Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Entitlement is defined as "a right to benefits specified especially by law or contract." Conservatives, especially lower to middle class white folks, are always rallying against government "entitlement programs." With their smug expressions, they decry the idea that certain people, by virtue of being poor or belonging to some other socially oppressed group, are given government benefits under certain laws (i.e. welfare being an obvious one).

Okay, so the term "entitlement" is accurate under the definition I have given. Certain people are given certain benefits by law. When conservatives use that word, they are trying to evoke specific connotations and feelings that have been associated with the word. They are trying to elicit feelings of disgust--a sort of "how dare they think just because they are X, that they should get X!"

And what I say in retort--
Yes, these are "entitlement programs" under the definition, but where is the outrage at other entitled groups? Where is the outrage at those who have a right to benefits because of the families they were born into? Where is your outrage at those who receive more benefits than any poor or oppressed person could ever dream of simply because they were lucky enough to be born in an economically privileged family? Does it not cause you outrage that these people are given all the tools and resources for success simply because of an accident of birth?

Why don't you think "how dare INSERT RICH PERSON HERE think that just because they are rich, that they should be given all the tools for success at birth!"

The point isn't whether you agree or disagree with entitlements. The point is that you must recognize that it isn't just through the government that entitlement is administered. If you're going to decry entitlement, at least be consistent. At least decry birthright entitlement too. And please don't argue that "well, those privileged peoples' parents worked for it." Because, the kids of the privileged did not work for it, and the rallying cry against entitlement programs for the oppressed is always "they didn't work for it."

And I can tell you why the focus is on "entitlements" of the poor rather than the privileged...it's internalized oppression. These middle to lower middle class *usually white* folks who decry the rights of those more oppressed than them, well, they see themselves as fighting for the same crumbs at the bottom of the cookie jar. And how dare these "entitled" oppressed groups get any benefit that might give them even a slightly increased ability to get to these same proverbial crumbs. These middle to lower middle class folks are scared. They're scared of losing a pittance of crumbs.

And that's what's sad. The political climate, our society, etc. have pitted a huge portion of the population against one another for a pile of lousy crumbs. Instead of banding together, instead of making it their goal to get an actual cookie instead of a pile of lousy crumbs, these people tense up. They get scared. They split apart. They fight for crumbs.

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