Article by Wendy McCance
I took a quiz called, Do You Live in a Bubble and it truly opened my eyes. The quiz was created to make you aware of how much you might be disconnected from other Americans. Here is how it is explained on the page:
There exists a new upper class that’s completely disconnected from the average white American and American culture at large, argues Charles Murray, a libertarian political scientist and author.
Take this 25-question quiz, based on a similar one published in Murray’s 2012 book, “Coming Apart: The State of White America 1960-2010,” to find out just how thick your bubble is.
So, I was curious and took the quiz.
What fascinated me was how my life has completely changed as I have aged and how I have more of an understanding of mainstream America than I gave myself credit for.
You see, there were questions like:
Have you ever lived for at least a year in an American neighborhood in which the majority of your 50 nearest neighbors did not have college degrees?
My answer was YES. When I was in my early 20’s, I owned a house in a low-income neighborhood. Most of my neighbors had very little if any college education. Many had been in the armed services or worked in factories, construction or restaurants. It was a very blue class neighborhood.
Have you ever lived for at least a year in the United States at a family income that was close to or below the poverty line?
When I first moved out of my family’s home, I was 18 yrs old. I lived with a roommate who was a virtual stranger I met while working at a Coney Island restaurant. The money I made came mostly in the form of coins more than from bills. Tips were lousy, but it was my first restaurant job and I knew if I wanted to get a in a restaurant where I could make great tips, I had to start where I could get work.
After I paid my bills each month, I would be lucky to have $35 left to my name. That money would go towards clothes, health care and social activities. I didn’t count groceries into my budget. I couldn’t afford them. I was incredibly lucky because I could eat as much as I wanted at work. The owners fed me well. It’s how I got by for a couple of years.
Working at Coney Island did pay off though. My next few jobs were in the restaurant industry. I found work in bars where I would walk out with at least $100 a night (on a slow night).
With a little ingenuity, I worked my way into better paying jobs. Hostess, waitress, bartender, on-premise beer account manager, on-premise wine and liquor account manager. Each job led to higher wages and I worked my way out of a very poor place in my life.
While filling out the quiz, this question was asked:
Have you ever walked on a factory floor?
In my early 30’s, all of the hard work I had done building a career came crashing down. Divorce and health issues completely turned my life around and I found myself grabbing a factory job at GM. I was building trucks on the line in exchange for superior health insurance, college tuition for the kids, paid time off and $30.00 an hour.
I came home sore and exhausted each night. learned more about a vast section of the American population and was ultimately grateful to have the kind of money and benefits that could help me create a stable environment for my three children.
As I answered the questions, it became clear where I fit into society, what I understood about others and where I might be a bit short-sighted. It was one of the better quizzes I have taken and I encourage you to try it out too.
These days, there is such a divide in the nation and endless amounts of miscommunication. Taking a quiz won’t cure the problems of our nation, but maybe, it will open your eyes to what you have actually experienced in your own life and what you may want to learn more about. Without gaining knowledge on how others have lived their lives, how can productive conversations take place?
To contact Wendy McCance about a writing or social media assignment, interview or speaking engagement, please email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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