I persevered and read the whole damn thing.
I’d love to rip Jack for accruing over a quarter million in debt, and one might think he’s fair game as a hetero, white, male; but not for this hetero, white, male because of my economic privilege.
I can’t rip Jack because I haven’t even come close to walking in his worn-torn shoes. Back in the Pleistocene Era when college was affordable, my parents paid my college tuition which is just one example among many of the economic help they provided me and my family. My family and I are economically secure for lots of reasons, but “luck” is first and last on the list.
That’s why I can’t say, “What the hell Jack, step away from the loan application!” Nor can I go back in time and tell him to tell his kids in no uncertain terms that he can’t afford to send them to four year universities. Community college will have to suffice and then part-time jobs while working their way through public universities. Saying those things to Jack would be poor form.
It would even be insensitive for me to frame my criticism as questions like,”Jack, why the hell, loan on top of loan on top of loan? At what point do you just say ENOUGH debt already?” There has to be some personal agency, doesn’t there?
Other questions bubbling up in my pea brain are more benign. Why didn’t Jack’s “friends” stage an intervention? And how many Jacks are there out there? How can we help them avoid his fate? Where’s the urgency around this type of student debt? Is my university complicit, at all, in creating additional Jack and Jills?
In fairness to Jack, he hasn’t been seeking fame or fortune. Just a LITTLE job security. Previously homeless, and still on the edge of it, he deserves compassion.
So it’s a good thing I didn’t say anything too harsh to him.