Everyone, I don’t care how wealthy you are financially or healthy you are or intelligent you are or what color your skin is, everyone has rough times in life. What indicates the character, the inner strength or weakness, of the person is how they handle those times.
When I see people who insist on remaining where they are, regardless of the opportunities that may be available to them, I do not see people possessed of very strong character. This is a country that provides free education to everyone through the 12th grade. I grant you that, since the Dept. of Education was established and the federal government was put in charge of education, the test scores of American students compared to the other nations of the world have plummeted. But nonetheless, the basics are there and offered free of charge. In fact, it is against the law NOT to attend school for nearly ten of those 12 years.
I know there are those who claim that the student can’t learn or learn as well if they come from a poor home because they don’t have enough to eat or a broken home because they don’t come from a stable home or a home in which they are neglected or abused. While those things play a part in the child’s learning, I must say that I came from a very dysfunctional home and I was still expected to learn and pass tests and be a productive member of society when I got out of school. Children in many countries are barely able to eat at all and they suffer all kinds of health issues because of it, but their test scores are quite a bit higher than those of American children. I have friends who were raised in abominable conditions. Fathers were drunks and beat them. Mothers were drug addicts and never there for them at all. They didn’t want to live their adult lives like that, so they applied themselves even harder in school and bettered their futures. They saw what needed to be done to change things for themselves and they did it.
For decades now I have heard over and over about the plight of the inner city kids. I have been told how terrible it is for them, how they have no way out, how hungry they are and how dangerous it is to live how and where they live. I have seen countless movies showing how there is no hope in the people living in the inner city, movies that show how decent people and children and elderly are terrorized by drug dealers and gang members, how murders take place daily and drive by shootings take innocent lives. Once in a great while a movie will show how one person, in true Hollywood style, courageously takes a stand and fights against all these gangsters and thugs and makes a difference. Once in a while I see a movie that shows some horribly bullied kid standing up for himself and going to school, even though the thugs and bullies beat the tar out of him for doing it.
Hollywood loves a good story. The more blood and guts in it, the better they like it and the more they play it up. I had a friend who was born and raised in the Chicago ghetto. She was 12 years old when, in the hallway of her tenement, a man she didn’t know pinned her against the wall and raped her. I’m not oblivious to the realities of the ghetto. I wouldn’t go there if the choice were mine.
But what I don’t understand and never will is why the rest of society is told that it is their fault and their heartlessness that causes those people to live there. I don’t understand why we are constantly being told that it is up to everyone else to resolve the problems of people who live like that.
Why does everyone want to point a finger of blame at someone else? There are so many people who want to blame white people for the poverty of Latinos and blacks. Don’t they realize that there are plenty of white people who live in trashed out, poverty stricken, drug and booze induced communities? Don’t they realize that if, in a middle-class neighborhood, a white person is committing a crime or acting suspiciously, that person is going to be arrested and taken to jail? Don’t they realize that most murders do not take place in the nicer neighborhoods because the people in those neighborhoods simply don’t commit murders? It isn’t because they are white neighborhoods. It’s because the people living there just don’t behave that way.
The plain and simple truth is, children learn what they live. A child is an adult under construction. What they are allowed to do as a child will become a habit and, as an adult, they will embrace it as a way of life. I don’t care if you take that adult out of that environment and give him all the best things in life. He will not change.
So who is really to blame? Not society. Not people who have a different skin color. It’s the parents. It’s the parents who just don’t have the motivation or determination to rein their kids in when they want to act disrespectfully or criminally while they are young. It’s the parents who are drug crazed and drunk themselves. It’s the parents who fight constantly with each other. It’s the parents who act immorally and take no responsibility for their own actions. It’s the parents who spend the little money they have on unnecessary items rather than setting an example of good stewardship. It’s the parents who don’t make their children go with them to church. It’s the parents who engage in illegal activities rather than putting out an honest day’s hard work for an honest day’s pay. It’s the parents who allow their children to stay home from school and not apply themselves when they do attend. It’s the parents who make excuses for their children’s bad behavior. It’s the parents who curse and dress like skanks and thugs and cause their children to think that’s acceptable. It’s the parents who speak in Ebonics rather than trying to speak English. It’s the parents who tell their kids that the reason they are living as they are is because those white folks hate them and force them to live like that by denying them money.
And there it is. Those children are never told the truth. They are never told that, although back in history slavery was practiced throughout the world, it was the white people who finally decided it was going to end because it was immoral. It was the white people who changed their way of life and fought and killed each other over this issue, not just in America, but all over the world. It was the white people who made it possible for all children, regardless of color or nationality, to attend school so they could have better lives than their parents and provide better for their own children. For the most part, it has been the white people who have used their opportunities for better education and industrialized the world, given it modern medicines and medical treatments, produced food for the entire world, not just their own communities. It’s the white people who created a system of government and economics that has raised more people throughout the world out of poverty and degradation than any other system in history. And they haven’t kept it all for themselves. These children aren’t told about how the white people have gone around the world, at their own expense and in spite of putting their own lives at risk, and set up schools and hospitals in the worst and most dangerous parts of the world to help others.
They aren’t encouraged to emulate that kind of person. They aren’t told to learn to behave that way. Instead they are told that kind of person is to be hated, reviled and punished because that person has only gotten to live that way because they stole from the person in the ghetto. They are told not to trust whites. They are told that to live in abject poverty with no morals and no self-respect is better than to behave like the people who live the way they wish they could live.
To a child, when they see someone who is clean and lives in a nice home in a safe neighborhood, they want that, too. If a parent really wanted that for their child, they would encourage their child to do what those people do, act like those people act, speak like those people speak. Instead, the parents are so jealous of what they don’t have and aren’t providing, they blame their situation on others. They can’t and won’t admit that they themselves haven’t done all that they could or should to improve their own situation. It’s because of someone else. It’s because of their skin color. It’s because the other people hate them. It’s never because they didn’t do more for themselves.
They have been brow beaten for generations by people to believe that the most important thing about them is their skin color. Their talents, abilities, skills, intelligence, morality, none of that matters. The only thing they feel is worth any value at all is their skin color. It is the only thing they can relate to. It is the one thing they can point to as the reason they are living as they are. Skin color is the one thing they have no control over, so it’s very easy to blame everything on that. It relieves them of taking any blame for not changing what they actually do have some control over. It has nothing to do with whether they have tried to be successful by changing the way they themselves live. It has nothing to do with the people with whom they choose to associate. It has nothing to do with how long they’ve allowed criminal and abusive behavior to go on in their families and neighborhoods for so long that it has reached these impossible levels. No, no. Instead of accepting any responsibility for any of it, it must be those evil white people who are forcing them to live that way.
Well, I’m not being suckered into that line of thinking. I have always believed that most of what happens in our lives is due to our own way of thinking and our own efforts to change things for ourselves. I’m living just on the edge of being homeless myself. It isn’t anyone else’s fault but my own. When I was young, instead of saving and preparing for my golden years or for unforeseen difficulties, I was frivolous. I wanted to have a good time. I was young and healthy and not very smart. It isn’t the fault of wealthy people. It isn’t my neighbor’s fault, so why should they have to pay to take care of me? It was my own doing. But for people of color, they aren’t told that. They are told just the opposite.
It’s time to stop paying for other people’s stupidity and hard headedness. The reason white neighborhoods are safe isn’t because they have more money. It’s because they won’t tolerate behavior that would be harmful to the community. It’s because the parents have raised their children, not simply created them. The parents hold their kids responsible and expect them to maintain a certain level of respect and accountability for their actions. The attitude is completely different.
Unfortunately, because of Hollywood playing its guilt trips on whites and making them feel responsible for people who do drugs and live in deplorable conditions, even the nice neighborhoods are seeing more children engaging in bad behaviors because to be proud of being a person with integrity is seen as being the bad guy. It’s thought to indicate that you don’t care about people who have less than you. Instead of being someone people can look toward as an example of what can be, these white kids from good neighborhoods are told they are bad people because they aren’t as poor as someone else. Just the opposite is true.
There is nothing noble about being poor and there is nothing inherently evil about being better off than others. It takes effort to get to and maintain a decent standard of living. No one should be made to feel guilty about it. People who aren’t willing to see being self-sustaining, let alone prosperity, as a goal and work toward it for themselves, they’re the ones who should feel guilty. They aren’t using the natural gifts God gave them to achieve the most they can.
I don’t care what your religion is. I don’t care what color your skin is. All I care about is how you live your life, how you present yourself, what example you set, especially for your children, and how much effort you’re willing to put out on your own behalf. Those are all indicators of the person you truly are. And don’t try to make me feel guilty or responsible for you based on anything else. Stop blaming others for your problems. Most of your problems are of your own making because of your own choices in life.
If your neighborhood isn’t safe, move. If you have to leave friends and family behind, so be it. It’s their choice to remain just as it’s your choice. If you can’t afford to move, get a job and earn enough to move. If you have trouble getting a job, do what the hobos did during the depression. Just walk away from everything and head toward another town where you can begin again. If it’s not that important to you, then you will never get out of the situation you are now in. So why should it be more important to someone else than it is to you? People don’t die from moving forward. They die from stagnating where they are. I’ve been homeless and I’ve been so hungry I was shaking. Right now I need medical treatment, but I won’t go to the doctor because I refuse to incur another bill. I don’t want to hear sob stories anymore. Crocodile tears mean nothing to me. If you aren’t willing to do what you can do to improve your own situation in life, then don’t come crying to me. If you would rather remain in a place where people destroy the property they have been given at no cost to themselves, don’t expect me to give you even that let alone something better. If you would rather spend money on cell phones and TVs and fast food, don’t expect me to give tax dollars to provide you with food stamps.
When you show that you’re willing to be responsible for and take care of what you already have, when you show me that you are willing to make serious changes in your own life and hold your own family responsible for their behavior, then maybe we can talk about assisting you. Until then, it’s a waste of time on both sides and definitely a waste of money. Money will not change the character of anyone. It doesn’t matter if you’re rich or poor. It isn’t money that makes the man, it’s character. And without changing your character and your mind set, nothing will change in your life.
Men and women who are willing to learn in school and who do work for a living put on a uniform every day and go into your crime infested neighborhoods and stand between you and the criminals you have raised and who you tolerate and you encourage your youth to kill them, always pointing the finger of blame at others, never accepting responsibility for what you have created and tolerated. There are scores of people who claim to be reverends and political leaders who continue to beat the drum of skin color and continue to rile up the anger and hatred in the hearts of people who feel hopeless by blaming others to the point of accepting and making excuses for murdering the very people who have put their lives on the line to protect you.
I’m tired of the excuses. I’m tired of the guilt trips and I’m tired of thinking about how many trillions of dollars have been wasted on trying to do for you what you aren’t willing to do for yourselves. Find some other reason for your problems than your skin color. It’s become boring. You can’t control your skin color and neither can I. But you can change your way of thinking. You can take responsibility for your situation in life and you yourself can make changes in that situation. What doesn’t require sacrifice and hard work will never make you a better person.
Life isn’t supposed to be fair. Look hard for even the smallest opportunities to improve and act on them. One will lead to another and another. It’s up to you, not someone else. If you won’t do it for yourself, don’t expect someone else to do it for you. If your skin color is what is most important to you, then expect that to be what is most important about you to others. I never got or lost any opportunities based on my skin color and neither have you. I don’t care what you’ve been told. It’s the way you present yourself and how you speak and what you think that either gets you ahead or holds you back in life. You are seen by others just the way you see yourself. That’s the truth and it’s true for all of us. Deal with it.