Sunday, September 23, 2012

Another 47% Moocher Speak Up for Education

I want to add my contribution to the many great bloggers writing about being in the 47% entitled, victim-hood and moocher club.  I though I was finished with it but I want to give my education version.

I wanted to go to college. My family encourage me to get a good job. That isn't why I wanted to go to college. I wanted to be somebody. I wanted to know things and people beyond my neighborhood.

Every book, every great movie and every in-depth news story I read growing up told me I could settle for less or get that book learning. 

So yes. Entitlement. As an American citizen, I was told to strive for the best because I could do anything I set my mind on doing. It was the implied entitlement of self-determination. Just like we were taught. In school. Public education funded by tax payers.

Now my family did encouraged me to do whatever it took to get a good job. (They really were job focused but could accept that college could bring more money.) There was absolutely no money for me to go to college.

Not from my mom who struggled to make the rent and later the mortgage. No father contribution because his interests were fermented elsewhere. No rich relatives. No clue how to do this other that the one financial aid workshop I attended.

I'd have to do it on scholarship money and financial aid. Yes, I knew I'd have to work. That was implied in all that reading I did.  Booker T. Washington comes to mind. I know there are people that do not believe broke folks understand about scrimping and saving for a long term goal.

We did. We still do.

I did get a few small scholarships but it was a student loan and what is known as a Pell grant that got me in the door.

Entitlement, check. Moocher, check.

I worked as I went to classes. The first school was in a rural place that I as a city girl had no place being. I left after a year and tried a local university.

My first university class I got the evil eyes from some of the white folks who were very angry about my presence. I believe the words uttered were "Affirmative Action." They made it known I should not have been sucking up the same air or be allowed in the room.

Now, I'm not too clear on this victim-hood part. Were they the victims for having to suffer my presence in the room? Cuz Skippy and Trixie made no pretense about their revulsion on my sitting in the class.

Still working side jobs, living in crappy places and trying to keep up. I wasn't a victim. I was really busy trying to keep up. Until I couldn't. And had to drop out.

If you are still reading at this point let me provide you with a musical interlude.

Round Two

I lick my wounds and go back again using Pell grants, more student loans and side jobs. At my community college the people I took classes with were grandmothers, guys working the 2nd or 3rd shift. We were back to school moms, welders and other folks that wanted that diploma.

No Skippy. No Trixie. No drama. We were white, black, Asian, and everybody else that was ready at 7p.m. for class.

I also took advantage of free vocational education training. I learned to type and write business letters. This was counter to my proto-feminist leanings but I needed to make sure I could crowbar my way in the door of a better job.

Round Three - Move to California 

Second day in state and I'm looking in the Classifieds. Word Processor. Data Entry. Computer operator. I had no idea what they were talking about.  I had just left my home town where companies were still working with IBM memory typewriters. I got temp jobs but I needed to learn this other stuff.

Highly motivated. In 1982 these job paid $25 an hour. However, did not have $5,000 for classes.

So my lazy broke behind bought and studied computer magazines. I was very willing to help out on temp jobs that allowed me to touch or use their computers. Learned very quickly to print out the Help menu. Covert on the job training.

Two years later,there was a free computer class at the local college. Yes, my inner moocher said ring-a-ding-ding.

In-between the classes were employment where I put my tax dollars back into the kitty. There came a time where I could pay for my classes. I paid with no complaint.

There came a time when I was teaching other people, working women, moms, domestic violence victims how to use the computer and software. I did so willingly.

My students did not know this but I was not going to let any of them leave my class without knowing how to do something. And encourage them. And respect them. And make sure they could write a simple Excel formula.  No half stepping.

This 47% moocher paid back all of my student loans.  This moocher made sure she continued to learn both in city or state supported training or through the community college or university system.

This moocher now pays for her classes because the great state of California made it possible for me to keep up with the changes in the labor market. This moocher pays taxes so that others can do the same.

About to start a new adventure, career wise. I will need to go back to school. Don't worry 51% folks. I have the money to pay for it. Or pay it back if I need another student loan.

My point in laying this all out is that people do not live in a vacuum. It isn't about taking and not giving back. Tax dollars circulate and provide a way to help others provide skills to help folks get on their feet and return the investment. Multiple times.

That doctor thumping on your chest? Student loans. That building going up? Some of those guys went through an apprentice training program in a city or state training partnership with industry. That person slinging that gourmet meal might have attended a cooking school using financial aid.

Many of you really don't know where your tax dollars are working positively for you and your communities. You now know one success story. There are millions more.

Yes, among my many gifts I am a low down 47% moocher. We are legion.

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