking the food against the will of the privileged person could become a societal reality if the middle class do not wake up soon. I know the middle class are feigning victimhood right now, but truly, there is an entire lower basement of poverty, that extends many stories below any middle class suffering and I have to say, it is OBNOXIOUS and extremely disrespectful for the middle class with all their wealth, to complain about their "poverty" to the poor.
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