Thursday, September 16, 2010

HARSH rant on inequality - Class Privilege Edition

This entry has a playlist: 
Regina Spektor - Prisoners
Regina Spektor - Oedipus
System of A Down - Prison Song
Sublime - Pawn Shop
"But it was also clear that an all-around increase in wealth threatened the destruction--indeed, in some sense was the destruction--of a hierarchical society. In a world where everyone worked short hours, had enough to eat, lived in a house with a bathroom and a refrigerator, and possessed a motorcar or perhaps even an airplane, the most obvious and perhaps the most important form of inequality would already have disappeared*.

If it once became general, wealth would confer no distinction. It was possible, no doubt, to imagine a society in which wealth, in the sense of personal possessions and luxuries, should be evenly distributed, while power remained in the hands of a small privileged caste.*

But in practice such a society could not could not long remain stable. For if leisure and security were enjoyed by all alike, the great mass of human beings who are normally stupefied by poverty would become literate and would learn to think for themselves; and when once they had done this, they would sooner or later realize that the privileged minority had no function, and they would sweep it away.*
--Orwell, 1984
*emphases added where asterisk appears. Where 
Orwell already employed italics, I may add bold.

I have referred to myself as 'Diversity's Poster Boy' for many reasons. One example: I have experienced true Hunger and Homelessness (who brings Hunger with her anytime she comes around). The stupefaction of need is real and pervasive. It damages your brain. Literally. It can induce neurotic behavior, especially in parents (classism but check 3.12 for documentation anyway).

Painting by Menekse Cam used without permission.

As with any form of oppression, it discourages Hope. Hope begets Wonder, who begets Inspiration, who begets Reason, who begets Action! Instead, there may be a sort of self-protective, overwhelmed disidentification with the system. "As it does not represent me, I do not participate--for my voice goes unheeded."

Reading this just brought all that forward for me. Those who have not experienced pervasive Need may be offended by what they're about to read. I don't care. Grieving is the ugly side of Finding Jester.  All the people with disabilities... gender nonconformers... people of color...survivors...  un/deremployed with tons of bills hanging on to life with 2 fingers...It starts to feel intentional. Living it feels like being abused in a whole new way.

I am hurt. I am angry. I AM ENRAGED.  I want to storm the kitchens of the privileged and TAKE their food. I want to scream at them YOU WANT TOYS NOT TAXES?? BONUSES WHILE YOU GIVE LINE WORKERS PAY CUTS? YOU DON'T HIRE CRIPPLES AND QUEERS?? THIS IS WHAT YOU DO TO MY FAMILY!!! I want to frighten them and let them watch in horror as I introduce them to their own greed. I want to smash their pretty dishes and machines and break their spatulas and wreck their pans. I want to take their staple ingredients and fling them on the floor and in the rainy street and watch with mocking eyes as they try to feed their children. 

I want to look over their shoulder at the mirror to see the shame in their eyes as their complexions and body shapes and physical capabilities fall to shit. I want to cancel their credit cards so they're stuck with clothing that fits them no longer--and they can't buy makeup or haircuts or enough soap for their clothes to be clean. I want to do it again and again until they learn what it is like to be truly Poor. I want to watch them grow DISPIRITED and unmagical and understand how nothing is beautiful or safe when you're cold. and hungry. When you can't think and you're tired all the time. And your clothes are gross. And you start getting panicking in grocery stores and kitchens cos your brain is screaming that buying fruit might mean you can't drive to work and if you eat it your kid can't so it goes to waste in your cheap fridge that doesn't keep it fresh real long. And you feel your teeth break in your mouth. And a thousand other things.  And people who don't know what it's like laugh or look at you funny. And how once this all starts it's hard to stop...

It's not right and it's all true.


  1. Passionate, from the heart. Good start. I think you're onto something here.

  2. Oh sweetie...

    The truth is no one ever gets it until it happens to them. Most people have no idea what homelessness and hunger are all about - or the very real decisions and sacrifices you have to make as a parent trying to survive in dire poverty.

    You will write things like this...try to talk about it (even with people you love and who love you)and they will look away and get uncomfortable. Their eyes will glaze over. They'll wish you'd stop going on about this endlessly.

    They wont get it. They cant. For some - one day they will get their just desserts and experience what we've survived (and like the good folks we are we will be there to help them).

    For most - well, they will slide through life worrying more about their vacation plans than the family who lives next door. They will live their Teflon-coated lives and nothing bad will ever touch them.

    I don't pretend to know what that means or why it happens that way.

    But it is this inequity that makes us strong. It's what makes us fight and care about the others that no one else does. It ultimately makes us brave - and braver than anyone can ever know.

    And once in a great while we meet a fellow traveler - someone who's been there and knows what we do. And that's nice and we feel less alone.

    The trick is to keep that sense of anger and injustice when things start to get better...not to get complacent. Never forget - and never give up.

    Never lose that anger, my Dear. It will sustain you through all the dark times. It will fuel you and as you watch your child grow.

    And as for your child - you can take some comfort in this: Know that you brought another one into the universe who will carry on the fight long after we're gone. The generation we create will keep loving and keep fighting long after we've left this realm. They'll keep the flame burning with everything we've taught them - and even if we don't succeed - we've trained our successors to understand, to know, and to never turn away from the suffering of others.

  3. I just wish people would listen with both of their ears and not just with their noses. I don't know I just said noses but I had to pick a body part. This world would be a much better place if like I said people only listen to speeches given but people like you.

    Awesome rant By The Way.