If you’re interning for the Southern Poverty Law Center or The Innocence Project, it’s likely you’re working your tail off and not seeing a dime for it. Internships at small organizations too often mean you’re only reward is the hope of a future job with a small stipend to hold you over. But if you’re an intern at a major corporation that’s raking in dough, you’re usually paid for your efforts.
Free Labor Fueling Ivanka Trump’s Business
Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case for the business owned and run by Donald Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, who pays her interns in experiences rather than cash. Maybe this is a practice forgiven in the business world, but for someone whose signature initiative is “Women Who Work,” it suggests a serious lack of insight.
She has a bevy of women working under her as “interns,” but they aren’t getting coffee and learning the ropes. They are marketing, writing copy, working on licensing and doing graphic design — what would be, in any other office, wage-earning work. Since the law protects interns against harassment and discrimination, it seems that giving them a living wage is also a reasonable expectation.
A Lack of Insight into the Plight of the Working Class
Like her father, it looks like all the talk about helping the common man or struggling woman was just that — talk. In the president-elect’s case, it was likely to win the highest elected office in the land. For Ivanka, it’s a way to build up her brand on the cheap. Maybe what’s most disturbing is her willingness to brag it up.
One of her unpaid interns posted a blog on her website called “How to Survive as an Unpaid Intern,” with a graphic picturing women of color and money icons. Tips involved getting a weekend job, saving money while in school and socializing on the cheap. With advice like this, it’s hard not to ask — what kind of working woman is she talking to?
For a family that purports to be the champions of the working class, it all comes off a bit tone-deaf to the problems of real working people.
The Contradiction of the Trump Family
However, it looks like people are starting to notice the incongruity between what the Trump family says and what they do. Donald Trump isn’t even in office yet, and already the remorse has set in. The trending Tumblr Trumpgret, which tracks tweets from people who are — too late — rethinking their vote for the Donald, is just one example.
Unfortunately, many seem to feel that Trump duped them. Take Sandy Haynes, who tweeted: “I really hope my vote was not wasted. I work for 2$ less that the men and do twice the work it’s not fair!!!” Of course, it’s hard to go back on your promises when you haven’t taken office, but many Trump voters may be slowly figuring out that Trump is an Ivy-league educated son of a rich man, not someone who understands the struggles of women trying to get by on less money.
Past Behavior — An Indicator of the Future
Donald Trump is no savior to the working man — nor is his family. In fact, they are the working man’s worst nightmare. Trump has repeatedly said that the problem with American workers is that they make too much money. Hopefully, this rhetoric will change. If it doesn’t, the Trump family brand will go down in flames, but the American people will still have four years to get through.