Does being poor give a person the right to behave poorly? Or, do the underprivileged feel it is their privilege to misbehave?
Bad behavior is not unique to humanity, but have you ever noticed how much more prevalent it is in poor communities? Having been born and raised in a very poor community before moving to the Greater Seattle area, I can see a pattern here. Sure, you can find the 50-something woman walking down the road wearing black lace panties, fur-trimmed Ugg boots, toothless and flashing her 10-inch artificial nails in any city. But what I’m talking about is the superior, entitled and lazy attitude of so many who receive government aid.
Before anyone gets their proverbial panties in a bunch, I’m not saying everyone on aid acts like a spoiled child, but it is astounding just how many feel, and act as if the world owes them. And the latter is to whom I refer to, not the people who truly use the system as it was intended.
Is It Entitlement?
One of the poorest communities in the state of California, and even within the nation, is the Central Valley and many of its small farming towns. This is where I call home – or did before moving to Washington. While home visiting, it struck me again the differences in attitudes between underprivileged communities and well-to-do cities. It makes sense that people would be happier if they are not worried about where they will get their next meal, or how they will be able to afford new clothes for their children. But what doesn’t compute, at least to me, is the sense of entitlement that so many aid receivers demonstrate.
Simple, common courtesy and good manners are all but non-existent. It’s as if the same rules do not apply; they are exempt from behaving like a productive and decent citizen because the government (taxpayers) has a duty to provide for them. Let’s look at some examples here:
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to slow down, or even stop driving because someone decides to cross the street (and not in a crosswalk), taking their own sweet time. How about when you’re standing in line at the grocery store while someone uses their benefit card to buy groceries (which is fine), then takes cash off of the card to purchase alcohol and cigarettes?
The rude behavior continues in so many ways: never thanking someone for a nice deed; never holding a door open for anyone; cutting in lines; throwing trash on the ground; smoking in non-smoking areas; holding night-long parties (they don’t have to get up and go to work the next day) and so on.
The Value Of Nothing
In this underprivileged area, McDonald’s is busier than Starbucks, but its patrons come dressed for the occasion in pajamas and slippers – and let’s not forget the expensive manicures, hair extensions and false eyelashes on the women.
So, what is my point you’re wondering? Why should they respect the rules or other people? They do not have to work for anything. The government provides rent money, food allowance, cell phones, medical coverage, free transportation, free education, computers and Internet access in some instances, and a monthly stipend that’s supposed to be for bills but can be spent however they’d like.
If everything is given to you, you do not understand the value. When you have to work hard and save to get the things you want and even need, then you appreciate what you have and tend to be more respectful of others’ properties.
A Lack Of Challenge
In another observation, perhaps these people are unhappy because they have nothing to challenge them or make them feel useful and important. I have heard, too many times to count, that if they went out and got a job, they’d be making less money than they are on aid. So, why go bust their butts to make less when everything they need is provided for them?
As a society and because we are humane, we should help those less fortunate. However, that street goes both ways. People should only get help if they are willing to help themselves as well. In the frontier days, neighbors would hold barn building gatherings where everyone in the community would come together to help a fellow homesteader build a shelter for his animals and feed. Do you think they would help if the landowner sat back drinking cool spring water while his neighbors slaved away for him?
This is what we are doing, folks. We are building the barn, supplying the animals and food while those we help sit back and berate us. While we sweat and hammer away to provide for others, they sit under a shady tree and demand more. They become lazy and despondent, not even bothering to get out of their bedclothes before going into town.
They have become dependent upon us, and resent us all the more for it. Perhaps this bad behavior is their way of striking back at a society that doesn’t challenge them as individuals; as productive pieces in our societal puzzle. Whatever the reason, the government is not doing these people any favors. Even the signs at zoos warn patrons not to feed the animals, or they will “become dependent,” which can be deadly for them.