Some Protest Placards Make Us Look at Life Differently


K. S. Venkataraman

A good protest placard conveys complex social issues in a simple and direct language. This placard is an example.

Take the example of today’s working class families with below-the-median family-income of ~$55,000 a year. They try to stretch their limited resources to meet their needs for paying their bills on time, saving for their future, and educating their children.

When allocating their limited monies for different needs, even suboptimal decisions have huge consequences. This is true in educating children. Not getting proper guidance at crucial stages in their high schools often make these kids to go unprepared to the rigors of university education.

With their limited resources, it will be difficult for these kids to make a course correction in their education when they realize that they took a wrong path when facing a fork in their education journey.

Families living above $100,000 dollars of income/year tend to be better educated and informed about the way of the world. They give better guidance to their kids. Further, children from these families have the luxury of time and resources to change their education options even after their first degree. The higher the family income and resources, the greater is the leeway for children in this. This is a simple fact of life.

Parents from higher income families are aware of this. But they try to camouflage this by attributing all their children’s accomplishments to their intelligence and hard work — on their DNA and the family memes. “We are a better breed,” they subconsciously would want to believe.

The DNAs and memes are very important factors, no doubt. However, many other factors — protracted illnesses, deaths, divorces, job losses for parents, political turmoils, for examples — over which the parents and their kids have no influence or control, have a big say in what we accomplish in our lives.

So, when I read the placard again, I feel a sense of gratitude for all the help and generosity I received at critical junctures in life — and a sense of obligation to society at large.    ♣

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