Friday, October 3, 2008

Scipio's Golden Bridge

This is the last time that I'll be collecting rent from most of my tenants. I've told most of them to find somewhere else to live and someone else to suck dry.
October 31st is ten years to the day that I've been involved in an effort to rid at least my neighborhood of poverty.
I spent the day running the usual errands for my people and decided to ask them why they were poor.
If one asks a poor person why they are poor, they give you a seemingly endless list of excuses; "It's because I'm Black and a Black a person has no chance in this world, my daddy left when I was two, I got hooked on drugs and couldn't get a good job when I got out of jail, my baby-daddy left after our third child, the teachers at school don't like Black people, ..." . The list of excuses goes on and on.
Ask them what they would have done differently and you get the reasons that they are poor.
You see, the excuses blame everyone else, the reasons cause one to take responsibility.

What do we owe the poor?
Can money alone solve the issue of poverty?
Is it a lack of education, opportunity, a sustainable social structure or just their decision?

IMO - We can do nothing for the poor that they are not willing to do for themselves first.
We should only provide Scipio's "Golden Bridge" of escape from their situation.
(It's up to them to use it.)


D.J. said...

For the record...the poor don't have to stay poor. Now that is not to say that opportunities are not lacking for those without money. However poverty is more than lack of money. if you give a impovished person 1 million dollars they will probably head to the hummer dealer and louis vuton. One of the things section 8 showed in Chicago was that taking these people out of high rise projects where maintence people do everything for them and putting them in homes where they have to do for themselves without teaching them anything about taking care of property is not a good thing.
I am currently unemployed, having been laid off twice in the last 4 years. I am constantly looking for opportunities to make some moolah. I am lucky enough to have two partners so i dont need to worry about starving and such but my mindset is no longer about finding a job ( which is what I was always taught) but working for myself. My mentality is not that of being poor.

DPizz said...

I think it's ironic that you cite Scipio, a white dude that defeated the African Hannibal, to make this point, because, of course, white folks have the solutions for the poor. Just follow all the things they say you should do (cross their "Golden Bridge") and you will find yourself no longer in poverty.

Let me first point out that I'm pretty sure that Napoleon said the "Golden Bridge" ish. Scipio may have said something similar in concept, but Napoleon is attributed with the "Golden Bridge" phrase. I'm just sayin, cause if you're gonna use some obscure reference the ish should be correct.

I think the plight of the poor and their ability and willingness to improve their situation is far more complex than you imply.

I presume that you do not count yourself as being poor and I wonder about the condescending and superior tone of this post, as though you have mastered the feat of propelling yourself from the throws of poverty, so why can't those niggaz do something as well. I'm not sure about the particulars of your own situation that converged to help you rise to a status above poor, but they are probably quite different from those faced by some of the poor you make reference to.

Of course, ultimately poor folks will only be able to change their circumstances by taking action on their own accord. Simply getting to that point and sustaining that action is the real challenge - as you have noted. However suggesting that there are not serious impediments, such as education, opportunity, etc. and that any reference to the like are simply excuses IMO is an oversimplification and short sighted. In other words, that "Golden Bridge" you point to has a lot of fucking planks missing from its structure and that's only if one is able to get through the fog of all the bullshit that goes on to even see the path to the bridge.

I'm not justifying the excuses necessarily, I'm saying its way more complex than you have intimated here. Also, I was really put off by the tone of the post (and perhaps some previous posts), as I perceived it. Yes, poor folks are in need of some tough love and a different paradigm for thinking about their situation and taking action, but I'm not sure it starts with an over simplistic criticism of poor folks and how all they do is make excuses.

Having said that, business is business and it must be handled regardless, so handle your business!

DPizz said...

I stand corrected on the "Golden Bridge" reference. While I believe there's some lack of clarity on the origins of the exact phrase "Golden Bridge", "Scipio's Maxim" seems to be clearly enough established that the reference is certainly valid.