Dear Senator Sanders –
During your last debate with Hillary Clinton, you were asked a question about your racial blind spots. You first told a couple of anecdotes – first about your African American colleague, and then about your conversation with a young lady from the Black Lives Matter movement. Both were meant to illustrate how you, as a white person, couldn’t see their challenges and experience their struggles. It’s true that you probably cannot see the world through their eyes and experience their difficulties firsthand, but then you went on to say something so stupid, and so offensive, that I felt the need to respond – as a white person, as someone who raised herself from nothing, and as someone who resents the hell out of your contention that somehow white people don’t know struggles and agonies.
So to answer your question, I would say, and I think it’s similar to what the secretary said, when you’re white, you don’t know what it’s like to be living in a ghetto. You don’t know what it’s like to be poor. You don’t know what it’s like to be hassled when you walk down the street or you get dragged out of a car.
I find your assertion offensive as well as wrong. You are part of the same crowd that screeches “PRIVILEGE!!!” without knowing or understanding those about whom you screech it.
In 2013, nearly 19 million white people were living in poverty. In 2014, that number rose to 19.7 million. Whites also receive social services such as food stamps and Medicaid at higher rates than African Americans, and yet you claim they don’t know what it’s like to be poor? Have you lost your mind, or are you simply that out of touch?
I guess you don’t care about the 73,000+ people in your own state of Vermont – predominantly white, by the way – living below the poverty line. They don’t matter, right?
White people don’t know what it’s like to live in a ghetto?
Those many call “poor white trash” without even thinking about the offensive racial undertones this moniker evokes would beg to differ.
Alcohol abuse, oxy abuse, blight, odd jobs, teen pregnancies… if you don’t think those are all issues white people face by the millions, perhaps you should do some reading about white poverty in America.
Perhaps someone who’s primarily been sucking off the government teat for the majority of his life, while he worked to relieve others of their earnings you won’t understand this, but I’m going to try and whitesplain it to you anyway.
Poverty is living in a cockroach-infested dump, having bugs crawl on your face and in your ears while you sleep, as your parents – both of whom have Master’s Degrees – work 10-hour days washing dishes and performing other menial jobs so that you could have chicken and plain, white rice for dinner.
Poverty is eating ice cubes during the summer while the rest of the kids you know buy ice cream from the corner grocery store.
Poverty is watching your parents dig through your neighbors’ garbage in hopes of finding something for you to wear to school.
Poverty is watching your dad hammer together pieces of wood he found at a garbage dump to make a makeshift arm chair and cover it with an old wool blanket to make it look more appealing.
Poverty is sitting in front an old, black and white 15-inch television your dad found in your neighbors’ trash, and that he fixed with some copper wire and aluminum foil and watching cartoons to learn English.
Poverty is having kids in school make fun of you, because you wore the same clothes to school as the day before. No, it doesn’t matter that your mom washed them by hand and made them clean.
Poverty is walking around with patches all over your worn clothes and having the kids at school ridicule your old, rusty lunchbox – a lunchbox that also came from the neighbors’ trash.
Poverty is being jealous of another kid in school, because his parents could afford strawberry milk, while your parents insisted you didn’t need the extra flavor.
Poverty is treasuring the little box of colored rubber bands your mom splurged on for you, and using a different color every day. If you couldn’t change your clothes every day, at least you could have pigtails with hair ties of a different color.
And perhaps, someone like you, who didn’t make a steady paycheck until he was in his 40s, because he spent all his time
agitating for the socialist cause pissing and moaning about those pesky rich people not giving him enough free shit for doing next to nothing doesn’t understand the concept of a ghetto, but let me tell you…
When your elderly grandpa takes a walk outside to look through other people’s trash for some toys for you, and gets beaten up and mugged by two urban youts, who steal his meager plastic bag containing some toys from said trash and leave him bleeding on the sidewalk…
…that’s when you know you’re living in the ghetto!
So yeah, white people – people like me – know real poverty. We know the ghetto. We know what it’s like to be indigent and not know where our next meal is coming from.
You know what, though?
People like me scramble and scrape all their lives to leave the ghetto behind and make something of ourselves instead of dragging the sewer and the squalor around with us all our lives as an excuse for our failures!
We achieve and succeed because of sheer determination, strength, commitment, and grit, and we don’t expose the oozing sores of our squalid, wretched, filthy beginnings for others to worship as a virtue or exploit as a political tool.
We simply fight every day of our lives to leave the indigence behind, while people like you find new and inventive ways to diminish and denigrate our experiences, because somehow we managed to leave the filth behind.
Much like your ignorant economic policies strive to punish success…
…your clueless, imbecilic ethics belittle and demean it.
The immoral callousness in your statement reflects the unethical, corrupt crassness of your economic philosophy.
And neither one belongs in civilized society.