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I want to offer an alternative to the viewpoint that "Black Culture" is the problem in our inner-cities.
I propose that "Black Culture" is a symptom and not a cause. Furthermore, I propose that what we now think of as "Black Culture" is fluid and not immutable.
How malleable is culture?
The most ardent supporters of the "Black Culture is the problem" camp contend that culture is not the least bit malleable because of differences in mental capacity.
Those who argue the other way point to the "Black Culture" of 1955-through-1965 as being very, very different from today's BC. History of that period is permanently tinted by the focus on the injustices and poverty of that period BUT intact-families in in the Black community were much higher than today and crime was much lower.
A data-point that I can bring to the discussion involves "Black Culture" in the automotive manufacturing environment: It is not as different from "White Culture" as popular culture (which is aimed at youths) would have you believe.
Maybe it has something to do with having to get up every morning and go to work. It is my impression that a larger percentage of the Black people in auto plants were married and more likely to go to church than pop-culture Blacks.
Cynics will point out that survivor-bias probably has something to do with that.
But isn't that the point? Culture is formed by the requirements for survival!
By historical standards, the developed nations have obscene amounts of wealth where even the poorest people have luxuries that were beyond the grasp of kings in bygone days: Air-conditioning, clean water at the turn of a tap, mile-a-minute transportation, cell-phones, perishable fruits in the winter, modern dental care, antibiotics.
That wealth enables frivolous and wasteful behaviors which shape the culture and change the brain.
Brains rewire to the task. If you are compelled to remember hundreds of seven-digit numbers (phone numbers in the days of yore) then your brain reconfigures by partitioning.
If your brain encounters trauma it reconfigures. It becomes less capable of thinking about next-week and becomes totally consumed by the dangerous here-now.
If your brain is never challenged to remember anything (social promotions in schools) and if the EBT card recharges every month regardless, if food-pantries will rescue you if you don't keep track of your EBT balance...then your brain spins up like a motor with no load and every fantasy is validated.
I propose that sanity might exist on the other side of the unpleasantness that will result as people find that their "normal" paths to access resources no longer lead them to "the cheese".
- No work will once again mean no food.
- No work will mean no access to the affection of a woman.
- No work will mean living in a homeless shelter or box-car, maybe.
- Gratuitous defiance of authority will mean no work, ergo, no food, shelter or affection
- Listening to violent music will cause you to be branded as somebody who it is dangerous to associate with.
- Using drugs that leave you debilitated for the next day's work will be suicidal.
- Your name, good-or-bad, will become your bond.
The nature of charity
In Jesus's Sermon on the Mount he says
...take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them; otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father. When you give alms, do not blow a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets to win the praise of others. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right is doing, so that your almsgiving may be secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.
In Jesus's time, the left hand was the "unclean hand". It was the one used to wipe one's ass. To not let your "left hand" know what the right hand was doing was one way of saying to not exploit the recipient of the charity through the expectation of quid pro quo.
And yet that is the entire basis of the "Progressive" movement. They offer "charity" to vast blocks of voters with the only requirement being that those blocks always vote for "Progressive" candidates, that they look the other way when fraud is committed and that they not demand justice with the perp is a "Progressive".
"Progressives" have been able to appropriate many altruistic Christians under the banner of "charity".
Most of those Christians intuitively know that it is not virtuous to offer their alcoholic Uncle Bob a bottle of whiskey but somehow they cannot see that the "Progressive" form of charity stunts the growth of the recipients and that the giver is already rewarded by the feelings of power and feelings of "being better than" the folks who depend on the charity.
It has somehow become an article of faith among those Christians that People of Color are less capable than 9-month-old infants who can crawl over to their bottle, pull off the cap and then know enough to tip it back so the milk flows to the nipple.
It is an article of faith among "Progressives" that People-of-Color are victimized by consequences for their actions. They cannot see that separating any group from the consequences of their choices dooms them to a downward spiral.
I have hope
I have hope that damage that is done can also be partially undone.
Brains that wire one way can be rewired through repetitions.
Thought patterns follow behaviors. When behaviors are changed by necessity for food, shelter and other necessities, then thought patterns will change and "mental capacity" will also show plasticity.
How-some-ever, we have a tough patch in front of us. Make sure you are around to weigh-in via survivor-bias.