Friday, October 01, 2010

Memo to Rick Sanchez

I've never been a fan of yours because I quit watching CNN a long time ago, about the time they decided to become Fox News Lite. We'd never become BFF's as I suspect, from reading some of your words, that there's some political chasms which would strangle any attempts to do so. But I did have a certain empathy for you based on some common class branding neither of us had a choice about.

Like you I grew up in an environment that guaranteed I'd always stand out as someone who came from the bottom class of society. I was poor. I had to work for a living. I had to work my way through High School when other young adults were playing. People in my family left debts not trust funds. Hell yeah I resented that. Who wouldn't?

But I set out to make myself better. I found positive role models who made a living as artists, who were able to survive outside the mainstream society that demanded a conformity I could never attain. Any social skills I currently have, I picked up on my own from reading books about people who had them. I studied those who had the poise and confidence I lacked. I learned what I could about those I had to walk among in order to survive as someone they wouldn't openly disdain because I wasn't them.

But you know what? They knew any way. They knew because I always gave myself away in so may ways that betrayed my past. I didn't know about clothes. I look like a bag lady when I dress up. I didn't know about the right kind of things they obviously knew and I didn't. I had to buy my own car, my own house, my own college eduation. I was smart in all the wrong ways. I wasn't stupid enough in all the right ways. I cared too much about speaking against war and warmongers. I was passionate, idealistic and opinionated--and I considered those excellent qualities to have, and I still do.

And you know what? It wasn't the rich and privileged who turned on me for these social lapses; it was the middle class. They were the ones who were threatened when I showed them ways they were yet another privileged class when measured against others like mine.

You want to see outrage from the middle class? Try telling them their straight and perfect teeth reveal them as members of the privileged class. Rich people just take that for granted. The middle class feel guilty about it and will take it out on you and me, at the same time as they judge us for our less than perfect teeth.

Yeah, life sucks that way and I can give you countless other examples of how it sucks that way. But you know what? I got over it. I went on with my life. I made my own place on the planet with people like me who were not perfect on the outside, who didn't go to the private schools and "good" universities. I found acceptance in the hearts of good, kind people who were judged so much during their lives, they just didn't have the stomach for it anymore. That's why so many of my friends are Gay, from other countries, poor and creative. They grew up with heaps of judgment on their backs. And I deliberately sought out their friendships because I knew they would be good and meaningful ones.

You could have done this too. You could have used your childhood as inspiration for those trying to struggle out of poverty, out of being different, out of the stigma of having parents who spoke with foreign accents. But instead, you took that big giant chip on your shoulder and sunk to their level. You became all that you opposed with your racist comments. You became THEM.

And in so doing you only served to reinforce the stereotypes most of those you hate already carry around in them about the poor, the lower-class, the average working class person. By opening your stupid mouth and letting that giant chip do the talking, you've destroyed yourself and the hard won progress of a lot of just plain folks. For that alone you deserved to be fired.

And the worse thing about it? You wasted all that breath on the wrong "enemy." It wasn't the elite that sunk you, that judged you, that condemned you. It wasn't the poor. It was that squishy middle, that group who grew up with just enough and because they couldn't have every single thing they wanted most of the time, have the nerve to consider themselves children of the working class. I actually had some of them think they were "underprivileged" because  their parents worked their asses off to buy them things. They're clueless about what it really means to go without. You had a chance to show them the face of the real working class and instead, you took on an enemy that wasn't even an enemy. How stupid is that?

2 comments: said...

Nice blog..

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