hipster occupy Vogel Warhol Angela Andy Diana

Dear Visitor to My World

When you come in here and try to save me all I am left with is the mess you leave behind. You play at pretending to be poor for the day or the week not really knowing what its like to actually be poor. Not really knowing what its like to wake up terrified and go to bed hungry every single night. Not knowing what it means to be a woman with children who have a father who doesn’t care or only comes around when he wants something. You have no idea what my life is actually like. You just look in from the outside passing judgment pretending you can empathize because its the hip thing, the cool thing, the latest craze to help the poor, the black, the uneducated, the hillbillies, the “Other America”. When you leave and go back to your gentrified neighborhood that you stole from use and wear your hipster thrift store fashions and go “green” and retro and all the other buzz words, I am left with reality. I am left with the dirt, the drugs, the bugs, the abandoned buildings you left behind.

You want to play at community organizing by painting up your face and marching through the streets because its the hip thing to do. You want to pretend you are an expert at public relations because you got yourself on TV once. You crave that 15 minutes of fame to validate your existence. You cry poverty because you have a monthly allowance of $1200 that you don’t even have to work for. Bitch please! You have no idea what it is like to be poor. To survive on less then nothing and when I say nothing I mean NOTHING. I’m barely scrapping by and when I do have something I share it with everyone, helping lift them up even if for only one day.

When you are called out on your bullshit, on your fake assness, you have the nerve to try and blame it on us. You blame it on the hood, on the people, for not bowing down to your demands and not going along with your facade of being one of us. You are not nor will you ever be one of us. You have no clue about our reality. You have no concept of our struggle. Our real world is unfathomable to you and your kind. We are a toy in your game, a box to check in some kind of grand scavenger hunt where the prize is being famous. How many poor people can you take a picture of today and post to Instagram? How can you make yourself look like a good person, look like you are helping, saving, feeding the homeless, handing out shoes, or cups of coffee pretending to be an anarchist, a socialist, a communist, a radical protester because its the cool hip thing to get arrested for protesting.

You condemn our culture, our lives, what we value, with your white privilege playing step it and fetch it for academics in their ivy covered towers never realizing that you are just a pawn in their game. Never knowing that “Academia” is a place to grab all the knowledge you can and run back to your hood just as fast as you can to impart that knowledge on your friends. To help them rise up against the elitists, the ivy tower academics, the corporations, the oppressors, the system that pretends it is your friend until it no longer finds you useful. By condemning us, you have alienated the people who would have helped you rise up against the tyranny. The people who would have had your back and made sure you did not starve or worse. Instead you choose to slap us in the face with your ridicule, your acquiescence to the powers that be, believing that you one day would be one of them. Instead you remain in the hood trying to pretend you are one of us. You think you can save us by forcing your rhetoric and dogma down our throats. You try to force your idea of civilization on us as you appropriate our culture for your farce, for your one act play, for your inconsistent diatribe of ignorance that spews from your mouth like garbage from a busted sewer pipe.

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You think this is about you because of course you must be the center of my world. Since that is what you garner from reading this, maybe it is about you. Maybe it is about everyone. Maybe it is an indictment on a system that perpetuates poverty and then encourages the young to dress heroin chic, homeless hipster cool, retro pinup, and have stereotype themed parties in your gentrified apartments with the security doors to keep us out. To keep out all the “thugs”, the unclean, the unhip, the “common” folk. To keep out all the people who could never understand your need to ridicule them while trying very hard to emulate them. Shopping at the the thrift stores we are forced to shop at because we have no alternative. Posing with homeless people for your Instagram account. Walking around in your vintage clothing, drinking craft beer, and pretending to be poor while you livestream from your iPhone so that all your cool friends can see that you know what its really like to live in the ghetto. Playing activist, playing organizer, playing savior as long as its the cool and hip thing to be. Just waiting for your corporate job on Wall Street or your professorship at that ivory tower to open up, wasting your life pretending to be something you are not to impress people who really could care less if you are living or dead. You are part of the problem and you don’t even see it.

Fabulous at 50 living and writing in Appalachia

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