Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Real Black State of the Union Pt. 1

So I was reading this great post "Ours Is Not A Culture Of Failure" by Tami at What Tami Said which was in itself a critique of the article "Race Still Matters For Poor Blacks" by Clarence Page of the Chicago Tribune and "Raising the Obama Generation" by Stephen Talty. There are some great points being made but there are some areas where we our opinions diverge. 
From Page's article: The National Urban League released its annual "State of Black America" report. Predictably, as with previous reports that the 99-year-old league has conducted since the 1970s, the state of black America is pretty miserable.
Blacks were twice as likely to be unemployed, three times more likely to live in poverty and more than six times as likely to be imprisoned compared with whites, the study said. Blacks also lost their homes due to foreclosure at a greater rate than other ethnic groups. This is partly because many blacks had been targeted for sub-prime loans during the economic boom, civil rights groups charge, even when their credit was good enough to get them into conventional loans. 
Mainstream black leaders tend to blame black poverty on external barriers like racism, discrimination and the disappearance of low-skill jobs. Conservative critics tend to blame black poverty on black behavior, attitudes and other "cultural" conditioning.
Blah, blah, blah! My response is: it sucks to be Black apparently. Do I really need a reminder of all the problems? These Civil Rights organizations are still not providing SOLUTIONS. Let's talk about the various social classes that exist that they'd like to otherwise ignore. Having access to resources and being not only encouraged but expected to excel does impact your life. Let's talk about white racism but we're not in a position to ignore how our attitudes and choices compound it.
Tami writes:  Are low achievement, unemployment, substance abuse or criminality elements of black culture? Native culture? Italian or Irish culture? White culture?

And they are not the culture of the poor either.

But these ills are often the result of living forgotten in poverty in a country that is all about symbols of wealth and "getting yours." These ills are the result of no opportunity in the land of opportunity. These ills are the result of schools with old books or no books. These ills are the result of being warehoused in dangerous, rat-trap, public-housing high rises, and tenements, and reservations and isolated Appalachian villages and trailer parks. These ills are the result of inadequate healthcare and childcare.
I agree...but I don't. Apathy, anger, depression, hostility, hopelessness, mediocrity and imbalance. I think about how all of these things color challenging situations for people of color. We can only change the things we can control. The first thing we have to control is ourselves. Then we can address the ills of society. If you're running with a broken leg you won't get very far. 
If the "culture" hasn’t failed it is severely damaged. Or perhaps the question that should be posed is: “What Is Black Culture?” There are differences amongst ethnic groups of Blacks as well as different behavior patterns amongst the social classes. Of course individuals make personal choices that may differ from the majority of their group of origin but certain generalities do prevail. We're not all Middle Class and we don't all possess Middle Class sensibilities. Whatever that's supposed to mean today. 

I think we can safely establish a yard stick of a dominant generic “Black” by which non-Blacks may be attributing to us all because they don't do shades of grey, er black. It’s like lumping all Asians together or not realizing that China for example has something like 50 diverse ethnic groups. I will continue this conversation in another post because despite my efforts at editing I have so much more to discuss. 

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Model Minority said...

I am not sure...of your conclusion.

Are you saying we should be bootstrapping?

Faith at Acts of Faith Blog said...

Model Minority: I'm saying there has been no solutions being presented by those that are supposed to be leaders and representatives. I'm saying they're not addressing the core issues just talking around them. I'm saying we all have different motivations and we need come to a consensus. I'm also not done.

Unknown said...

I feel you on the idea that being poor can be anyone. It bothers me that a black face is always put on the poor.

HOWEVER, being black does add one more problem to the mix: racism.

I don't mean threats by the KKK, but institutional racism. What has been proven OVER AND OVER again is that it exists.

Another thing, not all poor people are shiftless, lazy, and unemployed. I grew up around a good number of poor folk who worked until they died. I know a good number of poor folks from all walks of life who hold more than one job (even before the economy went sour). I think our perception of poor people needs to change.

Its ill because since Obama has been elected everyone has been getting on this accountability train without addressing institutional racism.