10 Apr Of Don Imus, Debt and Pride
As almost the entire world knows now, Don Imus, the radio talk show host, insulted the Rutgers University women’s basketball team last week. The insults were racist, childish and mean-spirited. And whether Imus retains his job is an open question. But what the heck does this have to do with a blog about bankruptcy, debt, and personal finance?
A lot, I think. The Rutgers women’s basketball team played spectacularly this season and fell only a few points short of defeating a heavily-favored Tennessee team in the NCAA championship. They worked hard to get where they were and fell only a little short of complete glory. How many people today can identify with that?
And how many people today have to put up with debt collectors calling them every day over bills they can no longer pay? How many did nothing wrong but are now having to suffer the indignity of being treated like criminals for the all-too-common crime of not “paying as agreed?”
For folks behind on debts, debt collectors are their own personal Don Imus. They don’t get to tune him out though. And he calls every day. And he’s not going to take “no” for an answer. He doesn’t always mean to make your life miserable. But if that’s a side effect of what he’s doing, he might be OK with that too.
Is it any surprise then that people dealing with debt collectors not only feel horrible because they can’t pay but also because the phone calls and letters are robbing them of their sleep, sanity, and — most of all — their dignity?
But C. Vivian Stringer, the storied coach of the Scarlet Knights spoke not only for her team but for everyone who is demeaned by others for things beyond their control, when she said: “We have been physically, mentally and emotionally spent, so hurt by the remarks…. [But in the end] No one can make you inferior unless you allow them.”
Being broke is not a crime or a sin. Sometimes it is simply unavoidable. Sometimes we make it to the Final Four only to fall a few points short of victory. Take the lessons from the game and move on, with dignity. Everything is a learning experience and no one is entitled to make you feel less than who you are unless you let them.
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