The clip with Bill Maher insulting poor white Americans is disgusting. The camera panning to his ignorant guests laughing makes it even worse.
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Nathan Hulick

Poor whites who have suffered entire lifetimes of extreme poverty — who can’t get jobs because of systemic classism when having to face prospective employers with visible conditions of deep poverty (i.e. decayed/broken/missing teeth due to poverty and lack of access to any dental care beyond brushing , not having professional clothes, etc.) — remain the ONLY group whom it is socially acceptable to stereotype, publicly abuse, humiliate and shove down.

For decades, Rush Limbaugh DID make rants like Bill Maher’s, except Limbaugh’s rants were aimed at women and minorities who happened to be poor due to systemic economic/job discrimination. No one, not even progressives, called him out until only very recently within the past couple of years.

And the only reason that happened is because more “middle row” kids fell into poverty and became permanently trapped as “back row kids” with no way of ever getting back to the middle row (never mind the front row) in a society that collapsed the floor from under the poor “just for the principle of it.”

If liberals/progressives were silent for years about Rush Limbaugh’s hate rants against poor women and minorities, you can bet your bottom dollar that they’ll be silent for an eternity when one of their own progressive darlings such as Bill Maher attacks poor whites (especially poor rural or Rust Belt whites).

In “progressive” California, a dear friend and fellow survivor of child sex trafficking, is facing certain death since that state’s Medicaid is no longer willing to pay for his HIV medication. That same trafficking survivor was told by upper-middle class feminists (“front row kids”) to “check his white male privilege” in a discussion group that was set up by the feminists for the supposed “benefit” of poor marginalized human trafficking survivors whom no one is doing anything for in this country, whom no one cares about, whom no one is economically supporting or willing to hire for anything.

I wonder what “white male privilege” my friend Nick should have checked.

The “white male privilege” of being thrown out of the house at the age of 15 with nowhere to go because his parents were ultra-conservative Christians who could not and would not accept that their only son — their only child — was gay?

Within 48 hours of being thrown out of the house and disowned by his family, Nick was acquired by a human trafficker and forced into prostitution — servicing the upper-middle class and rich politicians, mostly. And it was one of those ‘johns’ who deliberately infected Nick with HIV/AIDS.

What “white male privilege” should Nick have checked in a group that was supposed to be for human trafficking survivors?

The “white male privilege” of getting trafficked and abused by wealthy powerful men who used their status and economic privilege to buy rape tickets?

The “white male privilege” of getting infected with AIDS and left to die?

The “white male privilege” of being condemned to a life of extreme poverty and being rendered unemployable after escaping that hell due to not just his health issues but also his prostitution record (both of which were the direct result of getting trafficked)?

This happened in a country that has more shelter beds for homeless pets than poor homeless trafficking victims who can’t economically fend for themselves due to health problems and deeply stigmatizing prostitution arrest records — which confer an automatic 99-year “sex offender” status, even if you are later determined by the state to have been a bona fide victim of human trafficking (try getting a job even at McDonalds with that on your record). The result of that 99-year “sex offender” status put on trafficking victims is being unable to get hired anywhere in any job for life, being barred from any subsidized housing, and in at least 12 states being banned from food stamps eligibility.

As someone who was trafficked as a homeless 12 year old back in 1980 and who subsequently escaped at age 17 with nothing but an underaged prostitution arrest record (rendering me unemployable until it was finally expunged when I was 47 — try getting your first job when you’re “too old” for any employer to want to hire, regardless of what skillset you’ve struggled to build and what education you got), I would gladly trade my “white privilege” with a middle class woman of color who was NOT trafficked, who at least got to have a chance for a job and a good life.

I highly doubt any non-white “front row kids” (or their progressive white “do-gooder” allies) would want to trade places with me if getting my “white privilege” also meant having to take everything else that came with it: Generational poverty, being homeless and trafficked at age 12 and then slapped with a life sentence of abject poverty due to being rendered unemployable throughout my adult life because of it — even after I struggled to get an education while homeless and finally, after being able to afford my very first computer in my 40’s, struggling to build a difficult high tech skillset as a software engineer only to still not get any chances for a job anyway because of age discrimination (I am now 50). The person who coaxed me into learning computer programming four years ago is a poor white male who is my age. He was an outspoken ally to poor trafficked women like me, and led the social media campaign to free Sara Kruzan — America’s most famous trafficking survivor — from an unjust prison sentence.

He ended up being my team’s Rails Girls Summer of Code 2013 coach. He quit his minimum wage lifeguard job in Virginia and headed out to Seattle, in hopes of getting a chance for a job in tech. Like me, he too ran into the brick wall of age discrimination and could not get a job. The result: he is now living in a men’s homeless shelter in Seattle because of getting sent away poor and empty-handed with no job opportunity. (So much for his “white male privilege.”)

When I escaped my traffickers and their “customers” (aka ‘johns’ or ‘tricks’), I had nothing but the clothes on my back and a 7th grade education (and broken/missing teeth due to john violence and poverty), so I have 100% support for my fellow trafficking survivors — yes, including those who happen to be white males.

And I can assure you that my being a female victim of human trafficking was not worse for me just because I’m female — although being female and poor certainly does significantly increase the likelihood of someone getting trafficked because of systemic job/economic discrimination against women which impacts poor women the most and hardest, in a country that refuses to acknowledge that there are a lot of Americans who are far worse off than those who at least have the stability of a crappy minimum wage job. They’re at least able to get by, many Americans who have NO incomes and NO jobs who are struggling for their lives in “tent cities”, homeless shelters, and on the streets aren’t as fortunate.

But try explaining any of this to any “front row kids” — many whom insist that being forced into prostitution (i.e. “sex work”) is the only acceptable “solution” to extreme poverty, while they demand that women in the “front row” have sexual harassment-free workplaces at their $100K/yr jobs. You’ll have better luck teaching lambda calculus and functional programming to a brick wall.

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