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Cosby Kicking more Butt
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typoon
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Jul 9, 2004, 02:54 PM
 
http://www.sun-sentinel.com/features...ment-headlines

I know there was a thread on this before but it's great to keep hearing the Cos Talking about this. More people in the black community need to join him.
"Evil is Powerless If the Good are Unafraid." -Ronald Reagan

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Jul 9, 2004, 03:43 PM
 
VOTE COSBY
     
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Jul 9, 2004, 03:58 PM
 
Jell-O.
     
brachiator
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Jul 9, 2004, 10:19 PM
 
A super rich old guy howling against poor black kids. How novel and refreshing...
     
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Jul 9, 2004, 10:20 PM
 
Idaho.
I, ASIMO.
     
Rain
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Jul 9, 2004, 10:25 PM
 
Originally posted by brachiator:
A super rich old guy howling against poor black kids. How novel and refreshing...
Better than turning a blind eye and pretending the problem doesn't exist. I'm glad someone finally spoke up about it.
     
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Jul 9, 2004, 10:50 PM
 
Originally posted by ASIMO:
Idaho.
who da ho?
     
starman
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Jul 9, 2004, 10:54 PM
 
Originally posted by brachiator:
A super rich old guy howling against poor black kids. How novel and refreshing...
What does income have to do with it?

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Jul 9, 2004, 10:57 PM
 
He's a celebrated teacher. Doctor of Education. Right.
...
     
ghost_flash
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Jul 9, 2004, 10:59 PM
 
Originally posted by brachiator:
A super rich old guy howling against poor black kids. How novel and refreshing...
He's howling at stupid adult black males raising their children wrong. He's right.
He is refreshing!
...
     
grayware
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Jul 9, 2004, 11:39 PM
 
I'm glad Bill's speaking up against it, it's about time someone did and he's revered enough to do it. Now, who do we get to speak out on the stupid WHITE morons? It ain't black or white, it's sad in any color that people don't have more initiative to do the proper thing.
     
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Jul 10, 2004, 12:35 AM
 
Originally posted by ASIMO:
Idaho.
Richard Buttler is gone...Sued
     
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Jul 10, 2004, 01:13 AM
 
Puddin' pop?
     
brachiator
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Jul 10, 2004, 08:07 PM
 
Originally posted by Rain:
Better than turning a blind eye and pretending the problem doesn't exist. I'm glad someone finally spoke up about it.
No one worth listening to pretends the problem doesn't exist. People actually interested in improving the position of poor youth -- of all skin tones -- have been speaking up about "it" since at least the early 60s. Take Pat Moynihan, for example, with "Defining Deviancy Down."

Originally posted by starman:
What does income have to do with it?
A lot -- although I would not limit it only to personal income, but also to extended family, neighborhood and community income as well as personal, extended family, neighborhood and community wealth -- both economic and cultural. Poverty may not cause the problems Cosby is ranting about, but it is certainly strongly correlated. And people and communities in poverty have to work extra hard just to keep up, as well as combat the negative effects of poverty on the community and their individual chances.

I think that it is cheap for a multi-millionaire -- of any skin tone -- to complain that poor black people aren't "holding up their end of the bargain." The civil rights movement wasn't about "striking a deal" -- it was about demanding at least the absolute minimum equality and respect in the eyes of the law. There's no trade off -- it is the due of every American and one doesn't have to forego rap music and baggy pants and flippin' burgers to be "entitled" to it. Moreover, as King (and Malcolm) and just about every other civil rights leader from Frederick Douglass to the present day recognized, the solution to the problems of slavery, Jim Crow and economic discrimination was not simply ending government-sanctioned racism. That was the bare minimum necessary to begin, but by no means sufficient. But that is about as far as the civil rights movement got, and at best put the now-poor black population on a legal par with the also-abused and manipulated poor white and other populations. Still no guarantee of economic equality or even so much as an economic, educational or political opportunity.

The problems Cosby mentions are not unique to the black community.

So, maybe Cosby holds black people to a higher standard -- in the same way that I was raised to hold fellow Jews to a higher moral standard. Nevertheless, it's a cheap shot for Cosby to take from atop his pile of money, at least until he starts spreading it around a lot more to "uplift the race," as they used to say. If he's looking for black kids to hold up "their end of the bargain" he should make damn sure they got paid on their end of the bargain, first.

And no, just to cover it, I don't think that the problems Cosby cited are limited to the poor populations. But I didn't hear Cosby railing against rappers or TV or movie stars who rake it in perpetuating gangsta style, lingo and attitude as well as some of the worst stereotypes of black culture, behavior and tendencies. Nor did I hear him railing against middle-class and upper-class whites (or others) who ape the street style Cosby loathes and make it hellaciously profitable by buying into the commercialized materials put out in that style. Heavens, no! Those are some people who might have the wherewithal to slap Cosby back!

Originally posted by ghost_flash:
He's howling at stupid adult black males raising their children wrong. He's right.
He is refreshing!
As I'm sure you know, one of the problems with the poor black community (as with many communities plagued by poverty, drugs and abusive "anti-drug" laws) is that the fathers are often not raising the children at all -- they're dead, in jail, on drugs or just plain gone. Maybe Cosby should turn his attention and considerable wealth to those problems, first. And, of course, Cosby did not limit his comments to the sins of the fathers. He pretty much indicted the entire community.

Which is not refreshing at all. Its old. Its tired. Its cheap and easy and been used throughout the past 150 years to divert attention from economic and other issues. The only thing novel about it is that Cosby is a Black Man -- a Rich Black Man. So somehow his critique is worth more because he's speaking from "the inside." But the critique was never worth much to begin with. Of course kids should learn how to speak proper English. Of course kids should go to school and have positive hopes, dreams. Of course they should get jobs, good jobs. Of course they shouldn't be idolizing gangsters. If that passes for deep, refreshing thought, then we are in big trouble. When Cosby is interested in talking about the problems that underly the symptoms he describes, I'll be interested in listening.

(BTW, none of the above -- this should be obvious -- is meant necessarily to excuse any person's bad behavior. Ultimately, everyone has to be responsible for their own behavior and destiny -- society cannot function in any other way. But just because a person cannot be excused on the basis of ceratain factors doesn't mean that those factors are irrelevant to understanding why a person acted or became a certain way. Same thing for a population. Cosby's complaints are systemic and society-wide. If he's unwilling to look at the root causes of problems he claims to want to see solved then he's just pissing in the wind. Of course, maybe he is not interested in fixing the problems. Maybe he's just a cranky old cuss who likes getting worked up into a lather in front of cheering fans... )
( Last edited by brachiator; Jul 10, 2004 at 08:15 PM. )
     
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Jul 10, 2004, 08:10 PM
 
Originally posted by Rain:
Better than turning a blind eye and pretending the problem doesn't exist. I'm glad someone finally spoke up about it.
No one is pretending it doesn't exist. It's the blame game that is going on.

Cosby is telling it like it is.
     
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Jul 10, 2004, 10:48 PM
 
If you're white and you support Cosby on this issue, you're on slippery ground. First of all, you're advocating that the racial profile of african-americans should be more integrated and homogenized with a european-like projectory and, secondly, you're voicing your disapproval of urban poverty based on the perception that a group (and a race group, at that) is being lazy and incoherant. Aren't these two things just a wee bit problematic?

I guess I've seen first hand that the Coz has a point, at least superficially. I wish all sorts of people would make a better effort to educate themselves and raise responsible children. But I've also seen that racial profiling in the education system, in work hiring practices, and in the media began has been creating the problem of an urban culture that has been very antogonistic to middle-class society for the decades since the civil rights movement. I guess Bill can tell people to pick themselves up by their bootstraps, but I would hope that people can see that there's a little bit of the "closed community" syndrome being advocated here (where embarrassing neighbours are sifted out so that the economic prosperity of a set of homes won't have their property value negatively impacted.)
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hyperb0le
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Jul 10, 2004, 11:06 PM
 
brachiator: You said Cosby should turn his wealth towards the lack of a father figure in many children's' lives? What would you propose he do? Buy these kids a father? Also, maybe you are unaware that he is paying full college tuition for several high-achieving black students who couldn't afford to go to college otherwise.

Also, money cannot solve a behavioral problem. A person must consciously change their behavior in order to create a positive change. Most people today (not just African Americans) want someone else to solve their problems. That's not how it works.

On a side note, isn't it strange that Jazz originally created by African Americans, yet now, the majority of African American children scoff at Jazz? I guess they don't want any real music to interfere with their "Rap Gangsta" image.

Let me again reemphasize that nothing I have said holds true for all blacks, all whites, or any one group. Humanity in general is facing some very serious behavioral problems coming from all ethnicities.
     
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Jul 10, 2004, 11:25 PM
 
Originally posted by hyperb0le:
brachiator:

On a side note, isn't it strange that Jazz originally created by African Americans, yet now, the majority of African American children scoff at Jazz? I guess they don't want any real music to interfere with their "Rap Gangsta" image.
Dude, at least 90% of teenagers scoff at jazz, or at least avoid it unless it will help them seduce someone... it was cool about 40 or 50 years ago and is now requires an almost academic study of musicianship just to appreciate, which not really important to most teens, or adults, at all.

*ducks for cover as the beboppers throw their berets at him*
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hyperb0le
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Jul 10, 2004, 11:32 PM
 
Originally posted by AB^2=BCxAC:
Dude, at least 90% of teenagers scoff at jazz, or at least avoid it unless it will help them seduce someone... it was cool about 40 or 50 years ago and is now requires an almost academic study of musicianship just to appreciate, which not really important to most teens, or adults, at all.

*ducks for cover as the beboppers throw their berets at him*
* throws beret at AB^2=BCxAC

I know that most teenagers couldn't care less about Jazz, but I find it especially strange that its creator has begun to abandon it already. It would be like people from Latin America abandoning Latin music And I wouldn't say Jazz requires an academic study to appreciate it. Maybe to play it, but music can always be enjoyed by anyone. Either way, that was just a little side note.
     
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Jul 11, 2004, 02:21 AM
 
Originally posted by gorickey:
Jell-O.
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Jul 11, 2004, 03:29 AM
 
Originally posted by brachiator:


A lot -- although I would not limit it only to personal income, but also to extended family, neighborhood and community income as well as personal, extended family, neighborhood and community wealth -- both economic and cultural. Poverty may not cause the problems Cosby is ranting about, but it is certainly strongly correlated. And people and communities in poverty have to work extra hard just to keep up, as well as combat the negative effects of poverty on the community and their individual chances.

I think that it is cheap for a multi-millionaire -- of any skin tone -- to complain that poor black people aren't "holding up their end of the bargain."
Blah blah blah... great lecture. But you are putting the emphasis on the wrong source. All that dances around the most pressing problem that helps perpetuate all the other problems. The lack of parenting and present fathers among the black community is quite simply the first issue that needs to be addressed before economic and social opportunities. If the absent parents were all due to the necessity of those people having to be at work while they could be taking care of their children then that would be one thing. But the reality is that most of those kids are abandoned and ignored because their parents chose to make their own enjoyment and happiness a priority rather then that of their kids. That has nothing to do with economics. Impregnating multiple women or just one and then not taking responsibility for the children produced from the action is not something that springs up because people didn't throw more money at you.
The lack of a real role model in their lives is what makes those kids turn to sports and music stars in hopes of finding direction on how to live their lives. If all they have to emulate are things they see of television then no amount of opportunity will make much of a difference because they will not have the guidance to take advantage of it. Then couple that with the fact that they see that behavior as acceptable because their parent's did it to them and you have started a nice cycle of future generations of ignored bastard children who are even more lost then their parents.
And no this is not a unique problem to black community but it is one that is more common to them and as a result more socially acceptable among their peers. If Cosby wants to draw attention to that then that is his prerogative but it is not his responsibility to contribute his financial resources to raise those kids. Unless the responsibility is taken up by those individuals who chose to perpetuate this behavior stop and take their place as parents then anyone who picks up their slack is just aiding them in the action.

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Jul 11, 2004, 01:59 PM
 
He is a very intelligent man. The black community should listen to him instead of Jackson and Sharpton. Getting a good education and self reliance is the way to achieve.

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Jul 11, 2004, 06:53 PM
 
Originally posted by wdlove:
He is a very intelligent man. The black community should listen to him instead of Jackson and Sharpton. Getting a good education and self reliance is the way to achieve.
Exactly.
     
brachiator
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Jul 11, 2004, 10:24 PM
 
Originally posted by hyperb0le:
brachiator: You said Cosby should turn his wealth towards the lack of a father figure in many children's' lives? What would you propose he do? Buy these kids a father? Also, maybe you are unaware that he is paying full college tuition for several high-achieving black students who couldn't afford to go to college otherwise.
I'm aware of Cosby's paying these two or three kids' ways through college. It is great, although I don't think you are correct that they could not afford to go otherwise. They've switched choice of colleges under Cosby's tutelage and with his money, but as I recall were planning to go to other colleges before (perhaps working their way through). Doesn't detract from Cosby's generosity or good intentions, either way.

What I am proposing beyond this is that Cosby devote some of his considerable wealth, media access and celebrity power to addressing the systemic problems that plague the poor black community (and others). The kids' behavior is symptomatic of many issues. While self-control, self-actualization, self-respect and taking personal responsibility are among the issues/solutions, there are much deeper problems of poverty and a poverty/crime distorted culture. These issues are interwoven.

The one positive thing I could see was that Cosby was appearing with Jesse Jackson on one of his platforms. Jackson's a self-aggrandizing opportunist but a lot of his economic politics and coalition-building have been right on target. Cosby has more legitimacy than Jackson in many ways and perhaps the two of them could launch a sustained campaign based on both economic justice and bootstraps personal responsibility. But the economics are predicate to a successful attempt to lift up a community.


Originally posted by Captain Obvious:
But you are putting the emphasis on the wrong source. All that dances around the most pressing problem that helps perpetuate all the other problems. The lack of parenting and present fathers among the black community is quite simply the first issue that needs to be addressed before economic and social opportunities.
This isn't an either/or proposition. These problems are interwoven and solutions to neither will likely succeed without the other also being addressed. To turn hyperb0le's question on you, what would you do -- force the fathers to parent the kids, or buy the kids surrogate fathers? Remember, apart from the question of what to do about the parents, we're now talking about how to help kids -- who are definitionally unable to help themselves -- by themselves -- out of their quandary, even if created by their parents. The choice is either to do something to help the kids get on the straight and narrow, so to speak, or to not help them and resultingly (a) lose their potential contributions to society and (b) waste resources combating the problems the kids ultimately cause. Blaming the kids or their parents and then leaving the kids without the wherewithal to get out of the hole is useless. That wherewithal will cost a considerable amount of money and attention. It's not "throwing money at the problem" that I am talking about -- a favorite jibe of the do-nothing right-wing, of which I am not fond -- but comprehensive and sustained, long-term programs to take up the parental slack, so to speak. An enormous task, yes. But as misguidedly addressed and as undermined as it was by the Vietnam War, corruption and right-wing and local resistance, LBJ's "War on Poverty" was aptly named and a good idea.

Originally posted by Captain Obvious:
But the reality is that most of those kids are abandoned and ignored because their parents chose to make their own enjoyment and happiness a priority rather then that of their kids. That has nothing to do with economics. Impregnating multiple women or just one and then not taking responsibility for the children produced from the action is not something that springs up because people didn't throw more money at you.
I disagree -- the effect on the kids and the results has everything to do with economic resources. The state of the parents has a lot to do with economic allocations, too. I don't know where you have obtained your data about "most of those kids" and their parents, but let's assume they are correct. You say that the parents (well, fathers) abandon their kids in pursuit of their own "enjoyment and happiness." OK, assume that to be the case, as well (short-term happiness, at most). So, why do they choose that "happiness" over their kids' well-being? Are they by nature morally corrupt? Or are they just "uncivilized?" Or have they given up on society and its morality? I think that the latter has a lot to do with it, and here's where the economics come in. When there are no jobs to be had or the only jobs to be had are crap jobs at minimum wage with no insurance, no ability to even provide for one's family and faceless indignity, it's somewhat rational to say "to hell with it" to society and its rules. It's somewhat rational to think you've been had when white-collar thugs get away with bilking people of millions, and a string of relatively minor drug convictions can lead to 10 year, 20 year and life sentences. The social contract kinda goes two ways.

Which is why it gets my back up to hear a rich cat like Cosby complaining about the morals and worldview of the poor. If the parents here have no incentive to change then it is just pissing in the wind. You may not like it, but if you can't supply an effective "why" to these parents, they just won't change (the kids too) and that kind of shows just how much the complaining is genuine and how much is grandstanding. Bill Bennett out there with a book of social responsibility in one hand, and even the words of WEB Dubois in the other hand, is not going to cut it. Maybe a place in society, a decent job with security and dignity, a safe school for the kids and a little moral leadership would be a good step toward those incentives.

Originally posted by Captain Obvious:
[ If Cosby wants to draw attention to that then that is his prerogative but it is not his responsibility to contribute his financial resources to raise those kids. Unless the responsibility is taken up by those individuals who chose to perpetuate this behavior stop and take their place as parents then anyone who picks up their slack is just aiding them in the action.
All I'm saying about Cosby is for him to put his money where his mouth is. Of course he has no obligation to do anything (other than the moral obligations he has by virtue of simply having all of those resources and power). I don't think what we are dealing with here is simply parental "slack," so I disagree that anyone who tries to give the parents the resources to straighten out is just an enabler. Besides, the important (and long-term) issue is the kids -- if the parents won't or can't do the job, it is in society's best and long-term interests (not to mention its moral obligation) to help the kids out.
( Last edited by brachiator; Jul 11, 2004 at 10:37 PM. )
     
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Jul 12, 2004, 07:20 AM
 
Originally posted by brachiator:
Remember, apart from the question of what to do about the parents, we're now talking about how to help kids -- who are definitionally unable to help themselves -- by themselves -- out of their quandary, even if created by their parents. The choice is either to do something to help the kids get on the straight and narrow, so to speak, or to not help
Its all about the kids? Maybe. But the emphasis on helping out the kids while absolving the parents for ignoring their responsibilities will only serve to perpetuate the behavior because the consequences of their inaction will be minimized. Your solution puts a crutch on a problem that only allows the infection to spread. You address a consequence of the problem not the problem itself.
Poverty is not a unique condition to the United States and it is not monopolized by the African American community within this country. The problem is not that we need more federal social programs as you suggest but rather that the internal social stigma that discouraged this behavior within that community has been completely eroded by their acceptance of it. In 2002 unmarried women accounted for 69 percent of black births when in comparison the next highest rate among other groups was almost half that number. Is it that poverty effects this group more than others? Or is it that there is an underlying problem with this community that makes them react differently than other groups at the same socioeconomic level? I am not sure if in your comments you meant for that "they" to denote the children or parents but if you meant the parents then yes they are morally corrupt. Or to be more specific, morally bankrupt. And no amount of "comprehensive and sustained, long-term programs to take up the parental slack" will be able to repair or reverse that trend. And you cannot push the blame for that on poverty or lack of federal intervention.
Why do those parent's choose to pursue their short term happiness rather then do what's right? Because of the messed up ethics and social norms that community has created. The fathers aren't the only ones to blame. Unmarried mothers tend to have higher rates of rejecting parenting responsibilities as well, living out their lives as though they didn't have their kids. I remember during the E2 tragedy how many people were on TV talking about how some moms of four had died in the accident. All I wanted to know was what the hell a mother of small children was doing clubbing on a Tuesday morning at 4 A.M. Who was with the kids?
There has to be an internal movement within that community to reemphasize parental responsibilities and social condemnation by the peer group for those who do not embrace it. And that is why I can argue in favor of Cosby's cause and be critical of yours. More money does not help factor in better social norms adopted by the people who make up that community. If anyone cares about the kids then they need to step in and remind the people who are supposed to be responsible for them that they need to do their jobs.


Originally posted by brachiator:
I disagree -- the effect on the kids and the results has everything to do with economic resources. The state of the parents has a lot to do with economic allocations, too. I don't know where you have obtained your data about "most of those kids" and their parents, but let's assume they are correct. You say that the parents (well, fathers) abandon their kids in pursuit of their own "enjoyment and happiness." OK, assume that to be the case, as well (short-term happiness, at most). So, why do they choose that "happiness" over their kids' well-being? Are they by nature morally corrupt? Or are they just "uncivilized?" Or have they given up on society and its morality? I think that the latter has a lot to do with it, and here's where the economics come in. When there are no jobs to be had or the only jobs to be had are crap jobs at minimum wage with no insurance, no ability to even provide for one's family and faceless indignity, it's somewhat rational to say "to hell with it" to society and its rules. It's somewhat rational to think you've been had when white-collar thugs get away with bilking people of millions, and a string of relatively minor drug convictions can lead to 10 year, 20 year and life sentences. The social contract kinda goes two ways.

Fine let's assume you are correct and that economic resources are at issue. Is the allocation of resources better when a woman has two kids by two different fathers and neither one contributes to the raising of their kid? Are economic opportunities more readily available when a man lives in a separate home and has to pay child support to multiple women while supporting himself and making payments on a 40K SUV? Is it easier to finish highschool when you are 5 months pregnant? If poverty is at issue then the logic behind getting out of it is really twisted for some people in that community. Not having kids out of wedlock or staying married only helps people's financial situation. The black poverty rate for single mother families is 47 percent compared to 10 percent for married families. If people want to have more options then they need to seize upon the windows of opportunity they are given. And yes, while they may not be in abundance in poorer communities they still exist. This is not some third world Latin American or Asian country where the sons of field workers have no option but to be field workers. There are undeniable chances for lateral movement even if all of them do not lead to a 8 bedroom mansion.
As I said above poverty is nothing new. What has changed is that less people take up their responsibility and do whatever it takes to help bring up their kids. Great jobs and universal healthcare was not something available to every generation but this one. Yet, people made it work. People took jobs they didn't enjoy and worked hard to provide for their children and made sure they imparted good values onto their kids. Such high numbers of people didn't say to hell with it and my kids.
To say that this trend is somewhat rational is to take a huge leap. Your rationality is a huge contributor to helping people justify this behavior. There is no entitlement to anything in this world. There is no social contract. New era liberalism likes to perpetuate the myth that there is but in truth there is not. You are not guaranteed happiness and a nice house. Those are things that have to be struggled for and just because you see others who didn't have to struggle quite as hard does not mean you were cheated. Social programs were put in place to help in times of need and temporarily supplement low levels of resources. But people have adopted it as a lifestyle abandoning any effort to contribute more then what is handed out to them. No one should have to promise you something for doing a good job as a parent or spouse. Incentive in previous generations came in the form duty to your family. You may not like it but that "why" is all anyone should ever need to justify sacrifice.


But let's suppose that maybe some progress could be made with a federal program. There has to be a percentage among population that will always have kids who are not properly parented. I'll even be generous and say that it can be 1 in 5 children born. Do you suppose that all the programs in the world would be able to bring down the rate of African American children born to a single mothers, which is currently 3 in 4? Are even really good jobs going to make it simple for them to raise kids on their own? Of course not. The fix for this problem cannot come from the government nor will it. I was not even in favor of Bush's initiative to promote healthy marriages unless what it did was help private organizations to take up the banner and put their programs in place. What needs to happen for this community is that they need better leaders who emphasize personal responsibility and drop the old "its racism" that's keeping us down line. Money as has been proven time and again does not make good parents.



By the way, what I would do wouldn't be Constitutional. It involves Norplant and vasectomies for welfare programs and parole officer-like reporting up to and including chain gangs for dead beat dads. Maybe even a Scarlet Letter approach form of tattooing.
So a more reasonable approach is community group mentoring, their neighborhood leaders taking a more active role in marriage counseling, and maybe even matching funds for centers that promote family planning. But nothing that means expanded welfare or job training unless you have proven to have taken up your end of your responsibilities.
( Last edited by Captain Obvious; Jul 12, 2004 at 07:49 AM. )

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Jul 12, 2004, 09:01 AM
 
well said.
     
AB^2=BCxAC
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Jul 12, 2004, 10:15 AM
 
OMG, I agree with Spliff and C.O. (except the advocating eugenics part).

The issue is personal responsibility in the face of a crisis. I often wonder myself if the problem in urban environments that have been isolated by so many factors (and consequently get their isolated dialects and ridiculous role models) isn't a mental health crisis. That's right: mental health crisis. I mean, imagine how much counselling needs to be given just to retrain people to stop behaving destructively in their families and communities (not just Black).
"I stand accused, just like you, for being born without a silver spoon." Richard Ashcroft
     
hyperb0le
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Jul 12, 2004, 12:29 PM
 
^ What he said.

Also, another major issue that keeps many people (not just blacks, not just the poor) from getting good jobs and contributing to society is their complete lack of understanding of the English language. Little things like "Me and Andy went to the store" are forgivable in speech, but I've seen way too many people say things like "I would of gone there if I could" in writing. That doesn't look good when you turn in a job application More emphasis needs to be put on English in school. The fact that someone can graduate high school without having a correct understanding of English is a major flaw in our education system. Then again, if the president doesn't speak proper English, I guess we can't expect our kids to (that last part was just a joke. I don't want to derail this thread, so let's not start a Bush-related conversation)
     
brachiator
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Jul 14, 2004, 11:08 PM
 
Cap'n, you posted an interesting retort. Lots of irrelevant material, factoids and broad assertions -- a less courteous man than I might reply, "blah, blah, blah" -- but some intriguing points.

Originally posted by Captain Obvious:
...you cannot push the blame for that on poverty or lack of federal intervention.
Why do those parent's choose to pursue their short term happiness rather then do what's right? Because of the messed up ethics and social norms that community has created....
This is really a chicken-and-egg dispute. Why did the community adopt those ethics and norms -- assuming that you are not overstating it? Significant and large segments of the poor black population, for example, had just the opposite culture at least as late as the 1950s and 1960s. Cultural changes are rooted in many things, including economic and political conditions and the perception of those economic and political conditions.

Originally posted by Captain Obvious:
...If anyone cares about the kids then they need to step in and remind the people who are supposed to be responsible for them that they need to do their jobs.
Yes, certainly -- at a minimum. If one truly cares, however, one must do more, especially if and when it becomes clear that the people responsible for the kids are falling down on the job. Plus, pragmatically, if you don't help such kids when the parents are MIA, you just allow another generation to grow up with the social norms and ethics you claim to despise.

Originally posted by Captain Obvious:
... poverty is nothing new. What has changed is that less people take up their responsibility and do whatever it takes to help bring up their kids. Great jobs and universal healthcare was not something available to every generation but this one. Yet, people made it work. People took jobs they didn't enjoy and worked hard to provide for their children and made sure they imparted good values onto their kids. Such high numbers of people didn't say to hell with it and my kids...
What is your baseline here? When was this golden era of the poor? These are such general statements that it is hard to address them. Do you know what the family and crime conditions were historically in America's slums and ghettos? I'm no expert. The little I do know, however, indicates that poor communities have always suffered greater-than-average levels of crime and dysfunction. This is so unremarkable -- so "obvious," if you will -- that I bring it up only to ask you whether you know how much greater a proportion of poor populations are now screwed up in the ways you describe? Sure, their problems and the problems they cause are more publicized now, due to mass media and heightened interest. But, really, how much higher a percentage of dysfunctional poor is there now, compared to past decades? Maybe there's the same percentage now, but the population is greater in absolute terms?

Originally posted by Captain Obvious:
... To say that this trend is somewhat rational is to take a huge leap. Your rationality is a huge contributor to helping people justify this behavior...
It's not a leap at all -- and my rationality is not involved at all. What I said was essentially that when there is a lack of decent jobs, rampant and apparent economic and political injustice, and a sense that society has turned its back on you, it is rational for you to decide not to play by society's rules. I meant procedurally rational here, not substantively rational (i.e., that the thought process was understandable, not that the end result was optimal). It seems obvious to me that the result of this logic and decision is not good.

Originally posted by Captain Obvious:
There is no social contract. New era liberalism likes to perpetuate the myth that there is but in truth there is not...
Keep that in mind when I take an axe to your door while you are at work and swipe your Mac (I hope it's a new 17" or a dual G5) ... Of course there's a social contract. You and I differ on some of the terms of that contract, but we both agree that we both are entitled to certain things from each other and will refrain from doing certain things to the other. Social contract doesn't necessarily mean a right to healthcare, work or shelter -- although I'd just as soon have you agree that it did...

Originally posted by Captain Obvious:
Incentive in previous generations came in the form duty to your family. You may not like it but that "why" is all anyone should ever need to justify sacrifice...
Again, this is very broad and I have to ask about your baseline. Where do you get the idea that the poor were so noble and incentivized toward functional families? You know, of course, of the historical need for orphanages and the conditions of street urchins. "Oliver Twist" and "Boy's Town" and all that. Newt Gingrich once called for a return to that shimmering age...

I agree that your family-oriented "why" is all anyoone should need to make the sacrifices for his or her kids. But that's a prescription and wish, not an accurate description of how the world is for many people.

Originally posted by Captain Obvious:
What needs to happen for this community is that they need better leaders who emphasize personal responsibility and drop the old "its racism" that's keeping us down line. Money as has been proven time and again does not make good parents...
Well, racism and economic conditions are linked, but not necessarily interdependent. Money of course does not make good parents, but the task of being a good parent is much harder without it.

Originally posted by Captain Obvious:
...By the way, what I would do... involves Norplant and vasectomies for welfare programs and parole officer-like reporting up to and including chain gangs for dead beat dads. Maybe even a Scarlet Letter approach form of tattooing...
Would you really do this if you had the power?! And you would give the State the power to sterilize those whom it wished!? I suppose it was inevitable. The Eugenics ideas that became so beloved by the Third Reich were imported, in large part, from a strain of the American anthropological and legal tradition. "Three generations of imbeciles are enough," said the Supreme Court in 1927, when a law requiring the sterilization of the "feeble-minded" was challenged... (I am not calling you a Nazi. Only pointing out where this stuff leads and what kinds of people put it into practice...)

Originally posted by Captain Obvious:
...So a more reasonable approach is community group mentoring, their neighborhood leaders taking a more active role in marriage counseling, and maybe even matching funds for centers that promote family planning.
Who's going to pay for this? I mean, it is a society-wide, nation-wide problem. Local churches, for example, are not exactly swimming in money. You big-government tax-and-spender, you!

I do agree with the broad idea.

Originally posted by Captain Obvious:
...But nothing that means expanded welfare or job training unless you have proven to have taken up your end of your responsibilities.
Sure. I don't agree in principle, although the fight would inevitably come on the definition and list of "responsibilities."

More importantly, what about the kids? What do you do about the kids of the parents you reject? One welfare program, Aid to Families with Dependent Children, attempts to address this by providing money, etc., to the parents to take care of the kids. This may be the worst solution ever, except for all the other ones. Orphanages? Foster homes? I don't know the answer. I'd be very suspicious of anyone who claimed to, but I'd listen.

Let's remember, after all, that there are tremendous actual and potential costs to the problems we are discussing. I don't mean just the cost of the social programs I advocate, but also the medical, security, political and moral costs.

Your approach seems to be one of tough love, to characterize it most charitably. Point out the problems, insist that the adults and children reform and let them all stand or fall, live or die, on the decisions they make. It might be effective and morally acceptable for the adults, although it presupposes that the adults are at long last capable of reforming. It's downright cold-hearted for the kids, who are dependent on the whims of the adults.

Nevertheless, you could take this harsh approach and just cut the dysfunctional poor off completely. Jail them, or exile or kill them (or simply attempt to eliminate them by attrition through one of the breeding-control policies you've advocated) when they threaten the "functional society." Apart from the moral costs of this approach, the security and police costs, especially the more repressive you get, are very high.

Significant poor populations outside the fold of and at odds with society, moreover, are dangerous to society. Yes, they provide business with moral and economic leverage to keep wages low, but they also tend to become rebellious when either repressed too much or too excluded from the spoils of the economic system. From this perspective, the welfare state can be seen not so much as the creation of bleeding heart liberals but by steely-eyed pillars of the Establishment and the business community -- economic Soma to keep the rabble from revolting. It's cynical, but another view. Take care of the poor now, and avoid having to put down a rebellion later...
     
Spliffdaddy
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Jul 14, 2004, 11:40 PM
 
and your solution is?
     
   
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