Plight of African Americans

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Although I'm certainly no expert, I think I've got a pretty good handle on how a portion of African Americans have been stuck in permanent poverty and misery.  To understand their plight you have to go back to post Civil War America.  Slavery may have ended in 1863 but after the war blacks were no better off.  Almost all could not read or write, had few skills and of course discrimination was still widespread even in the North. Lincoln himself considered blacks to be inferior.


So most African Americans simply traded slavery for sharecropping, not much of a move up.  They remained illiterate and unskilled outside of a relatively few exceptions.  In the 20th century came the dawn of industrialization and mass production.  African Americans naturally migrated from farm to cities like many other white people in search of better employment.  Some did find factory work, established a middle class lifestyle, sent their kids to college and thereby broke the bonds of poverty and achieved the American Dream.  Most did not, forced into paltry paying jobs at the bottom. Given the still systemic discrimination and the high illiteracy this was the fateful outcome.  Unlike farms, they could no longer sustain themselves on the land.  Hence the birth of the black ghetto.


In comes the 1960s and many White and Black Americans begin to denounce the fact that African American have been excluded from the American Dream.  Born was the Civil Rights movement.  To the forefront were leaders like MLK that wanted African Americans to rise up, prepare and better themselves and secure the American Dream. The music of the culture at the time, Motown, was uplifting.  Some of the best music and most gifted musicians/singers ever to grace American culture.


By the 1970s something had gone terribly wrong.  The handout never stepped up to the hand up.  Yes there were certainly success stories.  In my lifetime I've had the honor of meeting successful African Americans born into the Projects but blessed with parents determined their children would do much better.  Along with other positive adult influencers such as teachers and coaches they beat the odds.  (A really pathetic statement about our overt age discrimination several have found themselves back into the chains of poverty after what was successful years of work.)  However, by and large most urban African Americans remained either in low paying jobs or permanent victims of the welfare apparatus.


No surprise that what followed was crime, violence, dysfunctional and incomplete families, disrespect, substance abuse, blight and all around misery.  Over time the problem becomes generational with each successive generation more entrenched into a world of apathy and ignorance.  Also no shocker their music has turned to that promoting violence, human abuse, drug use, human decay, anger and hatred.  Young poor African Americans are told this is their fate and destiny, something the are to accept.


The reasons for the failure of the civil rights movement are many with plenty of blame to go around, including African American leaders themselves.  They've been used as political footballs and taken advantage of by people with alternative agendas.


In more recent years the destruction of social mobility has squashed their hopes even more.  With our manufacturing base eroded and fewer opportunities even for college grads, small town and rural America have added to the ranks of the systemic poor.  The opiate epidemic in small town America is the crack epidemic in urban America during the 80s and 90s.  Single mothers unprepared for motherhood have soared.  Small towns begin to look like hollowed out battle grounds-just like the urban ghettos.  What's left are bottom of the barrel jobs ensuring impoverished citizens for decades to come, if not forever.  Resulting is that white rural America and urban black America begin to share a similar fate.


I believe we have created a permanent underclass within the African American community. Yes some will be able to break the generational bonds of poverty but their numbers will be few.  Most will continue to live in an environment of never ending decay and as the poverty becomes a permanent fixture few will have the motivation or tenacity to change their awful plight.  And yes, they will remain a significant talking points memo for politicians with no real ideas for hand ups.  Poor white America may also very well join their perpetual misery.


Tubularsock Added Dec 26, 2017 - 11:16am
George, Tubularsock thinks you have given a solid overview of the matter at hand. As Tubularsock rides his bike through the SF Bay Area and observes the massive homeless encampments of all colors and nationalities it is rather overwhelming to say the least.
In a country that "Talks the good game" of helping people less fortunate the real world is showing it just ain't happening.
Many of the homeless Tubularsock is talking about hold down jobs!
Our country has lost our way and it no longer is just minorities that are hurting.
And yet we'll waste millions on another bomb, go figure.
George N Romey Added Dec 26, 2017 - 11:30am
TS I agree we aren’t taking care of our people very good. Too much going to too few.
Dino Manalis Added Dec 26, 2017 - 12:38pm
That's why poverty should be removed from our education system as much as possible, especially with respect to primary education.  Welfare and criminal justice reform should help people with social services to gradually improve their lives.  Of course, we need to do a much better job at strengthening economic conditions for the middle class and poor.
Utpal Patel Added Dec 26, 2017 - 5:02pm
The civil rights movement was no failure, it was a smashing success. Today, blacks have every right afforded them as every white male. So the question remains, why haven’t blacks risen up the socio economic ladder?
I think the answer has to do with white guilt and the victim mentality among blacks and I present this article as evidence why both still exist. So long as we look for excuses for their failure to rise up, whites will remain guilty and blacks will portray themselves to be the chief victim of racism. The truth is that every ethnicity has had to deal with racism and none still blame their lot in life on it.
Stone-Eater Added Dec 26, 2017 - 6:05pm
Thanks for seeing behind color.
Stone-Eater Added Dec 26, 2017 - 6:08pm
You know: The goal of the USA is to be no. 1. Question is no. 1 on what ?
George N Romey Added Dec 26, 2017 - 9:02pm
Thanks SEF. If Utpal wasn’t so ignorant he would have read that I put some of the blame on the African American community itself including its leaders. Maybe if he was born into generations of poverty going back more than 150 years he might have non racist views. Hasn’t he heard what some Americans think about Indians.
opher goodwin Added Dec 27, 2017 - 4:38am
George - I think you summed that up really well. In order to achieve full equality there has to be a programme to address the issues you have raised.
Benjamin Goldstein Added Dec 27, 2017 - 9:47am
Hasn’t he heard what some Americans think about Indians?
If it wasn't for your ignorance, you would have noticed that Utpal has written in his comment that he heard it. I quote:
The truth is that every ethnicity has had to deal with racism and none still blame their lot in life on it.
Please note that I turn the word 'ignorant' only against you because you used it against Uptal.
Much less of an expert than any of you, I assume poor blacks have the same issues rising out of poverty as everybody else. I also think that they cannot be compared with pre-1965 immigrants who came from better-off families.
George N Romey Added Dec 27, 2017 - 10:35am
To deny overt racism particularly back during Jim Crowe and an active KKK is ignorance at its best.  Uptal needs to read a little.  That being said African American leaders beginning in the 1980s began to exploit their people playing the pity and anger card rather than the 60s leaders that spoke of uplifting a people.  Since then the generational poverty has only gotten more entrenched while the exploitation far worse.
For example the music of African Americans.  In the 50s and 60s it was Jazz and later Motown.  African Americans living in New York of modest means would dress to go to the Apollo theatre, men in suits, women in dresses presumably many of them homemade or from second hand sources.  Today its thugs playing noise that promotes violence, hate, anger and resentment.  The thugs are of course exploited by very rich record executives.  The culture (and I include many young white people as well) is pants down to their knees, misspoken English in the most horrific way, total lack of respect for others, etc.
Like I said there's plenty of blame to go around.  Moreover, the US isn't the only place of black ghettos. It happens in Africa in which a very small segment of rich African Americans take sheer advantage of the mass of grossly poor African Americans.  The US experience is a bit different.
For the US I doubt we will ever cure ghettos (and rural white blight) or racism for that matter.
Dave Volek Added Dec 27, 2017 - 11:10am
I recommend reading "The Sovereign Psyche" by Ezrah Aharone. He outlines the history of African Americans in that they were psychologically traumatized as slaves and that trauma has been passed from generation to generation. In other words, too many African Americans still have a slave mentality--they are not worthy of the "American Dream." 
rycK the JFK Democrat Added Dec 27, 2017 - 4:49pm
"I believe we have created a permanent underclass within the African American community. "
I think you are right. You might examine a few facts like the academic  standardized  low test scores compared to whites and other minorities, HS drop-out rates, high crime rates, number of young with no fathers in the inner cities of the US. You might also wonder why the 10 biggest cities in the US are swamped with drugs, and crime and run by the same folk who, supposedly, would better their lot--the left-liberal black Democrats. 
 With much influence and governance from the left wing you might improve the underclass as they stand now. Otherwise, they have no hope. 
aCultureWarrior Added Dec 28, 2017 - 12:48am
You're correct George, you're far from being an expert on this subject, in fact you're down right ignorant.  If you're interested in learning about how black Americans ended up in the sad state of affairs that they're in today, read about the debates between the great American Booker T. Washington and the communist W.E.B. Dubois.  Unfortunately Dubois succeeded with his plan and thus black Americans are in the world of hurt that they're in today.
George N Romey Added Dec 28, 2017 - 8:11am
The world of DuBois is far different than the world of today. It’s the people that think they know how our forefathers would rule government today.
If you knew anything you would know the translation from sharecroppers to city dwellers was difficult. Sharecroppers had no choice but to work for their food and shelter meager as it was. When jobs in the city weren’t there our government simply handed African Americans simple tokens via the welfare system but never gave them the tools to progress. That’s because Hand ups are much more difficult to implement and require a huge upfront investment. In case you haven’t noticed our government is very good at taking the easy way out.
While many African American leaders exploited their own people for their own grandeur today there are people that toil against all odds to break the poverty bonds, at least for a few children and their deserving parents. Instead of sitting on your ass all day watching Fox News you might have met some of those people attempting the near impossible. Also, those parents while poor that want their children to have a much better life.
Moreover my views have been formed by those African Americans I know that were born into poverty but broke the chains to get out of generational and systemic poverty.
aCultureWarrior Added Dec 28, 2017 - 9:04am
George:  The communist tyranny of WEB Dubois days is just as devastating to people, families, communities and society as a whole as it is today.  Booker T. Washington suggested that black Americans integrate into society through hard work and education.  Communist WEB Dubois wanted a bureaucratic government to give those that had been oppressed "rights".  Dubois' successor, communist sympathizer/sexual deviant/plagiarizer/fake Christian-Martin Luther King Jr. pushed the unconstitutional Civil Rights Act of 1964 onto America and hence, a large portion of black American families are fatherless, young black men are disproportionately involved in drugs and crime and are rightfully imprisoned, abortions are disproportionately done by black women, etc. etc.
My point?  Liberalism is the black communities worst enemy.  You and your fellow liberals have done enough harm George, leave them alone.
George N Romey Added Dec 28, 2017 - 9:07am
And what makes you think I’m a liberal? If you had actually read my article and shown some reading comprehension you would have seen how critical I have been of the welfare state. The system created by both political parties.
Stone-Eater Added Dec 28, 2017 - 9:13am
Fuck all that shit.
You US guys have a huge problem: Brains have been cut off !
I mean I'm married to my African queen for 21 years, we have a lovely daughter and no one ever talks about racism or anything. Sure we had some people looking strangely 15 years ago when we came back from Mali, but that's normal when suddenly a black lady appears in a place where there's no other Blacks or Asians.
Stop whining. Start talking ! Jeez......
George N Romey Added Dec 28, 2017 - 10:10am
SEF racism is real in the US although in my opinion not to the level the Donald Trump haters or BLM activist want you to believe.  There will always be racism and beyond black and white.  Its human nature.
We do have an African American culture problem.  SEF I live in downtown Miami.  I hear the militant, angry, disrespectful tone of many of their young people.  They use the n world consistently in a very negative manner towards each other.  From the days of Jim Crowe post Civil War through the 1960s African Americans died trying to get that word out of the American lexicon.  White men my fathers age used that world regularly, my father was the rare exception.
SEF Europe has always had a very different black/white relationship.  Sadly we have never gotten the parity that has been experienced in Europe.  I doubt we ever will.
I just know I've met some amazing African Americans over the years that beat the poverty bonds they were born into.  Their stories are true tales of human grit and spirit.  All of them have critical views to one degree or another of the US Welfare system and the current culture.  The question is why can't we have more of their stories?
opher goodwin Added Dec 28, 2017 - 10:10am
Utpal - it is obvious to me that the blacks in America do not have the same opportunities as whites. They live in poor areas, with poor education, high levels of poverty and crime and are subjected to prejudice. No wonder they turn to gangs, violence and crime. There is an underlying anger that is very deep. It's going to take a lot to turn that round. It is only fifty years since segregation, lynching's and the civil rights movement.
Stone-Eater Added Dec 28, 2017 - 10:42am
Maybe we in Europe have had a more open society than the US had. The US was populated by European immigrants at first who were truly religious, and that still plays on (see evangelists and flat earthers, deniers of Darwin etc.).
So many of us think that the US is backwards in some dergree, but we surprisingly follow PC and LGBTéHIOJHOI shit coming from - the US !
Your country is very contradictive to us. Instable somewhat - and dangerous, seeing its weapons.
Jeff Jackson Added Dec 28, 2017 - 9:19pm
Nice article, George. I recommend spending a day in any of the inner-city schools and see what the teachers of these youth have to face. Most do not value education, and the ones that do are made fun of. This is most all inner-city youth, not of any specific ethnicity. Hopefully, they can be taught to read so that they can read the rules posted on the prison walls that they will eventually populate. Those things called "values" mean a lot to the youth, and when they do not have them, they suffer, maybe not at first, but eventually and for a long time after that.