I am so poor that I am “po”… (part 1)
Those that grew up in the ghetto probably know what I am talking about. “po” is half of poor, which should be enough explanation as to what it means. You know its election season when you hear poor people this and poor people that. But does anybody even understand what poor is? Or the evil rich?
I believe I am well qualified to address this because I’ve been through all the various wealth stages. I want to discuss meaning of “po” class, middle class, poor class, wealthy class, & evil wealthy class. First part will talk about my po phase.
Part 1 start
I grew up in pretty rough part of NYC with my sister, mom, and pop. My dad worked full 7 days from 5am to 11pm, my mother worked from 8am to 8pm, while my sister and I attended local public school together. Everybody in this public school would be considered poor because almost all the family was on food stamp and welfare. It was actually pretty easy to see who was on welfare and who was not.
Most kids had real lunch boxes with lots of candies/snacks, & real milk. They dressed pretty nicely, for living in a ghetto. Keep in my all this has to be in perspective. I am not comparing ghetto kids to average kids in some wealthy districts. They looked good for ghetto standard.
I didn’t have a lunch box, but a mere paper lunch bag that I would use over and over until it was non-functional. I actually remember crying as a kid because some punk blew up my new lunch bag by blowing air into it and popping it. I also wore girls clothing to school because my mother sold women’s clothing at a flea market, and I would end up wearing clothes that were returned by customers. Most kids wore Lee and Levi’s while I was wearing Jordache, Gitano, or Sergio Valente with pink stripes, rhinestones, or little flowers. Needless to say, I had my fair share of ass-whoopin and bullying. My lunch was always the same bologna sandwich with water from the fountain, everyday. I used to always be on a lookout for which kid is throwing away what snacks and I would go pick it out from the trash can to eat it. Dumpster diving was a way of surviving back in those days.
So by now you have a pretty good understanding of who is “po” and who is poor. I definitely grew up “po” while those other kids grew up poor. Now let’s look at the family.
Most of the parents from this school were on welfare, various subsidy, & food stamp programs. That also meant their kids qualified for free milk at school. They also lived in nice apartments because it had air conditioning. Most of them also had cable TV and a car.
According to the tax codes, my parents made too much money to qualify for welfare, food stamp, & apartment subsidy. Our apartment was so hot, we didn’t have a/c. I always hated summer for this reason. According to the government, my family was a middle class.
Based on my experience I am going to say, poor is if you are in certain welfare class and certain middle class.
Based on my experience I am going to say, Po is if you are in the bottom middle class, just above the welfare cutoff threshold. You get no free help even though you can be a penny above the cutoff mark. Bottom middle class people need most amount of help and most amount of sympathy. They are usually the type that work their asses off and refuse to take a handout. I admire these people for their strength and durability. I have no sympathy for anybody living under the welfare cutoff number, because there are group of people who has far less, in worse condition. I’ll go one step further and say most of these welfare recipients live better than most middle income families.
To be continued…