Classism?

I had a very interesting “discussion” earlier today… if you can call someone throwing around insults like an elementary schooler because you don’t agree with them a discussion.

It seems it’s considered “classist” by some people to suggest it’s best to wait until one can afford to have a child before actually having a child.

Now, I do understand how that statement can be taken wrongly, but most people who say this are referring to being capable of, at the very least, providing for a child’s basic needs – food, clothing, and shelter – before having them.

Apparently, however, even that suggests a prejudice against poor people. Never mind I’ve most often heard that statement from people who know the hell growing up without enough food to eat really is.

Before I continue, let me say this: I am well aware situations can change over time. This statement refers to those who do not have any children, not someone who already is a parent, or whose financial circumstances crumbled after their children were born. No, this refers to someone who is currently struggling and, for whatever reason, chooses to bring a child into their struggle and, as a result, struggles to provide for that child, or ultimately cannot provide for that child, because of what their situation already was.

With that clarity out of the way, I truly fail to see how suggesting it’s best to be certain you can fulfill a child’s basic necessities before you actually have a child is “classist”. Even if you can provide nothing more than basic necessities, you are still able to provide for that child. It’s the bare minimum, but it’s still enough to keep the child alive. Somehow, no matter how many times I explained this, it was read as me saying “if you’re poor, don’t have children”. Interestingly, I never mentioned a particular social or economic class. That assumption came out of the mouth of the people arguing against it.

Let me use myself as an example. I don’t have any children and I don’t plan to. If, however, I somehow changed my mind on that and decided to have a child… that child would die. That sounds morbid, but the job I have cannot even provide me with shelter for myself. So, where would I attain shelter for my child from? Now, I could provide food and I could provide clothes… but where would I put them? I could keep the child in one outfit, so that takes care of the clothing necessity, but that child will become hungry over and over. Without shelter, where will I store the food? Or do I buy food every time the child’s hungry since I can’t store it? And where does the baby sleep? Where do I bathe this baby? Uh-oh. This is a problem. My child has no shelter!

Now, knowing full well I have no capability of providing that child with something so fundamental, why would I go on to have a child? Answer: I wouldn’t. Because I know I can’t!

Yet, that’s “classist”. Now, here’s the trick question: Did I say I wouldn’t have a child because I was poor or did I say I wouldn’t have a child because I could provide food and clothes, but not shelter?

Time’s up. The answer is: Because I couldn’t provide shelter. Everything in that paragraph refers to the child’s needs and my incapability of meeting those needs, or at least one of them.

And that is the gist of it. If anything would prevent someone from providing the basic needs that keep their child alive, no matter what that reason is, to willingly bring in a child into the world while fully aware of that knowledge is irresponsible. My belief isn’t that poor people shouldn’t have children. My belief is anyone who knows ahead of time they cannot fulfill the most basic needs of a child shouldn’t go on to have a child until that changes. Economic class be damned.

However, let’s say for a moment this is “classist”. What difference does it make? At the end of the day, there is a child whose needs cannot be met by their parent(s). Somebody must feed, clothe, and give shelter to that child. If the parent(s) cannot do it, the child will either die of neglect or be relinquished from the parent(s) for that neglect.

There is a somewhat popular meme that says when people talk about getting a pet, they are constantly reminded of the responsibilities of owning said pet, but when people talk about not having a child due not being able to provide for said child, they are told they’ll “figure things out” or “God will provide”. I have heard more times than I care to count there is no “perfect time” to have child, but the idea of hoping things will just fall into place seems like a dangerous gamble to take with a responsibility that’s obviously much larger than a pet. If that gamble falls favorably, that’s wonderful. If it doesn’t, there will be consequences and the child will undoubtedly suffer the brunt of them.

Of course, in the end, it’s not my business and the responsibility of providing for that child is not mine. However, I think about this because, despite my lack of desire for parenthood, I don’t like the idea of any child being neglected. It is in no way fair to force a child into a situation where their needs cannot be met, and “life isn’t fair” should only refer to unavoidable events. Children should and deserve to be born into homes where their needs being met isn’t a worry.

To speak specifically about poverty, if someone is poor, but can still provide their child’s basic needs, there is not a problem. That child is fed, clothed, and has shelter. There is no issue here. If they are, unfortunately, too poor to provide those needs, there is a big problem. The message is not “Poor people shouldn’t have children because they’re poor.” The message is “People who know they cannot provide for a child’s basic needs shouldn’t have children because they can’t provide for the children’s needs.”

And if that is indeed classist, so be it. I care much more that a child’s needs are met than someone pointing a finger at me and screaming I’m classist. Of course, I would not tell any person they can’t have a child in the first place, no matter what their situation currently was. As I already said, it’s not my business and it’s not as if anything would stop them anyway. I only hope, for the sake of their child, they are certain.

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I’m Not Sure If This Is Badly Funny Or Just Pitiful

Last night, my grandfather stayed home from work because he was drunk. Fourth time, I think. I really wish he had gone to work because I wouldn’t have heard the nonsense I’m about to tell you.

I won’t repeat it all here, but basically, he spent a good half hour on the phone expressing some homophobic and transphobic crap. The things he said were just disgusting. I’m not sure if his friend agreed or not because I could only hear him, but it seemed like his friend disagreed.

Apparently, they were talking about the transgender six-year-old whose parents sued the school for not letting her use the girls’ bathroom. Now, admittedly, I think that’s a bit much, but as for the child being transgender and considering herself to be a girl instead of a boy as she was physically born? I say there’s nothing wrong with that.

Really, what’s the issue? The kid feels like she should’ve been born female and not male. A lot of people say six is too young to know something like that, but I disagree. Sometimes, you just know early on. Maybe you don’t realize it or have the word for it yet, but you just know a certain thing about you. When I was a kid, I often said I liked girls. I only meant I would rather be friends with girls, but I do remember thinking I would rather marry a girl because boys were too rough or mean. What’s my sexuality? Exactly. I think I knew back then, but just didn’t realize it until my teen years.

I get that my grandfather’s from a very different generation, but I don’t think that’s an excuse because I’ve met people his age and older who weren’t bigots. He simply decides that anything he doesn’t like is wrong, whether or not it actually is. He said allowing this child to be transgender is child abuse – that the parents were forcing her – and she should be taken away. No. The parents made too big a scene, I think, but it’s not child abuse for them to allow their male-to-female transgender child to be who she is. He went so far as to say kids like that grow up confused and shoot up places because of it. No, if they shoot up places, it’s because of bigots like him. Not that I think anybody, even bigots, deserve to be killed, but that kind of nonsense can push someone over the edge and if not homicide, it’ll be suicide. Tragedy either way.

My feelings on this whole thing can really be summed up in these few words: Can’t we just act like decent human beings, love each other and shut the heck up?!

Obviously, no, but it’s a thought.

Coy Mathis

What a cute little girl!