As a frequent Facebook user, I have become accustomed to scrolling past numerous insulting memes a day. These images no longer phase me, and I usually scroll down without even reading, refusing to allow the negativity to invade my space. However, the other day I scrolled by a photo of numerous men with construction caps on top of a high building.
I immediately became intrigued by this image, as it portrayed how dangerous construction work can be. My intrigue turned to disheartenment when I read the caption of the image.
The ‘meme’ read, “If you don’t like minimum wage, learn a skill that makes more than minimum wage.” The post was clearly trying to insult the men on top of the skyscraper.
Regardless of the fact that the individuals who re-post this meme are clearly unaware of how much construction workers make, the people who support this statement are directly questioning the work ethic of the people who risk their lives in order to build our businesses, schools and hospitals.
I was initially shocked by the image, but in the days that followed I began to notice a trend. The disagreement and disparity regarding the minimum wage issue in this country has created a verbal outlash against American workers in these minimum wage positions.
The truth is, it is a reoccurring trend in this country to use hate to confront the issues we tend to disagree with. I understand why people think that $15 an hour for minimum wage may be too high. What I don’t understand is why this political issue has opened up the doors for insulting fellow Americans who are working these minimum wage jobs.
Instead of immediately turning towards hate and direct criticism, consider supporting your beliefs with facts and valid arguments. If you are against increasing the minimum wage, say that you are afraid that the rise may take jobs away from other Americans.
Or, sit down, do out the math and make a valid argument that a person truly can live off of $7.25 an hour. There are multiple ways to support your ideas on this issue that don’t involve directly insulting the work ethic of American workers. Before you share a post that indicates that these workers should simply “work harder” in their jobs/careers in order to rise above minimum wage, consider your own privileges and the fact that these workers are doing the best that they can.
Learn to support your beliefs in a way that shows fellow Americans that you are truly considering the greater good of this country. Stay away from backing up your arguments with bitterness and hate toward your fellow Americans and your fellow workers. These comments and assumptions divide us as a country. When supporting your ideas, love should always be the dominating factor.
I am not asking you to agree with raising minimum wage. However, I am asking you to respect your fellow Americans, and to consider the fact that perhaps none of us know the right answers regarding the issues within this country. Consider the fact that we are all doing the best we can for this place we call home.
Amy Donovan can be contacted at email@example.com