Friday, May 22, 2015

Aftermath of Shanesha Taylor's Decisions

Okay, so it has clearly been a while since I posted anything to this blog. Actually, today's entry came as an accident. I was watching the May 21, 2015 episode of Dr. Phil about Shanesha Taylor who was homeless and came upon legal trouble after making the decision to leave her children in a hot car so that she can attend a job interview. A woman, upon hearing the story, was moved to collect donations for Shanesha online, and she has recently come under fire for the way that she has used the money. After hearing both sides of the story, I decided to comment on my opinions of the situation, but my post got longer and longer so I decided to turn it into a post! Here are my thoughts.

I do not think she thought this thing all the way through. I get what she is saying about how she would have been back in a bad situation in about two months had she complied, but according to her she was already homeless and trading in cans for gas money so an extra two months worth of living is better than the homeless position where she started. 

Also, if she thought finding a job before the car incident was difficult, she has no idea what she is in for now that she has two felonies on her record. Just having one felony is hard enough to get around on its own. They don't even want felons washing dishes at a one-star restaurant. I know because my husband is a felon. As far as HR is concerned (or Joe down street, for smaller companies) the buck stops when you check yes to having a criminal past and yes to having a felony on your record, and even if you check no they will still see it during the background check. 

My husband, James, had to wait about two years before he could find a steady job, and he was not looking for a glamorous position - we're talking about minimum wage jobs and less like scraping trash cans, delivering newspapers, dishwasher, busboy, basic custodian, flipping burgers. None of them were trying to hire a felon. In fact, the only job he could get was doing construction (and actually most of them were not interested in firing a felon, either) but he could not do it because he was physically unable to do hard labor anymore and had no health insurance. I wrote all about the experience on an earlier post. In addition to that, rental companies are also strict with letting felons live on their property, let alone housing authorities. In fact, many leases state that they do not allow felons to live on the property. I have been married for a year and a half and James still is not on my lease for that reason. I cannot even list him as an occupant!

Back to the topic at hand, had she complied and taken the two months of living (according to her calculations) I'm sure that local businesses would have appreciated her industriousness and can-do attitude and would have given her a decent job just based on all the positive publicity surrounding the case at the time. Now she has been blackballed and it really is her own fault. It seems like she has a pattern of thinking only as far as the next few minutes as opposed to thinking of the next year. 

Furthermore, how did she spend $7,000 furnishing a house? If money was tight, I can make a house a home by getting bunk beds and bedding for the children, a cheap basic mattress and rails and bedding for me, clothes for all from Goodwill, shoes for all from Payless, and toiletries, dishware, cookware, and just a few basic toys from Wal-Mart, and a cheap warehouse couch and dinner table and chairs for the dining area. I don't think all for this would have costed more than like $2000, if that. It would have been even less if family and friends gave her a lot of the furniture she needed (come on broke people, you know how we do). 

As for the preacher man who leaked the bad press to the news, I do not find him very credible, which is why I did not quote what he said. Shanesha, Dr. Phil, and her lawyer all stated facts and their own perception of facts. The preacher, on the other hand, came on the show with hearsay. Three things came to my mind about him: 1) If people really did come to him with concerns about Shanesha's spending habits with the gifted monies, he should had gone directly to her to get it straight, not go to the press based on hearsay. There are a lot of broke haters out there who don't like to see another broke person receive what appears to be a free lunch, and they can be looking to interpret things they do not understand to discredit her. For example, let's say her cousin just did her hair for free; a hater can see her looking cute one day on the block and think she just paid $300 to get her hair done. Or she could have lunch with a friend who works for a recording company and a hater can interpret it as her spending money for her boyfriend's rap album. I'm not saying that these things did or did not happen, since I don't know, but I do know that you have to be very careful about putting a lot of stock into the things people say, and you always want to check it out with the accused. 2) The preacher had a fall out with Shanesha because she refused to give a portion of the money to the church and took revenge by slandering her to the newspaper. 3) The preacher wanted some lime light for himself and wanted to be portrayed as a hero, so instead of talking to Shanesha about the things he heard he went straight to the press. 

In conclusion, I think that her shortsightedness is to blame. It sounds like her lawyer was trying to help her realize this but she did not want to follow his counsel and is in a much worse position than where she started. You know, that's a big problem with broke people though. In times of trouble we many times want to end the situation in a higher position than where we started. That is what it sounds like this woman was trying to do. Many times we need to be content with breaking even. Look at this woman. In trying to finish the situation in a higher position than where she started she ended up in a worse position. Actually, had she complied she would have been in a higher position, just not as high as she wanted. 

What do you think? Who side do you most sympathize with, or are you split? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

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