Writer Dr. Jenn M. Jackson made a thread about what headspace people need to be creative, something that's denied to working-class people.
It's no secret that it's always the poor who suffer the most when the economy takes a tumble. A common trope of the rich and even some economists is to point fingers at the poor instead of reflecting on their own actions. One recent example is thousands resigning from their jobs citing poor pay and benefits. With living costs shooting up, the situation has become untenable for many workers. Rather than offering better wages, rich bosses and economists are accusing workers of being lazy, which is far from the truth. Many establishments have closed temporarily and made announcements blaming workers instead of raising the minimum wage. It's pretty rich to accuse those working multiple jobs to put food on the table of being lazy.
One person explained that those who castigated the poor as being lazy have never been poor themselves. It's always people making judgments while sitting on their high horse, they noted. "Whenever I hear someone call a poor person lazy or unambitious, I know they have never been poor. Y'all have no idea how much work and intellectual labor it takes to be poor and struggling," wrote Dr. Jenn M. Jackson, a queer abolitionist and writer. They explained that to even have the time to be creative was a privilege with so many working multiple jobs to put food on the table. "That I have time in my day just to create rather than worrying about where to lay my head and how I'm going to eat. People take these privileges for granted," they tweeted.
Whenever I hear someone call a poor person lazy or unambitious, I know they have never been poor.— dr. jenn m. jackson (@JennMJacksonPhD) July 22, 2021
Y'all have no idea how much work and intellectual labor it takes to be poor and struggling.
Just imagine a world where people had access to the food, education, healthcare, and environmental conditions they need to thrive. Imagine the amazing things we could create together if we weren't struggling for land, ego, and pride.— dr. jenn m. jackson (@JennMJacksonPhD) July 22, 2021
They went on to explain that a person needs a lot of mental headspace to be able to create and make the most of their gifts. "Creativity is such a gift. And while many of us have the ingenuity and ability, very few of us have the safety, peace of mind, and support needed to cultivate our gifts," they tweeted. "Just imagine a world where people had access to the food, education, healthcare, and environmental conditions they need to thrive. Imagine the amazing things we could create together if we weren't struggling for land, ego, and pride." They said it was possible to create a world that would help people thrive but wondered if those who have the power to pave a way for it would ever want that. "I firmly believe that we are capable of building a world where people have what they need. I just don't believe that people genuinely want to do the work to get there, yet," they wrote.
Congressman, my small business received hundreds of applications for each job this year. Could it be that people don't want to make minimum wage with no benefits and the $20 billion private equity group that owns Hardees refuses to pay people anything close to a living wage?— Dan Price (@DanPriceSeattle) May 1, 2021
The inequality in America is a testament to the rich getting richer while the poor are pushed to the edge. Data by the Census Bureau from 2019 showed that income inequality in America has been the highest since the U.S. Census Bureau started tracking the data, reported The Washington Post. The federal minimum wage has stood at $7.25 and has not risen for more than a decade, serving as one of the biggest factors in the ever-widening income inequality gap. The national minimum wage rose in step with productivity growth from 1938, when it was first introduced, until 1968. Since then, the minimum wage hasn't accounted for inflation, which meant that employees earning minimum wage had a fraction of the purchasing power of those from earlier generations. It was ironic that those who clamored against a rise in the federal minimum wage didn't hesitate when it came to giving the rich tax breaks.
According to the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), if the minimum wage did rise in step with productivity growth since 1968, it would be more than $24 an hour today. "If the productivity of less-skilled workers has not kept pace with average productivity, this was by design. It was not the fault of these workers; it was the fault of those who designed policies that had the effect of devaluing their skills," noted CEPR. “Inequality will go up as long as the people at the top of the tail are seeing their wealth increase,” said Brielle Bryan, an assistant professor of sociology at Rice University. “A booming economy means that people who have higher income and own capital are able to see continued higher returns on that.”
Let's go sub-minimum wage. No wage. Give the dollar to someone who is broke. Destitute. Indigent. They'll spend it immediately, probably giving it to a business that employs minimum wage workers.— Alexandra Erin (She/Her) (@AlexandraErin) July 22, 2018
The dollar you gave the homeless person will keep being spent and keep climbing up the economic ladder until it comes to rest in fractions in the pockets of the wealthy investor class you wanted to give it to in the first place.— Alexandra Erin (She/Her) (@AlexandraErin) July 22, 2018
You can follow Dr. Jenn M. Jackson's work on Twitter or their website, or read their articles for TeenVogue.