As many of you know there is a battle in the United States of America to increase the minimum wage of fast food workers to $15/hour. I'm not interested in arguing if the workers deserve $15/hour and my position is the fast food industry is losing too much ground to gourmet burger startups like Five Guys and Shake Shack and Smash Burger and have to increase their worker wage as well as prices and quality. Years ago, I already blogged about how fried chicken places have failed in the hood due to hole-in-a-wall fried chicken places popping up on hood corners. You do notice there are no more Church's and Popeyes and Mrs. Winner and KFC in your hood did notice that right?

But that isn't what this article is about. The minimum wage issue is moot – the wages will have to go to $15/hour and $20/hour for retail workers and fast food due to retro artesian (that means cooking old school and store floor selling old school) and automation technology such as self-ordering and financial technology such as Apple Pay and Samsung Pay. The problem is the entire concept of broke dumbass basic retail workers and fast food workers will become extinct. In other words, the concept of some high school dropout loser in life finding a job at a fast food or retail store is a thing of the past. You going to need some college for those $15/hour and $20/hour jobs.

This article is about is two black folks Terrance and Safiyyah who been highly profiled as the "working poor" and when you see the poster boy and poster girl story, we need to have a conversation if these are actually poor people or people making poor decision. Now, this topic on social media has been highly conversational and passionate from both sides. There is one side that want to badly feel sorry for and believe "oh those poor people, let's tax the conservatives more to increase the minimum wage!" and there is another side that says "My life was rough too but I made that decision to better me!"

So be warned – this is an emotional argument with strong passions on both side. But you have a right to express yourself on this topic and I have my own thoughts on these two. Let's cover them.

Poor Terrance...


Let me start off by saying – Terrance is probably the proudest pathetic excuse of a man I have ever seen in my life and probably the most pathetic person to stand next to the most powerful person ever in history – that is how I honestly feel about Terrance. This video has been controversial because it is hard to watch Terrance speech without getting angry or without getting really compassionate – pick your side:

So Terrance is a 2nd generation fast food worker (wtf?) and is 36 years old and worked at a fast food job and done it for nearly 20 years, working for $8.00/hour for 20 years. I cannot stress how hard it is for me to type a sentence on this Dream and Hustle blog talking about this 20-year $8/hour 36-year old man proudly boasting he is pathetic piece of work without shaking my damn head. Terrance indicate his wife worked in the health care industry for 12 years and make $10/hour, which means his wife makes $2/hour more than her husband Terrance who only make $8/hour. And Terrance is a father of 3 girls as he indicated and come home to these 3 girls with $8/hour in his pocket while President Obama has 2 girls and come home with a $400k/year salary and a drone kill list to read over. I'm pretty sure you are trying to look at the reaction on President Obama face as Terrance states how pathetic he is and all I can say is I will never play President Obama in a game of poker.


Look, let me first start by saying how awful Terrance situation is and let's do some math. So Terrance revenue has been $8/hour times 40 hours a week is $320/week or $16,640/year. A 6% annual from a $250,000 life insurance payout invested in a stock market or mutual fund is $15,000/year. So Terrance is just as good as tilting his neck to the side and throw his own ass down a flight of stairs. So with the life insurance alternative, Terrance is worth just as good as dead as alive.

This is just a question for you all. As a father with three daughters - at what point in life as you are working $8/hour for 20 years do you make the decision you need to be doing better as a man for your family? Do McDonald's and Burger King owe Terrance $15/hour or should Terrance had ran off to the oil fields in North Dakota and got a fracking job or managed wind turbines and sent some money back home? Are Sri Lankans and Mexicans supposed to feel sorry for Terrance and believe he had an excuse to not leave home and find a better job to send money back home to his family? Was Terrance scared he was going to kiss his wife off, then die in a car accident like James Evans Sr and his wife scream "damn! damn! damn!" or something like that? Why Terrance stayed at an $8/hour job for 20 years?

Don't you think Terrance could have done a better job at making sure he make more than $8/hour for his family sake? Or do you want to feel sorry for Terrance so you can be mad at McDonald's and Burger King? In the YouTube video, you heard Terrance say "that ain't right" – what ain't right?! Is Terrance ain't right or that $8/hour ain't right?

Poor Safiyyah...


First of all, Safiyyah is a cutie pie! But that is something we will talk about later but she was featured on a CNN special about the working poor and how she is managing day to day and I want you to see if you noticed something about Safiyyah while watching the video:

Safiyyah story is all too familiar for anybody who grew up in the hood. Here you have a sexy thick sista who chosen a thug over a nerd and gotten pregnant with a baby and now thug is in jail and she is now out there on her own. But Safiyyah in addition to the fast food job get additional government assistance as she indicated with daycare and food stamps or SNAP or WIC or whatever and for some reason, sistas love those government benefits over getting with a nerd brotha that is probably now making $100K/year and got his nice vacation rental spot in San Pedro, Belize he run away to hook up with his Costa Rican girlfriend. Sistas always choose the thugs over the nerds, I guess. But there is something worse I saw and this is what you should have noticed:



Safiyyah is 22 years old and that belly is a bad sign of her poor eating habits. She indicated she do not buy fresh fruits and you can already tell what kind of food she eats. I'm wondering if she got waste buildup in her belly and that is not baby fat - the sistas want to believe that but it ain't no damn baby fat. That is the result of a poor diet that will have an impact on her health and affect the rest of her life if not cut her life short. Because being from the hood, the story that get hushed and untold is the number of sistas like Safiyyah laying up as a corpse in a funereal home at 30 and 40 dead from lifestyle/dietary related illness and the son lost his mom at an early age. You can go in the hood anytime and check out a funeral home and they got more young sistas than a nightclub in those coffins in the back room who died way too early from poor habits and lifestyle choices.

There is talk about people cannot eat right on food stamps or low wage and I'm going to officially call bullsh*t on that. When I changed my diet, I learned it was the most expensive stuff that was slowly killing me and then I realize all the good food was cheap as hell. A can of black beans is 70 cents and that can be spread out 3 days. One banana that can be shared by two people is 25 cents. Fish like flounder or pollock or cod is actually pretty good when baked and flavored correctly. Then canned salmon is actually rich in calcium and you can make salmon cakes just like our parents used to do with canned mackerel back in the days. Safiyyah is walking in those streets and she have physical activity but she is not eating right. Not eating right is a circular reference for poor self-esteem and it feeds off each other. It is likely she going to let another knucklehead come around and sweet talk her into more babies she will be stuck alone raising – then she going to get a tummy trainer, poke her booty out and post pics on Facebook and have brothas all up in the comment section posting "you fine" Kevin Hart memes.

Is Safiyyah really poor? She got a nice house and I heard her refer to her sista and I also believe we ain't got a lot of details in terms of those government benefits like Section 8 and stuff like that she is not mentioning on top of the McDonald job. Her belly is not an indicator of lack of food, it is an indicator she is buying expensive "quick" food over smart, cheap healthy food. But it could be the possibility she don't know how to eat to live and this is something we got to look at as black people if we are really living in the proper means by knowing what to eat instead of eating processed food that is killing us slowly. I will be honest with you, Safiyyah is a cutie and if she start eating right and exercising and go to school even to do hair, she can change her life around pretty fast.

You Decide – Poor People or Poor Decisions?

In life, you have to remember one thing – this is your life. You are responsible for your mortal life and if you brought children into this world, you are responsible for them. No one owes you a damn thing in this world and you should not be expecting something from somebody.

When I hear people argue Terrance and Safiyyah deserve to make more money, as one guy I observe on this conversation said is who the f*ck are yall to tell a business operation how much to pay somebody? Show me your business where you have to pay extra for the Affordable Care Act for your employees - show me that ish before you talk about telling a business to raise their wage for their employees! That business operation can pack up and leave and you will hear a really sad story about these minimum wage workers because they won't have a job. But when I hear people talk about Terrance and Safiyyah should do more to better themselves for their children sake at least, I also have to realize maybe these low-wage black folks don't know any better.

One of the things I learned doing Dream and Hustle and working with black folks and covering our issues for over 10 years is we do have a lot of black people who are simply ignorant and don't know. Many of you cats are information junkies on the web and know all the topics and stuff and debate politics and sports because you are an information junkie but the real and majority black people in America just want something to eat and a house to live in and worry about that on a daily basis. The majority of black people don't know any better and no one is telling them how to do it any better.


But there is an elephant in the room about this whole minimum wage conversation – we are moving to a technology age where these minimum-wage jobs will be phased out and better waged jobs will be made available to people who dropped out of college and may need to work these jobs for $15/hour to $20/hour. That means the high-school graduate with no college may not have any jobs and may not even get to sweep the floor – they got Roomba that can do that stuff now and they may outsource to a cleaning crew that are Hispanic immigrant entrepreneurs doing it for cheap. I don't know why African-Americans do not realize technology and immigration and globalization is wiping them out in real time from any economic relevancy and think this is a joke and the government checks will keep coming in after Obama leaves office – Obama cut most of those benefits a few years back if you guys forgot as a way to bargain with the GOP Congress to deal with the deficit crisis.

African-Americans for too long believe there is a tolerance for poor decision making like having unprotected sex, not getting an education and thinking there is a welfare check or a bullsh*t job waiting around the corner for them. If we African-Americans keep being poor decisions makers, we are not going to be poor – we are going to be marginalized, plain and simple.