Saturday, January 23, 2010

Not Likely

I got my first anonymous comment! Yay! Of all the things I write about, it was in response to a Post-It (?)

Anonymous said...

I don't think it is unfair for a poor person to have the same as me.. If they get it the same way I did by working and saving .. not by taking some of mine (money) to get it.

Which got me to thinking. My sticky was originally in response to a brief conversation that I had had with a friend of mine. But Anonymous got me to thinking about prejudices. This got me to concocting a hypothetical situation. For your perusal.


You and I go into a fancy schmancy restaurant (you are paying). We look over and see Man A at table one wearing a tux and drinking some fine wine with a beautiful woman. We look over at table two and see Man B wearing a tie with a pretty woman, who looks slightly out of place.

"Hey," you say, "didn't Man B pump your gas yesterday?" Sure enough he had. You say, "What do you think - you think he is a drug dealer or maybe welfare is paying for his dinner?"

Man A overhears this remark. He puts down his wine glass and says "Yeah, you know who is probably paying for that meal - you and me, my friend. Hard-working tax-paying citizens."


Boy A grew up in a nice suburb in a nice house with a nice family with 2.5 kids. Boy A gets good grades in school. When he turns 16, his parents buy him a car. Nothing fancy, but with a car he can get that internship over at his dad's agency.

Boy A finishes high school and goes to a nice university. He graduates and is now Man A. Because he had that internship in high school, Man A gets a cushy job at the agency. Man A works, comes home with a nice paycheck to a nice house in a nice suburb with his nice wife and 2.5 children. Man A takes his wife out for "date night" on Fridays, which is where we meet him.


Boy B grew up in an apartment in a tough neighborhood. Boy B worked hard in school, stayed away from all of the drugs he saw his friends doing, but still did not get the best grades. When Boy B turns 16 there is no money for a car, so he gets himself a job. He walks to the gas station where he pumps gas 5 nights a week.

He works more than he studies so he does not get good enough grades for the scholarships he applies for. His parents cannot take out loans for him, so college is not an option. Boy B joins the military.

After his four years, Man B is honorably discharged and goes back to his parent's house. Unfortunately, his paratrooper skills that he gained in the military are not an advantage in the local job market so Man B goes back to the gas station.

Man B works hard and saves up so that on his and his girl's anniversary he can take her to a fancy schmancy restaurant, where we see him.


I turn to you and ask "How do we know that Man B isn't a hard-working tax-paying citizen like the rest of us? Who knows, maybe he works harder than us."

Man A picks up his wine glass and chuckles, "Yeah, not likely."


  1. Totally agree with what you're saying. It's easier not to feel any social responsibilities to your fellow countrymen/women. It feels good to think you work harder, achieve more, are generally better than someone else because you have more money.

    My little disclaimer: I'm not a US basher because there are a lot of cool things that I really like about the US and I might even move back there one day out of choice. It's just hard not to laugh and be a much saddened while looking from the outside.

    So what happened to Sociology 101? "The best test of a civilised society is the way in which it treats its weakest members". They don't have to write that essay at the rich schools?

    Personally, what I see as a big underlying reason to opposition of social service reforms is racism. Many of the disadvantaged are of racial minorities and I believe many people have issue with tax dollars going to "them". Some people will say this is BS, but I can honestly tell you the kind of every day racism that I heard and saw in the US is so poinsonous in a way that I have not experienced in the other cultures I've lived in. After I had lived in the US for a while I found myself making racist remarks that I would never have made before because it is so prevalent in the culture there. I was also amazed at the many stereotypes and how little knowledge and understanding most (even very educated) people had about other races and cultures. The US news media are also too afraid to call it (or anything else).

  2. I'll take Man B every day over man A. Man A are the ones we bailed out on wall street and are back to their old tricks and taking million dollar bonuses again, and what do they really do? What do they produce? More wealth for the already too wealthy. Man B actually does some thing for others, produces something tangible.

  3. When I first saw that 'post it' I thought you were referring to health care. As a Canadian I feel that every one is entitled no matter what their social or economical standing. I married an American and this subject is becoming something that the hubs and I don't talk about with his friends and family. The last conversation I had with someone in this regard felt that the poorer communities were not going to ride her back for their health care. She is a professional and doesn't feel that they deserve it because she works hard and pays for her health care.
    I was stunned.

  4. I love love LOVE this post.


    My favorite!

    thanks for making me think, Raine.

  5. This IS a great post.....

    good job for making us all think!

  6. Excellent example. You are spot on. :)

  7. This is a great thought-provoking blog. Go Man B!


Whatcha think?