This welfare quote was placed on an innocent magnet. This innocent magnet was resting atop an innocent fridge, in an innocent little doctor’s office in a poorer area of my town.
Waiting in the hallway for my brother to come out of the bathroom, I read it.
I then looked around me, to the other side of the room, and I saw portraits of poor looking children in Latin America. There were many of them. Perhaps they were children the doctor had given free care to, or perhaps they were random children who the doctor say purity in. Perhaps she saw purity in their poverty and wanted to sanctify that with a portrait, while at the same time, across the room, wanted to vilify poor Americans with tongue in cheek fridge magnets.
This was not my first time in this doctor’s office. It was, however, the first time I saw/noticed that magnet. Maybe it was always there. It was strange for me because that tone of resentment the words on the magnet evoked was never shown to me by anyone there. I had always been made to feel comfortable in that office. The doctor and her sidekicks always made small tack with me.
When I read the magnet, I could not help but ask one of the guys working there about it.
He said to me and I paraphrase,
You know we have been doing this for about 20 years, and we get kind of cynical. There are a lot of people who take advantage of the system, a lot of people who are on it [welfare] who don’t need to be…
I ooohed and awwed, nodded my head at the appropriate times to signal for him to go on, and attempted to keep a pleasant expression on my face while he was explaining to me his logic behind the magnet.
When he was done, I could tell he was a bit embarrassed. I was almost embarrassed for him too.
The thing is
There are many low-income “welfare” patients that go into that office. To greet them with that tongue in cheek statement is really tasteless to me.
It is right dead center for every patient to see when they walk in to get a check up. So instead of getting a friendly wholesome welcome magnet, you get that version of a welcome magnet which not only portrays welfare as a bad thing but also implies that people on welfare do not work hard.
What a greeting.
Before anyone thinks that I am politicizing something that should not be politicized, well that doctor literally politicized her whole office by putting a magnet about welfare vampires on her fridge.
Why do people attempt to devalue others? Why do we always judge people? If it bothers you that much, sitting up here making six figures as a doctor, then quit your job.
Going back to those poor children portraits, I do not understand why she had those portraits on her wall but then had that magnet on her fridge. I do not understand why it is okay for people to be poor and for you to frame their poverty, but when poor people get a hand to rise up out of that poverty there is a problem.
The portraits looked a bit like this, but the children were smiling. Happy, content poor kids. The ones all the rich people love. That pure poverty, that no fake gucci bag, no nails done, looking forlorn and pious poverty.
I do not reject the fact that there are some people who may be finessing the system (kudos to them) I’m
not kidding, but the majority of people are not finessing it.
To take actions that a minority of people are doing and vilify an entire population for it is ridiculous.