Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Banish the Bling

“A culture of failure taints black America” wrote Juan Williams of National Public Radio. (Washington Post, 8/21/06) Williams noted there is a “sinister obstacle facing African American young people today: a culture steeped in bitterness and nihilism, a culture that is a virtual blueprint for failure.”

In response to my post “Parsing the Achievement Gap” (3/23/07) blogging buddy Mahndisa commented about the “mass popularization of NEGATIVE rap and NEGATIVE rock and roll, plebian, gut bucket, baby mamma having, concubining, drug selling and doing foolishness that is glorified, rather than condemned as in previous generations.”

Mahndisa is a black educator who fights against the culture of failure every day. She concludes: “I am sick and tired of seeing people who choose a life of ignorance because they are trying to be black.”

Williams talks of generational poverty caused by the fact that nearly 70% of black children (and 50% of Hispanic children) are born to single women today. “Their search for identity and a sense of direction is undermined by the twisted popular culture that focuses on the “bling-bling” of fast money associated with rap artists, drug dealers and the idea that women are at their best when flaunting their sexuality and having babies.”

Bob Herbert in the New York Times (“The Danger Zone”) talks about the extreme joblessness of young black men — “joblessness that is coursing through communities and being passed from one generation to another, like a deadly virus” — that is a direct consequence of dropping out of school. For high school dropouts, the jobless rate is 29% for whites, 19% for Hispanics and 67% for black men.

Herbert’s solution is “Education, Education, Education.” For black males, employment rates rise from 33% among high school dropouts to 57% among high school graduates to 86% among four-year college graduates (just 2% below the white rate).

Herbert believes that not working “breeds all manner of antisocial behavior, including violent crime” and that there are so few black marriages because “there are so many black men who are financially incapable of supporting a family.” This is disturbing. Here is an educated, black columnist for the New York Times who thinks that lack of a job causes crime. It is, again, a question of cause and effect, chicken and egg.

Kay Hymowitz (“Marriage and Caste,” City Journal) notes that America’s chief source of inequality is the Marriage Gap. As of 1960, the percentage of high school dropout women who were single mothers barely hit 1%. That all changed in the decades following the 1960s when women with lower educational levels “decided that marriage and children were two entirely unconnected life experiences.” Such behavior is irrational as marriage improves the economic situation of low-income women, even if their husbands are only deliverymen or janitors.

Barry, another friend and blog reader, has pegged the root cause of the increasing illegitimacy among poor people. The Great Society welfare programs made it economically advantageous to be a poor mother with out-of-wedlock children and no job. It allowed males to skip out of all family obligations. Now we have a third generation on the way whose culture is tied to a welfare state mentality and the accompanying victimization complex of their hypocritical leaders.

Jesse the Jackson wrote today that young African-American boys are in crisis… but “we can't simply load the blame on the schools.” Is this a new JJ? But then he reverted to huckster form. In the crucial early years, “they are shackled…. with no systematic program to ensure prenatal care, health care, day care, parental education.” JJ’s solution is mo gub’ment to take care of the kids while the moms … do what the moms do.

“We've got too many babies raising babies,” said Jackson, “who don't have the resources or the knowledge of how to take care of their children.” Right on!

Mahndisa punctuated the issue: “All of my Black ancestors would roll over in their graves if they knew folk were acting like this!”

The bloody crime is that the poor in America were better off fifty years ago because they had better values that included being married to your children’s mother and supporting your family, no matter what it took.



Blogger Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden said...

03 28 07

Hey there Bill:
Thanks for the acknowledgement of my rant;) hehehe Seriously, as I think about it more and more, the culture of poverty is wretched and is affecting all ethnic groups. Along with the gubment doing for its citizens philosophy, came an anti intellectualism too. It is almost like the more people rely upon the government for sustinence, the more ignorant they become. Is that a coincidence or not?

When I visited Nevada this past weekend, it occured to me that their poverty stats are a lot lower than Californias and that is due to their lower population but also due to DESIGN. In Nevada, you had better have a car because public transit won't take you anywhere. Right off the bat, indigents don't find such a place appealing because they can't sit on the public transportation all day and stink it up! From what I gather, Native Americans have the highest poverty rates in Nevada but other ethnic groups don't seem to show the same problems.

I say all states should look at how Nevada forces people to work for a living!

2:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of interest, as of the 2000 census, a new category for "race" was added. It seems many Hispanics inaccurately considered themselves a race. Therefore, it was added to the "race" category. However, another category was included: "Caucasian/Hispanic". So whenever you look at stats, you must include the "Caucasian/Hispanic" for any Hispanic statistical evaluation.

Most stats listed in any survey do not take this teeny weeny fact into account. The government stats do, breaking out Caucasian/Hispanic separately from plain old Caucasian.

So... if you look at single women births for both Hispanic and Hispanic/Caucasian combined, the actual percentage is well over 60%. So, while the Caucasian birth rate for single parents is indeed up, it is not as statistacally alarming as one might think, when the "Caucasian/Hispanic" birth rate is factored out.

Aren't surveys fun??? Fine print, etc... ;-)

David / Doc

11:05 PM  
Blogger Free Agency Rules said...

It has a lot to do with the Balance in the Universe that comes from what people project.

If you project "victumhood" it will find you in kind.

A few weeks ago my wife was amazed with a program on Oprah called "The Secret."

It is one of the truly amazing subjects/answers that she has ever had on her show. They showed how people get what they project.

Oprah is as dumb as a doorknob when it comes to politics, but she has a big heart and she has actully bought into a very conservative idea in this eye-opening presentation.

It has made millions of minority people and others to realize that they are the "captian of their own destiny."


9:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think Herbert's conclusion is warranted, at least on the basis of the unemployment evidence. Education is a selection process for IQ and also tends to weed out social pathologies. It requires a long time horizon to stick it out thought high school and college, because one must sacrifice for years to achieve the goal. The ability to do this is rare among the lower class.

College requires an above average IQ, so the individuals who can get college degrees would probably have done well without the education. Bill Gates dropped out of college because he had better things to do. He has done quite well without a degree.


2:18 PM  

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