by B.J. Delas Armas
on 1/10/2004 04:35:00 PM
Print this post
The War on Poverty
40 years ago and a day ago, Lyndon B. Johnson declared a war on poverty, an initiative for more jobs, corps, etc. What a surprise, it had some early great results by reducing the poverty level from 20% to about 10%. The most impoverished group is children.
And now Americans have altogether forgotten about the poor in America, largely because there's a new generation of them who think its the norm. As a result, poverty's been completely forgotten and its rate has stagnated at about 10 percent of all Americans meaning that there's still about 30 million who live in poverty.
These Americans, and I refer to cushed up middle-class folkers, have probably been exposed to a lot of crap from the conservative (as they want to label themselves) wing about how they lack morality and how they need to change the way they live. Ignorant dumbasses like Bill O'Reilly will stop shouting for a second at "liberals" and stop for a second to say that "these" people need a self-help book and maybe they'll work hard.
And those that eventually do make it out of poverty will probably attribute their success to super hard work. They get heralded as another feel-good rags to riches story.
Newsflash ! For every rags to riches story there's a million untold stories of failures.
Not everyone has the ability to work super hard and "make it." Don't believe me ? Don't you remember your middle-class high school, with all those fucking slackers who managed to pull off A's without a move of their finger except to take a test sipping on fucking starbucks while you were trying to haul ass, breaking pencils, popping veins, and got stuck with a B ? What does that tell you ?
Yeah, some people have better tools than others to do things.
And keep that concept in mind when you think of the tools a middle-class kid like me has in comparison to a kid from the ghetto ala South Chicago, East St. Louis, New York's many places, South Central Los Angeles, etc. Those kids don't have the tools that middle-class kids get. They have more outdated books, shitty computers, shitty facilities. And then there's the problem of overcrowding where a lot of kids could easily lose attention. Crappy environment to learn in, meanwhile I can remember parents of kids from former my grade school bitching not about outdated books or shitty facilities, but about the lack of air conditioning. Air conditioning. A luxury, fellers, a luxury.
And this is just about the crappy environment in school that impoverished kids have to go through. I haven't even mentioned how the environment outside of school is and/or how what they've learned in that environment doesn't mix and mesh well with what the schools teach because the government has the majority, lameduck suburban schools in mind. Oh, now I have.
For example, in an attempt to engage in me in the drab material, I remember this 2nd grade aritmetic book asking questions of whether or not I built little tree houses and how I'd know something about geometry and making it even. Hmm gee, you think they'll find a tree somewhere in the ghetto so that they can buy wood, hammer, and nails to build a little house in. I think things like those help to foster a "what the fuck" kind of attitude. I know I was when I first saw that. I mean math is math, you either know it or you don't, but then if there's more connection from the material to the student and a more personalized environment, there's more of a chance that the kid will not "slip thru the cracks." This is true of probably all schools in America, but the problem is worse as you step down the socio-economic scale.
And once out of school and not having the skills, they also don't have the manners to survive in a middle-class society let alone get a decent-paying job. Like in a courtroom, most probably wouldn't know a simple mannerism like not directly staring at the judge instead of looking down.
So this is essentially my perception of how the poor continually stay poor in America.
Now for the war on poverty itself, it brought jobs to those who didn't make it. Dignity too. As a result, we saw the amount of people below the poverty line vanish. We also had the Vietnam war at the same time, and it got worse, and so lost was the positive effects of the war on poverty. Nowadays people just survive any way they can. They beat each other up to survive, they sell drugs, go to the military, go to prison. . .
Labels: War on Poverty (or lack thereof)