All that I am, all that I ever was…

I am more than my mental health. I am more than my homelessness. I am more than any one aspect of me. I am Addy. And this is…

Is there such a thing as the ‘privileged poor’?

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pleasekeepourstreetsclean

“Which brings us to the other side effect of our collective crying poor: it makes it easier to look past the struggles of those who are genuinely struggling.”

Over the years I’ve written quite a bit about my pet peeves – and the endless complaining of the ‘privileged poor’ is definitely one of them!

This article, from Australia’s The Age newspaper, is beautifully written and ends with a truth that few people acknowledge:

Is there such a thing as the ‘privileged poor’?
by Rachel Hills

Have you ever sheepishly backed out of a social engagement because you’re “too poor”? Taken to Twitter to vent about how broke your Master’s degree/recent overseas trip/great-for-party-conversation-but-not-exactly-financially-lucrative career has left you? Complained to friends over red wine and camembert about how difficult it is to pay for private school, a mortgage and a cricket club membership, and still take your annual holiday?

Congratulations. You may be a member of Australia’s privileged poor, the growing portion of the middle (and upper-middle, and even occasionally upper) class who believe they are doing it tough despite being socially, economically and educationally privileged in every way.

The privileged poor can take a number of guises. They might be a student who subsists on Centrelink payments and unpaid internships, but still has their rent, food and phone bills paid by mum and dad, Lena Dunham-style on Girls. They might be a twentysomething graduate who earns less than their lawyer and banker friends, but who still has enough cash on hand to eat out, keep abreast of the latest technology, and zip home in a taxi when the train is tardy. They might be a small-business owner taking in $120,000 a year, but who feels like they don’t have much left over to play with once the bills have been paid.

What they all have in common is that they are not actually “poor” – at least, not in the conventional sense of the word. In fact, by most people’s standards, they’re pretty well off. They just don’t feel like they are.

Continue reading “Is there such a thing as the ‘privileged poor’?” (via The Age)

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7 thoughts on “Is there such a thing as the ‘privileged poor’?

  1. I wish I was a member of the privileged poor. Although I am more well off than some people, I can’t afford holidays, or things like that. I do, however, have a roof over my head

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  2. I never thought about it as “privilege”. I guess I could put myself in that group (although I don’t want too). I am extremely poor but fortunate enough that I have people who will house and feed me. Thanks for making me think :)

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  3. Reading this, I realise, I am probably one of those privileged poor. Although its not a tag, I am entirely comforable with. I have a job, a roof over my head an enough disposable income ton buy my basics, have a social life etc. But when I have over spent, then I am quick to jump on the poor persons bandwagon.

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  4. I went out to eat at a local pizza place. It was fun to have someone else do the cooking and dishes. My sister thinks it is so weird how wonderful it is for me to get to go out to eat once and a while. But, I sometimes go for months without eating out. (Yes. Any fast food place or a deli sandwich counts as going out by the way.) I doubt that people know how lucky they are to be able to do things like eat out, do your laundry in your own apartment or house, take a bath instead of just a shower every day, or maybe even have a dish washer!
    I suppose I should be thankful for what I have but I sometimes run into people who get more help from the state that are better off then me. One of the apartment buildings near me take housing authority people but I can’t afford to live there. So, I do have a pet peeve about poor people who get assistance that are better than me.

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    • Hey Addy, been a long time since we’ve heard from you. I am sending you well wishes. Please check in when you have a chance. Feel free to email me directly at farfromparadiseblog@gmail.com

      All the best
      Amy

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      • Hi,

        Sorry it’s taken me so long to reply, I’ve been away from the internet/WordPress for a while as I’ve suffered a rather difficult relapse in my mental health. With help from my GP and support worker I’m back on a regimen of medication that is slowly starting to take effect, so hopefully I will be blogging a little more now things are slowly beginning to stabalise again.

        I do hope everything is well with you! :)

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  5. hey!! i’ve recently join this web site….the thing which i’ve noticed is that u feel alone and sometimes complain to God although u always try to cheer up others,u some times tell a lie to ur self and try to console ur self with foolish reasons,sometimes we hide screams and tears behind our smiles and laughters but that’s wrong;cry to empty ur heart and relieve ur soul…..i don’t know much about you it’s only guess sorry if u mind any thing……is it right???

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