Karina wrote a piece for The Billfold that’s worth your read, taking on a particular query that her generation of struggling Brooklynites faces: Who gets to be poor? It starts with Karina in a coffee shop in Bed-Stuy talking to friends about applying for food stamps, when a nosy Nancy interjected saying, “Excuse me, but you’re all disgusting,” and that what they were talking about was wrong “because you’re overeducated white people. Just get a job.” The piece is a meditation on what kinds of people we consider socially acceptable to be “poor,” and whether every young person in Brooklyn is bound to be a stereotyped caricature of a Girls character, instead of perhaps the hard-working, trying-to-make-a-living mindset that brought a lot of people here in the first place (and Karina is one! -Her Editor). Read an excerpt below, and the full thing at The Billfold.
Being young, privileged, and poor is not a fun twenty-something adventure. I’m not one cheeky fourth of Girls. This is not an audition for the Bohemia life before I return to my family’s house in the suburbs, or get a job at a financial firm owned by my father’s friend. I don’t have a family in the suburbs, and my father doesn’t have those friends. Moving in with my mom or dad is less an option than it is a death sentence for my professional life, barely existing as is. For me, my need is simple numbers. It’s not the social poverty we know from textbooks and nightly news. It’s transitional and temporary, though there is no guarantee I won’t again find myself in a similar spot.