Sticker #036: Minimum Wage: The Latest Gateway Drug

Sticker #036Minimum Wage: The Latest Gateway Drug

by Joe Biel Author

Minimum wage is so far below a living wage, that it's no wonder people turn to mind-altering substances to distract themselves (or make a living). Sure, maybe pot used to be a gateway drug, but we know that can't be the truth in our current times. 

(Sturdy vinyl sticker with black print on a white background. Reads: "minimum wage: the latest gateway drug")

Comments & Reviews


Just a couple thoughts, but first a disclaimer: I am a PhD candidate studying Asian-American Studies with an emphasis in third world feminism. I acknowledge that class privilege has everything to do with my being able to attend a university and earn a PhD. I reveal this fact so that I can own my privilege, not to put anyone else "in their place." If anyone feels that I have used my privilege to hurt them, please know that was not my intent, but please call me out on it...

Those who don't know shouldn't speak. Both "racism" and "affirmative action" have been thrown around in this discussion by people who don't know these systems. I'm sorry justicejustus, but racism is not "racism no matter what skin color or demographic it discriminates against." The definition of racism, not your definition of racism, but the true definition of the system of oppression known as racism precludes white people from being victims of that system of oppression. Racism is more than mere discrimination or prejudice against a group of people. it is a SYSTEM that exists at the individual level, but also outside of the individual at the institutional and societal levels and therefore SYSTEMATICALLY oppresses people of color. Racism values WHITE knowledge, ways of knowing, cultural norms, beliefs, history etc and holds it up as the standard by which everyone else is measured. These values have come to be called "whiteness." Now because whiteness is the standard by which all people in our society are measured white people are given unearned advantages or privileges over people of color (see Peggy McIntosh, Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack). These privileges add up to an unbalanced access to power. So in quick summary, White culture is the standard by which all people are judged which gives unearned privilege to those with access to that culture which in turn confers power on those with the unearned privilege. That is the definition of racism. Now that we understand that racism is an entire system, explain how one can be racist against white people. It can't be done. No matter how prejudiced against white people a person is, there is no system of oppression that confers power on people of color at the expense of white people. Please consider this next time you want to use the word "racism."

Now on to Affirmative Action. I agree that AA is far from perfect. I only support it as the lesser of two evils. For all of you who rant against it, you have shown a complete lack of knowledge of what AA really is. If you look up the laws surrounding Affirmative Action, both legislation and case law as AA has been defined in the courts, you will see that it does not "lower the bar" for people of color. The only time that race/sex/ability can be taken into account is when two applicants ARE EQUALLY QUALIFIED for the position. When you vilify the program in the way that it has been here in this discussion, you reveal nothing about Affirmative Action as a program, but only highlight your own ignorance.

Finally, htat old "if we just educate everyone equally" line of reasoning has been proven false many times throughout the past few decades. Research into education and employment have consistently shown that even with an equal education, race still plays a major role in hiring decisions. For example, a study was conducted using where identical resumes were submitted for the same job, one with a stereotypically Anglo name and one with a stereotypically black name. The resume with the Anglo name was 70% more likely to be contacted for an interview! Also, 27 studies conducted by major universities and the federal government have shown that only 40% of Asian Americans can find jobs that are equitable with their educational achievements.

We all need to educate ourselves if we ever want to see true, revolutionary social change and not just rely on our own faulty opinions and beliefs.


I could take the time to point out every flaw in so many of the previous comments, but instead I'll focus on the ones I view as important, and therefore worthy of my time:

First of all, while many of you did take the sticker a bit too literally, the metaphorical and implied meaning of it is still hypocritical, and extremely broad. Perhaps it should say "Put the lying politicians and lawmakers of any race, gender, or sexual orientation in prison..." (Much more relevant today considering Sarah Palin is on the ballot as Republican VP).
"Reverse Racism" is not a term that should be used by any educated person...ever. Racism has existed in every culture as long as humans have had the cognitive capacity to create culture. While I am disgusted by the way the forefathers of this country treated everyone who was not a white heterosexual male, I am also disgusted by the African tribe leaders who sold their own people into slavery to our forefathers. I am as equally disgusted with Affirmative Action. It is a racist system designed to encourage communities and government alike to allow inner-city schools to continue using sub-par education standards. If we started at the root of the problem (elementary school), Affirmative Action wouldn't even need to be considered as an option to give people that are not white a better chance at getting into college or getting a job.
On another note, Affirmative Action is demeaning towards the people it's supposed to be helping. It says to them "We don't put you to the same standards as we put the white population to. We've lowered the bar for you because you can't reach the bar that's set for white people. We're not going to push you harder so you CAN reach that bar, we're going to make it easier for you to get more scholarship money than you deserve and jobs that others are better qualified for...because we know you'll never make it if we don't." Affirmative Action insults the very people it gives aid to, it's very apparent if you take the time to read between the lines.
In short, Racism is Racism, no matter what skin color or demographic it discriminates towards.
I agree with autonomous and An angry woman, especially the point made about feminism. I grew up in a community where today's standard of feminism was rampant, and I despise it. Our foremothers in the early 1900's had the right idea: gender equality, not a female dominated society. If we allow ourselves to play into the present day feminist ideology that women are superior to men and should be treated as such, than we are worse than chauvinists; for preaching equality with an agenda of superiority.
Angry Black Queer Feminist: While I can't completely sympathize with you because I am neither gay nor black...or your standard feminist for that matter; I do have a vagina, and understand what it feels like to be seen as that and nothing else. However, there are men from every race and every walk of life that treat women like shit. But rather than directing our anger at this solely towards men (and lesbians as well, because they can be just as bad), we should also direct it at ourselves and other women who take it without a fight. Saying "fuck you" or arguing with someone that objectifies you does not constitute as a fight for respect. Hit the asshole. Get angry at all the women in the world who have done NOTHING to stand up for themselves and their right to be treated as a human being, and who help condition men to believe that it is acceptable to treat women as nothing more than a sexy thing to look at and put their dick into. If every woman who ever got spoken to in a demeaning way, or had their ass grabbed made a huge fuss about it and hit the guy (or girl), it would stop happening.
The statement on this sticker is hypocritical, is factually flawed, and breeds inequality rather than equality, as it so claims to do.
On a final note: "Actually..." show me one African- American (that was American born) still alive today that has picked cotton. No one should be allowed to reap any benefit from a trauma or an injustice that they themselves did not suffer. And check your statistics...or better yet, go to Baltimore or DC and see for yourself what Affirmative Action has done for the minority populations in those cities. Shit, squat, nothing. The so called "valiance" of this system is a facade that conceals that fact that it turns the tables on people who do not deserve to have the tables turned on them.
Also, that really sucks about your job situation Brian, I hope you find a better one that does not employ discriminatory policies.

For anyone who read this all the way through, thank you for your time.


You shouldn't talk about equality when your forcing racist ideals. No matter what race you discriminate against doesn't make it not racist or right. This is the kind of a racism that there is a big problem with because so many people think it is alright and don't believe it to be racism. White is a race. Don't be a fucking hypocrite.


i am a white heterosexual male. i spent three years in prison. i will say from expirence, fuck statistics, that our system has no problem incarcerating people of any color, gender, or sexual orientation. i have spent a good number of my 24 yrs incarcerated for asserting my beliefs. those of you who have never been through it simply dont have the information to discuss this point. who the hell do you think distributes these statistics in the first place?


There are many white males that are disgusted by the oppression caused by other white males, and disgusted by the world they've created. Many of these guys have nothing to do with it, and to assume that all of them are horrible racists oppressors is to be just as bad as them. You cannot talk about equality while still hating a certain group of people. All those feminists are being just as bad as the men they hate. Otherwise it wouldn't be called feminism, it would be called "gender equality."


angryfeminist- so by locking up all hetero white males there would be no inequalities and nobody would hate eachother over things like gender, race, and sexual orientation. because hetero females never hate homosexuals and homosexuals never are racist. And every single hetero white male is oppressive. and all hetero white males view equality as everyone acting just like he does. your little manifesto is fucked. especially the last line. you sound like every other ignorent racist, homophobe, or shovinist. anarchy can not be created with your mentality. your playing into hierarchy. destroying patriarchy does not mean opressing males. open your mind. you know shit about equality.


Strait white males have all the power and privilege in today’s world and have had for many decades. Women, gays, blacks etc have and are still regarded as second class sometimes even third and fourth class citizens. The strait white males understanding of equality is when all these so called inferior groups start acting just like him. There probably isn’t a group on Earth that hasn’t been oppressed by the strait white male and yet he has never been held accountable. When the sticker says lets imprison all heterosexual white males it is a humours form of revenge fantasy, at the same time with all the strait white males in prison all the other groups will be free to be who they are and thus true equality will be reached.


I think most of you have completely missed the context of this sticker. It isn't suggesting that all white heterosexual men LITERALLY be sent to prison. Its pointing out the way that women/queers/racial minorities have virtually no social/political/historical representation.

It's saying "Lets make white heterosexual males live in a world where they aren't given role models; where they grow up reading about countless heroes, nearly all of them hispanic transgendered generals and ex-presidents.

Lets make white heterosexual males live in a world where it doesn't matter which candidate you vote for; you're always going to be outvoted a black lesbian majority.

Lets make them live in a world where even in the punk scene you're treated as a sex object by asian female punk rockers; who taunt you for not shaving and who encourage you that wearing constraining fishnets and tight zebra print miniskirts is sexy."


I had a dream...


I think this sticker may not be talking about prison literally, but more as a way to say that the heterosexual white man has more privilege and advantage over the rest of society.


If there are no ayhiests in the bedroom, then there are almost definately no heteros in prision.


Fuck this sticker. The US has the largest prison population in the world, and a huge chunk of those prisoners are the "heterosexual white men" you like to talk down to so much.


Hey Andre! Ever been to Cincinnati??


Didn't know the man put homos in jail for being homo. Didin't even know there was a disproportionate number of homos in jail as opposed to heteros.


I interpreted it to be a statement about the statistic that one-third of all black males in the US are in some stage of the correctional institution. Seems to me if this statement were true for white males, someone would kick up a ruckus larger than a one-liner in american history X or a bumper sticker in some obscure book store.


Actually, affirmative action is a series of programs which valiantly attempt to correct the racial injustices committed against minorities by white heterosexual males for 400 years. It's also statistically effective. Oh, boohoo, but having a black guy overtake your yuppie office space isn't quite as bad as cotton picking, Brian.


Anyone who says that Affirmative Action is not a discriminatory policy is ignorant.
Deciding if it's needed or not is another issue entirely, but you can't argue that putting one race/gender/etc ahead of others isn't discrimination. Put that on a sticker. PS. I'm a white, heterosexual male, and while that doesn't make me right, it doesn't make me wrong either.


That's because they're the ones with jobs in the first place! You can't get downsized if you don't have a job.


White, heterosexual men are also the ones who get the brunt of job discrimination, age discrimination, and corporate downsizing. I know! It has happened to me, twice!


Plus it's brilliant in the way it's phrased, because i certainly see lots of white, het men around, talking about tolerance and equality, and using those arguments to say that affirmative action, person of color safe spaces, queer-positive environments, etc. are "reverse racism" and "self segregation" and whatnot. so the implication is "ok, so when we imprison all the people of color and ignore the queers, these are the conversations we have about equality. [then insert the text of the sticker here]"


The statement is that white, heterosexual men are among the most privileged people in our society. I feel like to honestly have respect for all people, one would have to reduce the decision making power of this overprivileged group. I designed the sticker 8 years ago and it could probably use some fine tuning.


I don't get it.