Posts Tagged ‘classism’

Image of a potato with text saying “I’m offended by this potato”

I am so sick of hearing folks talk about how terrible it is that other people make an effort to be respectful to other people- ie, caring if something they say is offensive. And images like the potato one here being shared around social media as oh so edgy! When did intentionally being an asshole become something to brag about?

This was going to be a facebook post but I feel like this will get too wordy for a facebook status, so blog post it is!

This is actually most recently inspired by conversations I’ve seen around a free pride (alternative to the main pride which many feel is too commercialized) in Glasgow deciding against having any drag performers at the event because some felt it would be offensive to some trans people. They apparently are working on changing this policy btw.

The thing is, looking at discussions about this- I actually saw a lot of really great and thoughtful discussions about this with people talking about the role drag has had in the history of the lgbtq right movement through time, and how it has been important for many cis gay/queer people and trans and genderqueer people in being able to embrace who they are. And some trans folks spoke about why they find drag upsetting, negative experiences with drag performers, and some cis gay/queer folks talked about why they are uncomfortable with drag performances- how many performers draw on misogynistic, classist, and racist caricatures yet it’s given a pass because it’s a performance/comedy/part of queer culture.

And then other folks but in with such insightful commentary as “haha pc police going overboard!”, “the movement to not be offended is imploding on itself!”, “if you are offended by anything ever just never leave your house!” and so on.

The underlying idea behind all that of course is that the thoughtful conversations that I previously mentioned are utterly worthless. Attempting to understand where other people are coming from and find ways to be more respectful to a wide variety of people is stupid. The cool thing apparently is being an asshole just for the sake of being an asshole. If you hurt someone unintentionally and they say so, laugh at them for being a human being who has feelings- what a loser!

The thing is, there is not actually any real movement out there to never be offended. What does exist is a lot of people who have decided “hey, let’s try not to be assholes!” Who actually care to listen to what other people have to say and perhaps make changes if what they are doing is upsetting people.

I don’t think “I’m offended” is or should be the end of the discussion. And the truth is, I don’t think anyone thinks that. That may be the starting point for a larger discussion that hopefully leads to greater understanding and empathy. It is certainly not the end all, be all it is made out to be by the same people who talk about “social justice warriors” as boogie men. (Because when being an asshole is cool, social justice is bad.)

If someone tells me something is offensive to them and why I like to hope that I would consider the point they are making. I would certainly not keep doing/saying the same thing for the sole purpose of hurting them, because I’m not a sociopath. I recognize that other people are human beings with feelings, and I try to be respectful of that. If I have a reason to say something that I feel is important though, I will say it. Take for example “queer”. A lot of people, especially in my experience older people, in the lgbt community find the term offensive. If I know someone who find it offensive I will not purposefully refer to them as queer to upset them, in fact I will do my best to use their preferred identity to refer to them specifically. I won’t stop using queer in general though, because it’s still the term I feel best fits my identification and I’m not ok with being told how I’m allowed to identified. There is actually nuance to these things. And there is a huge difference between using a term because it has important meaning to you, and using a term just to upset other people or because you can’t be bothered to be considerate of the fact that other people exist and have feelings.

In contrast to my use of the word queer, many years back a friend called me out on my usage of the word “retarded” as a generic negative. And while my immediate reaction was actually rather defensive at the time, over the next few days I considered the point she made and realized she was right, and there was really no good reason for me to keep using that word. It took awhile to get out of the habit of using it, but at the end of the day there was no good reason for me to use that word. Whether I agree with people being upset by it or not isn’t even relevant, they are and it’s a word I have no good reason to need to use, so why not make an effort to be respectful? It’s not that hard.

And yet, for some reason instead of recognizing the nuance and purpose behind these discussion, there is a large portion of people who want very much to reduce this all to “haha, you’re a person who has feelings!” and cries about “pc police”.

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So I’ve posted before here about the problems with judging poor people for eating “unhealthy” foods. I was thinking about one particular aspect of the ways that eating healthy foods can cost more, in this case not so much in terms of money but time.

I am getting sick of people who suggest that cooking at home totally doesn’t take any longer than fast food.

Bullshit.

Starting backwards in the process, one part I think no one ever seems to consider is clean up. When people talk about how quickly they can make a homemade meal, they pretty much never include the time to clean up. Which in my experience, takes a lot longer.

If I run out and buy fast food, I am using nothing that requires cleaning up. Now counter or stovetops that need to be wiped down after cooking. No cutting boards, knives, pots or pans. And no plates or silverware to eat with.

Part of what got me thinking of this is being able to cook at home and still keep up with all my dishes right now since school is over. Because when I get busy, I am more inclined to order or pick up food, or just eat frozen foods that I can heat up and eat in the container, and the issue for me is less often the time and effort to cook the food than the time and effort required for all the clean up after.

Even when food doesn’t require cooking if it requires any preparation that typically means something that needs to be cleaned, such as a cutting board and a knife.

I also feel like people tend to underestimate how long it takes to prepare meals from start to finish, at least the folks who claim “I can make a whole healthy meal in just 10 minutes”. Even recipes that estimate prep and cook time I feel like often underestimate the prep time…. or I just am really slow at cutting things up, though even if that’s the case it just goes to show that how long something takes you doesn’t mean that’s how long it would take anyone.

And I get underestimating how long it takes. I do that all the time. I never realize how long a lot of things I do take until I’m actually in a time crunch and suddenly like “how on earth does it take more than 2 minutes to run downstairs and get clothes from the laundry and put the clothes from the washer into the dryer?” It feels like it takes no time at all to me, but when I actually look at a clock, it’s a lot longer than I thought.

I imagine the same is often true for prep time in cooking for many people.

And there is definitely a degree of “you can’t assume how it works for you is the same for everyone”. When it comes to cooking time for foods, a lot of foods you can set and do something else for awhile. Of course I have no timer in my kitchen and am bad at setting one of my phone for food so I often leave food and forget about it until it’s burnt. Or I have something in the oven and I’m up every 5 minutes to check on it (in which case I’m not super productive in what I’m doing between checking on it) and often I check on it and it’s not quite done and then check again and it’s burnt, because apparently it was much closer to done than I thought. Even still, I’m not terrible at this and a lot of food I can leave to cook and do other things while it’s cooking. This is not the case for everyone. I’ve known people who said they had to be in the kitchen the whole time they were cooking something or they would always forget about it and burn it. That makes cooking more time and effort intensive if you can’t multitask at the same time.

And then even more time if you don’t already have the food at home to prepare and need to run to the store to get it.

This probably sounds like making a big deal out of a minor issue, until you are living in poverty and exhausted at the end of a long ass day, and you have the choice of picking up some cheap fast food at one of the many fast food places nearby or cooking at home.

*and I really mean many. ever been to Detroit? I’m still shocked a lot of the time at how many fast food places there are around all the time, and I’ve live in or very near Detroit most of my life (23 years by my count). And many of them are even 24 hour unlike the far fewer grocery stores. Access to fast food around here is much easier than access to groceries.

And the fact that fast food often makes more sense for poor folks because not just of the cost but the time and effort when you are already exhausted from the stresses of poverty is a serious public health issue. One that we should be putting in real effort toward fixing, primarily by working to end poverty. Pretending poor people are just too stupid to realize that cooking at home is just as cheap, fast, and easy is not only not true, it’s not helping anything.

This morning on my facebook newfeed I came across this image:

Image Description: A flyer says "Check Your Privilege Gender - Man (+50) -Woman (-50) -Genderqueer (-75) -Intersex (-100) Transgender (-300) Race -White (+100) -Asian (-50) -Latino (-50) -Black (-100) -Middle Eastern (-150) -Other (-100) Religion -Christian (+50) -Non-Religious (-10) -Jewish (-20) -Muslim (-50) -Other (-20) Disability  -Able-Bodied (+25) -Disease (-30) -Immobile (-50) -Deaf or Blind (-50) -Autistic (-200) Sexual Orientation -Heterosexual (+50) -Bisexual (-50) -Pansexual (-50) -Asexual (-50) -Homosexual (-150) Status -Plutocrat (+100) -Wealthy (+50) -Middle (+25) -Poor (-25) -Homeless (-250) Appearance -Average Body (+10) -Overweight (-20) -Underweight (-5) -Disfigured (-40) -Tall (+10) -Short (-10) Very Priveleged: 100+ Priveleged: 50-100 Non-Priveleged: -100-0 Very Dis-privelege: >-100

Image Description: A flyer says “Check Your Privilege
Gender
– Man (+50)
-Woman (-50)
-Genderqueer (-75)
-Intersex (-100)
Transgender (-300)
Race
-White (+100)
-Asian (-50)
-Latino (-50)
-Black (-100)
-Middle Eastern (-150)
-Other (-100)
Religion
-Christian (+50)
-Non-Religious (-10)
-Jewish (-20)
-Muslim (-50)
-Other (-20)
Disability
-Able-Bodied (+25)
-Disease (-30)
-Immobile (-50)
-Deaf or Blind (-50)
-Autistic (-200)
Sexual Orientation
-Heterosexual (+50)
-Bisexual (-50)
-Pansexual (-50)
-Asexual (-50)
-Homosexual (-150)
Status
-Plutocrat (+100)
-Wealthy (+50)
-Middle (+25)
-Poor (-25)
-Homeless (-250)
Appearance
-Average Body (+10)
-Overweight (-20)
-Underweight (-5)
-Disfigured (-40)
-Tall (+10)
-Short (-10)
Very Priveleged: 100+
Priveleged: 50-100
Non-Priveleged: -100-0
Very Dis-privelege: >-100”

The more I look at this or think about it the more wrong with it I notice, including the misspelling of privilege. I can’t make out anything on the flyer that indicates who created it. I’m sure they had good intentions to help make people aware of their privileges with it. Though I am skeptical of whether this is even effective for that.

The first issue with this is that privilege and oppression cannot simply be added. My experiences as a queer woman are not simply sexism + heterosexism. Rather the way I experience sexism is as someone who is queer and the way I experience heterosexism is as a woman. Or to put that another way: I don’t experience sexism as straight women do + heterosexism as gay men do. This goes the same for areas of privilege. The way I experience sexism is also impacted by my white privilege as much as by queer oppression.

This is also one reason I’m skeptical of this doing much good for helping people be aware of their privilege as this suggests that my being gay somehow cancels out my white privilege (and then some). That’s not how it works. When it comes to race my privilege is not less just because I lack privilege in things not related to race.

Next up is that a lot of the numbers relatively are off. The first that stood out to me was sexual orientation, bi and pan represent 1/3 the lack of privilege of being gay which is just bullshit. bi and pan folks experience heterosexism/homophobia just like gay folks. Passing privilege is a thing, but not one specific to bi and pan folks- it’s neither inherent to those identities nor limited to them. As a single queer/gay/lesbian* woman I often have an easier time passing as straight if I want than a bi woman in a relationship with another woman. I’m never outed by talking about a current significant other or just being with them.

*I prefer queer as an identifier but will also use gay or lesbian. On a spectrum I fall somewhere closer to totally gay than middle of the road bi. On a kinsey scale about a 5.

And then that being bi or pan is equal to asexual that I personally do not think belongs there at all. Heteroromantic asexual people (those who have/desire hetero relationships but do not desire sex) are not oppressed imo. This also reminds me of the recent Daily Show segment showing past reports from correspondent Jason Jones where he is talking to a man who says that (gay) people shouldn’t have special rights just because of the kind of sex they have. The thing is, sexual orientation is not about the type of sex one has! At most it give you an idea of the gender of people I have sex with. It is a common question of how two women have sex, but the reality is the answer is all sorts of ways! There are many different acts that two women may or may not engage in, they may have very vanilla sex, or very kinky sex. And if it’s kinky, my sexual orientation tells you nothing of if I’m a domme or sub or a switch. It doesn’t tell you what my kinks are or aren’t. Gay sex shouldn’t be extra taboo imo, but being queer is about far more than sex and it’s effect on our lives goes far beyond the bedroom.

Other categories have weird hierarchies int hem as well. Autism is the most oppressed of all disabilities? Who decided that being middle eastern is the most oppressed racial group?

There are also issues with terminology. First off I don’t get the categorization for class, I don’t see anyone identifing as a plutocrat, and wealthy folks will just think they are middle class anyways.

“immobile”, “disease”, “disfigured”- many of these seem like they were chosen by people who are not part of that group. Even though I have diseases, in context I would prefer “chronic illness”, since I think of myself as “ill” not “diseased”- there is definitely a negative connotation to that. I’m not even sure who all is supposed to fall under these categories. There are definitely disabilities that don’t fit any of them.

Then there are the cross group issues. I’d rather speak to those that apply to me, so let me talk about those. First off, short? I’m short at 5’0″ but I am not oppressed by that shortness. Even within the appearance category, it is not comparable to being fat. And fat is nearly equivalent to being poor? I don’t think so. And for me I feel being a woman is a bigger factor in oppression that being queer, though I’m not sure where I’d rank everything. But socio-economic class needs to be higher up there. Of course the problem with ranking is it is personal! To me being a woman feels like it should rate a bigger negative score than being queer but that does not mean another queer woman won’t feel differently from her experiences. And much of this goes as well to the fact that we all typically experience varying degrees/aspects of oppression. My experience being queer is different than someone who was disowned by their family when they came out. My experience being fat is different than someone who has difficulty with chairs in public spaces accommodating their size. Experience with disability varies so fucking widely I wouldn’t even know where to start there. And socio-economic status is incredibly complicated in how we define it and where one falls. By income level I am poor. But that is to some extent ameliorated by other aspects of class privilege like education.

All in all, it’s just kind of a mess. Which tends to be the result whenever anyone tries to quantify or compare privilege.

Taxing Junk Food

Posted: March 12, 2015 in Uncategorized
Tags: ,

Today in my policy class we were talking about the way poverty is correlated with poor health for so many different reasons. I’ve written about this before on the topic of why judging poor people for buying unhealthy food is classist. In class today we were talking about this and moves toward making junk food more expensive, supposedly to get poor people to make healthier choices.

What frustrates me about this is the punitive nature of it. Which is what we are comfortable with, is punishing poor people instead of helping.  We don’t do anything to make healthy choices easier, cheaper, or possible- we just want to punish poor people for making the “wrong” choices.

Of course the idea of taxing them is nice, because we really, really like secretly regressive taxes. Sales taxes are regressive since poor people spend a higher portion of their incomes, compared to wealthier people who save and invest higher portions of their incomes. Lotteries are also regressive- they are used more by low income people and marketed to low income people. John Oliver talks about the way lotteries are marketed and mentions how one is marketed like a savings account for kids college funds, but is really just a gamble that probably provide nothing to his kids college. But the thing is, that works be cause they are marketing to people who can’t afford savings for college. He also notes that on average people pay only a bit over $100/year on lottery tickets- that’s not going to cover tuition for  one kid, let alone several kids and grandkids. Not to mention poor folks who don’t have much to save are less familiar with financial systems and savings/investment options (count me in that too), and many of these accounts can require a rather high minimum starting amount. Far more than the $1 lottery ticket.

So this idea of charging more or taxing “junk food” does nothing to address the systematic reasons eating healthy is not affordable to poor people. It does nothing to change a poor person’s access to kitchen appliances (fridge, stove, et cetera). It does nothing to address the issue of fresh food spoiling sooner, and the difficulty this provides with longer times to get to a store selling safe, fresh foods. It does nothing to address food deserts and the way in poor neighborhoods people may be forced into buying food at gas stations , party (liquor) stores,  and other places that don’t sell fresh healthy  foods, or they do but they are overpriced and often spoiled and unsafe to eat.

No, instead taxing unhealthy food does we like to do- punish poor people for being poor, without providing any real solutions.

So on facebook the other day this article was shared on my feed titled Why Judging People for Buying Unhealthy Food is Classist. I wanted to comment a bit more on this topic because people who say that it’s not expensive to eat healthy and that poverty is no excuse annoy me so much.

For a little background, if you don’t already know this about me, I’m a social worker in the metro-Detroit area. I’ve worked with a number of non profits in this area and others, and have done community organizing work in Detroit and other poor areas across Michigan. All my personal and work experience has been in Michigan. I have some of my own experiences I draw from regarding poverty and food, but the vast majority actually comes from work experience.

First two points that  I originally was going to put at the end, but really need to be emphasized:

Poor People Deserve Little Luxuries/Enjoyments As Well

Being poor is bad enough, it is absolutely unfair and cruel to expect anyone to live based purely based on survival with no regard for enjoyment. Maybe that means having cable, maybe it means getting some candy, a cake, or some other food they don’t NEED but want at the store. Someone who is poor, including those using SNAP, have just as much right to buy some foods for enjoyment over pure survival needs as those who are not poor.

Mind Your Own Damn Business!

Really, everything else could be ended with this. You have no right to know all about poor people’s lives and choices just because they are poor. They owe you no explanation for every choice they make. And it is classist from the start to think their choices are any of your business to pick apart and judge just because they are poor.

So with those two points covered, let’s still move on to the issue of whether it is cheaper to eat healthy foods.

What is Healthy?

So right away one problem we need to acknowledge to start with regarding judging poor people for buying “unhealthy” foods and insisting that eating “healthy” is cheap is that “unhealthy” and “healthy” foods are not well defined and will vary a lot from person to person. I’ve written a bit before on issues of “what is healthy” (and a bit here). One thing that stands out to me is that for “healthy” homecooked meals on the cheap there is often a reliance on boxed pasta- it makes sense, it’s cheap for the number of calories and how filling it is, and you can do a number of things with it, and include smaller amounts of veggies and meat. For me though, my first thought for pasta is “so many carbs!” I think I eat pretty healthy. What I eat is primarily fresh vegetables, dairy, and meat (mainly chicken breasts or bacon)- and that is relatively expensive. Especially the meat. I actually eat less meat than I should to hit my protein goals but it’s too expensive to eat too much of. Plus none of this keeps long, so I have to deal with going to the store more often and risk wasting food from spoiling if I overpurchase- both of which increase the cost, or potential cost, of these foods.

Also important to keep in mind that even if you consider a food healthy, a healthy diet needs variety. Lentils are a cheap healthy food that gets brought up often, besides some issues I will go into more detail on soon, there is also the “who wants to eat lentils everyday?”, and also that eating the same one food day in and day out is not healthy. A healthy diet needs variety. And there is context to consider for “healthy”- take for example a parent living in poverty, feeding their kids lentils is certainly not healthy if the kids won’t eat them. Kids need to eat, so healthy is going to have to be within what the kids will eat, and also it’s not cost effective to buy and prepare food that is going to end up going uneaten.

The line between what is “healthy” and what is “unhealthy” for foods is not as clear cut as many like to pretend it is.

Food Cost and Availability Varies by Location

The subtitle here really sums it up, and applies most to judging people over distances for how they spend money on food. What you can purchase at your local grocery store for a certain price is not what all people can purchase from their closest grocery store for that price. This is especially important because people living in poverty often live in areas very different than people at higher incomes. And as contradictory as  it seems, groceries are frequently more expensive in poor areas! (Especially in food deserts because stores can cash in on lack of options.)

This especially goes for those who brag about how little they spend on groceries who are saving by having a vegetable garden (which is great if you have the time and resources too, but you need to acknowledge the cost of that, the time for it, and that not all people have the ability to supplement groceries with growing their own food).

It’s More than Just The Cost of Food

The article linked in the beginning addresses this- it’s not just about how much the food costs, it’s also access, time and cost to purchase (transportation to the store), time to prepare the food, cost to prepare the food, and access to means to prepare the food. People who have never lived in these conditions take these things for granted, but these are not givens for all people.

Grocery Stores:

Let’s start with access to stores, cost to get to them, and time to get to them. If you are not already familiar with food deserts, you should do some reading on them. These are areas that do not have ready access to fresh, healthy, and affordable food. According to the USDA’s Economic Research Service approximately 23.5 million people live in food deserts.  Detroit, for example, until relatively recently did not have any national chain grocery stores within the city. This recently changed and there is now a meijer at 8 mile and woodward and a whole foods in midtown. If you aren’t familiar with Detroit, chances are that sounds better than it is to you, since most people don’t realize how large the city of Detroit is.

An image of Detroit's relative size showing you can fit San Francisco, Boston, and Manhattan within the city of Detroit (proper, not metro area), which I added approximate location of Whole Foods and Meijer onto (the red polygons).

An image of Detroit’s relative size showing you can fit San Francisco, Boston, and Manhattan within the city of Detroit (proper, not metro area), which I added approximate location of Whole Foods and Meijer onto (the red polygons).

Prior to this there were of course local grocery stores, but just having access to a close grocery store does not mean access to fresh, healthy foods. I’ve been in stores years back in Detroit that sold rotten produce, spoiled meat and dairy products, and would even change expiration dates on those foods to try to sell them after they spoiled. People who lived near these stores would not shop at local stores for anything other than canned goods. Anything else people have to travel out of their area for, and speaking personally I don’t remember ever grocery shopping in Detroit as a kid- we always drove outside the city for grocery. I shop in Detroit now, at the previously mentioned meijer. But on the topic of not assuming your situation is everyone’s- many people are still shocked to learn the meijer in Detroit closes everyday at 11pm. It is the only meijer I know of that does, all others are open 24 hrs. So there is a meijer in Detroit now, but it also has more limited availability than those in the suburbs. Even with changes including (but not limited to) these two chain stores opening in the city, there are still many people who have to travel significant distances to a grocery store.
If I were really accurate when talking about my grocery budget I would be including not only the cost of the foods, but also the cost of my car and gas to get to the store. And the time it takes me to make food would include the time it takes (averaged out for what I can get during a trip) for getting to the store and back. For those who do not have a car, then it’s the cost and time of travelling by bus. Having a car is a huge benefit for access to groceries. I can travel further for groceries if need be than someone who does not have a car, it doesn’t take me as long, and I can fit more groceries in my car than if I was carrying them to and from bus stops and had to carry them on a bus. And in places like Detroit, public transportation is not reliable. It can take a long time to travel short distances, the longer the travel time the more it limits what you can purchase, and you need to work around bus schedules which is harder depending on your work hours. I looked up a hypothetical of how long it might take me from a particular area to a grocery store and the time given was so ridiculous I could bike that distance faster, and I have biked to the grocery store before (not in metro-Detroit), but that ignores whether or not someone has a bicycle, if they are already taking the bus for some other reason (like going straight from work to the store to home) such that changing transportation methods adds time, if they have a disability that makes them unable to ride a bike that distance, and lastly but very importantly, if they would have to go through areas that are not safe to walk or bike trough if they did that. Some folks think I’m crazy for the areas I walk and run, and for the community organizing work I’ve done in Detroit (that involved among other things going into communities, talking to people, and getting chummy with local gang members!), but contrary to the opinions of some folks I don’t just ignore safety issues. But I use some common sense (or street smarts might be a better way of phrasing it) to assess relative safety, and there are areas I will avoid for safety reasons- top of that list is places where all the houses are abandoned. Which is like every street around some areas of Detroit.

When you can just get in a car and drive to a local grocery store and pick up groceries, that is a huge privilege a lot of people do not have, and that is often overlooked when people talk about how cheap eating healthy is.

Having a Kitchen:

You also have to take into account having a kitchen and appliances or not. The article mentions a woman who is homeless who has no access to a kitchen- this is one of many possible reasons someone may not! Even people who have homes do not always have kitchens at all, or basic appliances like refrigerators or stoves. I previously worked with a non-profit that provided donated fridges and stoves to low income people who didn’t have them- the waiting list for those items was massive and donations do not keep up with the need. Eating healthy without those things is very hard, and again, something many people take for granted having access to.

And just like the real cost of my groceries includes transportation to get them it also includes the part of my utilities that goes toward these appliances. I’ve also known people who had a stove and fridge but didn’t run them because it was cheaper for them to save the electricity of having those hooked up and running and just eat fast food. Whether or not the food from the store is cheaper, if it’s too expensive to have the fridge and stove to store and prepare the food, it doesn’t really matter that much.

The Problem of Solutions Created by People Unfamiliar with the Problem

The article addresses this.

Even organizations designed to help frequently get it wrong. I worked for an anti-hunger organization whose pricing was so out of touch that I — while employed by them — was unable to afford to make their recipes regularly.

In fact, I decided to do a challenge where I ate only their recipes for a week. These recipes were marketed to low-income families as cost effective ways to eat healthier. A week’s worth of groceries (for two people) for this challenge cost $150. My partner and I had previously been spending about $25 a week because that’s what we could afford.

Most people who are not actually having to survive on these low budgets don’t really realize what it’s like. And then when you have people not living it creating the advice, it doesn’t match up.

Of course there is also the problem in here that people working non-profits are paid such pitiful wages that many workers rely on the same services and programs their clients do to get by! Not entirely on topic of this post, but people should be paid enough to afford more than a little over $100/month for groceries for two people. (Even SNAP for one person when I received it was $200/month, and my current grocery costs for just myself are well more than that even.)

Stop Thinking Poor People Are Just Too Stupid To Know Their Own Lives

One of the themes running throughout all of this is the underlying issue of people assuming they know better about circumstances they are not living in that the people who are. Which is also based on the stereotype that poor people are stupid and can’t be trusted to make logical decisions about their lives. People are very quick to jump to the conclusion that poor people just lack their knowledge of the better options out there, rather than jumping to the conclusion that maybe there are factors they (as someone not living in the situation) simply aren’t aware of.