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I used to think there was no such thing as haters. In fact, I wrote a piece about it.

And in it, I said:

Are there people in the world who will place roadblocks on your path to success? Yes, it is called the government. Beyond that, if we are honest, there are very few who stand in our way. Yet hater continues to be grossly overused, so much so that its lost all context. Calling someone a hater is the modern-day equivalent of telling someone, “Ya mom.” Both are funny punchlines but are often said to cover up the responder’s lack of wit, knowledge and/or depth of understanding the original accusation.

But that was then. And just like our dear first Black President Barack Obama’s previous thoughts on same-sex marriage, I too have evolved.

It’s not that I believe everyone with a critique is a hater. I’m just saying with absolute certainty that within the mix of legitimate critiques are folks who have dedicated their lives to being in total opposition to anything you do and say.

And there is no greater proof of the existence of haters than the people who can’t help but to say something about the time the rest of us are wasting, hoping to hit the jackpot.

Yes, I’m talking about the Powerball. And yes, I’m talking about you, haters. We see you…

We see you with your social justice guilt trips built around funny math. (No, 300 million people getting a cut of 1.3 billion won’t provide us with $4.33 billion per person, but even if by some magical formula that math was right, the only guarantee is that this kind of money a piece would give us inflation).

And we see you concern trolling us with stories of past winners whose lives have been turned upside down thanks to the influx of cash.

We also see you when you post articles on your social media timelines with titles like Powerball’s $1.3 Billion Swindle Of Americans. Articles that feature hating-ass points like, the lottery is rigged, and it doesn’t really fund education. And my favorite hating-ass point: The lottery isn’t anything but a regressive tax on the poor.

More specifically:

Lotteries promise the low-income people who make up the biggest portion of ticket buyers that they’ll win either through a payout or increased services. But most of the time, neither is true. As one study put it, “lotteries set off a vicious cycle that not only exploits low-income individuals’ desires to escape poverty but also directly prevents them from improving upon their financial situations.”

Yes, please tell me more about how spending $2 for a chance to win an obscene amount of money is hurting my chances to get money. I guess I could put that two bucks towards getting another degree (since education and education alone supposedly raises people out of poverty), but what about the other $354,440 I have to pay towards student loans? Or maybe I could put that two bucks in my savings and at the end of the year, be as broke as I was the day I put it in the bank.

And I also guess I could take that couple of dollars and invest it in the stock market, but who is to say that I won’t go broke like the others? And more importantly, how is that any more respectable of a gamble than playing the actual lottery?

These individuals who make comments about how stupid folks, particularly low-income folks, are for playing the lottery are no better than those who obnoxiously make fun of poor people for looking for deals on Black Friday.

Yes, we know that the average American spent more of their income (poor people spent 9 percent of our income to be exact) on the lottery last year than they did on video games, sports, books and movie tickets combined, but maybe that’s it. Maybe playing the lottery isn’t about helping the children or looking to it as a solution to poverty.

Maybe the lottery is just a cheap form of entertainment. The kind of entertainment that doesn’t require expensive gaming systems and tubs of buttered popcorn (because if the poor spent money on those things, we would have another reason to chastise them). The kind of entertainment that allows us to use our imaginations to dream about comforts and lifestyles that very few of us will realistically ever experience (no matter how many $2 bills we stash away).

The kind of entertainment, which takes our mind off of the fact that in spite of working harder (sometimes multiple jobs) and being more educated, we are paid less (including incentives and benefits) and overall have less job security. The kind of entertainment to take our minds off of the fact that some of us are spending half of our income on rent (which kind of puts that measly nine percent we spend on ourselves into perspective).

And the kind of entertainment to keep our minds off of the laundry list of other “waste of times” we poor people have partaken in while on the search for this ever-elusive better life, including the following:

  1. Grinding it out on that rap career we started 20 years ago
  2. Sticking it out at that good job as office manager at the insurance company
  3. Believing in merit
  4. Hating in the comment section

Sure, some folks – particularly the “some folks” who always manage to find themselves in front of cameras – are rather ridiculous with the amount they spend on the game. But I am also pretty certain those folks have gambling addictions. And if not the lottery, they would be wasting their time and money at the casinos.

The point is, hating on people because they bought a ticket to a lottery estimated at $1.4 billion is just petty. If you don’t want to play the game, then don’t play the game. But acting like the rest of us who decided to get in the game are being duped or led astray is just nonsense.

Honestly, I am convinced that a lot of this hate is coming from folks who have convinced themselves that there’s no chance they could ever win. And since they can’t see themselves as a winner, they are going to make sure you can’t see yourself as one too.

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