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Author Topic: "Black Culture" to blame for Katrina Woes
abbubmah
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Nearly a year after Hurricane Katrina flooded the city of New Orleans, some prominent black conservatives and religious leaders blame cultural problems among African Americans, not the government, for "the great breakdown witnessed during and following" the natural disaster.

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Sara at home
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quote:
"Over the last 50 years, they have heard: 'You need government' from these false black leaders like Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and the NAACP. They have told black people 'You need affirmative action, you need more welfare programs' and that's not what black folk need. They need less of that and more family," Peterson said.

"They need to get married instead of having 70 percent of children out of wedlock. They need to teach their children to work by being an example of that," he added.

How are those two different ideas of "needs" mutually exclusive?

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Four Kitties
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The only real families are one man one woman and their several children together, Sara, didn't you get the memo?

Four Kitties

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Aptenodytes_Forsteriis
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quote:
Originally posted by Four Kitties:
The only real families are one man one woman and their several children together, Sara, didn't you get the memo?

Four Kitties

So thinking children benefit from a stable adult male and adult female role model living together in a home, is attacking single parent families? Boy, I've been attacking single moms and dads for years without realizing it.

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Ganzfeld
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quote:
Originally posted by Aptenodytes_Forsteriis:
So thinking children benefit from a stable adult male and adult female role model living together in a home, is attacking single parent families? Boy, I've been attacking single moms and dads for years without realizing it.

Are you talking about the same quote? It did criticise single-parent families.
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Aptenodytes_Forsteriis
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I guess it's a matter of perception. I think a stable two parent home is inherently better than a single parent one. That is not to my mind a critique of any particular single parent home, because I don't know that in the particular case a stable two parent home was an option. I read the quote as thinking things would be better with more two parent families not attacking those who had no choice.

The connection to welfare, in it's modern incarnation, is that many programs cut the woman off if the father lives in the home, and others rapidly step down and eliminate benefits if the recipient begins to earn money. Aside from the religious motivation of the speaker I tend to agree.

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Sara at home
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Is the comment more about the lack of responsiblity in sexual activity or the attitude that the more babies one makes the more manly one is or that birth control is the girl's problem and so is the baby if she doesn't use any, attitudes which some claim are prevelant in "black culture" rather than about single-parent families per ce? I see a big difference and apparently quite different than others.

Either way, I don't understand how that conflicts with ...say.... affirmative action. Surely one can exhibit reproductive responsibility or form nuclear family units (if that's what they mean) and benefit from affirmative action.

What's their beef?

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abbubmah
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I think the statement has more to do with the "black culture" idea that promotes living off the government, with more benefits toward unmarried women with children. I get the feeling that's what Peterson is alluding to, but can't be sure from the article. It would go along with the general flavor of the piece.

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AnglsWeHvHrdOnHiRdr
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I am pretty sure that "black culture" isn't responsible for Hurricane Katrina.

I am pretty sure that "black culture" is a red herring. Even when it is used by blacks.

I am pretty sure that as long as we blame intractable poverty on race or culture, we'll never solve it. Solving it takes hard work; blaming is pretty easy.

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Troodon
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I found the article ridiculous (especially since the government response to Katrina was awful regardless of any "black culture").

However, I do think that cultural differences play a big role in the relative economic well-being of different cultural groups. I'm not familiar with "black culture" and so I'm not going to try to name anything specific but I know that in a city where the majority of high-school students are either black or hispanic, I went to the top magnet high-school which was 50% asian, 20+% white american, 20+% white Eastern European immigrant, and I think about 3% black, hispanic, and other in total. The only criterion for admission was a standardized test very similar to but shorter than the SAT, and I consider that impartial to race. Why did blacks and hispanics dissproportionally lack either the inclination or the ability to go to my high school?

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AnglsWeHvHrdOnHiRdr
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Any cites about the entry requirements for your school, and the racial makeup of it, Troodon?

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Simply Madeline
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I actually laughed out loud when I read this statement:

quote:
Storm also noted that people living in project housing prior to its destruction from Hurricane Katrina are now demanding that the government quickly rebuild and return them to their old homes. One woman, Storm noted, is a 30-year resident of the projects who is threatening to sue the government.
The nerve! Wanting to return to their homes!

a) I think it's perfectly justified that ten months after the event people are getting a little antsy to have their homes rebuilt, and

b) Prior to the storm wiping out a good portion of the city, these people relied on the government to provide their housing. How would losing everything they own put them in a better position to not rely on government housing?

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Troodon
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Entrance Exam
Demographics

I know it's only wikipedia, but it presents the information well, provides cites, and matches my personal experience.

It appears that I was wrong and blacks and hispanics composed 4% of the student body each, not combined. In my defense, I originally read the statistics seven years ago, before high school, and while in high school blacks and hispanics tended to associate with each other and keep seperate from the other ethnic groups (this is addressed on the wikipedia page as well).

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Roy012
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quote:
However, I do think that cultural differences play a big role in the relative economic well-being of different cultural groups. I'm not familiar with "black culture" and so I'm not going to try to name anything specific but I know that in a city where the majority of high-school students are either black or hispanic, I went to the top magnet high-school which was 50% asian, 20+% white american, 20+% white Eastern European immigrant, and I think about 3% black, hispanic, and other in total. The only criterion for admission was a standardized test very similar to but shorter than the SAT, and I consider that impartial to race.

I think the idea that cultural differences play a role in the economic status of a person or group is a self-licking ice-cream cone. Inner-city "black culture" has a lot in common with rural "white culture," in that immersion in relative poverty tends to result in lowered expectations- you tend to go with what you know, and the environment in which one grows up has a lot to do with what a person perceives as normal. If a person has been raised with the idea that the attainment of certain trappings of status are "off-limits," then they will be more likely to set goals that are realistic outcomes as they see it- get a paying job early, get married and settle down relatively soon, etc. These values and expectations will likely be passed along to the next generation. Lowered expectations aren't indicative of "black culture," they are indicative of the culture of poverty.

A sizable portion of black people are at or below the poverty line; that perhaps a larger portion of this group exhibits the traits discussed above should not be a critique of black culture but a reflection of reality- poor whites tend to display the same sort of lowered expectations without the historical baggage that "black culture" has been stuck with.

I think it would be clear that standardized tests are impartial to race, but a student must first take that test, and to do so must have tbe expectation of being to pass that test, and to do so must have the expectation (and support) that hard work in academic fields of study is a viable opportunity. Generally, middle-class white children, and the children of new immigrants, are raised with that hope or expectation in the United States, whereas black or white (or what have you) children whose families have coped for generations with grinding poverty in this country without breaking loose of it do not.

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Troodon
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Roy012, I actually agree with you in that whatever elements of "black culture" that are responsible for failure are common to the culture of traditionally poor white groups as well. If I were to discuss the specifics, I would talk about "poor culture" too - I don't think that racial differences play a major role compared to the cultural traits shared by poor blacks and poor whites. That a disproportionate number of blacks are poor and possess these cultural traits is a result of discrimination in the recent past, but it's not necessarily a symptom of present discrimination.

Your perspective on the "new immigrant" experience is interesting. In discussions like this I often bring up that although both my parents were college-educated mechanical engineers in the Soviet Union, we depended on government aid for about a year and a half after we came to the USA while my mother learned enough English to work as a filing clerk and my father worked as a day laborer for $4 an hour. My family managed to get past that and do well in America but I suppose the fact that we knew that my father and mother (and I, by extension) could do better than that made the difference. Perhaps if my father had not learned English and found a job in his field, I would have a very different attitude towards education and a very different place in life.

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AnglsWeHvHrdOnHiRdr
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quote:
Originally posted by Roy012:
quote:
However, I do think that cultural differences play a big role in the relative economic well-being of different cultural groups. I'm not familiar with "black culture" and so I'm not going to try to name anything specific but I know that in a city where the majority of high-school students are either black or hispanic, I went to the top magnet high-school which was 50% asian, 20+% white american, 20+% white Eastern European immigrant, and I think about 3% black, hispanic, and other in total. The only criterion for admission was a standardized test very similar to but shorter than the SAT, and I consider that impartial to race.

I think the idea that cultural differences play a role in the economic status of a person or group is a self-licking ice-cream cone. Inner-city "black culture" has a lot in common with rural "white culture," in that immersion in relative poverty tends to result in lowered expectations- you tend to go with what you know, and the environment in which one grows up has a lot to do with what a person perceives as normal. If a person has been raised with the idea that the attainment of certain trappings of status are "off-limits," then they will be more likely to set goals that are realistic outcomes as they see it- get a paying job early, get married and settle down relatively soon, etc. These values and expectations will likely be passed along to the next generation. Lowered expectations aren't indicative of "black culture," they are indicative of the culture of poverty.

A sizable portion of black people are at or below the poverty line; that perhaps a larger portion of this group exhibits the traits discussed above should not be a critique of black culture but a reflection of reality- poor whites tend to display the same sort of lowered expectations without the historical baggage that "black culture" has been stuck with.

I think it would be clear that standardized tests are impartial to race, but a student must first take that test, and to do so must have tbe expectation of being to pass that test, and to do so must have the expectation (and support) that hard work in academic fields of study is a viable opportunity. Generally, middle-class white children, and the children of new immigrants, are raised with that hope or expectation in the United States, whereas black or white (or what have you) children whose families have coped for generations with grinding poverty in this country without breaking loose of it do not.

Nicely done, Roy.

One of the things I have learned from many kids who have grown up in grinding poverty, which, I think, matches your analysis, is that they don't know what can be achieved because they don't have a worldview that includes economic success. Very generally speaking, of course.

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abbubmah
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"Black Man's burden" - low graduation rates.

Interesting article, seems to relate well to the discussion here.

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AnglsWeHvHrdOnHiRdr
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quote:
Originally posted by abbubmah:
"Black Man's burden" - low graduation rates.

Interesting article, seems to relate well to the discussion here.

That is a huge problem all over the US, and, as I recall, the dropout rates among Hispanics is even worse. It's heartbreaking because you know that few of these kids will actually be able to ever get out of poverty over the course of their lifetime. But a homeless kid? How do you tell him the importance of an education when his needs for food, clothing, and shelter continue to go unmet?

What do you do, though, to keep kids in school who either will not, or cannot, attend?

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abbubmah
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I dunno.

I was rather amazed to see that the overall dropout rate is 30%. 30% of students drop out of school?

I am literally stunned. I knew the dropout rate was high, but not like that.

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BeachLife
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From what I've heard, and my own experiences, the drop out rate is a bit misleading. It does not take into account home schoolers or kids that left highschool (for medical reasons or learning disabilities) to pursue a GED. I know kids that fall into each of these categories.

From what I've heard, and I find this hard to believe, some schools list transfering students as dropouts. I find this hard to believe, especially if the new school has requested records.

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AnglsWeHvHrdOnHiRdr
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I think, BeachLife, that the Dept. of Education has a definition of dropout for statistics-gathering purposes. Transferring students, either to other public schools or to private or homeschools, wouldn't be counted as dropouts for purposes of those studies, nor would someone who got their GED before the start of the next school year.

Here's a really long study about dropout rates from 1967 until 2001, that was published in 2004.

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Aptenodytes_Forsteriis
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quote:
Originally posted by AnglRdr:
quote:
Originally posted by Roy012:
quote:
However, I do think that cultural differences play a big role in the relative economic well-being of different cultural groups. I'm not familiar with "black culture" and so I'm not going to try to name anything specific but I know that in a city where the majority of high-school students are either black or hispanic, I went to the top magnet high-school which was 50% asian, 20+% white american, 20+% white Eastern European immigrant, and I think about 3% black, hispanic, and other in total. The only criterion for admission was a standardized test very similar to but shorter than the SAT, and I consider that impartial to race.

I think the idea that cultural differences play a role in the economic status of a person or group is a self-licking ice-cream cone. Inner-city "black culture" has a lot in common with rural "white culture," in that immersion in relative poverty tends to result in lowered expectations- you tend to go with what you know, and the environment in which one grows up has a lot to do with what a person perceives as normal. If a person has been raised with the idea that the attainment of certain trappings of status are "off-limits," then they will be more likely to set goals that are realistic outcomes as they see it- get a paying job early, get married and settle down relatively soon, etc. These values and expectations will likely be passed along to the next generation. Lowered expectations aren't indicative of "black culture," they are indicative of the culture of poverty.

A sizable portion of black people are at or below the poverty line; that perhaps a larger portion of this group exhibits the traits discussed above should not be a critique of black culture but a reflection of reality- poor whites tend to display the same sort of lowered expectations without the historical baggage that "black culture" has been stuck with.

I think it would be clear that standardized tests are impartial to race, but a student must first take that test, and to do so must have tbe expectation of being to pass that test, and to do so must have the expectation (and support) that hard work in academic fields of study is a viable opportunity. Generally, middle-class white children, and the children of new immigrants, are raised with that hope or expectation in the United States, whereas black or white (or what have you) children whose families have coped for generations with grinding poverty in this country without breaking loose of it do not.

Nicely done, Roy.

One of the things I have learned from many kids who have grown up in grinding poverty, which, I think, matches your analysis, is that they don't know what can be achieved because they don't have a worldview that includes economic success. Very generally speaking, of course.

But AnglRdr, this is pretty much what the term "Culture of Poverty" refers to, a multi-generational experience of poverty as the only life available. We may be talking at cross purposes in this debate.

When I talk about culture as related to poverty I am suggesting that only by changing the culture can we affect the poverty, and that is how I read the speaker in the OP as well. Are you disagreeing with that idea?

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AnglsWeHvHrdOnHiRdr
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I contend that "black culture" and "culture of poverty" are not synonymous.

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Lainie
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quote:
Originally posted by AnglRdr:
I contend that "black culture" and "culture of poverty" are not synonymous.

I would agree. I certainly know white families that are enmeshed in the culture of poverty and black families that are not (anecdotal evidence available upon request).

The conflation of "culture of poverty" and "black culture" is actually very dangerous, IMO. It's much harder for black kids to break out of the culture of poverty if, by doing so, they risk being labeled as "less black".

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Aptenodytes_Forsteriis
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quote:
Originally posted by AnglRdr:
I contend that "black culture" and "culture of poverty" are not synonymous.

granted, I subconciously ignored the race specific language when reading the OP.

Although, as a historical footnote, Moynihan was writing about the urban black experience of poverty when he originated the concept. Your political side lost one of its crowning jewels in him, that was a man I would dearly love to have had long arguments with.

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First of Two
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quote:
Originally posted by Lainie:
The conflation of "culture of poverty" and "black culture" is actually very dangerous, IMO. It's much harder for black kids to break out of the culture of poverty if, by doing so, they risk being labeled as "less black".

I'll get behind this statement 100%.

But the folks I generally see promoting that conflation aren't white folks, so forgive me if I go all Pseudo_Croatish and ask what can "we" do about it, beyond disparaging the conflation?

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Astra
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I hate having to say this, but there is definitely a group of people who fit the description in that article. I don't want to apply a stereotype or enforce one, but unfortunately some people do fit the profile.

A couple of nights ago on the New Orleans news, a weekly segment focused on a woman who couldn't move back into her home. It sounded like another bizarre story of FEMA/NOLA/etc goofing up... until they got into the details. The woman had received full compensation from her insurance company, had used it to pay off her mortgage, and was now loudly complaining that the government was not giving her money to repair her home, providing repairs itself, or giving her a FEMA trailer. All that she seemed to understand was that she had a damaged house and someone else was supposed to fix it all for her.

I was somewhat embarassed by her comments, but by the way WWL presented it, her complaints seemed to be common and a lot of people were backing her up in her quest for more money from whatever magical source it comes from.

Don't get me wrong, a lot of people got screwed down here... but some of them, black/white/purple/whatever, just don't seem to know a role other than that of victim and/or government ward. They see the hurricane as a chance to reach out and grab everything they can, and if someone else gets a particular form of benefit, they should, too, even if they don't actually need it. Frankly, it's sad.

I've got to agree with Roy's post. A lot of people here (of all colors) grow up in poverty and they don't even know to think beyond it, much less move out of it. It gets ingrained into families and neighborhoods. "It's the way we've always done it" is heard often, in everything from family recipes to bill-paying methods to local government policy. Trying to get new ideas planted can be difficult, to say the least, especially if there's any way those new ideas could be taken to imply the old ones were "backward" in any way.

Sorry, can you tell the attitudes frustrate me sometimes? Heh.

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tootiredtocare
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Guess you guys never heard of the ghetto tax. Poor people pay more to live in the ghetto then a modestly well off person would.

Add that in and the culture of poverty is incredibly difficult to get out of it. It is a malaise that has set in.

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Menolly
We Three Blings


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Tootiredtocare, welcome to the Board! And, I'm conpletely confused by your post. What is a ghetto tax? Do you have a cite and/or explanation? Thanks.

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glass papaya
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Menolly, I wondered about that too. Here is what I found, in an article in the New York Times:

Ghetto Tax

The gist is this. Drivers from poor neighborhoods pay higher auto insurance premeiums. Poor people are more likely to purchase household items at expensive rent-to-own stores. The poor are less likely to have a bank account, therefore paying fees to check cashing services. And so on.


Makes sense to me.

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wanderwoman
Bluetooth Christmas


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quote:
Originally posted by Menolly:
Tootiredtocare, welcome to the Board! And, I'm conpletely confused by your post. What is a ghetto tax? Do you have a cite and/or explanation? Thanks.

Though I'm not Tootiredtocare(well, maybe sometimes [Wink] ), I found a cite from the New York Times.

When you can't afford a car, you have to settle for what's close enough to get to on foot, or near public transportation. Few businesses settle in poor neighborhoods. Look around a few poor neighborhoods and you will find mostly convenience stores, rent-to-own places, and check-cashing places. All very expensive to use.

Now I suppose you could take the possibly 2-3 hour trek each way on the city bus with two transfers to get to Walmart to get stuff cheaper, but how much could you take home with you? Even if you have one of those wheeled carts you can get onto a bus, you can't do any kind of bulk shopping or buy big items. And that's assuming you are on your own and not trying to supervise (and possible carry) a couple of kids.

Many poor people don't have good credit and in fact have so little money that they don't have a bank account. That's why you see the check cashing places springing up in poor areas. And of course using those is very bad financial management, but I would point out that it is very hard to learn good financial management if you have no money to manage, and neither did your parents.

ETA: Spanked by glass papaya. I need to type faster!

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Sara at home
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Taxi fares are another ghetto tax.

Taxis do a very big business taking people without cars to grocery stores around here. And taxis are expensive, IMO, if you don't have a lot of money to begin with. Some of that business was cut when a chain grocery finally opened nearer the center of town, near the residental district. Before that store opened, all the large chain groceries were either in the suburbs or on the outer edges of the city. People walking to and from the new store with pull carts or bags of groceries is not uncommon. But even when they do call a taxi, fares are lower because the new store is closer to where they live.

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Assume that all my posts will be edited at least once. Dyslexic -- can't spell, can't type, can't proofread.

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tootiredtocare
Deck the Malls


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http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/local/bal-md.poverty19jul19,0,5246452.story?coll=bal-local-headlines

Has more info on the ghetto tax in Baltimore.

Btw if you get food stamps or a food card there is one thing you cannot get but that people would think you could get on it.

That thing is personal bathing products. No shampoo, no bath soaps, no toilet paper, no detergent for your clothes. I mean that stuff is expensive if you live in a poor area since you have to go to a little market area where they charge you five bucks for a bar of soap. One bar not a pack.

It's one reason you can often smell people from public housing ten feet away. They cannot afford to bathe every day. Add in other expenses and the ghetto is ironicly very expensive to live in.

Those little stores in the ghetto rip people off because they know they can do it. If you want cigaretes they often sell individual cigaretes rather then packs or cartoons.

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Ganzfeld
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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It's true that "black culture" is an oversimplification but there certainly is a part of the American society who grow up in these neighborhoods and there just isn't an easy way out. It's easy for us to sit on the outside and talk about working your way out day by day, job by job, but when you're right in the middle, it just is not easy to see any light at the end of the tunnel.

I used to live right smack in the middle of one of those neighborhoods in the article tootired posted and it's extremely bleak: Everyone tries hard every day to be positive and pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps and all that but when the bank on the corner closes (as mine did there, at the beginning of the 90's) and the mom-and-pop shops go down one after the other like dominoes and the crime goes up and there aren't any new jobs coming in... I was, being a white kid from the suburbs, never caught up in that but I could see the people around me. It's easy for black conservatives and religious leaders, most of whom are now on the outside looking in, like the rest of us, to say it but, really, in the end, it's going to take leaders who are willing to go back in to those neighborhoods, move back from the suburbs and retake the cities (come hell or high water, as it were) to make the change. As long as it's only outsiders criticizing the people who live in these communities (and, yes, I do think some insiders who blame the outside are also to blame but I understand them much more), nothing is going to change.

(I'm extremely sleepy, a little tipsy, and this post is not very thought out. But I'll leave it as it stands.)

I also want to add, the saddest thing about living in a "ghetto" is that you see the wasted potential every day. You'd think that all these people kind of deserve to be there for one bad choice or another. Maybe they do; I don't know. But you meet people who are as hardworking and good, even people with college degrees from good universities, and they are struggling just like the rest. I find it hard to believe that all these people are just victims of problems they made themselves.

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wanderwoman
Bluetooth Christmas


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Regardless of how sleepy and tipsy you are, Ganzfeld, that was an excellent post and I agree with it.

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"But I'm adding this to my reasons why I never really liked really good looking men much. Sheesh, what good is good looking if you have to stuff a sock in his mouth." - Sara at home
NFBSK, IIRC and other mysterious Snopester language

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