That Viral "Poverty Thoughts" Essay Is Totally Ridiculous
She's still pushing for that money to help her out of "poverty," though, and folks are still flocking to her to donate. She's reached $61,388 so far. And don't worry; if you haven't made your contribution yet, she's stated that she'll raise it to $150,000 once she hits her goal. You know, for poverty and all. Or that book she's planning to write, and that vacation she's planning to take with the donations. Either or.
What Linda is doing here is infuriating. There are people donating to her who don't realize she's full of shit. People who have good intentions and big hearts and are attempting to make a difference in the life of a person who, by the sound of it, is living in some pretty dire surroundings. But folks, these are made-up dire surroundings. Stop giving her money.
There are people out there who really do need a hand up, and what the crowd-funding sites are able to do, with the little help from the kindness of strangers, is indeed pretty awesome. But in this case it's a scam; you're paying the bills of a person who has the time and resources to intern and hang out at political rallies, and who has medical and dental benefits provided by way of the military spouse.
She doesn't need you to pay her dental bill; she wants you to pay her dental bill. There's a difference. And it appears that may not even be necessary; those "rotten" teeth? They appear just fine in a 2004 political blog where her head shot is used, well after that "car accident" at 19 years of age. Her recent appearance on HuffPo Live, which was strange at best, seems to confirm that suspicion. Rotten teeth they are not.
You're not moving this person out of seedy quarters by donating money that you earmarked to help a person in need. You're financing a book written on a bunch of fictional musings about what Linda Walther Tirado thinks it would be like to be poor. It's basically poverty fan-fiction, by way of a person who has three years of freelance writing on her LinkedIn profile.
I'm going to preachy at this point, but whatever. As a person who grew up in for realsies poverty, this offends the hell out of me. I never expected to write that sentence on the Internet, but I think it's important here or I wouldn't do it. I, like so many others, know what it's like to wear the clothes out of the donation closet at church, and know the shame that accompanies the knowledge that you're the recipient of the "charity" turkey on Thanksgiving, and it sucks. But my mom would never have accepted it had it not been necessary for survival.
It's not necessary here, though. Taking advantage of a person's good intentions to fund a book proposal is ridiculous, and it's not the same thing as taking a turkey to feed your kids on Thanksgiving. If you want money to write a poverty fanfic book, tell them that. But don't write some garbage that's full of stupid stereotypes about the poor in order to obtain it.
There are parents out there who are lying awake at night, worried about how to pay the light bill or feed their children. They aren't worried about book deals and political rallies. Those are worries we're allowed when above the poverty line. And those parents that are worried about how to feed their kids could desperately use the money Linda's siphoning from well-meaning folks to fund her vacations and writing career.
Oh, and one more thing. Poor does not equal dirty, and all that stuff like this does is reinforce those unnecessary correlations. The bit about the roaches is ridiculous. There are plenty of people with empty bank accounts who are perfectly clean and roach-free, no matter how tough their financial situations are. It's time people stop associating poor with dirty, and hopefully Linda will drop that bit before her poverty fanfic hits the shelves.