To Survive Poverty You Fight Until You Die
If you are poor then words are not used to celebrate. They are used to survive.
When you lack food and love, you are competitive. You eat competitively. You care competitively.
Your brain never quite leaves the reptilian mode. You cannot learn when the threat of casual violence looms in the classroom.
You will watch well-meaning middle-class teachers slowly degrade as their hopes are quashed. As an authority figure they represent all that led you to poverty. Even worse, they will structure the lessons around the most vociferous and violent, hoping that the attention will curb the excesses of those who already lack control. This does not work.
You gain good marks at school? Grades will not make a difference. Your lack of connections means you have access only to opportunities advertised openly. Unpaid internships remain aloof, their impossible cost guarded by filthy neoliberal dogs.
Success at work may only come in the form of entrepreneurial or corporate roles. They will demand your mind. The risk and effort will be magnificent.
You will support society magnificently because you will only spend. You will never have enough money to invest or save. Instead you will keep the economy growing. As your debt grows, you increase what someone else owns. Thanks for that someone above you should say.
Your extended family and early-friendship network will be everything, with all their limitations and foibles. Any challenge to insalubrious opinions will isolate you. You will see human nature at its rawest.
Your hobbies will consist of an outerlife: sport, shooting, just stuff. An innerlife is optional.
Your language will become limited to those around you. Jokes and quips etc will be understood by your peers alone. To others your points of reference are invisible and by implication pointless and weak.
A poverty of ambition will underscore your future. To make money and to survive is your only long-term investment. Living for the buzz of your weekend is the extent of an aesthetic life.
You will have no heritage. What existed in the past did not help you. It led you here, to this nothingness. To be connected to the thinkers of the past is beyond possibility. Your peers can only be those who live immediately in front of your face.
Certain Western forces will tell you this is your fault. Just work harder, sleep less, risk more. Life Coaches and ponzi schemes will sup on you, injecting the toxic needle of individualism to thin your blood.
Poverty never leaves you. You fight or you die until you die of the fight.
"I let you guys eat snacks in here as long as you do your work, but you still need to eat breakfast, okay?"
Sorry, I ride the bus and by the time we get here, I only have time to get the breakfast from the cafeteria and walk here before the bell rings.
"Okay. But you can bring food from home and eat something on the bus too so you can snack on the cafeteria food instead of eating your cereal in the middle of class, distracting people, and not doing your work. Okay?"
But I do my work. I already finished it, I'm just waiting for your next instructions.
"You're still distracting other kids and making a mess. You're allowed to eat snacks, not meals, okay? I don't want to have to ban food entirely from the classroom."
"Where's your doctor's note?"
I don't have one.
"Well, if you don't have one, then I can't let you make up the assignment."
I was sick. My mom will tell you.
"Without a doctor's note, how do I know you really were sick? And your mom shouldn't lie for you. You need to do your assignments like everyone else. If you miss the due date, then you miss the due date."
I do do my assignments on time. I was just sick this one time.
"Right. And if you had a doctor's note, I would give you extra time to get it to me, but you don't. It is what it is."
"That's why the school is going to be loaning students a laptop to use."
No, I understand. I still won't be able to do all the homework online though. Can I get them in worksheets instead or something?
"Honey, use the computer. It's how we'll be communicating. That's why the school is giving everyone a computer to borrow until the end of the year, so that everyone can still do work." :)
Yes, I know. But the homework on the weekends and the due dates don't give me enough time to do them.
"Sweetie, everyone gets the same amount of time to do the work. Plan ahead."
The libraries are closed on weekends now, and during the week I can only be there for about six hours. That's not enough time.
"Then plan ahead. I'm not going to give you special treatment just because you want more time. You get the same amount of time as everyone else. I'm sorry if you don't want to work as hard as everyone else."
I'm telling you that I only have internet access for a limited time. Six hours over five days per week is not enough time for me to do the online research, do the readings, finish the activities, do the writing, and turn them in after the library closes even if I plan ahead. I'm trying to tell you that It's impossible for me to get the work done in that amount of time.
"That's why you do. work. at. home. like everyone else. What do you think we're giving you the laptop??"
I can't do homework at home. It's online work. I need to be in the library to do online work. It's all online work, and I can't get it all done. I'm asking you if there is any alternative turn in or any alternative assignments.
"The answer is no. I don't understand what's so hard about doing the work at home. The school is giving you everything you need."
Public school is its own unique environment. All school is restrictive in some way, and every school gets away with some sort of suppression, bullying, and even disrespect. Even if you're homeschooled. It's part of teaching, of training.
I speak for my friends in Southern California, the closest regions to the Mexican border. My privilege keeps me from experiencing this my self, but I've seen it, heard it, and I know it exists and it happens. I know it happens elsewhere too.
For a country without universal healthcare, it's quite an expectation to have a doctor's note as part of standard procedure; especially for children who don't have control over it. You expect everyone to have a doctor's note every time they get sick, but how many times have you gotten a cold or a fever and known you don't need a doctor's visit? And for the kids and adults who secure some form of temporary healthcare through a school or organization, these are largely underfunded and don't always have the means to treat their patients and fulfill their needs. I won't get into big pharma, but don't forget about her too. Stop expecting a doctor's note.
Food and shelter and health take priority over internet access and wifi any day. You can hand out computers but you have to consider how you hand out wifi, how you hand out a desk and a chair, how you hand out peace and quiet, how you hand out a learning environment. If I share a room with three other people who are unable to leave the house because of quarantine, I'd be hardpressed for the same focus and peace a classroom or my own bedroom could give me. Just because we're home doesn't mean we have more time.
Stop punishing people for what they can't control. Stop insisting they're dumber or lazier or making up convenient excuses. No one's getting mad you're considering the possibilities and having initial judgements, but we're offended they're controlling your decisions and generalizations. Richer doesn't mean better. Richer means more options. Think deeply.
It’s better down here
Nowhere does it say money can buy you freedom. Freedom from fear from insult from betrayal some things don't come with any income status. Poverty is the absence of money. Not the absence of heart.
Who determines what makes an individual sane. The power of a regenerated heart a heart on fire for giving everybody the love they deserve, can't be bought with riches. So the single mother raising children without help from the father. May be too poor to buy new fancy shoes or the most expensive games. What sets her above from the missing parent is the daily attention and affection these children of poverty can always count on.
When money becomes so important that children have no worth. The littlest smiles on the faces of poverty, brought on by a push in the swing or a high flying kite. Giggles and cheers while Mom bakes a birthday cake makes all the money of the wealthy undesirable.
Poverty only hurts when some ugly insults are thrown to the poor. Given a choice the lack of money wouldn't even be a concern. When your poor it's just a fact if life. Nobody needs to be put to shame for it. Money can only buy things. Truth heart character unconditional love and compassion are the things money can't buy for you.
It's not impossible to have gained riches and still consider yourself an equal to the poor. Dig deep down build a sand castle with child that has a dirty face and unkept clothes. The joy you will share becomes the priceless jewel you've been paying for