It’s the Poverty, Stupid

A week or so ago, I made the terrible mistake of listening to NJ101.5 during afternoon drive time. Usually, I have about one minute, maybe two before I pull over and slap the SEEK button. Perhaps you’re acquainted with the ham-fisted groupthink that passes for political logic on this talk radio show; if not, suffice it to say you’re not going to listen in and get any smarter. My head nearly exploded when a caller said something like, “After the hurricane, Habitat for Humanity went and built all those people houses just because they were poor. I don’t see anybody building me a house.” So maybe I made it about thirty seconds. Hallelujah.

It’s thinking like this that makes me wish I were capable of moving out into the woods alone and never had to talk to another selfish fucker or even risk coming in contact with another selfish fucker. At all. The eye that sees only competitors and not fellow travelers is bound to be envious, materialistic and unhappy. It’s even worse than that. White people – not all white people – who see prosperous Black people think things like ‘Why should they have what I don’t have?’ Oh, yes they do. The basic assumption there is that white people should have and Black people should wait until all whites are prosperous before expecting their own prosperity. Think I’m wrong? Let’s refer back to our head-splitting caller. Her basic assumptions are many: the crisis is over, housing has been accomplished, nobody is homeless, Habitat for Humanity waved a magic joist and all the poor Black people of the Gulf Region were sittin’ pretty in luxurious pre-fab digs and nobody expects to pick up a check. And our caller doesn’t own a house, so why should those Black folks?

That is what she was saying: “I deserve more because I’m white.” Listen, princess, nobody gives a shit what you expect or think you deserve in life. Tell it to your next Ladies’ Auxilliary Klan Meeting, where I’m sure this will go over like Tiffany’s rice crispy cakes and Annie’s diaper-covering 2T white sheet set.

At least, a person might think this would be a more isolated cattle car on someone’s train of thought but it’s not. Plenty of people have opted out of donating to the Red Cross or Mercy Corps because they can’t be sure “the right people” will be helped. I wish those fuckers would dream big, donate to the Humane Society and save some abandoned hounds but in this tiny-brain thinking, every living being is competition for money and stuff, and why should the tiny-brain give anything to anybody?

This argument is almost always followed by the words that make me want to lose my mind: “Nobody ever gave me anything.” Smarter people than me could put forth carefully reasoned arguments about why this isn’t true and detail the ways in which society contributes to your well-being. If you went to public school and can read and write you should shut your mouth before you say something even more stupid. But let’s cut to the chase. I recently perused a list of remarks left with the staff of politicians and one struck me as perfect, stupid and a propos: “I don’t want a welfare state. My Medicare is just fine!” Sadly, that misguided, selfish bastard is probably a registered voter. And he or she should fuck off.

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