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Dani Fernandez calls laziness 'rich people privilege' after student loan forgiveness sparks debate

Statistics show that the average student loan debt for recent college graduates is nearly $30,000.

Dani Fernandez calls laziness 'rich people privilege' after student loan forgiveness sparks debate
Cover Image Source: (L) Getty Images/Amy Sussman; (R) Twitter/@msdanifernandez

Actor Dani Fernandez sparked a debate on Twitter when she posted about laziness being a "rich people privilege." On August 25, the writer-actor posted a series of tweets tackling the generalizations made about working-class people who need access to student loan waivers. "The people who need student loan forgiveness are not lazy. You actually can’t be lazy and survive in this country," Fernandez tweeted. Referring to her own life in the past, she continued, "Trust me I was scarily poor. You can only be lazy if you’re rich. That’s a rich people privilege."



She then made a reference to the high healthcare expenses and wrote, "'They don’t wanna work!' I mean I don’t know if we were put on this planet to work BUT REGARDLESS whether folks want to or not, they HAVE to. Lower and middle class is a constant fight to not lose access to basic needs. One hospital visit can ruin your financial life." Later in the series, the actor mentioned how she herself has paid $10,000 in medical debt.

The debate came in after President Joe Biden announced a $10,000 student loan forgiveness on Wednesday. Pell Grants recipients will get a waiver of up to $20,000. This decision will amount to a total value of around $360 billion. Many on social media were not in support of the decision and resorted to calling students lazy. Statistics show that the average student loan debt for recent college graduates is nearly $30,000, according to U.S. News data. Research has also shown that Black young adults take on substantially more student loan debt than their white counterparts, furthermore, this gap is partially attributable to differences in family wealth and family contributions to college costs.



The actor pointed out that people who work the hardest make "unlivable wages" and often work multiple jobs. She goes on to say that to be able to come out of poverty when things are not handed down feels like it needs "a miracle." Giving her own example as a queer woman of color, Fernandez said that she "didn’t benefit from many of the privileges others who pulled themselves out of debt did AND i still don’t want anyone, of any background, suffering like me. The thought makes me nauseous." The actor says she still owes "student loans and am lucky to be successful in a business where I can/will pay them off." 



Fernandez continued to address important issues like the branding of homeless individuals as lazy. "The unhoused folks we see on the street are not living they are dying. And likely spent a lifetime working and (still working!!!!) to now die on the street," she tweeted. She explained that many unhoused individuals are "actually still working," and how many of them spend their lives hopping from "job to job and deal with being robbed, being harassed, being discriminated against" adding that more than 59% of Americans are one paycheck away from being homeless.

According to research, many homeless job seekers face discrimination in the hiring process for not providing a home address on their applications or for using the address of a shelter. "It is extremely telling of the structure of America that this is the case. And the fact you want to keep it like this is appalling," she writes.



The Twitter thread sparked off an intense conversation with many talking about how a $10,000 student-loan waiver can really help somebody get their life together.

A user tweeted: "As someone who paid off my student loans I need to say this is a fantastic start to clearing the ledgers. Student loan debt has been an impossible burden on generations now. It's time to dial that back & give these people a chance to move forward."

Another user goes on to explain why student debt is so crushing for people with lower-waged jobs: "This! So true. Also, people don’t realize how expensive it is to be poor. Late fees, waiting in lines for hours for social services (instead of working), buying everything second or third hand, so things always break & need repairs, having to move more, which costs $. It’s crazy."

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