Before You Make Light Of Public Assistance, Remind Yourself That Finance Shaming Helps No-one
It's not a laughing matter
January 30, 2019 at 7:51 pm
It seems to be common these days on social media and in everyday life for people to shame each other. I am not sure if some people feel that this is productive or that they get some sort of twisted kick out of making those with less feel worse about themselves. It's even worse when Black people do it to each other.
You will usually see some of these same people preach a message of Black power, unit, and love and then turn around and label a Black woman a welfare queen or joke about how broke men are. How can you acknowledge the oppression of your people but belittle them in their setbacks? If you know we are systemically affected then why are you lampooning your brothers and sisters?
As always I counter them with a strong message. If we as Black people are aware of the poverty and everyday challenges we face in America, why are we shocked that some of our peers are struggling? Better yet, why would we shame them for it?
Tupac’s line from Blacker The Berry plays in my head:
“I give a holla to my sisters on welfare, I care if don’t nobody else care”.
Why can’t we all acknowledge the struggle from a place of love?
Financial literacy is something that needs to be pressed in our community. I myself would rather educate people. It does no good to make light of people’s misfortune whether self-inflicted or as a result of oppression. I hate to see messages online from people clowning about the woman on food stamps waiting for a check, their section 8 rent amount, or the brother who only makes 20k a year.
Black people are collectively suffering as a race in regards to poverty. It isn’t fictional and it certainly isn’t funny. I imagine myself in a position of needing relief and how it would feel for people to belittle me or wake up to posts online from my social media friends making me feel less about myself because I need a leg up.
The most important aspect in all of this is that much of the banter is a myth. There are a lot of good hard working people working 40 plus hours, two jobs, every single day just trying to make a way for themselves or their kids and still need help. It is the sad state of affairs in America. The worst part is that it plagues the Black community the most. And it began by design.
Not everyone is sitting around on their behinds all day cheating the system. I don’t see how as a Black man or woman you would get any pleasure out of calling your own people out, especially if your mama or any of your family members have ever been in the same position.
Foods stamps, WIC vouchers, pay day loans, are all a part of the daily lives of many Americans; a reality that I am certain nobody is proud of. And even if they are, understand that this is often times the result of an inherited way of thinking or a generational curse. If nobody has ever taught a child how to do better from a young age and value self-sufficiency, often times the cycle of poverty continues.
If you want to shame people for buying Jordan’s, that is on you. But understand that there is a deeper issue as to why our people are making poor choices. There is a reason many do not have life insurance policies, good credit, or investments.
Some of it boils down to personal responsibility, but most of it is a matter of lack of education. I hope that we can begin to start implementing our children at a young age with financial literacy lessons, and educating grown folks on the importance of what it means to be fiscally responsible. In the meantime, I will take no part in your shaming.
The truth is, as long as there is systemic oppression, banking discrimination, and all the other obstacles in the way of our prosperity it will remain an ongoing struggle. Rather than shaming one another, let’s help each other to climb ladders.