in a recent magazine article in which she accused poor and working class people of being jealous of the wealthy, yet not working hard enough to acquire the type of privilege she has enjoyed for most of her life- "Do something to make more money yourself -- spend less time drinking or smoking and socializing, and more time working." She lectured.
The fact that Gina Rinehart came-of-age swaddled in wealth and got a leg up on the workforce via nepotism and a hefty inheritance, isn’t lost on her poor, jealous countryman. And while her misguided comments addressed the wealth gap Australia, her “I’m rich, bitch!” sentiments about the poor are shared by the affluent, here in the U.S.
The obvious disdain for the poor is palpable… and unbearable during those times when short-sighted anecdotes are offered about the “risks” involved in acquiring wealth and privilege. Most troubling is the demonization of welfare-- mostly by conservatives-- as being nothing more than “hand-outs” to people in need, and the habit of those who speak ill of welfare, of creating pervasive pathologies about “undeserving” Black people.
Today on MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry Show, BusinessWeek writer and guest, Monica Mehta offered a critique of President Obama’s “You didn’t build that on your own” comment, during a July speech he gave, which took wealthy entrepreneurs to task for not acknowledging the folks who helped them build their businesses and wealth,
During a segment that discussed Martin Gilens's book, Why Americans Hate Welfare: Race, Media, and the Politics of Antipoverty Policy, and the racialization of welfare by wealthy conservatives, Mehta opined that the POTUS failed to emphasize risk-taking in his speech, and seemed to suggest that poorer people didn’t take the risks that wealthy investors and entrepreneurs do.
The usually calm Melissa Harris-Perry [understandably] grew visibly agitated with Mehta's "risk-taking" comment and spoke passionately about what true risk really is. “What is riskier than living poor in America? Seriously!” Melissa demanded to know, as she slammed her hand down on the table in frustration.
“I live in a neighborhood where people have to figure out how to get their kid into school because maybe it will be a good school and maybe it won’t. I am sick of the idea that being wealthy is risky. No. There is a huge safety net that whenever you fail will catch you and catch you and catch you. Being poor is what is risky. We have to create a safety net for poor people. And when we won’t, because they happen to look different from us, it is the pervasive ugliness.”
Melissa Harris-Perry's outburst echoed the frustrated sentiments of many who're barely scraping by and who implore those members of the affluent and wealthy class for some semblance of understanding [which they seem to lack] about the underclass.