Last week, it was the Democratic sound bite heard round the Internet – or at least, my private Facebook feed: “When you’re white, you don’t know what it’s like to be living in a ghetto. You don’t know what it’s like to be poor.” Bernie Sanders’ comment on institutional racism and systemic poverty eviscerated the fantasy enshrouding many of my friends.
“I grew up poor.” “What about my loans?” “I’m still broke!” “That’s racist!” The number of people who felt the need to defend themselves and their privilege, the number of people who tried to wage a contest of suffering was baffling. Yet, I knew that if his comment had this kind of a ripple effect on social media, there was one thing I had to do: talk to my students about it. Continue reading ““You Don’t Know What It’s Like to be Poor””