Privilege poses biggest “you problem” for commentator

Shelby Cokeley, Editor-in-Chief

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“If you had to work more than one job to have a roof over your head or food on the table, you probably shouldn’t have taken the job that’s not paying you enough,” said political commentator Ben Shapiro on his podcast just last month, “That’d be a you problem.”

Just out of context or completely ignorant? Maybe a little of both.

Shapiro made these comments in response to Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris who said she believed no one in the United States should have to work two jobs to make ends meet. After receiving backlash on social media — Twitter in particular — Shapiro then followed up his original comments with a series of tweets that only made his points more confusing.

In fact, Shapiro ended his three-tweet series by stating, “And by the way, I have worked multiple jobs for most of my career.” Interesting.

Misunderstood by the masses or not, Shapiro’s comments clearly struck an opposing chord with some — especially those on the later end of the millennial generation, including myself. Because, by the way, I worked two jobs this summer.

And while I can write that with just a touch of sarcasm, so many people in the United States who work two (or more) jobs can’t. Not because they agree with Shapiro and not because they’re fine with working multiple jobs to survive, but because they’re so busy taking care of their basic needs they don’t have time to hop on Twitter and exchange DM’s with a man who’s never been in a position even close to theirs.

Shapiro, while undoubtedly educated by the best money can buy, obviously wears rose tinted glasses when it comes to the job market the majority of Americans face. Over this summer I worked six days a week, 45 hours plus, and what I was able to save after rent, utilities and food was a sad reminder that life isn’t fair.

While some boomers — and in Shapiro’s case, the elitist products of wealthy boomers — believe getting a job is still as easy as showing up three times a week with a resume in hand. It’s just not. And even that still doesn’t guarantee a job with decent pay or any benefits.

Shapiro’s comments and others alike come from a place of not only willful ignorance but incredible privilege. It’s exhausting to witness my generation be treated and addressed like children knowing many of the established people spewing these thoughts have never scrubbed dishes, mopped floors or cleared a dressing room in their lives.

Let me just say, if you hold more than one job to make ends meet, it’s not a “you problem.” It’s a national problem, and one that desperately needs addressing. 

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