There are many divisions amongst people all over the world. There’s division of race, class, religion, sex and so on. Today I found myself surprised by some of the thoughts being expressed about the minimum wage demonstrations taking place in Jackson, MS and all over the United States. Some of the thoughts were understandable and I feel they were coming from a genuine place. I don’t think there was a right or wrong point of view being expressed but I do feel that the thoughts can lead to an unwelcome situation. The thoughts were centered on “college graduates now in the working world and their starting salaries VS those fighting for the minimum wage increase”.
So as I read the different opinions being expressed I was caught in conflict. On one hand I sympathized with them expressing how they had worked their way through high school and/or college (some did it while holding down a job at establishments similar to the ones that workers are currently protesting outside of). But on the other hand I couldn’t agree with the way that the comments appeared to put “us” in a better spot or somehow made “us” entitled to say what the minimum hourly wage should be. I say “us” because for 8 years I was one of those students working in a fast food restaurant and going to school. Yes, it was hard at times but it was a choice that I made and I found my way through. I was thankful once I graduated from college and eventually landed a job in my field of study because my time in fast food made me more appreciative. As many of you that work or have worked in fast food or other similar establishments know, you will find a wide range of age groups at these places. Most times there are teenagers in high school, young adults working while in college, young adults working because it is their job, and finally you find what most of us consider to be “grown ups”. In most cases these jobs are considered to be “starter jobs” – meaning they’ll be held down by the teenage and young adult group in most cases – due to the high turnover rate that occurs. But you also find people that fall in the “grown ups” category.
I’ve seen words like “right”, “deserved”, and “fair” used to give reasons why the wage shouldn’t be this or that much. And I’ve seen the mockery from some who want to place shame. I’m not asking for pity to be placed on any of the workers seeking the wage increase but I want to point out that this isn’t a one shoe fits all case. Various decisions and situations lead people to having the jobs/careers they have. Yes, I know there will be increases in everyday living that will result from an increase in minimum wage. I just ask that when speaking on this topic let’s express our thoughts in a positive uplifting manner. Remember the way some may down the minimum wage protestors is the same way another group currently downs you and me. It doesn’t help anything and only feeds into the many divisions that have already been established.