Wednesday, June 09, 2004


This is my response to a blogger on Lashawn Barber's Corner, I am sure many of you have heard of it and probably frequent it often as I do myself. My response to this particular person was pretty long so I decided to post here on my own blog, since I have one might as well use it right? His/Her comments are in bold italics and mine are plain. We were discussing Miss Barber's latest post regarding Bill Cosby and the remarks made recently regarding Black people, specifically poor Blacks who continue to be irresponsible in raising their children and committing crimes.

Would love to know what your take is on this particular subject.

"Kiki B, your argument about financial choices has some strange implications"

What do you consider strange about being responsible?

"First, it would imply that in large regions of the country, everyone in that geographic area has been making bad choices purely of their own doing. This means that foolishness is geographical, an absurd idea."

This is a foolish statement, for foolishness IS geographical, it can appear everywhere and all are capable of committing it. People make choices all of the time of "their own doing", how else do you make a choice? This is how our lives move forward. It is when one lacks proper moral judgement to make the RIGHT decision that one gets negative consequences, including poverty and crime.

"It also would indicate that every person, regardless of where they are, is given an equal start in life. What with inheritance, paid education, etc., this is clearly not true."

From what I've read here so far, no one has stated such a thing. It is common sense that not everyone starts off on the same level. This in no way means that everyone will finish on that same level they started either. The fact that a person starts off in life poor does not mean they do not have opportunity to succeed. This is demonstrated all thoughout history and is even biblical, that no matter where you start, you can finish at a higher level than before. Many a great leader, historical figure, or otherwise has started off in life poor, one case in point, Bill Cosby.

"Your theory requires that financial intelligence is a racial variable. Again this is not the case."

Financial Intelligence may not be a racial variable but it is a cultural or environmental variable. If you grow and develop in a financially irresponsible environment, chances are high that you will make irresponsible financial dicisions as well. Simple logic.

A good book that demonstrates this notion is "The Millionaire Next Door", by Thomas J. Stanley, William D. Danke. A very good and enlightening read. They discuss how many millionaires in this country started out poor or at least as low income and simply adapted to or learned certain frugal habits that allowed them to accumulate wealth over time. A big factor that was discussed was that many millionaires who started out as low income earners, did not pass on their wealth building knowledge to their children and so their kids ended up becoming quite needy,(what they called needing financial outpatient or inpatient care) and incapable of sustaining high incomes themselves. Another thing noted was that there are some "perceived" millionairs that are simply high income earners, yet do not have a high or any net worth. They live and work to consume. They don't invest or save their money, and only earn to spend in order to give the appearance of wealth. Unfortunately this is a problem in many "poor" communities as well. Lets be honest, how many poor people do you know that have VCRs, T.V.s, DVD players, Microwaves, a full apartment or house full of furniture, the latest fashion gear, and so on ad nauseum. The heart of the issue here is morality. Not to say that moral people are rich and immoral people are poor, that really is foolish. I mean to say that being born in this world rich or poor has no real bearing on what type of character you will have in life. Your moral or immoral choices will determine that. Your actual upbringing by your parents helps, in a big way, to determine that, which is why the family, I mean a complete "nuclear" family is so vital and important to this and any country.

So the problem of financial intelligence is prevelant among the rich and the poor and has nothing to do with race but environment and ultimately character.


Now I do agree that there are genuinely poor people in this country who may or may not be working or receiving government assistance. This is truly tragic and deserves noting here that I believe these people are the casualties of our consumer culture in certain respects. For example, how is it that there are starving, homeless people in this country when we supposedly have this welfare system in place that is supposed to help them? Why doesn't it? And why are there so many people on welfare and who are getting public housing, yet are fully able and capable of supporting themselves? I have family members who receive welfare, WIC, AFDC and still hold down jobs, have fairly new cars, live in decent housing, wear nice jewelry, so forth and so on.

Is government assistance doing its job? What say you? Where does the solution lay?


Ellbur said...


When a geographically defined population suffers from poor conditions, those of this population will be at a severe disadvantage. They will unlikely 'succeed.' It cannot be considered their fault, and so the basic arguement that it is simply their responsibility to correct the situation fails.

This brings up questions of what exactly responsibility is. Surely it cannot mean that each person acts purely for themselves, for this would destroy the concept of law, and leave unattended all prevention of crime. If responsibility is to be a relevant factor it must be applied correctly.

Is there reason to believe that people be judged by what they may produce?

I would say that it is not. Ability of production is an arbitrary variable. Being such that originates with life, it would leave a perfect quality of injustice in society in general. The same may be applied to what apsect of people prevents them from improving their situation in life.

You said, "foolishness IS geographical, it can appear everywhere and all are capable of committing it." Perhaps I should explain what I meant by 'foolishness is geographical.' I intended to communicate that it describes a situation in which a large population in a specific geographical area deliberately and through no fault of others are harming their own life. This cannot be true, for it violates the principle of human nature that people act with regard to their inclination towards a better life. There must therefore be a geographic variable that is defining poor conditions, which ought to be corrected.


Jerry McClellan said...

Don't worry Ellbur, I am writing a rebuttal to your post and will post it soon. I am not ignoring you.