I’m tired of hearing people complain about how helping others is making them less rich.
I've seen too many whiny Facebook posts saying that welfare recipients deserve poverty because they don’t make as much money, and I've heard too many old men rant about the evils of 'government handouts.' All of these things are ignorant and need to stop.
Pretty much all of the whining boils down to people saying that they don’t like welfare because the recipients should work and earn the money themselves. This statement always comes from a place of privilege and fails to address matters such as hiring discrimination and wage itself.
For example, many people say that discrimination doesn’t even exist in the job hiring process. Since gay marriage is legal nationwide and not just white people can vote, discrimination must be unfathomable. In reality, applications from people with non-white names are often overlooked and disqualified on the basis of not being professional. Now 28 states allow workers to be fired for being transgender.
Many people just don’t have the job security that white, straight, cisgender people have. Labeling minorities as lazy for having less access to jobs is dismissive and erasing of the experiences many people undergo because of who they are.
Another aspect that often gets overlooked is the fact that the minimum wage is no longer a livable wage. While many states have minimum wages around seven or eight dollars, if inflation is accounted for, the minimum wage should have risen to between 15 and 20 dollars by now. Of course, this depends on how many people one person is supporting, as well as where the individual lives (MIT has a living wage calculator here).
But across pretty much the entire nation, this livable wage doesn’t exist, and people are forced to rely on assistance to others so they can live. In many cases, the dislike of welfare and the dislike of a higher minimum wage coincide, which is as ridiculous as it is unhelpful.
My hope is that more people can question these associations between money and the value of life. Why do we continually insist that people’s lives are only worth what they can materialistically contribute to society? We channel our energies into competing with each other for material goods instead of helping everyone be happier. People need to stop hating those who don’t make as much money. We are worth more than our production.