Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Baratunde on "How To Be Black" and making it in America

I just had to share this link to Fresh Air's podcast with Baratunde Thurston. He's a director for the Onion, a co-creator of Jack and Jill Politics, and he just released a sometimes satirical memoir/advice book on how to be black.

I'm not gonna say much on it, you should listen to it. But what did touch me was hearing about his growing up in DC and the work his mom put in to educate him and keep him out of trouble. His mom started out as a domestic worker, educated herself, and, ultimately, became an early computer programer for the office of the comptroller. I was born in DC and raised in PG county and went to high school in DC. I have close friends and family in DC, it's home for me. But hearing how his mom could work her way up into a federal position and advance from there struck me. I know so many people with stories like that. In this country of increasing deindustrialization and decline where opportunities for the working class and poor are constantly shrinking, the public sector is one of the few places where a person can not only have fairly secure, decent paying work, but also have the ability to advance, to earn benefits, and to get a pension. In other words, government work is an entry way into the middle class.

I think this is something that is either ignored or is simply not known by a lot of "conservatives" that crow about public employees. The federal government literally saved Baratunde's life. Not through food stamps, but through employment. This wasn't charity, but an opportunity his mom took advantage of and she ran with it. Isn't that what America should be about?

No comments: