Sometimes we grew up with parents who valued education as the only way we'd ever quit being poor, and who encouraged us to expand our minds. My mom put herself through school with scholarships and by working the entire way through. In college she was exposed to ideas like Feminism and Civil Rights. My Dad got drafted into the Army, and actually learned that the world was a far bigger and more interesting place than he had ever suspected.
My folks are now pretty solidly middle class, but they weren't when my sister and I were kids. Mom stayed home with us because childcare wasn't as widespread as it is now. Since we were a single-income household, money was tight.
Thing is, when dealing with people accusing me of being a "suburban middle-class Feminist" simply because of my color, if I try to point out, actually I grew up poor, I'm playing "the Oppression Olympics."
Great. So you can ascribe an outlook to me based solely on my skin color, and I can't refute it because the act of telling you you're negating or misrepresenting MY life-experience means I'm cheapening yours.
Sometimes being a poor Progressive is a mind-bendingly angering proposition.
"You don't know what it's like to be profiled."
Oh, yeah. I get pulled over and followed all the time because I drive a piece of shit car.
"Well, you could get a better car."
Can I? With what money? My credit is shot because of hospital bills racked up while uninsured, and student loans since my folks couldn't afford to pay for my school. So, exactly how am I supposed to just buy a new car?
"Yeah, well you still COULD."
Yeah, I suppose I could. When monkeys fly out of my butt. Or people start paying me for being brilliant and sarcastic. Until then, as long as I'm slogging along at a wage slave job like everyone else, I'm kind of screwed.
No, I don't know what it's like to be poor and a POC.
Neither do you know what it's like to be poor and white.
Can we all just agree that being poor sucks?