living wages for the working poor

i hate so much when rich people claim they could live on minimum wage

you can’t. you absolutely fucking can’t.

it’s not just about how literally impossible it can be or how the rich are so accustomed to luxury they wouldn’t be able to stomach being poor – it’s about the fact that any experience rich people have had with poverty was temporary.

“to prove that $8/hr is humane i lived on minimum wage for a month – and it was fine. you just have to spend wisely and be frugal.”

i promise any rich person who’s done (if they even have) something like that was ACHING by the end of that month. that week. they were edging out the end of that month thinking “after this i can go back to my cozy $100k a year, i just have to get this month over with”

it’s livable, right? this guy proved it. one month and he’s sure – it’s totally doable! he ate gross food and kept his lights off and his AC off and scrounged up change for gas for a month and it wasn’t THAT bad!

but man…. imagine if that was your whole life.

i’m sure they felt a little stressed after realizing how tight the budget was at the end of that month… imagine that but for years. years and years with no end in sight. you never have the relief of going back to your $100k salary and flat screen TV. it’s years upon years of pent up stress and anxiety

what if your car breaks down? what if you miss your bus? what if you have an unexpected charge on your card and overdraft? what if the kids want pizza? what if you call out sick from work? what if you can’t afford christmas presents?

and on top of the stress, you’re poor and you don’t have much free time because you take all the hours you can get to make ends meet. instead of cooking you have to eat shitty banquet and michelinas meals because delivery and takeout are too expensive. and the more tired you get, the more exhausted, the more shitty food you consume just to try to keep going.

and you probably don’t have good healthcare!

you’re stressed, you’re eating poorly, your body hurts from all the work and you’re too poor to pay for medical help, things like car repair fall by the wayside in order to provide, you’re sad, you start drinking to cope, etc

this is the cycle poor people are fucking trapped in. this is why the minimum wage is a fucking failure to all impoverished people in america.

this is the toll “just being frugal” takes on poor people after living for decades like that. adddiction, mental illness, lawbreaking – these things are associated with low class and poor people because it’s what happens to us and what we resort to when the system fails us.

📣📣📣 this is a public service announcement for those following the grenfell tower story abroad 📣📣📣

a lot of the foreign press seems to ignore the main tenets of the story so if you may here is a brief breakdown of why it’s shaping up to be a defining national moment in the uk:

***the housing tower is located in north kensington. it is social housing for poor and working class londoners of which a huge number are BME. the borough of kensington and chelsea is the richest in london and marked by devastating inequality and gentrification that some poorer residents describe as social cleansing. non-luxury housing in london is generally a huge issue that has gone unaddressed for decades now, and privatisation of social housing provision has meant that profit motive and cost cutting have been strongly featured in poor people’s housing. race, housing and poverty are also tightly linked in london; this was a poor and ethnically diverse community as you can see if you watch videos from the scene. first victims we knew that sadly perished were a black british female photographer and her mum, and and a syrian refugee.

***the council is tory and they have done less and less for the housing of its poorer residents and more to accommodate wealthy people. for example, the council is sitting on 300 million in cash reserves yet somehow didn’t find cash to install basic fire sprinklers that the residents asked for? not only that but the 8 billion refurbishment that included the now notorious cladding was partly done for insulation but partly also to make the ugly 1970s council estate look more aesthetically pleasing for the swanky neighbourhoods nearby. the more flammable material used in the cladding saved the building contractor a whopping £5000

***government has been tory for the past 7 years and the order of the day has been austerity. public services have been cut to the bone and so has local authority funding. social housing managers who often work for subcontracted private providers paid by the council have a huge case load. they are encouraged to spend less and less time on health and safety (including fire safety) and more on asking intrusive questions about people’s jobs and incomes because of the tory culture of dividing people into the “deserving and undeserving poor” ie those who work and those who don’t. people on benefits are not prioritised when it comes to housing despite individual circumstances, which is why in grenfell you had 70 year olds with limited mobility living on the 22nd floor.

***uk has probably the most entrenched class system in the world and trashing of the working classes and the poor is almost a national hobby for some people. right-wing tabloid media is extremely powerful and they paint a picture of benefit cheats and non-working immigrants even though most poor people in britain work (they are the new working poor who have terrible wages and live in squalid and unaffordable housing) and most BME people were born here, they’re not immigrants

***if you are poor you are largely voiceless and meaningless to this neoliberal tory government. the tenants had written letters raising concerns about fire safety and in response were threatened with legal action. of course they couldn’t respond because tories have cut legal aid because of… yes, austerity. meanwhile tory ministers have been sitting on reports about fire safety in council flats including one from a coroner of a case where six people died in a housing block in south london in 2009. the prime minister didn’t meet the people affected at the scene and the response has generally been very poor. local council has been nowhere to be seen and the donations have come from ordinary people – proper working class solidarity in the face of state that treats them with utter contempt.

TL;DR: austerity kills, gentrification kills, indifference kills. people want justice, they are angry. why did up to 150 people die? this was preventable – it’s scandalous, horrific. it’s like poor people’s lives don’t matter in britain – a hurricane katrina moment for the uk. so please watch videos of THE PEOPLE, poor and working class londoners, who are suffering and expressing anger. don’t listen to theresa may, tories and the bbc trying to sanitise the story. this has everything to do with inequality, poverty, race and most of all CLASS. make those people visible again and help us change things because honestly this is the breaking point and we don’t need people spreading a false narrative abroad. cheers, peace out

Minimum Wage Employee: I deserve a raise. No one who works full time should live in poverty.

Median Wage Employee: No way! Then you’ll make as much as I do. 

CEO: You don’t even want to know how much I make. But please keep blaming poor people even though nothing is stopping you from also demanding a raise.

2

“The global mentality is moving towards free world trade and increased market liberalism. A world full of opportunities. A world where dreams can come true. It sounds fantastic, and it is fantastic … for a very small percentage of us. But for the vast, poor majority, the capitalist system only means one thing: death and suffering. While we live out our days thoughtlessly, and stuff ourselves with cheap food, the poor people of the Earth struggle in factories. Wages are forced down to the minimum, while the work hours keep increasing. Unionisation is illegal, and the working conditions are intolerable. Before applauding freedom, we must remember one thing: our over-consuming society stands on the shoulders of the coffee beans from Peru. We gorge on cheap food produced by underpaid children’s hands from India.” 

- Jonas Noah Vasquez, SKAM.

Don’t think the minimum wage should be raised to $15/hour? Listen to these 3 men who lived on a minimum wage of less than $12/hour in Toronto.

Video from CBC The National.

This is the life of the working poor in Canada, and they, and every Canadian deserves better than just getting by; having to skip meals or freeze in the winter just to pay bills.

“I grew up in the suburbs. I used to think that I could write a prescription for a poor man: ‘Get a job, save your money, pull yourself up by the bootstraps.’ I don’t believe that anymore. I was ignorant to the experiences of poor people. I’d invite anyone to come and meet the people who live in this neighborhood. Right now we are surrounded by working poor people. These are the people who sell your tools at Sears, and fix your roofs, and take care of your parents, and mow your lawns, and serve your meals. They’re not getting a living wage. There’s no money left to save. There’s nothing left if they get sick. Nothing left if their car breaks down. And God forbid they make a mistake, because there’s nothing left to pay fines or fees. When you’re down here, the system will continue to kick dirt in your face. You can’t pull yourself up when there’s nothing to grab onto. We aren’t paying our brothers and sisters enough to live. We want them to serve us, but we aren’t serving them.”

me thinkin about how capitalists have gotten away with severely underpaying their employees because they have such powerful propaganda that demonizes workers for wanting a wage that keeps up with costs of living and inflation and theyre worried if quality of life improves for the working poor then the class system will be revealed as arbitrary and thus propel us toward a sorely needed revolution which ousts old money from power

What he says: I’m fine

What he means: There are people being turned down from lifesaving medical treatments because they don’t have healthcare. There are people without money to pay rent or buy food because their parents couldn’t afford exhorberant college costs and now they can’t get a high paying job. There are people that can’t get jobs at all, or get welfare, or a proper education, or any respect whatsoever from society because of their race, gender, sexuality, age, looks (yes, looks), or, most importantly class. There are people working three jobs, essentially neglecting their children, working themselves to the bone, not getting anywhere for all their hard work and STILL not affording basic necessities because the minimum wage is NOT a living wage. Not even close. These people are the vast majority in this country. The bottom 20% has 3% of the total wealth, whereas the top 5% has OVER. 30. PERCENT. Over 30% of the TOTAL wealth in the US belongs to 5% OF THE POPULATION. But does anyone try to change it? No. Not even a little bit. Anyone that wants to has no power to, and anyone that has power is profitting off exploitation of the poor and won’t part with the smallest amount of their billions upon billions of dollars for the sake of basic human decency. Anyone who thinks abolishing net neutrality is a good thing is either SORELY misinformed, or is one of those 5%ers. It won’t just stop people from getting their cat videos and pinterest recipes, it will stop people from getting information. This bill will make it legal to heavily throttle or even outright block any websites (including news sites) that the ISP disagrees with. You read that right. It’s a fucking DYSTOPIA over here. Not to mention that schools, hospitals, libraries, government centers, any public service that requires internet (hint: all of them) are going to have to shell out money monthly too, which means taxes will skyrocket. Now, I’m normally all for taxes. High taxes in a socialist setting makes for more sharing, and more equality. But right now Americans are living in a society where an extremely high amount of taxes are being funneled into the military (billions of dollars everyday go towards buying nukes), and, pretty soon, lining the pockets of already extremely wealthy company executives and politicians. No budget for education. They’re cutting that. No public works either. Cutting that too. No healthcare, welfare, NOTHING. Rich people just keep getting richer and richer and greedier and greedier and the class gap is widening more and more and more and nothing is changing for the better and I’m not convinced it will anytime soon. Poor people- no, normal people, your average middle class citizens, are constantly being stiffed and blocked and any power they have is being yanked out from under them. They aren’t being treated like humans. If that doesn’t tell you how fucking SHITTY America is, I don’t know what will. It’s a sinking ship and only white male billionaires can afford life boats.

10

The global mentality is moving toward free world trade and increased market liberalism. A world full of opportunities. A world where dreams can come true. It sounds fantastic, and it is fantastic. For a very small percentage of us. But for the vast, poor majority, the capitalist system only means one thing: death and suffering. While we live out our days thoughtlessly, and stuff ourselves with cheap food, the poor people of the earth struggle in factories. Wages are forced down to the minimum, while the work hours keep increasing. Unionization is illegal, and the working conditions are intolerable. Before applauding freedom, we must remember one thing: our over consummating society stands on the shoulders of the coffee beans from Peru. We gorge on cheap food produced by underpaid children’s hands from India. […]
▬  Skam, Season 1 

Kind of a fuck bosses submission / rant

So we just had a summer training seminar with the owner of the company i’ve worked at for far too long. As hes a religious man that helps run his church and does public speaking, he enjoys gathering the employees and trying to uplift us about life and happiness. I have absolutely no problems with this, until he starts explaining how to do customer service. There were a few things I didn’t like, but this one just made me mad.

He starts explaining what the customers expect out of us when he brings up that 3rd world countries provide better customer service than Americans because they have to work for tips. This past fall I had the honor of joining him on a trip to a 3rd world country for business. The employees at the resort we stayed at were, in a sense, falling all over themselves to give us everything we needed. Calling us by name, learning our breakfast orders and whatnot, basically inflating our egos.

We toured the island and saw how almost all the homes were either falling apart or were shacks. The ones that weren’t were owned by rich 1st world people and were their vacation homes. All the others on the trip kept commenting on how sad it was that these people “lived like this” and then would get back to the resort and judge every move the workers made.

These people, I’m gonna emphasis people, were being expected to practically lick the dirt off of our shoes because if they didn’t they would loose their jobs and, from what I could tell, the resorts were the main source of large incomes. I became one of a small group that was constantly thanking the employees for whatever it was they were doing, whether It was constantly filling my water, directing me when I was lost in the resort or giving me a list of stores and directions that provided allergy meds. Two of them even remembered, for a whole week, what my odd food allergies were and helped me out without me ever asking. It was without a doubt the best customer service experience id ever had and yet some of my fellow trip goers were barely impressed or hadn’t even noticed at all.

One night we ate at this local restaurant. There were flyers everywhere telling people to eat local so we did. It was packed at this strip of restaurants and finally we found one. They managed to cram some tables together for our massive party of like 20 and rearranged the patio for us. They were extremely busy and I could tell the employees were starting to get a little overwhelmed. The group was loud and obnoxious and some of them out right ignored the serves when they were trying to take our orders. It took a while to get the food and one of the orders was wrong, but everything was great, well it was for me at least. On the walk back a few of them started talking about how the service wasn’t great and that they’d had better, I was furious.

Customer service isn’t just in the hands of the employee, the experience also comes from the customer themselves. The reason I have less than a handful of bad customer service experiences is because I don’t expect employees to kiss my ass. I don’t expect them to have all the answers because that’s what managers and supervisors are for. When I experience Customer Service all I expect is for the employee to, basically, do their job. To smile and be kind, maybe even patient if I’m being clueless. Anything above that and I can tell the employee is working hard or just very good at what they do.

As a customer I expect myself to be the exact same way. I expect myself and the people I’m with to smile and be kind, even patient if something happens to go wrong or there was an honest mistake. I always thank the employees for basically everything, I tell servers thank you after every interaction on impulse, and never demand anything. I want a great experience and so I make sure that I make myself a part of that great experience. As a customer, if you expect above and beyond at all times then what is the employee suppose to live up to? Being your slave? What does that make you then? Are you saying you’re better than them?

I’m still extremely upset about his comment. He has constantly in the past explained to us that customer service was just a stepping stone job, that it didn’t deserve a higher wage because it was so easy. Then he praises the poor workers because they “have to work” for their wage and demanded so much out of them. I don’t know if I’m just overreacting, but all I’m seeing is him praising slave wage labor. In a sense it felt like he was saying “if I paid you less like them then you would work harder”.

It does not matter what kind of job you have, every single person deserves respect. As a customer you deserve respect and as an employee you deserve respect. Fuck ANYONE that demands you make them feel important when you’re pouring them a cup of coffee or bagging their items. If we weren’t there to pour them that coffee or bag their item then they would be doing it themselves. If “getting your money’s worth” means treating employees like dirt then I’m sorry, you need to reevaluate how “important” you think you are.

anonymous asked:

I honestly cannot fathom how low the minimum wage in USA is. Where I live it's $16 an hour. My job is super basic, I work at a kids indoor playcentre and I basically do till, running the cafe food and general tidy up. I get $23 an hour just for that. And the American government expects people to live off less that ten bucks an hour, it's fucking ridiculous.

America hates poor people and service workers tbh

-Kyoung

The global mentality is moving toward free world trade and increased market liberalism. A world full of opportunities. A world where dreams can come true. It sounds fantastic, and it is fantastic. For a very small percentage of us. But for the vast, poor majority, the capitalist system only means one thing: Death and suffering. While we live out our days thoughtlessly, and stuff ourselves with cheap food, the poor people of the earth struggle in factories. Wages are forced down to the minium, while the work hours keep increasing. Unionization is illegal, and the working conditions are intolerable. Before applauding freedom, we must remember one thing: Our over consummating society stands on the shoulders of the coffee beans from Peru. We gorge on cheap food produced by underpaid children’s hands from India.
—  Skam.

anonymous asked:

By law, if you work as a server and you do not make enough in tips your employer has to the pay the difference to get you up to minimum wage. No one is required to tip if they do not want to. So the server does their job? Well guess what, people in other jobs do their required work (yes, even those who only get minimum wage). People don't bitch about them not getting tips.

You sound an awful lot like a customer who doesn’t tip. It’s really quite simple, if you live in America and do not have the money to tip the person waiting on you, you do not have the money to eat out. Do not come at me with the “poor people
Deserve nice shit too!” Poor people can save a bit longer to afford that tip just like everyone else. Someone being poor does not give them the right to make another person more poor but stiffing them on their pay check essentially. Say it with me, no money for tip. No money for eating at restaurant where server gets tipped. *mic drop* -Mandie

hloneheart  asked:

can I just say that I hate the term "wage hike" it feels like using the word hike over increase or raise is meant to seem like a bad thing before your rational brain kicks in

I’ve been feeling the exact same thing.

That term really irks me when its referring to an increase to wages for the working poor. It should be something that evokes that it is a positive thing, because it is a good thing.

Wage hike makes it seem like everyone else is suffering because some of the poorest Canadians might not be in poverty any more.

anonymous asked:

What would raising the minimum wage to 15/hour do? I've heard that it's a good thing but it's never really been explained to me

In a nutshell? It would make all our lives better. 

PREPARE MY SOAPBOX, GENTLE READERS, FOR ONCE MORE IT IS TIME FOR ME TO TREAD UPON IT.

Ever hear the term “the working poor”? This is a term used to describe people who are working one or more minimum wage jobs, and are still so poor that many of them have to rely on government assistance to get by. This government assistance comes in the form of welfare, which is paid for by taxes. 

A lot of the working poor work for companies whose CEOs and upper management make thousands of times what their minimum wage employees make. Wal-Mart, for example, paid its CEO $25.6 million last year. And Wal-Mart generously raised its minimum wage this year to… $9 an hour. Meanwhile, last year Wal-Mart reported annual profits of $482 billion. That’s BILLION. With a motherfucking B.

Now here’s where it gets controversial. If deliriously profitable companies like Wally World doubled their minimum wage employees’ pay–say, from $7.50 in some states to $15 an hour–those employees would no longer have to rely on welfare to survive. So less of our tax dollars would go to supporting them.

The more people who are paid a living wage, the fewer people need to rely on tax-funded government assistance. So those tax dollars could get spent on other useful shit, like improving our public schools and repairing our infrastructure (both of which efforts would employ people, btw).

So let’s review:

  • Big companies pay their employees jack shit despite making billions in revenue.
  • The government uses our taxes to help those low-paid employees survive using welfare.
  • If the companies would give their employees raises, those employees would rely less on government assistance.
  • That tax revenue could be used elsewhere to improve our country.

So when people refer to the “welfare state” and “lazy people living off our tax dollars,” who do you think that REALLY means? Is it the working poor? Or is it their fucking employers who pay them so little that we need to subsidize their shitty paychecks?

We the Bitches are in favor of raising the minimum wage because we’re tired of picking up the slack of greedy corporations. As the great philosopher Chris Rock once said, “You know what that means when someone pays you minimum wage? You know what your boss was trying to say? ‘Hey if I could pay you less, I would, but it’s against the law.’”

anonymous asked:

Perhaps this question has been asked before and if so, I apologize! I've recently got into Witchcraft but have found out that this is not a lifestyle for the poor. A majority of crystals and herbs I find are expensive on Etsy, or I get tricked and think I found a cheap one only to find the shipping is $4~ Do you know where I may find witchcraft or fairy type items for someone working on a minimum wage? :) Thanks!

I live under my country’s poverty line as well, so I understand the feeling, but unfortunately I can’t be much of a help - I am not from the States, so I am not familiar with the most affordable American crystal vendors, and for me four dollar shipping for anything is a small miracle, as I’m located in Northern Europe. I shop online a lot, but mostly on Etsy. 
I personally believe there are many ways to practise witchcraft and/or paganism without spending a lot, or any money - there are also a lot of resources dedicated to this topic, so you might get lucky with browsing “witchcraft on a budget” tag here on Tumblr, googling or trying some of these blogs:
http://low-budget-witches.tumblr.com/
http://budgetwitch.tumblr.com/
https://witchonabudgetblog.wordpress.com/

Good luck! You might find some helpful links in the comments of this post as well.

Why do we still need feminism?

To everyone wondering why those loud, obnoxious feminists are still protesting today: American women have had mostly-equal rights for less than 40 years out of the entire recorded history of the Western world, thanks to loud, obnoxious feminists like the ones marching and protesting in cities across the US as I type this. There is currently a considerable and disturbing push by some conservative/religious groups to revert some of our hard-fought rights and freedoms to what they were back when we were considered property more than people.

To outline some of the injustices American women face, in case you’re wondering what’s wrong with our current set of rights and freedoms:

1 in 5 women will be sexually assaulted or raped during her lifetime. Of those, fewer than 1/3 are reported to police.

For every 1000 women who are raped by men, 994 of the men who rape them will never see the inside of a jail cell for that crime.

As of 2014, US police departments had 400,000 untested rape kits sitting around, gathering dust.

31 US states allow a rapist to sue for custody of a child conceived during that rape, and most of those states will not allow the mother to give the child up for adoption unless the rapist father is notified and gives consent. There are currently multiple bills in state senates which would also prevent a woman from aborting a child conceived by rape unless the father gives consent.

It is still an extremely common tactic for a rape trial to focus not on the rapist’s crime, but on the entire sexual history of the female victim, what she was wearing, who she was with, whether or not she had been drinking, and often trying to coerce her into admitting it was consensual all along and she’s just trying to save her reputation by calling it rape.

Rape is the only crime for which arguing that the temptation was too clear and obvious to resist is treated as an admissible and sometimes clearing defense.

1 in 3 women will experience domestic violence. 1 in 4 women will experience *severe* domestic violence.

As of 2014, 38 million US women had experienced domestic partner violence.

Also as of 2014, 4.77 million US women experience domestic partner violence every year.

Between 2001 and 2013, more than twice as many women were murdered by their male romantic partners than there were soldiers killed in our overseas war efforts.

Disabled women are 40% more likely to experience domestic violence than normally-abled women, and it’s more likely to be severe violence.

Marital rape has only been illegal in all 50 states since 1993. Many states still have exceptions to the law, limit the degree of assault it can be considered as, and/or do not prosecute it as seriously as other rape and assault.

Most domestic abuse is never prosecuted.

Abused women lose a collective 8 million days of paid work every year directly as a result of their abuse.

The leading cause of death among pregnant women is being murdered by the father of their child.

The US has the highest maternal mortality in the developed world.

The US is one of two countries in the entire world without paid maternity leave, the other being Papua New Guinea.

Right-to-work states routinely overlook the firing and laying-off of pregnant women because employers abuse the loophole of not explicitly stating that as the reason.

Pregnant women are routinely denied even minor accommodations by employers, such as carrying a water bottle or being allowed to use the restroom more than once every four hours.

Access to contraception is still a hotly-debated subject, and a woman’s employer can legally dictate her reproductive choices based on THEIR religious beliefs.

The most effective contraception methods are an entire month’s wages for a woman earning minimum wage and who has no access to insurance.

Hormonal contraception has significant and sometimes fatal side-effects that were only approved because the testing was done on impoverished minorities, and it was assumed this would be the primary market for hormonal contraception.

Access to abortion is being increasingly restricted in many states, which has seen a corresponding rise in maternal mortality, infant mortality, and suicide by pregnant women.

Women accessing health care reproductive health clinics such as Planned Parenthood frequently face angry and even violent protestors.

Fake “crisis pregnancy centers” are legal in many states. These are not bound by HIPAA laws and often put their duped patients in actual physical danger.

A Texas anti-abortion group with 30,000 members infiltrated pro-choice groups and hatched a scheme to literally kidnap pregnant women by offering them rides to Planned Parenthood and holding them captive until they’d missed their appointment and/or agreed not to abort. None of them got into any legal trouble for suggesting this.

It is legal in some states for the state to keep a brain-dead pregnant woman on life support indefinitely, regardless of her wishes, her family’s wishes, and the stage of pregnancy.

Women are more than twice as likely to die of a heart attack than men are, for the sole reason that their symptoms aren’t taken seriously.

Obese women, especially minorities, frequently go without adequate care or any care at all in all levels of medical care, from the general practitioner’s office to the emergency room.

35% of single mothers live at or below the poverty line, even though most of them have full-time jobs.

68% of the elderly poor are women.

60% of minimum-wage workers are women.

More than 70% of those living at or below the poverty line are women and children.

There is no affordable child care. A single mother working at a full-time minimum wage job is likely to spend half her income on day care. This forces her to either drop out of the workforce entirely and take government benefits, or to take a second job and essentially never see her own child.

The gender wage gap is real. At all levels of employment in all industries, women are frequently paid less than their male coworkers despite having the same experience, the same seniority, and the same education.

Sexism is rampant in many industries, particularly STEM and manual labor. This leads to less participation by women who feel they will receive unfair treatment from employers and coworkers alike.

The number of women earning degrees in computing-based STEM fields has dropped from 37% to 18% since the 1980s. This was largely due to the creation of hierarchies, hiring practices, and social networking in the 1990s that explicitly favoured men.

Female video game developers routinely receive gender-based harassment online, with an entire socio-political movement of angry young men (GamerGate) emerging because a female game developer was given what they perceived to be an unfairly-high rating on her game by a journalist with whom she subsequently entered into a relationship.

Female celebrities routinely deal with dangerous stalkers, with a number of them being assaulted and/or murdered by such, and our cultural reaction is to tell them that’s what they get for being famous. Meanwhile, John Lennon’s killer has been in prison since 1980 and is one of the most widely reviled men in America.

Women online in any capacity routinely receive gender-based harassment, demeaning comments, and unsolicited photos of male genitalia.

Women on dating sites frequently receive so much harassment that they are forced to delete their profiles.

The cultural reaction to nude/topless photos of any woman being stolen and posted online is that she got what she deserved for taking them in the first place. Revenge porn (selling nudes/sex tapes of your ex to shame them and ruin their lives/careers by sending links to their family and coworkers) is legal in most states, with females comprising almost 100% of victims. Very little legal recourse exists for victims.

Filming yourself having sex with a woman without her knowledge and selling the video to a porn site is not only legal, but is a popular category amongst viewers.

Womens’ Studies is the most frequent butt of every joke made about “useless” college degrees.

Career fields that are high-paying, high prestige, and male-dominated lose their prestige and wages as more women enter the field. This is an observable and frequently repeated trend, and it generally only takes 5-10 years from the time when the number of women in the field exceeds 15-20%.

2017 marks the first year EVER that women have exceeded 20% representation in the Senate, and 19% in the House. Only four are minorities, with three newcomers joining Mazie Hirono, who had been only the second minority woman to ever sit on the Senate until the Nov. 2016 election cycle.

The first and only female Native American federal judge was appointed in 2014. The first white female federal judge was appointed in 1933, the first black female federal judge was appointed in 1966, and the first Asian female federal judge was appointed in 2010. Despite these minor gains, 73% of state and federal judges are still male.

—–

This seems like an exhaustive list, doesn’t it? Imagine how exhausting it is to be living it and having to explain it nearly 100 years after the Suffragettes were cruelly derided in editorials, comments, and assaulted on the streets over wanting something to be done about many of these very same issues.

The Problem With Vegans

Let’s talk about veganism and the racism, classism and ableism that plagues the movement.

Before we get into the bulk of this article a disclaimer I fully support veganism, as a vegetarian it’s my ultimate goal to transition to veganism. Animal cruelty sickens me and I aim to reduce my contribution to that in any way I can.

The problem here is not the concept of veganism but the people who’s vegan activism is largely un-inclusive. It’s about vegans who are vocal on animal rights but are silent about police brutality and racism.

Animal Lives Matter

My first encounter with racist white vegans was back when the news broke of the death of Hamabre the gorilla. A black boy had wandered into the gorilla’s enclosure and it was either the child or the gorilla.

All it takes is the relative anonimity of an article comment section for racists to reveal themselves; many of which self proclaimed vegans. Many stating the boy should have been killed instead of the gorilla. I struggle to believe they would have the same reaction to a white child in the same situation. Black children are quickly denied their humanity and their deaths by police are largely met with indifference.

People will take any excuse to enact misogynoir especially against black mothers in relation to how they raise their children perpetuating the stereotype of the neglectful black mother despite how historically black women were hired as ‘mammys’ for white children.

I took that as an isolated event however fast forward to this week I’ve had a lot of really interesting exchanges with vegans over the past week on my social media pages who have a tendency to directly compare the chattel slavery black people faced to the plight of animals today.

The lynching of black people to the hanging of animals. You don’t need to look far back into history and even to this day to see how comparing a group of people to animals has been used to justify their dehumanization. I couldn’t help but notice a pattern emerge between vegans and racism.

I understand the anger at animals being held in captivity but anti-blackness is not the solution.

Keep in mind historically black people were kept in human zoos, dehumanized and compared to animals, how black children were used as alligator bait. Stop comparing black people and their struggle to animals whatever the context!

Human oppression cannot be compared to animal oppression, racism isn’t just a thing of the distant past black people are still being lynched and executed by the police today!

Warped Sense of Poverty

Most people who haven’t lived in extreme poverty have a warped view of what that entails and this includes many white vegans who have class privilege.

To paraphrase a vegan commenter on my page ‘Are you saying you can afford steaks but not rice and beans’ To anyone who hasn’t lived in poverty that seems a reasonable assertion, but as someone who has it’s illuminating.

Poverty is not a choice between steak & rice and beans:

It’s a choice between eating nothing or eating the cheapest meat based ready meal that is high energy and low cost.

It’s a choice between eating nothing and eating whatever family or friends can spare you (meat based or not)

It’s a choice between eating nothing and eating whatever you’re given (meat based or not) from the food bank you were embarrassed to walk into.

There are rarely options, you eat what you can get for free or what you can buy from the money found at the back of your sofa. If steak was an option on my menu I would be a vegan tomorrow!

So I find it very revealing when people assert eating vegan is easy when your poor.

I lived without a refrigerator for a year at one point because our second hand one broke down and only had a microwave oven to cook food with.

Working more than one job and getting home late at night. The nearest grocery store was 30 minutes away by bus but fast food joints (which don’t serve vegan) plentiful within walking distance.

After a busy day, feet hurting from standing all day at a physically draining minimum wage service job the last thing you want to do is prepare a meal. A bag of apples is the same price as a filling fast food burger or a calorie rich ready meal.

Eating vegan below the poverty line isn’t impossible but it sure is difficult.

Even more so now my financial position is better I can see how easier it is to eat vegetarian/vegan. With working refrigeration, not living in a food dessert; the difference is night and day.

That’s not even taking into consideration how closely classism and racism are linked. Many people of color living in impoverished communities cannot even drink clean water. Not to mention how many of these communities are in food desserts thanks to low investment and bad infrastructure in these areas, all of which make purchasing affordable fruit and vegetables near impossible.

Ableism

Finally let’s not forget ableism like many people do. Many people cannot consume a strict vegan diet due to dietary requirements on the recommendation of their doctor. Most cannot reasonably consume a vegan diet without supplements to offset the food groups they’re missing out on.

Let’s not also forget the undeniable intersection between disability and poverty. By no means am I saying ALL poor and disabled people cannot consume a vegan diet but a good portion cannot directly as a result of their circumstances.

If you do not take this into account in regards to your vegan activism, you’re the type of vegan my criticisms are aimed at.

I support veganism always but not vegans who aren’t intersectional in their activism or those who are silent about the loss of people of color’s lives due to institutionalized racism and police brutality but vocal on the loss of animal lives, vegans who scream ‘All Lives Matter’ because ‘animal lives matter too not just black ones’

I would rather be harsh on vegans than silent on racism, classism or ableism.

Oh Trump.

You did NOT call Africa a bunch of shithole countries.

Listen, we have our problems. We have our issues. We have poverty and disease, we have inequality, corrective rape, a murder statistic that would make you weep. We have racism and stigma, bigotry and wage gaps, we have some of the most horrendous living conditions for the poor you’ve ever seen. We have no public health system (one that works anyway) and a laughable public transport system.

Here’s the thing:

I carry the title of African proudly. I am proud that in 26 years of a free South Africa we’ve managed to do what America is still trying to do. Our media is diverse and thriving. Our people are diverse and thriving. We are multicultural and rich. We speak more than one language. We strive for equality even though race relations are still strained. We try and accept, we love, we learn, we’re educated, in 26 years we’ve embraced our pasts and moved beyond it.

You, you dare to call us a shithole? You dare disrespect over 3000 tribes spread across Africa? You dare disrespect the people who’ve picked themselves out of the mud and made something of themselves, who stick to their cultures.

You dare disrespect us? Say it to the Ndebele, The Zulu, The Xhosa, The Afrikaaner, Say it to the Venda, The Songo, The Pedi, The Tswana. Say it to The Sotho, The Pondo, The Swati.

You dare disrespect us? All of us? Those I cannot name, those who are living their lives, building up their nation’s while you destroy yours? You dare disrespect millions of men and women who are worth more than you? Every life you shit on, the poorest of us, the most disenfranchised, those you see as beneath you are worth more than you could ever be.

You are nothing. You are worth nothing to us.

Come at my people again. I may be whiter than milk. But I am African. It’s in my blood. It’s who I am. And I will not stand here, and listen to some idiotic, bigoted, womanizing prick disrespect MY people. Say it to our faces. Say it like a man. Tell me to my face how worthless I am by virtue of my birth. By virtue of my country, one that i would rather literally defend to the death.

Say it. Say it to an Africans face. I’m right here. I am waiting.