A great article about the backlash against those POC who were racially profiled at Barney’s for “spending money on items they can’t afford”
This is SO true. We were “educated poor” (at a time when professors didn’t make much at all) and my dad’s status as a professor (university town, slightly odd manner of dress, big words, big briefcase) got us a lot of things we wouldn’t have gotten otherwise. Preferential treatment by car dealers, bankers, lawyers, doctors, teachers, etc. This is why clothing closets, finer items, and such—and any training in “looking well-off”—are a boon to people living in poverty.
I think it’s also why people react so vehemently to the poor having nice things like clothes, phones, cars. It’s not just (or even) a sense of being defrauded, it’s a fierce defence of the class structure. If the poor can mimic you, then what’s to keep someone else from thinking you’re poor and treating you badly?
The attack is punching down. It’s safe. It’s self-serving. Punching up rejects the notion that we should treat the poor worse than others simply on the basis of their financial status. It means we admit our class privilege and that we are, daily, receiving benefits for something that is not (as much as we would like to think otherwise) a reward for our merits.