We have rising economic inequality in this country, and poverty is so rampant that we can hardly recognize it. Even people who work are forced to use government food and healthcare assistance. The worst part of this, is that the elites within our political leadership have convinced us to shame and blame those who are most affected- the poor!
Someone has convinced us that we can’t afford to raise wages in this country. Someone has convinced us that certain jobs are not as worthy as others. We are supposed to assume that people who are working class and struggling, are just too lazy to get a “real job” or pick themselves up by their bootstraps; the attitude is disgusting. An old friend of mine described it in words better than I could:
The discourse surrounding the term “real job” marginalizes the poor. Anyone not working a ‘salaried,’ ‘adult,’ ‘big-boy/girl’ job does not in fact have a real job. They have a high school job, a summer job, a temp job, seasonal work. When we foster language that supposes these are not “real” jobs – we continue to let poverty and the human individuals in that space fade into the background. We perpetuate the lie that everyone that works at McDonald’s is a high schooler saving up to buy a car (and this is framed in terms of a car as a luxury and not a necessity, negating other possible scenarios). We belittle our service sector workers who are actually doing just fine, because their job isn’t “real.”
What does it take to get a real job? Clearly, a university education does not suffice. A master’s degree, a PhD, none of these is a golden ticket into the perceived “real job” mythical space. And yet the narrative to work harder towards these things with the end goal being “a real job” continues. It is saturated in poor shaming, in pull yourself up by your bootstraps, in there’s nothing wrong with the economy you just have to work harder it’s your own shortcomings language and assumptions.
I have not ever, and I will not ever, work at a real job.
They do not exist. They are an illusion and a social construct rooted in classism, ableism and a complete disregard for how supply and demand also works on employment opportunity.
I’m just thinking out loud and I’m just getting started.” -Jenny Hart
She’s right, and it’s hardly disputable. For all the shouting of increased productivity in this country, the success goes almost exclusively to the wealthiest members of our society. People work longer hours, and their wages are barely moving, but somehow American growth is amazing! The success isn’t shared with the bottom 90% of this country; the data doesn’t lie.
While our government wastes insane amounts of money on military equipment, the top 1% of this country has pillaged the lower classes. They have the loyal aid of privileged upper-middle class supporters, and plenty of others who either don’t vote, or don’t do it in their best interests.
If you watch enough television, you’ll be convinced that there is a huge contingent of people out there, working at fast food restaurants because they supposedly didn’t try as hard as you. This is nonsense. It’s a PSYOP- a distraction to draw you away from the real problems within our culture of consumption.
Ignore your problems for long enough, and they will consume YOU.