A great article about the backlash against those POC who were racially profiled at Barney’s for “spending money on items they can’t afford”
This is SO true. We were “educated poor” (at a time when professors didn’t make much at all) and my dad’s status as a professor (university town, slightly odd manner of dress, big words, big briefcase) got us a lot of things we wouldn’t have gotten otherwise. Preferential treatment by car dealers, bankers, lawyers, doctors, teachers, etc. This is why clothing closets, finer items, and such—and any training in “looking well-off”—are a boon to people living in poverty.
I think it’s also why people react so vehemently to the poor having nice things like clothes, phones, cars. It’s not just (or even) a sense of being defrauded, it’s a fierce defence of the class structure. If the poor can mimic you, then what’s to keep someone else from thinking you’re poor and treating you badly?
The attack is punching down. It’s safe. It’s self-serving. Punching up rejects the notion that we should treat the poor worse than others simply on the basis of their financial status. It means we admit our class privilege and that we are, daily, receiving benefits for something that is not (as much as we would like to think otherwise) a reward for our merits.
Yesterday, I learned—thanks to U.S. Education Secretary, Arne Duncan—that my unease about the virtually nationwide adoption of Common Core Standards for education is not about the facts. No, Secretary Duncan helpfully mansplained, “suburban white moms” like me oppose the Common Core because the tests designed to evaluate them show that our kids aren’t actually “brilliant” after all.
So I thought some of you might be interested in this app. It’s called “Buycott”. Basically you make a free account, select the causes or campaigns to support or oppose, then you can scan products and it’ll tell you whether you’re boycotting them or not. The top three are my attempts to buy some organic jelly. The bottom is some of the categories of campaigns you can choose from.
Whoa that;s cool
Helen hated doing dishes. But there was no way she could be one of those horrible people who used disposable plates and cups and flatware. She hated doing dishes and yet she was somehow forced to wash any plastic fork or straw that made its way into her sink. Some days she would grow sick and tired of doing dishes and toss away the plastic container that held her salad the day before. The one with the slightly brown lettuce that she ate anyway because she was hungry and that was it. But she would always pull the container from the trash, wash it and shove it into her chock full Tupperware cabinet.
Helen would wash everything by hand. She had no dishwasher. She used a scrub brush and a strong, yet gentle enough for a marine animal, dish soap. The water was scalding, her hands red. But she rinsed each dish and scrubbed the food from it in a rhythmic way. Not too fast, not too slow. Too fast and something could break, too slow and the hot water was too much.
She did this three times a day. Everyday. Helen had eczema and dry cuticles but she refused to wear gloves. Rinse and soap and scrub and rinse and stack and dry. Over and over. It was almost a meditation. Almost.
Tonight Helen made frozen ravioli for dinner. She dumped the pasta into a skillet and added one tablespoon of water, then covered and simmered for eight minutes, per the bag’s instructions. The kitchen smelled of tomato sauce and scorched pasta. Helen ate quickly and before the pan had cooled she was rinsing and scrubbing the evidence away. Her glass of wine was still half full as her plate was rinsed and soaped and scrubbed and rinsed and stacked and dried.
Helen sipped her wine. She wanted to savor the flavor and the warmth. But she had to wash it. It couldn’t sit on the counter over night. It would cut into her breakfast dishes, usually just a tea cup and a small plate that held her toast or bagel. But then where would it end? So Helen sipped her wine as quickly as she could, tilting her head to catch the last drop. The warmth spread through her arms. She felt her cheeks grow pink. She turned on the faucet and rinsed and soaped and scrubbed and rinsed and stacked and dried her wine glass.
Helen went to her bedroom and put on her pajamas. She went to her bathroom and wiped off her makeup. She brushed her teeth. In the mirror she noticed her pink cheeks and the subtle blurring of her vision. She was gorgeous. Therefore slightly drunk. Helen knew a hangover would not be good for her in the morning so she grabbed some anti-inflammatory and walked to the kitchen for a glass of filtered water. The water poured from her pitcher into a small juice glass. She tossed the pills into her throat and downed the water. Then placed the glass in the sink.
Helen had a familiar moment. The one where she tells herself it’s okay to leave the glass. This time she almost got away. She took two steps away from the sink. But she turned back and she rinsed and soaped and scrubbed and rinsed and…dropped the glass into the porcelain sink. It shattered. The steaming water still ran over the shards which glittered up at Helen. She couldn’t move. She stared into the sink. Helen slowly reached into the sink and pulled out the biggest piece. She tilted it into the light. It glinted. She calmed.
Helen lifted her other arm and slashed it with the glass. She slashed again and again. Rinse and soap and scrub and rinse and slash. Helen fell to the floor. No more dishes.