I'm in the barrier-breaker category. My grandfather dropped out of 3rd
grade, never learning to read or write. My father was the first high school
graduate. I'm the only one in the family line to graduate from a 4 year
university and find financial security. It's true that wealthy
parents can pay for opportunities that poor families can't. But they may
also coach their children differently, role model differently, passing on skills
and attitudes vital to success. My parents encouraged college. They associated
college with security and success without understanding how education is used to
get there. I struggled to find employment after college that justified the time
and money put into my education. I didn't understand networking,
relocation, resumes and interviewing skills, etc. I thought that if I just got
the degree, a career would naturally follow. We hear complaints from
millennials under the same misconception. I was blessed with mentors who helped
me eventually understand. Money and higher education are useful keys, but only
if you know how to find the right door and unlock it.
Thank you MNmanaof4. I'm glad there are exceptions to the rule that
opportunity is afforded to those that can afford it.There is still
some small amount of economic mobility that is possible in this great
country.Strangely, in this country, we keep voting for people and
policies that help the already-rich have more advantages, but we neglect to
improve the lot of our poorest, least advantaged.
High School is dumbed down enough, that if you show up occasionally or make an
effort to make up a grade you can graduate. Community colleges have open
enrollment policies. There are many Universities that will take the C and D
students. So even when you put in very little effort through high school, you
still have options to move up. It's a matter of getting off your butt.
Learning what options there are. Such as grants, loans etc. The trouble is
low-income people generally do not have parents with that knowledge. The kids
don't pay attention at school or even ask questions about opportunities.So yes the affluent are interested in the success of their off spring.
They teach them to network, give them opportunities to be interns, pay for
college giving their kid more time to study and network on campus.I
had to work 2-3 minimum wage jobs to get through my undergrad years. I
didn't have time to network or do extra curricular activities. It was work,
class, study for 5 years. Anyone that puts in effort can achieve what I did and
move up. But it was a lot of work.
Ralph is a classic example of how the left just doesn't get it. The left is
under the erroneous impression that for the poor to succeed, the rich must fail
or road blocks should be put in their way to stifle their progress. In all honesty I bet that most republicans would be willing to support some
wealth redistribution policies to help the poor and under privileged provided
that their was more accountability. The problem is most of the welfare policies
are just free handouts that create an entitled mentality. The sad part about all
of this is if our economy were to ever fail, the poor will suffer the most as
there will be no one to take care of them.
"by age 28, 41 percent of white men and 49 percent of black men had a
criminal conviction."I think point number 5 is that white middle
class families also had more means to get their kids out of trouble, when they
get in trouble, as evidenced by the ratios of people in our prisons. The
numbers just don't add up. Here in Durham, we had the notorious Duke
LaCrosse case... which highlighted that having good lawyers made a huge
difference when you had over reaching district attorneys. Perhaps justice is
slightly color blind now... but she surely recognizes the color green and it
absolutely impacts the outcomes of people who enter the judicial system.
The study seems fascinating, but I have to wonder if this study says more about
Baltimore than it does about the USA in general. I would be more
interested if there were similar but larger studies across the entire spectrum
of the country, or if someone could somehow extrapolate the data to the US
population at large.For what it's worth, I grew up extremely poor
(like one meal a day poor, living in small run down apartment poor, single mom
raising two kids by herself with zero family help poor) but education was highly
valued and we all got college degrees and are all middle-class-ish now. I'm
not saying I'm super smart or super rich...I am mainly saying that, by my
observations and by my experiences, the opportunities in this country are nearly
"keep voting for people and policies that help the already-rich have more
advantages, but we neglect to improve the lot of our poorest, least
advantaged."Housing, welfare, food stamps, Pell grants, tax
refunds....The "least advantaged" don't get help to
The expectations that come from your parents and family, and even peers, is all
important.The richer you are the higher the expectations you get
from your parent and others, and that have of your self.And vice
versa.the poorer you are the lower the expectation you have of
yourself, and the lower the expectation you get from your family and
others.Having lived with the poor and rich I know this is true. It
is psychologically quite a different environment.Expectations can be
self fulfilling or they can be self defeating. To break this
chain,everyone needs to have high expectations of them selves, and
have high expectation of others.Just because you are poor does not
mean you can not have high expectations of what you can achieve.
. . . The Lord works from the inside out. The world works from the outside in.
The world would take people out of the slums. Christ takes the slums out of the
people, and then they take themselves out of the slums. The world would mold men
by changing their environment. The world would shape human behavior, but Christ
can change human nature...Yes, Christ changes men, and changed men can change
the world. (Ezra Taft Benson, Conference Report, October 1985,
"Expectations can be self fulfilling or they can be self defeating. "Exactly. What a kids believe is possible makes a big difference in what
a kill will strive for. If their family has always been poor, they are far more
likely to settle for a life of poverty... it is what is sadly expected. And the
inverse applies to kids from well of families.
I question his sample group. Only 13% of Americans are African-American. A few
more percent self-identify as Bi-racial. By watching sports, Sesame Street,
crime reports and Obama we have been given the impression African are a major
percentage of Americans. They are not. If the study was conducted in Baltimore
it is likely the sample includes a much higher percentage of African -Americans.
So what does this study tell us about communities that are closer racially to
the 13% norm? Does this apply to us?
In the US, the median income of Asians is BY FAR greater than the median income
of Whites, Blacks, and Hispanics.Hard work pays off. Period.
Yep. It isn't about the money they have, it is about the expectations they
have for their kids. There are so many scholarships and opportunities for ANY
kid to go to college. It is just whether or not they are expected to go that
makes ALL the difference.
Okay, fascinating: - 4% moved up; isn't that a good success? 2.4%
moved down; isn't that tragic? Since their parents had some money, is it
supposed to seem fair that their children are falling--and we don't care
about that? - We invest trillions into education, but only 4% of poor
kids get a Bachelor's--when that seems to be almost the only goal of higher
ed. institutions. This is simply bad management. - The study
doesn't indicate who's actually applying, extracurricular
competencies/experience, or job performance. Those factors matter more than
race, sex, and income. - Relationships matter. - Did any woman even
*seek* an 'industrial or construction job'? Quite possibly not.- So family integrity, monogamy, and enduring relationships matter--and will
to their children. - Baltimore's got problems. - Lastly, the
world is not made of "blacks" and "whites", nor is America. The
world is every shade of brown. What about most of the world that are Asian, and
what about Hispanics who outnumber Blacks in the US--do we care about them too?
We should stop looking at skin color as a very simple way to explain everything.
@ManInTheMiddle: That's just brilliant! Your inferred deduction is so
overly simple it's hard to believe no one has thought of it before. Those
in poverty simply don't work hard to improve their lot in life. That just
has to be the answer. How could it be anything else?
Life is full of choices, and the bad choices made by many people doom them to a
life of poverty, not the fact that someone else was born into a wealthy
family.The article features a lot of correlations, but correlation
is not causation.Missing are the numbers on vital factors such
as:Percentages of the poor and wealthy who:a. Bothered to show
up for classes at the free K-12 schools open to everyoneb. Bothered to do
homework K-12c. Were encouraged or expected to do well in K-12 and
colleged. Were expected to earn their own money as a child vs. depend on
handoutse. Had a child out of wedlockf. Had a child before having a
job that would support a familyg. Stayed away from drugsMany
mired in poverty did not decide "to stay poor" but decided to not attend
school, had no expectations of performing well, decided that welfare was easier
than work, or had children while unmarried and unable to support them.
Therefore still ending up in poverty.In short, liberal welfare
programs reward bad choices and kill the incentives for advancement.
It's funny how the left demonizes the rich but fail to realize that Obama
won 8 of the 10 richest counties in the USA. It is true that the poorest people
live in the big cities, but so do the richest people. Look at some of the
wealthiest people: Hollywood actors, NBA/NFL athletes. They support Obama. To
say that the "evil, greedy rich Republicans" are seeking to destroy the
"poor, hard-working generous Democrats" is an over-generalization that
does no good. And as others have pointed out, how does making sure that the rich
fail really help the poor? Were the poorest in communist Soviet Union better off
than the poorest in the USA?Other people also bring up good points
about why people end up poor. It's not necessarily that someone says "I
am going to be poor" and it ends up that way. It often happens because of
the lifestyle that they live and the choices they make. Many people live below
their means, and their children pick up on that lifestyle. Also, as DN
Subscriber pointed out, lifestyles that lead one to succeed in school translate
to succeeding in life.
Liberals want to make everything about race. The most important tings are not
considered. What brings success is hard work, intelligence, good homes &
families, and a little luck. The survey is geared to present the liberal view
on life, but not the real one.
An acquaintance who went from poor to wealthy attributed his success to hard
work, too. He did put in the effort, but were there other factors at play?
Perhaps being born:1) Intelligent and ambitious;2) To stable
parents with a sustainable income (his father was a government employee); and4) Into a community with quality, taxpayer-funded schools, K-12 and
college.Not to mention the GI Bill that helped finance his
post-graduate studies.How much of that was his doing? And yet he
was one of the anti-government folks who want to dismantle so much of the
infrastructure that factored into his rise. And he was swift to blame others
who happened to be born into less favorable circumstances, with lesser intellect
and other gifts, and with obstacles he never faced.I’m tired
of people patting themselves on the back as if they did it all on their own
while simultaneously condemning others who face obstacles they never did. The
truth is that we do precious little of it ourselves. The bulk comes from
genetics, environment, and the work of those who preceded us.
This is really mostly about race and that makes us white folks uncomfortable. We
don't like to talk about white privilege but whether we admit it or not, it
exists. This obviously isn't the first article to gather data about it
(for instance, Pager et al. 2009 found, all other factors being the same, a
white man with a felon had a better chance than a black man of getting a
callback when applying for the same job). Data have been gathered for more than
half a century and researchers continue to analyze it and come to pretty much
the same conclusion; we live in a racialized society that benefits one group of
people to the detriment of all others. It is hard for us to accept because it
goes so contrary to the narrative we want to believe so badly. For
those that are GENUINELY interested in understanding this, there are literally
stacks of books and on the subject. A good place to start is Googling- Tim Wise
pathology of white privilege. If we can get past defensive knee-jerk reactions,
we really can make America the meritocracy we believed it was as children.
The consensus here seems to be that, despite scientific evidence to the
contrary, poor folk do not escape their lot in life because of their
unwillingness to work hard or live a morally just way of life.
Many of us rationalize our acceptance of a social order that keeps people in
poverty. We assert that the poor are responsible for their own situation.
They’re just not working hard enough, not staying in school, having
children out of wedlock, etc. The study contradicts this belief by concluding
that those who start life with advantages of access to jobs, relative wealth and
stable families overwhelmingly maintain a higher level of economic success than
those who start life in poverty. The “opportunity” playing field is
very far from level. This is not surprising, but most responses, instead of
considering what we can do to level the "opportunity" playing field, try
to reinforce the case that the poor are responsible for their own problems.
Instead, we should be recognizing that 1) Luck of birth determines most of your
outcome, 2) the rate of movement up the economic ladder is pretty small, and 3)
most importantly, the opportunity to work your way up the socio-economic ladder
is NOT a morally adequate response to poverty and unemployment when we acquiesce
to a social structure designed to maintain a highly unequal distribution of
wealth and income. We hate when our moral cop-outs are challenged.
I like most of the smart comments posted here. I attended a professional school
in the health care field where 70 of the 100 students were Asian. Many of them
were Vietnamese that came to the U.S. with nothing in the 1970's at the end
of the Vietnam War. Their parents worked hard in donut shops or other similar
low-paying jobs while the kids worked hard in school. Now those kids are making
big incomes.Even if a child in poverty only achieves a much smaller
percentage of this above example, they can still pull themselves out of poverty,
in most cases. If a strong desire and work ethic are there, it can be done.
@ jcm53byuThank you for saying that. I decided against including in
my comment the fact that my acquaintance was white and male at a time when those
two characteristics were more explicitly favored by our society. My thought was
that this would be too easily dismissed as carping, when it's simply a
fact. White males were and still are favored (though less so now than in the
past).Two more features we don't choose, but that have
significant implications for our futures.
Someone should do a study where the findings are white males are sick of being
shamed and that they owe someone else. We live in a pretty great country where
your opportunities are endless, even overcoming conditions that you were born
into or overcoming stupid mistakes that you made. In my comment above, I
mentioned that the majority of my class was Asian, but I did not mention that
the majority was also female. Many of them as children had little at the end of
The Vietnam War.Two decades ago I wanted to be accepted into the
physical therapy school at The University of Utah. About 200 applied each year,
but only 24 were accepted (12 males and 12 females). Of the applicants, about
150 were white males. If you were a female or minority with ambition, you had a
many times higher chance of being accepted. I became discouraged at my odds and
went for a different healthcare profession.Stop your whining,
finger-pointing, and over-generalizing and go out and accomplish what you would
like to do. Also know it will not be handed to you and will require a lot of
hard work and determination.