An Open Letter to Millennials Like Talia…
Stefanie Williams

Part of growing is making bad life choices. While there is so much to be admired in your work ethic, there is a hint of smug in your tone that undermines your point. In fact, I think your piece shames the not as fortunate (its hubris to think that sheer grit and good choices got you where you are—you’ve got–at the minimum–DNA, and some kind of premium cocktail of circumstances and social advantages, that allowed you to make optimal decisions).

Looking at the big picture, the rant about poverty is rooted in truth. No one working a full time job anywhere in America should struggle for food. No one should have to have roommates or choose a different college major or city of residence to survive in the USA. In pre-Industrialized society, perhaps, but 2016?

And if Talia Jane doesn’t speak up about the injustice, who will? How will change come about if we don’t question the ethics of an online company that has a pay scale that disproportionately rewards one segment for their efforts and expects others to ration rice? Talia Jane is a human casualty of rampant inequality that feeds off tacit acceptance. We are complicit in that system if we shame her for speaking up or belittle her choices. We’re talking about someone who is working a full-time job and should be able to purchase a bottle of fancy bourbon, not suffer through hunger pangs.

The need to look down on someone in a worse situation is our brain trying to rationalize injustice: “Surely she deserved her bad spell.” A rationale removes our innate fear of randomness and things beyond our control—like salaries and the lack of meaningful jobs. I mean you’re a agency-represented screenwriter, a career many attempt, and few manage. Your superior choices allow you to be lucky, when in fact it’s a culmination of factors. Your view of grit and good choices affirms your rightful place with the fortunate while at the same time neutralizing the desire for systemic change. Anyway, something to consider in addition to your current perspective.

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