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    You Don't Understand

    While visiting my family for Christmas, a car commercial came on that stated they could offer an 84 month loan. My mother made a comment, something along the lines of "who would ever take an 84 month loan, you would never pay that off".

    Now, it was no secret that I had been saving to pay cash for a new truck, but since mine had broken down, I went ahead and made the purchase, $5,000 down. Also I had shared with her that for the first payment I wrote the largest check of my life at $20,000, and that next month I am sending in one for $10,000 and I'll be done. I replied to her that "I took out a 72 month loan for the truck, and over that period I'd have to pay $6,000 in interest, but being that I plan to have it paid off by March, the total interest would be just a couple hundred bucks".

    Much to my surprise, she just this statement of facts upset her, and snapped at me "Not everyone could write a $20,000 check".

    I new better than continue the conversation, but I stated that anyone could put back $100-200 a month and in just a couple years could pay cash for a vehicle, may a $3000 beater, but they wouldn't be paying interest on a 5 year plus loan. She then informed me that I "wasn't living in the real world and I didn't understand".

    Yesterday at work I was discussing an upcoming local election with a coworker and how one candidate had been quoted saying he wanted to open the prisons. We went on to discuss reforms to marijuana legislation and how if it was made legal, we both agreed people in jail for having it should probably be let out, but not those who sold it.

    At this point another coworker chimed in that some people have to sale drugs to support their family. Of course I am not going near this so I removed myself from the conversation. The first coworker said "no one has to sell drugs". The second coworker stated "Where I come from they do. You can't see life from my point of view. You'll never understand".

    Does claiming "you don't understand" from a point of ignorance? Or is it a lazy means to shut a conversation down? Etc "I'm right and you're wrong" or "Because I said so".

    #2
    Privilege is a very real thing. Many or most of us don't understand unless we've been there ourselves. I never have so no, I don't understand. I don't know what it's like to be poor. I don't know what it's like to be a BIPOC. I don't know what it's like to be a woman.

    It's easy and all too common to blame poverty on the poor, but the reality is that simply isn't true. Our system fundamentally favors certain groups of people over others. Male over female, rich over poor, white over black, etc. It's deeply wrong but it's been that way since day one 250 years ago. We've made some progress over the years but we are nowhere near a level playing field for everyone.
    Steve

    * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
    * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
    * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

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      #3
      Originally posted by myrdale View Post
      Does claiming "you don't understand" from a point of ignorance? Or is it a lazy means to shut a conversation down? Etc "I'm right and you're wrong" or "Because I said so".
      It could also just mean that you might not, in fact, understand. And if you find yourself in multiple situations where people are telling you that, you might want to consider that there's something to it.

      DS hit the nail on the head with his response, I'd like that response a thousand times if I could.

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        #4
        There are lots of things that I don't understand, can't relate to, or want any part of.
        I leave it at that.

        I do try to avoid talking money with family and coworkers.
        The less they know about what I have going on the better.
        I gladly and freely share details of my finances on this board, but that's about the only place I will.

        Brian

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by disneysteve View Post
          Privilege is a very real thing. Many or most of us don't understand unless we've been there ourselves. I never have so no, I don't understand. I don't know what it's like to be poor. I don't know what it's like to be a BIPOC. I don't know what it's like to be a woman.

          It's easy and all too common to blame poverty on the poor, but the reality is that simply isn't true. Our system fundamentally favors certain groups of people over others. Male over female, rich over poor, white over black, etc. It's deeply wrong but it's been that way since day one 250 years ago. We've made some progress over the years but we are nowhere near a level playing field for everyone.
          Not really disagreeing, but when you phrase it that "our system fundamentally favors certain groups of people over others" it sounds as if the fix is as simple as swapping some magic software, implementing a couple new laws, or changing political parties in leadership. This "system" is not something that is intentionally put into play by a certain person or group of people, it's more like basic human evolution. Some people are just tougher or smarter than others and find a way to do better than those around them, while others are content with poverty, mediocrity or just crying in their beer.

          A lot of it has to do with how you are raised and schooled. For sure, many have an advantage here, but there are also many that fail to act when opportunity presents itself, or make stupid decisions and blow opportunities time after time. Wealth and success tends to find it's rightful owners and no amount of giving or hand outs will change fundamental behaviors. I'm sure most of us see examples at each end in our own families or friends network.

          Comment


            #6
            I will admit, I do not understand. And that is not a judgmental statement, it's an admission that there is much more complexity to people's personal choices and situations than I am able to know by armchair-judging from the outside. It's not ignorance, but rather, compassion.

            In this country, we throw money at our vulnerable. That is very different from caring, or even helping, really. And then we (those with resources) get mad when they don't do with it what we expect. I'm not sure that's logical, or even very fair.

            But, to ground the conversation to the original topic, which is about planning for and covering, saving for basic expenses, I wouldn't think it wrong to ask in a non-judgmental way, how can I understand- because I want to. And then the truth might actually come out, and it probably looks a lot different than what we originally judged as ignorance, poor choice, or lack of will-power.

            Comment


              #7
              Your mom can't write a $20,000 check? Damn in our Chinese culture, for a good portion of our lives only our Mothers can write them $20,000 checks. I mean how else can all of these kids get a full ride to college and a new car to match?

              My parents almost prevented me from marrying my wife because her mother can't just hand out $20,000 checks and felt they may be a burden on me financially due to their lack of retirement preparation.
              Last edited by Singuy; 01-05-2021, 01:17 PM.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Fishindude77 View Post

                Not really disagreeing, but when you phrase it that "our system fundamentally favors certain groups of people over others" it sounds as if the fix is as simple as swapping some magic software, implementing a couple new laws, or changing political parties in leadership. This "system" is not something that is intentionally put into play by a certain person or group of people, it's more like basic human evolution. Some people are just tougher or smarter than others and find a way to do better than those around them, while others are content with poverty, mediocrity or just crying in their beer.

                A lot of it has to do with how you are raised and schooled. For sure, many have an advantage here, but there are also many that fail to act when opportunity presents itself, or make stupid decisions and blow opportunities time after time. Wealth and success tends to find it's rightful owners and no amount of giving or hand outs will change fundamental behaviors. I'm sure most of us see examples at each end in our own families or friends network.
                I completely, wholeheartedly disagree with this. This thinking ties directly to the other point in this thread, of "you don't understand". I have learned to fully embrace that I do not understand what is like to see the world through the lens of another, who may have grown up in a violent, unstable environment, who was subjected to the systemic racism throughout their life, who worked multiple jobs to help pay for basic needs while in college, etc etc. Wealth and success most often do NOT find their rightful owners, not by a long shot. Privilege drives wealth and 'success', now more than ever.
                Last edited by disneysteve; 01-06-2021, 05:50 AM. Reason: Political comment removed

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Snydley View Post

                  I completely, wholeheartedly disagree with this. This thinking ties directly to the other point in this thread, of "you don't understand". I have learned to fully embrace that I do not understand what is like to see the world through the lens of another, who may have grown up in a violent, unstable environment, who was subjected to the systemic racism throughout their life, who worked multiple jobs to help pay for basic needs while in college, etc etc. Wealth and success most often do NOT find their rightful owners, not by a long shot. Privilege drives wealth and 'success', now more than ever. Look at our current president as the perfect example. His IQ isn't 100 and he has no idea how to relate (or care) about anyone, and how 'successful' he has been..
                  Anybody that gets to college, regardless of how they are able to pay for it is wealthier and more privileged than most, so not the best example.
                  Last edited by disneysteve; 01-06-2021, 05:51 AM. Reason: Political comment removed

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Folks, let's skip the personal political comments. Feel free to discuss government policies, as they do play a large role in perpetuating these problems, but let's not insult individual politicians on either side. Stick to the issues, not the personalities. Thanks.
                    Steve

                    * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
                    * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
                    * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by Fishindude77 View Post

                      Anybody that gets to college, regardless of how they are able to pay for it is wealthier and more privileged than most
                      To a certain extent, yes, but even that is no guarantee of success. One's past and upbringing can still impact the outcome. I had one friend in college who came from a very troubled home. Her mom was gone to parts unknown. Her father was not very stable. She managed to get in and work a bunch of jobs to pay her way through and graduate, but she had significant mental health issues and was never able to overcome them. Last I heard, she was homeless and struggling to survive.

                      The abysmal mental health care in the US is another factor that feeds into the problems. I can speak to that first hand. Our daughter has mental health issues. For several years, we were paying $175 per week out of pocket for her care since it wasn't covered by our insurance. That care has helped her a great deal, but how many people can shell out $600-700/month like that?

                      There are so many ways in which our system is broken and, intentionally or not, favors the rich.
                      Steve

                      * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
                      * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
                      * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by Fishindude77 View Post

                        Anybody that gets to college, regardless of how they are able to pay for it is wealthier and more privileged than most, so not the best example.
                        Hacking on Trump is disingenuous also. All of that stuff was in place well before he ever got there. Don't expect much change under Biden, he's probably worse of an advocate for the less privileged.
                        College is a perfect example, one can always adjust the scale of advantaged vs not. Yes some people don't have clean water, but there is a large range of advantages on college campuses now, from admissions (Notre Dame legacy cases accepted with lower credentials if a parent graduated from there, this is common knowledge and well accepted) to how the different students live (some work to pay not just their expenses but send money home to their parents, others are given unlimited funds for spending, fancy cars, etc). I am on a PhD program admissions committee and I see these differences in our applicants every year. We are now trying to take the "distance traveled" into account when considering applications, but it is typically expected that all students should be able to achieve the same grades, even if one is working 40+ hours a week in addition to full time classes and the other isn't working at all and has parents that hire tutors to explain everything to them whenever they are confused, etc.
                        Last edited by disneysteve; 01-06-2021, 08:06 AM. Reason: Political comment removed

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by disneysteve View Post
                          Folks, let's skip the personal political comments. Feel free to discuss government policies, as they do play a large role in perpetuating these problems, but let's not insult individual politicians on either side. Stick to the issues, not the personalities. Thanks.
                          Good call, my apologies.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            I apologize as well.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by Fishindude77 View Post

                              Not really disagreeing, but when you phrase it that "our system fundamentally favors certain groups of people over others" it sounds as if the fix is as simple as swapping some magic software, implementing a couple new laws, or changing political parties in leadership. This "system" is not something that is intentionally put into play by a certain person or group of people, it's more like basic human evolution. Some people are just tougher or smarter than others and find a way to do better than those around them, while others are content with poverty, mediocrity or just crying in their beer.

                              A lot of it has to do with how you are raised and schooled. For sure, many have an advantage here, but there are also many that fail to act when opportunity presents itself, or make stupid decisions and blow opportunities time after time. Wealth and success tends to find it's rightful owners and no amount of giving or hand outs will change fundamental behaviors. I'm sure most of us see examples at each end in our own families or friends network.
                              This is why people think they don't have privilege. There is just inherent privilege that you can't understand. There is a difference in backgrounds and I'm not saying I get it, because I don't. I think many of us are trying to wrap our heads around it but it's not easy. Would I know what it means to be raised in a inner city project? Can't even imagine. But at the same time that person probably has no idea what living in the country with no running water or indoor toilet is all about. There are also judgements of people from not just application but when they see you. African american women spend the most on their hair. To produce a certain image to be "judged" a certain way. I absolutely think there is judgement. A few of my relatives female straighten their hair and it is very expensive and time consuming. $200 every couple of months. Do you think it's ridiculous? Probably but to them it's not. I don't understand but then I haven't walked in my cousin's shoes. I hear it and try to understand but it's not the same.
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