So I figured Washington DC. I have an entry on unpaid internships. And I feel like there’s a battle between Washington DC and New York for the most unpaid internships in the United States combined with the highest rent. It’s a fantastic situation.
In most of the world, when a person works long hours without pay, it’s referred to as slavery or forced labor. For white people this process is referred to as an internship and it’s considered an essential stage of white development. The concept of working for little or no money underneath a superior has been around for centuries in the form of apprenticeship programs. Young people, eager to learn a trade, spend time working under a master craftsman to learn a skill that would eventually lead to an increase in material wealth. Using this logic, you’d assume that the most sought-after internship would be in areas that lead to the greatest financial reward.
Young white people, however, prefer internships that put them on the path to careers that will generally result in a decrease of the material wealth accumulated by their parents. For example, if you represent a white 19-year-old with the choice of spending the Summer earning $15 an hour as a plumber’s apprentice or making zero dollars answering phones in a production company, they will always choose the latter. In fact, the only way to get the white person to choose the plumbing option would be to convince him it was leading towards some sort of end of Summer pipe-art installation.
White people view the internship as their foot into the door of such high-profile, low-paying career fields as journalism, film, politics, art, non-profits and anything associated with museums. Any white person who takes an internship outside of these industries is either the wrong type of white person or a law student. There are no exceptions. If all goes according to plan, an internship will end with an offer of a job that pays $24,000 a year and will consist entirely of the same tasks they were recently doing for free. In fact, the transition to full-time status results in the addition of only one new responsibility: feeling superior to the new interns.
When all is said and done, the internship process serves the white community in many ways. First it helps train the next generation of freelance writers, museum curators and directors’ assistants. But, more importantly, internships teach white children how to complain about being poor. So when a white person tells you about their unpaid internship at The New Yorker, it’s not a good idea to point out how the cost of rent and food will essentially mean they’re paying their employer for the right to make photocopies. Instead it’s best to say, “You earned it.” They will not get the joke.