Category Archives: paycheck to paycheck

The Trump Years

“When people show you who they are believe them…”-Dr. Maya Angelou

On Tuesday, November 8, 2016 the majority of (white) Americans decided to ignore the common sense message of the late goddess…Maya Angelou. Now we are stuck with Donald John Trump for president. Le sigh. Of course, there’s been an avalanche of articles on how could this have happened. Particularly, a focus on the “disappointments” and “anger” of the white working class. Most folks of color (including myself) don’t understand why we are supposed to empathize with the problems of working class white folks over working class communities of color. From what I’ve read, many of their concerns are the same (livable wages, good education for their children, etc.) Also, more bizarre, why did white working class folks think a billionaire (who has every opportunity ever handed to him) would be able to relate/improve their lot in life?

What about the working black class?

I had the misfortune of happening upon Fox News “The Trump Revolution” and all I could do was shake my head. A bunch of confused white folks not quite sure why they voted for Trump, other than he wasn’t a woman/colored (okay, they didn’t say this, but that’s the underlining vibe I got from watching the program). One man broke down in tears and stated Trump would be able to help his improved elderly mother. Umm, okay. The irony of all this, despite the legitimate concerns/fear of folks of color when Trump takes office in January, it will be white people who find themselves struggling the most. The thing about folks of color, we are survivalists. We have learned how to navigate oppressive times. Not all of us made it, because we are only human and the body/mind can only take so much, but overall all the majority of us are still here.

Many white folks have shown they can’t handle stress/hard times. Think The Great Depression where suicide rates skyrocketed. Where, even now white folks tend to have the highest suicide rates when things go amidst. Hell, the election results themselves show how white folks can’t handle change. Instead of embracing the growing diversity of our country, how it could empower us all with folks different talents/contributions, many see it as a threat. Most would rather hearken back to a time of blatant violence/hatefulness of folks who don’t look like them. I currently reside in a red state. I see/hear this mentality all the time. I have to look at a confederate flag everyday. It’s sad and alarming.

But in the end, its white folks I wish luck to. They are going to need it.

rtx2spmr-1024x740
Meh

Randomness: “Getting Ahead…”

Back in January, I signed up for the workshop “Getting Ahead in a Just-Gettin’-By World.” Next week, I will be “graduating” with fellow classmates. The graduation is really just an opportunity to celebrate the completion of the 16-week course.

The “Getting Ahead…” workshop looked at the underlining causes of poverty. Folks tend to tell those who are struggling to “get a job” or that “McDonald’s is always hiring,” but these comments don’t acknowledge the fact that many poor people are employed. They are called the working poor. These are people making low-wages and still need help from social service agencies or other community resources.

The class resonated with me on many levels. Despite being a person with a degree,  I have often found myself riding up and down the poverty line. It has become even more complicated after having my first baby, last year. Extra expenses I never had to worry about before haunt me on a daily basis (daycare costs).

The only thing I would change about the course is that I would have liked if we talked more institutional oppression. Racism, sexism, and other isms can affect who gets what jobs, access to educational opportunities, etc. For example, LGBTQI folks of color tend to have high rates of poverty due to blatant discrimination.

Overall, an insightful workshop.

GETTING BY
Recommended Reading

The Walking Dead/MockingJay

I love The Walking Dead series. It has all the elements of drama, suspense, and gore that an Apocalypse obsessed woman like me needs.  I have finally watched all the new episodes…I was a season behind.   The death of Tyrese, Carol threatening to feed a little boy to zombies, the tower crushing the “unbreakable” walls.  Yes! That’s what I’m talking about. The show always has great twists. I can’t wait to see what the crew does when the new season starts in February. I’ve been wanting to read the graphic comics, but was surprised to learn there are over a hundred issues. Umm, never mind. Ain’t nobody got time for that. The show will do for now.

I have also finally caught up with the The Hunger Game Trilogy. Well, I still need to watch “Mockingjay Part. 2,” but I get the gist of the final film. “The Hunger Games” movies have worried me. There are sci-fi/futuristic films that come off as unbelievable, but there is something scary about how real”The Hunger Games” movies feel. It’s probably because the current gap between the rich and poor is alarming.  And the fact that the elite seem oblivious/even hostile to the plight of the poor.

Recently, a friend shared a video where a guy conducted a “money suit” experiment. He pinned a bunch of $1 bills all over his jacket and walked around with a sign that read “take some if you really need it.” As he strolled through a well off neighborhood, folks wearing/carrying designer outfits/bags would silently walk up and snatch the money. The guy would ask “do you really need it?” The people would ignore him, stuffing the cash into their Burberry bags. He then walked down a public street. A homeless guy read the sign a couple of times before hesitantly approaching the guy. He quietly asked for a couple of bucks.  The suit man was surprised. “You’re not going to take more?” He asked. The homeless guy said no, he just wanted  few bucks to get something to eat. In the end, the guy doing the experiment gave him some extra funds.

The experiment made me think of “The Hunger Games.” The 1% percent taking more than what they need/hoarding resources, while the have nots too nicely ask for what is rightfully theirs.  As with “The Hunger Games” films, it’s beyond time for an uprising.

 

The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete

The film “The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete” popped up on my Netflix line up. I decided to watch it, since it’s rare to see films about black youth. I was a bit disappointed to see it was a cliché film of a low-income black kid with a drug addict for a mother, the absentee father, the scowling local drug dealer/pimp (Anthony Mackie wearing a laughable Rick Ross beard), and a tough azz nails police officer. *sigh.*

Despite my disappointment, there were some good moments in “The inevitable…” The young actors Skylan Brooks (Mister) and Ethan Dizon (Pete) are too adorable. They do a good job of carrying the film by themselves. Pete was the stereotypical silent Asian character, though.

Hopefully, one day we will get a fun black kid’s film (like The Goonies) were there isn’t so much despair. “The inevitable…” was depressing as hell to me.

Summer Recap #3

I usually like to get my summer movies on, but this was another flat summer of sequels (why in the world is there a Transformers 4?) and white male superheros (while the stories of Spawn, Storm, Black Panther, etc. sit on the sidelines).  I figured I might as well keep my money in my pocket.

However, there was one unique film that peaked my interest, so I decided to go see it. “Snowpiercer” is a sci-fi film based on a Korean film based on a french graphic novel.

“Set in a future where a failed climate-change experiment kills all life on the planet except for a lucky few who boarded the Snowpiercer, a train that travels around the globe, where a class system emerges.” http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1706620/

The film had some good action scenes and original moments. My one beef with this film, like majority of films set in the future, there are rarely any people of color. Which is strange, when it’s a known fact populations of color will dominate in the next few years, let alone in 2031.  Okay, I guess you can argue most die in the snowstorm, but 99% of them?

Octavia Spencer plays Tanya (you know I loved that name 😉 She is the lone black character who lives in the tail of the train, where the poor folks reside. Well, I take that back. She does have a son, so that makes two black folks. Oh, then there is a random black character introduced later, so three total 😦   And dammit to hell,  why did they have Spencer’s character hollering about some chicken. The other folks of color are basically Asian sidekicks, who are drug addicts.

A good friend thought “Snowpiercer” was an amazing film. I wouldn’t go that far. There were times when my mind started wandering, because I didn’t know what the hell was going on.  And there were so many plot holes, I lost count. But I would still recommend the film.  It’s something a bit different compared to the other summer films. Also, I love films that look at the break down of civilization, class warfare, etc., because that’s where we are headed. These films give you some survival insights.

Welp, that wraps up my summer recaps. Have a good weekend!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Black Girl In Suburbia/ Spent: Looking for Change

This past weekend I attended a showing of the documentary “Black Girl in Suburbia.” It’s a revolutionary film, in that, it focuses on a segment of the black population that tends to be ignored. The film features middle school to high school black girls.

“Black Girl In Suburbia is a feature documentary that looks into the experiences of black girls growing up in predominately white communities. This is a different look into suburbia from the perspective of women of color. This film explores through professional and personal interviews the conflict and issues black girls have relating to both white and black communities.” http://www.blackgirlinsuburbia.com/

Initially, I was skeptical of the film.  The host of the film stated, there were several people who were resistant to the film being shown. Perhaps the people who were against the film, thought it was going to be a bunch of middle class black folks moaning about how hard it is to be black. I know I did.

But the young girls/women who spoke on camera were diverse in their voices, identities, and experiences. I particularly liked their honesty when discussing issues of hair and dating as a black girl in predominately white communities.

“Black Girl…” is a unique film and one that I recommend. I look forward to more films from director Melissa Lowery.

Another thought-provoking film, was posted by ColorLines, a few days ago. “Spent: Looking for Change,” chronicles how many Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. Or check cashing loan to check cashing loan.

“Spent” is a rare look at the nearly 70 million Americans residing in households that either don’t have a regular checking account (unbanked) or that rely on a combination of traditional checking and alternative services like payday or check cashing loans to get by (underbanked).” http://colorlines.com/archives/2014/06/Paycheck_to_paycheck.html

I related a lot to this film. Despite having no children and being fairly educated,  I am part of the working poor. It’s bizarre because someone like myself should be living it up. However, I am constantly struggling.

Of course, things always tend to be worse for black folks. We are the last ones hired first ones fired. But really so many of us are suffering.

I’m shocked there hasn’t been anarchy yet, because things are getting worse not better.