Improving My Chinese

To be Black, poor, and uneducated in America is, arguably, a more desperate and intractable predicament today than it was forty or fifty years ago.

I say “arguably” because in terms of material possessions and physical living conditions there has been obvious improvement. Housing is less squalid and overcrowded than it once was for poor Black people. The wholesale transfer of manufacturing to China robbed unskilled American workers of jobs, but that phenomenon, plus the rise of discount retailers like Wal-Mart, drove prices so low that former luxuries came within reach of practically everyone—-televisions, household appliances, mobile phones, flashy “gold” jewelry made out of nickel or zinc. The poor certainly don’t look as poor as they once did.

But in most other ways, the situation and prospects of the Abandoned Black poor have worsened. There is no need to list, once again, all the many interlocking problems and crises that afflict impoverished African-American urban and rural communities. It suffices to ask one question: HOW IS A TEENAGER LIVING IN ABANDONED DYSFUNCTION TODAY SUPPOSED TO ESCAPE? By following the sage advice of parents and other mentors? The teenager is likely being raised by a single mother, who herself was raised by a single mother. By attending first-class public schools, with constructive academic support at home? We know all about the failings of big-city public education. By landing a blue-collar industrial job with security, benefits, and a middle-class wage? Those jobs can be found in China or Brazil, not Cincinnati or Boston. The ladder that generations have used to climb out of poverty is missing its rungs.

Disintegration - The Splintering of Black America (via knowledgeequalsblackpower)