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jump to last post 1-8 of 8 discussions (18 posts)

Do minorities have a better understanding of what "owing to the man" means than

  1. Billie Kelpin profile image86
    Billie Kelpinposted 5 years ago

    Do minorities have a better understanding of what "owing to the man" means than others?

    I've noticed recently that older individuals, people of color, and groups that have been oppressed seem to understand the concept and dangers of "owing to the man" while a majority of people in the US seem to be accepting less and less in terms of labor issues.  They defend practices of inequity.  For example, some young people I know recently defended the practice of sound engineers with engineering degrees starting as runners at minimum wage in an industry that is abudantly wealthly.  Young people defend all kinds of behaviors that seem unjust and may be causing society to side backwards.

  2. Lizam1 profile image81
    Lizam1posted 5 years ago

    Actually starting as a runner is a good way to ensure that you gain good experience.  I am not sure what "owing to the man" means but sounds like entitlement syndrome to me.  Training and starting at the bottom is not all bad.  However that said an employer should not take advantage by underpaying because of age or race.  As an older person, BTW I do not feel in any way "oppressed" despite not being paid a huge salary.  I do what I do because I love it and it makes a difference.

    1. Billie Kelpin profile image86
      Billie Kelpinposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      Lizam1.  Thank you so much for your comments! To clarify: By adding older individuals to my list, I didn't mean that older people feel oppressed. I just wonder if, having fought for rights we take for granted, they understand the phrase more deeply.

    2. GlendaGoodWitch profile image89
      GlendaGoodWitchposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      Lizam1- Very admirable and classy response. I wish I knew a lot more people like you.

  3. GlendaGoodWitch profile image89
    GlendaGoodWitchposted 5 years ago

    Starting at the bottom is life. Even if you have a degree. I have a degree and I have started at the bottom and I don't complain. Your attitude is that those of us who are willing to work our way to the top are people who don't understand something.
    Responsibility means working your way to the top. Just because a company is rich that does not mean that they owe people.
    If you don't like working for a wealthy company because you want more money then guess what? You have the freedom to build your own company and pay yourself what you think you are worth.
    BTW- I am not what you would call white and I have not been oppressed by white people.Sadly, many minorities are not go getters and are content to complain about the rich not giving them enough, but I teach my family to go out and get what they want. Guess what? My black relatives are not oppressed and they have achieved grandly!

    1. Billie Kelpin profile image86
      Billie Kelpinposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      Glenda.  Thank you for your response! "Older people, people of color, and those who are oppressed," are 3 distinct groups of people. I have worked for 30+ yrs, always starting at the bottom, loving the climb.  What I see is something different.

    2. rjbatty profile image83
      rjbattyposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      Glenda:  Fighting one's way up the ladder has always been the norm.  What I think you fail to realize is the rungs in the ladder have (perhaps) never been wider apart.  The country has millions (millions!) who are totally unemployed -- maybe forever.

    3. GlendaGoodWitch profile image89
      GlendaGoodWitchposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      @rjbatty- And who do you think is responsible for that? I am well aware of what is happening as I am struggling through it myself.

  4. crazymom3 profile image75
    crazymom3posted 5 years ago

    I would say I am a minority, yet I don't remember ever hearing that saying, and I don't really know what it means.  In reading an answer to it about fighting for injustice or inequality I'm always there.  However, I will fight for injustice regardless of  weather it is a minority or not.  Injustice is injustice no matter who you are.

    1. Billie Kelpin profile image86
      Billie Kelpinposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      Obviously, I shouldn't have listed "minority" because people are misunderstanding my meaning. I should have said, do the MAJORITY of people have a hazy view of what "owing to the man" means?  I agree with Totally that injustice is injustice.

  5. rjbatty profile image83
    rjbattyposted 5 years ago

    Billie:  I think you already know the answer to your question.  I agree with the way you've outlined the concept.  Owing to the man, to me, means something equivalent to being a serf owing whatever you reap from a harvest to the land owner.  And this has so many derivations and connotations. 

    Because of the scarcity of jobs, I do believe that over-qualified grads are latching on to whatever plow they can find.  Their strange enthusiasm for being plow sharers is unsettling, and I do believe that it's a giant step backward in the standard of living for everyone except that unimpeachable 1% at the very top. 

    My generation (the boomers) would never have accepted this form of servitude.  There would have been mass demonstrations in the streets of all the major cities.  And yet now I find my fellows holding onto their jobs by their fingernails, enduring all sorts of humiliation just to reach the age of retirement. 

    The whole thing is like one of those savage scenes you see from a nature program on TV where you witness half a dozen lions, young and old, male and female, attempting to chomp down onto some piece of a carcass just for their day-to-day survival.  The alpha male and female get the best meat while the rest of the pride struggles amongst themselves for the left-overs.

    1. Billie Kelpin profile image86
      Billie Kelpinposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      THANK YOU, RJ, for understanding what I meant.  I'm going to remove this question tomorrow. There are people as you say, "enduring all sorts of humiliation just to reach the age of retirement," and few understand that as "owing to the man".

  6. profile image0
    Saire Schwartzposted 5 years ago

    No, I think minorities have a better understanding of what racism and prejudiced are but everyone "owes the man" in some form or another.

    1. Billie Kelpin profile image86
      Billie Kelpinposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      Saire, just went to your short story and really enjoyed it!  I agree, we all "owe to the man." (I just like to know who I'm owing to and why -tee hee) so I can better determine whether or not I want to be complicit in the process.

  7. Arghness profile image92
    Arghnessposted 5 years ago

    Absolutely they do.  Having been oppressed (and I would consider working retail as a young person being oppressed) teaches you to either rebel and work toward a better future, or just go with the flow.  And you're right, too many young people are going with the flow.  Just letting the big businesses bully them into having jobs that can't even support one person, let alone a family, while working much more than the pay demands.  I've heard it from many a young person the words: "What other choice do I have? I need a job, and that was the only one available."  Schooling and education opens up opportunities, but also learning on your own to make yourself more marketable to organizations that are more fair and balanced and respect its employees.  They are few and far between, but they do exist. 

    The only thing I would say that I have seen with minorities is that they get trapped into the rebel-complex of "fighting the man" instead of working productively and constructively to make the job marketplace somewhere where anyone can find a job that suits them appropriately.  It's a dream, but not an impossibility.  I've seen people rise from being a low-level lackey, to being a CEO, and it's that transition in power that gives them the most opportunity to not only reform the situation at hand, but be fair and open-handed with employing those who are in need positions, and those who are truly looking to -work- not just snag a paycheck.  It's hard to determine which employees are self-motivated and willing to better themselves to make the company prosper and one day become in a place of power, but everyone deserves a chance.   

    Aka, yes, young people tend to feel damned to their existence of minimum wage hell, while minorities know that there are other ways, other opportunities, even if they don't capitalize on it, they know.  And knowing is half the battle, right? smile

    1. Billie Kelpin profile image86
      Billie Kelpinposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      Exactly right! The Stockholm Syndrome kicks in and we often identify with those who have power over us.  I like your statement that rising to CEO level  should create even-handedness; however, a recent study shows that once in power, empathy lessens.

  8. Emanate Presence profile image81
    Emanate Presenceposted 5 years ago


    I feel you are a good observer and have developed thoughts about 'owing to the man.' Your approach and perspective would be different than mine as we have different life experience (however, like you, I am left-handed!) There is richness in diversity. I would enjoy reading more of your viewpoint.

    My comments would go to hub length if I got started! My focus for hub-writing, though, is elsewhere.

    It seems a worthwhile subject. Have you considered to write a hub about it?

    1. Billie Kelpin profile image86
      Billie Kelpinposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      "Em," thank you soo much!  I think I'm going to remove this question  because my wording doesn't get to what I wanted.  I've gone to  workshops on the topic of "White Privilege"; it disturbs me that even my own children don't "get" power structure.

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