Condescending Benevolence

Maybe it was Horace Pippin or Bayard Rustin,
Maybe it was neither,
Who talked about the condescending benevolence
Of “do gooders” looking to help
Disenfranchised people.

It was probably Pippin
Since the book was about a famous art family
And written in the context of friends
Helping friends get ahead
In sheltered worlds.

Worlds, though,
They do not seem so far apart
As the day men made it to the moon
A tiny story of compassion
Seemed sadly similar to Pippin. Or Rusin…

It was about a women in Michigan
Who spoke from her exclusive golf club,
Complete with a “women’s only” bar
Painted in feminine pastels,
Of her generosity to her maid.

“I give my maid clothes and stuff like that.
It’s pathetic; those children don’t have enough
clothes to go to school. They’re human beings
and I don’t go for that-them having to
live THAT WAY.”

She was quoted as the charitable chartreuse
In the New York Times back in 1969
As wars in Vietnam and on poverty
Ravaged the moral fabric
Of the United States.

The maid was probably at work
Cleaning for this well to do martini sucking woman,
Making a meager salary that
Did not make her ends meet, and then
Being gifted with the stuff her boss didn’t want.

I wonder if she felt like she was going through the trash
Picking at the throw aways
To give her kids the appearance some under paying
Rich lady, who was drinking after playing golf,
Thought they should have while attending school.

How about a better salary rich lady?
Instead of donating so much cash on your kids,
How about buying them a little less
So you could pay your employee
A salary she could live on?

How about it rich people?
Instead of spending so much on nothing
How about making the stuff you make affordable
So more people can survive
On the scraps y’all are paying?

Just a thought…

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