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View Diary: "If I Were a Poor Black Kid" BUT YOU'RE NOT!! (330 comments)

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  •  He would just avoid the gangs. (52+ / 0-)

    He would say, "No, thank you. I'd rather not get involved in all that." And the gangs would just go away, leaving him to become the Outstanding Young Negro he had the fierce determination and exquisite taste to become.

    Really, Sebastian, old sport --it's all quite simple.

    "In America racism is a misdemeanor. Noticing racism is a felony" -- Max Minton

    by teachme2night on Tue Dec 13, 2011 at 01:55:36 PM PST

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    •  There are some 5.4 million... (14+ / 0-)

      ...Latino and Black adolescents in low income households.  There are an estimated 800,000 gang affiliates in all age groups.  So at the very least, 85 out of 100 underprivileged minority teenagers manage to avoid gang involvement.

      It's one thing to trivialize the obstacles facing low income youth, but it's another to magnify a stereotype--even for the best of intentions.

      A quant and damned proud of it.

      by Cera on Tue Dec 13, 2011 at 02:19:26 PM PST

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      •  How many of those 4.6 million kids... (16+ / 0-)

        How many of those 4.6 million kids were unaffected by those gangs?

        Imagine Bullies and peer pressure not just at school but in your neighborhood, at your friends and family's homes and everywhere you go.

        You don't have to join a gang to have them impact your life.  Intense fear is like a blast furnace; it can melt you and make you weak or it can harden you and make you strong.  

        Either way, nobody can sit back and say how it "would have" affected them, only how it "did" affect them.

        "Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour..."

        by Buckeye Nut Schell on Tue Dec 13, 2011 at 02:52:31 PM PST

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        •  this (15+ / 0-)
          You don't have to join a gang to have them impact your life.  Intense fear is like a blast furnace; it can melt you and make you weak or it can harden you and make you strong

          Between fear and stress, there are a lot of terrible, terrible physiological effects on developing brains.

        •  also gangs don't take just anybody (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kyril

          It could very well be that the only reason someone's not in a gang is because the gang doesn't want them.  Gang life is probably like any job in the sense that there's always someone who can do it better than you, so why would they use you instead of him?  Gangs also have lots of posers and hangers-on who wouldn't be trusted with any serious gang business.

          Just because someone doesn't belong to a gang doesn't mean they're "above the influence" and don't aspire to that lifestyle and what it could offer them that working in McDonalds couldn't.  A poor black kid in that position could easily pass up many routes to a comfortable and respectable middle class life because they're focused on a glamorous dream they simply can't have.  How many poor black kids let their education slide because they only want to be in the NFL or the NBA or the next rap idol?

          There's an awful lot of shittier-than-most-people-could-stand middle ground between gangbanger and President of the United States.

          Do you know why they call it the American Dream? Because it only happens when you're asleep.

          by Visceral on Tue Dec 13, 2011 at 04:11:43 PM PST

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          •  I think it's a stereotype (0+ / 0-)

            that young people of color are focused on an unattainable "glamorous dream."

            If you ask white kids what they want to be when they grow up, lots of them want to be athletes and pop stars. It's not unique to non-white kids at all.

            Also, in my experience white people look at middle-class neighborhoods that are predominantly black or Latino and still consider them "ghettos" simply because of their racial composition. In '08 I canvassed for the SEIU for Obama in predominantly-black (mostly middle-class) neighborhoods and you wouldn't believe how many of my friends and family said "ohmygosh that's such a dangerous 'bad' neighborhood, be careful!" when it absolutely was NOT dangerous, nor was it even a particularly poor neighborhood.

            The problem people of color have in accessing middle class life is that just when laws and society started permitting most young people of color to pursue middle-class dreams, the middle class itself collapsed!

            Government jobs - one prominent avenue to the middle class for people of color - became public enemy #1. Unions are now the enemy of the Right, university affirmative action programs and scholarship programs are thought of as evil, and tuition levels themselves are becoming unaffordable. It's not that people of color live depressed and hopeless uninspired lives, it's that the playing field is constantly shifting in ways that exclude them.

        •  If I were born poor and black... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          never forget 2000, Evolutionary

          ...I'd be me but black.  It's amazing how horrible teachers and all kinds of people can be to the disabled.

        •  Why do the privileged expect (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Evolutionary, wasatch

          poor kids to have more restraint and higher moral values than they have themselves.

          For example, we expect poor kids who have superior athletic abilities to also have the moral code of a circa 1930's scholar athlete: we expect them to resist the constant entreaties of wealthy boosters and parasitic 'agents' and refuse money, cars, etc. When they are caught, we hear the tsk tsk of the public that has no clue as to what it is like to live in deprivation, surrounded by consumerism and affluence.

          So are the wealthy and well off expected to do less because they have more? Apparently so, because my guess is that this white guy is not at the top of his game because he doesn't have to work hard because he is white, male and middle class. See it should cut both ways, shouldn't it?

          It is galling how many white males (think Newt Gingrich) think they know what the problems of the poor and minorities are without ever speaking to one person in that position.

          Never underestimate the ability of the Right to overreach.

          by never forget 2000 on Tue Dec 13, 2011 at 05:25:55 PM PST

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      •  I have no idea what you're talking about (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mallyroyal

        or what in my post you're responding to.  

        "In America racism is a misdemeanor. Noticing racism is a felony" -- Max Minton

        by teachme2night on Tue Dec 13, 2011 at 02:56:20 PM PST

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        •  Since you ask... (0+ / 0-)
          He would say, "No, thank you. I'd rather not get involved in all that." And the gangs would just go away, leaving him to become the Outstanding Young Negro he had the fierce determination and exquisite taste to become.

          That.

          A quant and damned proud of it.

          by Cera on Tue Dec 13, 2011 at 09:28:34 PM PST

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      •  Well, let's define getting involved (13+ / 0-)

        You might have nothing to do with gangs, but if there's a drive-by on your block, I think that might cut into your ability to focus on school the next day.

        •  In that case, count me as involved. That happened (5+ / 0-)

          on a regular basis in one neighborhood I grew up in.
          But not my whole life.  It was pretty scary there.  Just walking down the street, I had to be packin'.  Or at least I felt that I had to be.  Everyone else I saw was.

          I have no illusions about the ability for any person to get ahead in life simply by getting good grades and working hard.  There is no ladder in life to climb any more.  There never was a ladder for the kids discussed in the Diary.  I don't think this was the 'equality' we had in mind.  There was a rich/middle/poor, but soon there will only be rich/poor.

          Of course, what "rich" means is entirely subjective.  I used to think that being rich meant being able to buy cheese.  Cheese was a treat.  So was cereal with sugar in it.  Compared to someone else, I might have been rich with my peanut butter & ramen noodles.

          #OccupyOMC - "We have a permit, its called The Constitution".

          by Evolutionary on Tue Dec 13, 2011 at 05:47:05 PM PST

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        •  Probably... (0+ / 0-)

          ...does.

          Still leaves 73 percent.  Are we seriously going to construct policy around a stereotype?

          A quant and damned proud of it.

          by Cera on Tue Dec 13, 2011 at 09:32:58 PM PST

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      •  You're involved if: (4+ / 0-)

        You're involved if:

        -You're in a gang
        -One of your brothers is in a gang
        -One of your cousins is in a gang
        -One of your friends is in a gang
        -Somebody in the car with you and your friends is in a gang
        -People on your block are in a gang
        -Your sister is talking to somebody in a gang
        -The corner store or fast food places closest to your house are frequented by gang-bangers
        - Your car looks like a "known" car
        -You hang out with someone trying to leave a gang

        ...this list could go on.

        So you may want to check your numbers, quant.

        "In America racism is a misdemeanor. Noticing racism is a felony" -- Max Minton

        by teachme2night on Tue Dec 13, 2011 at 06:19:18 PM PST

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        •  So... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          The Werewolf Prophet

          ...if my brother is in a gang, the hell with school.

          If my cousin is in a gang, the hell with school.

          If one of my friends is in a gange, the hell with school.

          If somebody in the car with me was in a gang, the hell with school.

          If people on my block are in a gang, the hell with school.

          If my sister's talkin to somebody in a gang, the hell with school.

          If the corner store or fast food places closest to my house are frequented by gang bangers, the hell with school.

          If my car looks like a "known" car, the hell with school.

          If I hang out with someone trying to leave a gang, the hell with school.

          Makes me wonder why I even bothered staying out of a gang.

          A quant and damned proud of it.

          by Cera on Tue Dec 13, 2011 at 09:37:09 PM PST

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          •  Have you been to these schools? (5+ / 0-)

            I was the top student with my eyes closed and one hand tied behind my back. Nothing there but the soft bigotry of low expectations.

            Check it out sometime. The school is shit. I dunno where you've been but it must not have been in an inner city school for you to put so much faith into it as if it's some kind of magical carpet ride.

            My main goal in life was to get my kids far away from the inner city schools, that's how serious it is to me that they never be subjected to the bullshit there. My kids go to public schools in a white upper middle class community. No, wait...my son just graduated high school in a school with a 100% graduation rate and about 95% white rich kids. Their dad moved there for that reason. It would have been a lot cheaper in Columbus proper.

            My son has had things available to him that I never dreamed of having. I wasn't being challenged in the least at my school. When I got to college, I was lost. I had a decent grasp of things but that's when most ill prepared inner city students have to drop out or they start to fail out of college.

            School will be the answer when school is worth a damn. Don't talk my ear off about school. I squeezed everything I could squeeze out of that shitty public school, even joined a shitty sports team because there was nothing else available if you weren't a jock.

            "It's not enough to acknowledge privilege. You have to resist." -soothsayer

            by GenXangster on Tue Dec 13, 2011 at 10:40:20 PM PST

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          •  You're very good at arguing with things (0+ / 0-)

            no one said, but very poor at understanding what they did say. And you do so without making any clear point of your own.

            That's a troll's game, so you can fuck off now.

            "In America racism is a misdemeanor. Noticing racism is a felony" -- Max Minton

            by teachme2night on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 07:34:32 AM PST

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            •  You're full of crap... (0+ / 0-)

              ...and you're spreading a sick, TV drama stereotype that papers over the litany of problems facing underprivileged adolescents.  So go fuck yourself.

              A quant and damned proud of it.

              by Cera on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 07:49:44 AM PST

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    •  Word, teachme2night. (14+ / 0-)

      Word, word, wordy mcword. Especially the last sentence.

      I'll bet you that if he were suddenly thrust into the world of a poor black kid, he wouldn't be able to do as well as the poor black kid. One dollar.

      Organ donors save multiple lives! A donor's kidney gave me my life back on 02/18/11; he lives on in me and in others. Please talk with your family about your wish to donate and sign up to give others the gift of life.

      by Kitsap River on Tue Dec 13, 2011 at 03:16:38 PM PST

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    •  True story... (12+ / 0-)

      My high school actually had an "Outstanding Negro" award given to high-achieving Black seniors.

      My brother won it one year and he and his friends had great fun announcing in a Price-is-Right game show announcer voice "It's the Outstaaaaaaaaanding Neeeeeeeegrowwwwwwwww!"

      (My brother graduate high school in 1994 btw)

      I wish I could remember who sponsored that particular "honor".

      How can you thank a man for giving you what's already yours? How then can you thank him for giving you only part of what's already yours? You haven't even made progress, if what's being given to you, you should have had already.

      by on second thought on Tue Dec 13, 2011 at 04:25:15 PM PST

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