COLUMN: Impoverished blacks not at fault

Jeremy Porter

America has a long history of racism which still continues today. People claim that opportunities for the poor have been greatly increased. It may be true that poor immigrants have those opportunities, but for most impoverished blacks it doesn’t seem to work that way.

Many poor blacks are looked down upon by upper class citizens as being responsible for their position in poverty. In reality, the lower-class black are no different than upper classes. They have a desire to work and support themselves. It’s sink or swim, and I don’t believe that these people are just letting themselves drown.

Many blacks are being denied opportunities through employment. It’s a fact that major corporations have been greedy and hire people from other countries to work for much less than the minimum wage for this country. That has burdened many poor blacks, making it so they are not able to find a job, forcing them to live off their knowledge of the streets in the ghetto.

Though a portion of the upper classes say the poor are in poverty because they aren’t working to get themselves out of their situation, it is actually the upper classes that have kept the poor where they are at. They need to understand that these impoverished blacks have been born in an environment where most of the opportunities they need are being devoured by the upper classes who don’t need them. The tax dollars are all going towards upper class communities while impoverished neighborhoods remain the same. It is very shameful for the government to focus on making the rich richer quicker and the poor progress slowly into higher class poverty.

The book Is Bill Cosby Right? gives several factors as to why many blacks live in poverty: social dislocation, economic equality, racial hierarchy, environmental devastation, material deprivation, restructured work and the like. Many upper class citizens believe that a lack of personal responsibility keeps the blacks poor. This is a confusion of cause and effect.

So many Americans look down on the poor based on their prejudices and biases. Many impoverished blacks find it extremely difficult to make it out of their situations because of stresses that the rich don’t have. Imagine if all you worried about was if you could afford food, clothing or shelter, or get a job, instead of affording luxuries, such as where to eat or career choices. I find Cosby’s opinion biased, since he is currently a millionaire and not living in the current poor society.

What needs to be done to these impoverished communities is to give them better government funding. This government spends more money to imprison Americans (mostly blacks) than it does on schools. The solution is to cut spending on prisons so schools and health care can be better assessed. It’s already been done in Alabama, Arkansas and Kentucky as these states gave early releases for non-violent offenders and millions of dollars were saved. Yet, a state like California refused to do so.

By helping and recognizing that it isn’t poor blacks’ fault for where they are would be redeeming to them. If the obstacles they go through were taken away, it would greatly improve this nation and shift it towards a more equal society.

Jeremy Porter is a junior communications major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].