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Topic subjectRE: Work With Me Here
Topic URLhttp://board.okayplayer.com/okp.php?az=show_topic&forum=22&topic_id=22392&mesg_id=22427
22427, RE: Work With Me Here
Posted by k_orr, Tue Aug-15-00 04:21 AM
>I must say, you certainly know
>how to start a debate.

I'm surprised actually that this one took off. I guess everyone here has a feeling about poor people.

>But before I answer your
>question, let me first say
>this. When this thread began,
>I gave my definition to
>what I believed it meant
>when using the term "a
>culture of poverty". This is
>what I was taught, and
>therefore I ran with it.

Define it.

My definition.

The culture of poverty is a way of life that keeps its people and their children poor. Because they have a different value structure, they are unable to become financially independent of the government.

I do not believe that this culture exists. I believe that the vast majority of poor people will remain poor independent of individual actions. This is by virtue of our economy, not through any moral/social/cultural failings of poor people. The drug use, the crime, the unwed pregnancies, using high interest credit, exarcerbate the problem but are not causes in and of itself. You take your typical tenement in the projects. Maybe 8 of the 10 people who might liver there fill some type of stereotype, but those last 2 people are still poor also. The reality of poor people is that most of them are upstanding citizens, who play by the rules, and work hard, and have the exact same value system that the rest of America has. But they can't seem to move on.

>Somewhere down the line, it
>changed into a "all poor
>people" kind of topic. Again
>let me say, my understanding
>of what it is meant
>to live in a "culture
>of poverty", stressing the word
>"culture", is when a person
>grows up poor, and ends
>up living their life only
>knowing this.

Culture is a way of life. But I have a hard time believing that poor people believe that their life is all that they know. Maybe in India, but on in the US. Even in the most backwoods areas, they know of a different life.

But perhaps we are talking past each other. When you say poverty of culture maybe you are thinking of the worst case scenario types. I'm thinking of women that used to go to my grandmother's church. Even in the worst situations with the most surreal characters, there are lots of ordinary regular people who do not have some other extenuating circumstance who are poverty stricken. Many of the responders to the thread seem to be thinking about able bodied men who don't do anything, or unwed mothers. I'm thinking about families with mom and dad and 2 kids, all with jobs, who can not make it out, despite their thriftiness and hustle.

In the process
>of becoming an adult, they
>lacked the drive (the desire)
>to overcome their situation.

I do not believe that is true at all. But worse yet, I think folks focus on the youth. How come we don't address middle aged people that live in bad conditions?

>they feel (consciously and/or subconsciously)
>perfectly content with their environment,
>and their acceptance of welfare,
>to the point where they
>remain and raise children, and
>unfortunately, pass on this way
>of thinking to their kids,
>which will cause an continuos
>cycle until someone steps up
>to break it.

Even if that is the case, which I'm sure we all have some anecdotes about, is that really the reason that they remain poor. Replace welfare with husband who is a college graduate and you have what I saw at my university, when buffy and jessica were pursuing their M-R-S degree.

Now in
>your quote, the one that
>started the debate, I did
>not see anything in regards
>to the actual phrase "a
>culture of poverty". I only
>saw this in your question,
>which is what I was
>responding to. Naturally, people are
>poor for all different reasons.

>But when I interjected the
>response that we lacked prioritization,
>I said this in dealing
>what I believe to be
>a "culture of poverty".

I heard you the first time, i'm just asking more questions. I have not misunderstood you at all. I know what you are saying cause I've heard it before. What I am trying to do is open up your view of poor people. After you look at people in neighborhoods that have prioritized, that have stopped renting to own, that have stopped going to convenience stores, that have sat with their children during study time, and they still are poor despite being model citizens, you have to ask yourself is this culture of poverty exists and does it really effect the end result.

If I go out start hitting off women left and right with seeds, sell drugs, go to jail, et cetera, will the church choir leader who lives in my same building have a better chance at the house in the burbs with the 2 cars. Most people here believe yes, that guy will. After having been to inner city hoods and rural areas, I am saying no. The cat who does bad might end up in jail, but if he stays free he is not doing any better or worse than the cat who lived by book.

> For
>example, and we've all seen
>this in one form or
>another, I cant for the
>love of me understand how
>a person can live in
>the projects but have enough
>money to buy a Caddy
>and have it fully loaded,
>rims and all. That right
>there is what I mean
>by a lack of priorities.

I've met those cats, they used to come up to my radio show. More often than not, they bought an 84 Sedan Deville for about 1500, and they had a homeboy candy paint it. The wheels tend to be used. The folks who really do it right, tend to be doing something else that can pay for it, whether it be legal or illegal. I've met a # of black professionals who could drop some serious change on a ride, as well as members of the recreational pharmaceutical conglomerates that had that type of money. But your average bro-shaq in the hood is not buying stuff off the showroom floor.

>Another example: I know a
>guy on disability. A 27
>yr old able bodied adult.
>Nothing is wrong with him
>physically, mentally might be another
>issue judging by his actions
>and what he told me.
>He lives in the projects.
>He collects a monthly disability
>check, and sells drugs (heroine).
>I asked him, "Why don't
>you get a job?" Obviously
>he looked healthy enough to
>work. He responded, and I
>quote, "If I got a
>job they would cut my
>disablity." The inside of his
>home is decked. Im
>talking plush carpet, big screen
>T.V., and Modern-deco furniture. Things
>you wouldn't expect to find
>in someones home who's living
>in the projects.

You would be surprised.

This, if
>anything, is a prime example
>of a "culture of poverty".
>He was raised in the
>projects. He's still living in
>the projects with moms- can't
>risk getting his own place
>and letting the government find
>out he has money, and
>he's raising his daughter in
>the projects. He's not married
>by the way, just to
>bring the picture full circle.
>There you have it. Three
>generations, money being exchanged, yet
>everyone's still living in the
>projects, and no one is
>bettering themselves(mentally) in the process.

Is he the rule to those projects, or the exception?

>This, my dear, is what
>I mean by a lack
>of priorities, which can start/cause
>a "culture of poverty". Lastly,
>please correct me if I
>am wrong, but did I
>understand you correctly when you
> said that no amount
>of hard work can help
>poor people. If this is
>what I thought you said,
>(and I could be wrong,
>please let me know) it's
>that same thought process that
>keeps poor people poor. And
>I'm not just talking financially.

Poor people, the working poor, work 60-80 hours to tread water. On top of the long hours, they have to deal with other things that folks in the burbs don't deal with. Without the right skill set and work opportunities the level of effort is unimportant. The worst case scenarios, the drug dealers, pimps, prostitutes, welfare queens, do not make up the majority of poor people.

k. orr