This place matters

This place matters

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Are you not entertained?

First of all, watch this. I don't even have the words to describe how awesome Beyonce's Super Bowl performance was or how absurd it is to criticize her for "bringing race into it." Fortunately, Jessica Williams does. 


So I spent most of my formative years doing direct care work. At residential care facilities like nursing homes and group homes direct care workers are the low-wage shift workers who work directly with the residents, assisting them with eating, housework, hygiene, etc. The work can be rewarding, but it is also dangerous, dirty, exhausting, and sometimes heart-breaking. In my years working with kids with disabilities, I got punched, I got bit (with permanent scars to show for it), I got my shirt ripped off in front of a dozen people, and I had to wash other people's poop out of my hair way more often than you can imagine. All for $6 an hour. I'm sure it's a lot less difficult than being a cop. But it ain't exactly easy.
Some of the best people I've known in my life have been direct care workers. As have some of the worst.
Direct care work seems to attract a certain class of mean, lazy piles of shit who have no business working with anyone, let alone the most vulnerable people on the planet. People who will deny your grandmother a meal because they don't want to have to wash the food off her chin. People who will let children stew in puddles of their own piss because they're busy watching the televangelist on TV. People who abuse and neglect the people they're supposed to care for in ways that would shake your will to live. 
It is not anti-direct care worker to point these people out. Demanding that evil direct care workers be held accountable for their evil isn't the same thing as slamming all direct care workers. Protests against the mistreatment of people in residential facilities isn't an affront to direct care workers everywhere. Mistreatment of people in residential facilities is an affront to people everywhere.
It isn't anti-cop to demand that police officers who recklessly kill innocent bystanders be held accountable. It isn't anti-cop to demand justice for dead children. It isn't anti-cop to protest a system in which cops are more likely to target black people, search black people, arrest black people, and kill black people. It's anti-hate.
Once, another coworker and I saw a direct care worker smack a child across the face. And you know what? We got that bitch fired. Because that is what we were supposed to do, what we were legally required to do, and what we had a moral obligation to do. It wasn't anti-direct care worker. It was anti-evil.

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