Courtney Baker writes:
…Particularly when we are speaking about government subsidized income and housing, especially in the United States, we are also speaking about a sense of ownership of the black working class. The rhetoric of deserving employs the toxic language of capitalist individualism that disavows the idea of collective reserves and resources. It is that same language—and that same logic—that spawned the image of the welfare queen and that continues to underwrite the dismissal of a national health care system. It is a language and logic system that treats the poor in general and the black poor especially as effective tenant farmers, as guests in a land who are not pulling their weight and have overstayed their welcome.This thinking, however, is a trap, for it mistakes education and technology as solely the domain of the entitled. Per this logic, the black poor do not deserve to have anything but their own dispossession—no Air Jordans, no foreign language skills, no “free” food, no safe housing, and certainly no effective and reliable access to the digital tools of their self-enfranchisement. If we dare to think of Michael Smith as entitled to his iPad, we must also consider seriously his right to own himself and to represent himself—a twinned project that has everything to do with having secure access to the digital sphere.