She's a character, she has opinions.

Bill Cosby didn’t write it!

with one comment

Really, he didn’t. He wrote this on his web site:

There’s an email floating around – entitled “I’m 76 and tired” – purportedly sent by me. I did not write the email, I did not send the email, I’m not 76, and I don’t subscribe to the ugly views expressed in the email. We are coming up to an important anniversary on Sunday, which is a day when we should all come together. Whoever wrote this email is not thinking about our country, or what is important. If you get the email, it’s time to hit DELETE. [here]

Naturally, whomever falsely attributed this to Bill Cosby in order to get more attention also cherry picked the text. You can read everything written by Robert A. Hall, former Massachusetts State Senator here. I hope you don’t, though, unless you want to educate yourself about the kind of vile people we share this world with.

This particular diatribe has been spreading. Every day I see another person or three posting it and talking about how much they love it. And every day I’m dismayed that another person or three I know wants to buy into this enough that they don’t bother to think critically about it.

The first thing Mr. Hall asks us to do is to believe that since he was 17 until the time he wrote this piece of hatred when he was 63 he “put in 50-hour weeks, and didn’t call in sick in nearly 40 years.” Good for him. It’s pretty great he’s obviously healthy and had enough support around him to take care of his home and familial duties while he was at work for that many hours. Oh, you mean you didn’t think about the people helping him? And you didn’t think about the people who–through no fault of their own–aren’t as healthy as Mr. Hall purports to be? Your bad.

Mr. Hall is also “tired of being told the government will take the money [he] earned, by force if necessary, and give it to people too lazy to earn it.” Yes, I too fear the armed welfare squads that come door-to-door and take the money out of my desperate hands. What? You mean those don’t exist? But he said by force. Well, okay, but my hard-earned money is being given to people who are too lazy to work for their own! Wait, you mean not everyone on welfare is on it because they’re lazy? You mean that’s just something Mr. Hall and those like him made up? Well, crap.

Don’t start thinking you can refute that just yet, folks. I’m not done. I’m going to do some of that critical thinking I talked about earlier and pull out some facts. (Facts: Things Mr. Hall did not use.) First, welfare is intended to help people with little to no income, including the working poor. I’ll say that one again, the working poor, as in, like Mr. Hall, they earn their money. To determine welfare eligibility, a case worker collects data (you might say, facts) about “gross and net income, size of the family, and any crisis situation such as medical emergencies, pregnancy, homelessness or unemployment.”1 I can hear you all screaming “abuse, abuse” at me. Okay, fine. Let’s talk about how much money you can earn per month and still qualify for welfare. One thousand dollars. I say again (I’m going to do this a lot, get used to it), a mere $1,000 per month.2

Let’s dig a little deeper for a minute. I’m assuming from your love of this viral meme that you think people need to earn their money. (And let’s be charitable and assume earn means “work for” and not “be worthy of,” even though I’m fairly certain that isn’t the case for Mr. Hall based on the implied racism in his original essay.) Did you stop to think even for one moment about people who can’t work? Did it even occur to you that those people exist? Your bad again. According to a 2007 report by the U.S. Census Bureau,3 there were nine reasons given in answer to a survey on this topic: unable to find work; on layoff; temporary injury or illness; chronic illness/disability; pregnancy/childbirth; retired; going to school; taking care of children/others; and not interested in working. A small category of “other” was also included. Only 5.3 percent of respondents aged 20-54 gave “not interested in working” as their answer. All the rest wanted to work but couldn’t. That’s a very lazy 94.7 percent of the non-working people, isn’t it? No, it isn’t. Again, your bad.

Mr. Hall also has troubles with Islam being called a religion of peace. Some Muslims do bad things therefore all Muslims do bad things and their entire religion must be bad. Hold on for a minute while I compile a list of Christians, Jews, Hindus, and other religiously affiliated people who have done bad things so I can make my perfectly logical case that all people who follow those religions are bad. I can’t do that? You belong to one of those religions and just because one person is bad doesn’t mean you all are? I know, I just wasn’t sure you did. (I was going to address his upset that we can’t tell other countries what to do with the money we paid them in order to purchase something from them but I really hope you’ve figured out how ludicrous that is on your own.)

Taking responsibility for your actions is a big thing for Mr. Hall. He doesn’t like people who blame “the government, or discrimination or big-whatever for their problems.” He’s writing this from a place of blind privilege. Privilege in this case refers to privileged identity, like the one Mr. Hall has that he has not had to notice that we do live in a discriminatory society. Bear in mind, just because you are able to (or choose to) ignore oppression in our society does not mean it doesn’t exist. You can read more about privilege and understanding the realities of oppression here. I suggest you do.

Am I calling you stupid for blindly believing this forwarded essay? No. But I am saying you leaped at the chance to gain confirmation bias and neglected to look beneath the surface lest that bias be disturbed.

Fact Check Me!
1 Welfare Information
2 Welfare Statistics-Statistics Brain
3 Reasons People Do Not Work: 2004


Written by tldegray

February 10, 2013 at 3:50 pm

One Response

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  1. […] Originally posted by Tamara at She’s a character, she has opinions. […]

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