June 01, 2005

Looking down upon others to elivate oneself




There are many middle class people who like to look down, preach to and chastise the poor for their continued poverty. All that the poor need to do, their critics say, is to follow these steps to the middle class, and they too can have what the critics of them have. But why does not these middle class folks ever look up and see themselves as failures relative to the class above them? Can the upper class make the same case against the middle class as the middle class makes against the lower class?

What are the middle class irresponsible behaviorisms and proclivities that keep them out of the upper class? Are people middle class and not upper class because they lack the work ethic to become upper class? Is the middle class not in the upper class because they have more children born out of wedlock? Is the middle class not in the upper class because they failed to get the proper education to be upper class and if so, why did they not get the education that could put them in the upper class? Are those who are in the middle class there by virtue of natural ordering of survival of the fittest, meaning middle class people are simply inferior in capacities to the upper classes and thus merit being beneath them?

I think that people would much rather look down upon others, because in the juxtaposition it lifts themselves up. In contrast, to look up at others who are doing better than you has the relative effect of lowering yourself in juxtaposition. People are trying to feel better about themselves...not worse, consquently, one needs to look down at others. All the condemnation of the poor, and of the black poor in particular, by those who are middle class, could and would be condemnation directed at them, from the upper class, if not for the existence of the lower class. Class is a relative phenomenon whose stratification into thirds or quintiles is based upon income and wealth. To remove the poor third or quintile would manifest a reallocation and definition of who is poor or who are the lowest performers in society, which many of the middle class who are criticizing today would them be the target of critics.

I constantly hear from people who think they have “made it”, looking down upon the poor and condeming them as irresponsible and lazy. Well, the truth is that if you are not at the top, you are also a loser in the relative social class ranking. You are simply choosing to focus on the ones that you have risen above, while ignoring the ones you are still below. If it is valid to look at those who achieved less than you as irresponsible, lazy or in possession of character flaws, then it is equally as valid for those above you to see your status as being the resultant of the same flaws relative them.

If a middle class person can come up with a rationalization or excuse as to why they have not achieved the status of upper class, when others have, why cannot the poor rationalization or excuse for not managing to rise from poverty not be just as valid?

38 Comments:

At 6:46 AM, Blogger Noah TA said...

I figured that this would be a commentary where critics would plead the fifth in order to avoid self incrimination. Where are the voices of Scott, Nat Turner’s antithesis, Renaldo, Louis C and all the other likely middle class finger pointers who have elevated enough to now look down upon others?

If movement from a lower class to an upper class is intransigence caused by degrees of laziness, irresponsibility, and pathologies, then middle class critics are also guilty of this relative to the upper class. How many of these critics are willing to explain why they are not in the upper class, using character traits such as “laziness”, “irresponsible” and others? Likely, when they explain why they are not in the upper class….it will not have anything to due with personal responsibility, character flaws, not speaking proper English or the like.

Nuff said! There Silence speaks volumes…as they are not intellectually caught between a rock and a hard place.

 
At 8:40 AM, Blogger LouisChauvin said...

Brother Noah,

I guess you are just gonna call people out huh? LOL

You bring about a very good point. Some of my failures to make it to the top are due to laziness, and some of it is due to what you describe as the negative effects of the dominant culture.

Again, my disagreement with any of your points are not to take away from what you suggest. Maybe I want to validate what you are saying by offering some common criticism. Sometimes its to get a better understanding of what you present. I don't think of myself in opposition to you.

But you do need to get a handle on ya man Nmaginate.

Louis C

 
At 12:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Noah,

Why do you feel like you have to mischaracterize what people say to bolster your views? Nobody here is afraid of your judgments. I’m an avid reader of this forum, and I would never say that the individuals who disagree with you are looking down on lower class blacks. That’s just outright false. Anytime someone disagrees with you, you lump him or her in a box. Just because many of us call for black accountability doesn’t mean we’re Negro-Con’s, scared-to-death-Negroes, middle class finger pointers, or whatever bullshit labels you give them/us. I find that the people who come here generally care very deeply about our culture – otherwise they would just leave without responding (you should respect that). The “dissenters” are your brothers, not your enemy. What they object to primarily is their treatment on this forum. Turner is right that difference of opinion is not welcome here, and soon after divergent opinions are posted, you and your buddies begin the name-calling and character assassinations. It just comes off as foolish and misguided. You’re picking on the wrong people. I say this too you with respect, and in the spirit of unity. This forum could be so great if it could overcome these difficulties.

My background is very similar to that guy Ali Shaheeds’s, but I don’t look down on anyone. At the same time, I have never felt disenfranchised by this nation. One thing I hate about the Conservative mantras on accountability is when they say, “Just work hard and you can make it.” But the reality is that no one works harder than poor people. Working hard does not guarantee you will have a better life (that is true for all Americans, of any race). However, legal institutionalized racism is a thing of the past, so we must learn to manipulate the system to our benefit. I believe that I’ve successfully done that for myself, and I know that others can do the same. Several of my friends (black men and women) have also grown up poor and are now lawyers, doctors, educators, scientists, etc. On the flip side, most of the brothers I came up with, got into the gangs, drugs, sex, and all that shit. But they made that choice. Most of them were good in school and had parents, or relatives that loved them. They just got into all that fast money, bouncing car, gangsta, hustler, pimp nonsense and ruined their lives. Barring disaster (ill health, tragedy, etc.), many of us can succeed in this nation, but we have to make the choice for ourselves. And of course, we must work extremely hard and make the necessary sacrifices. Nothing is guaranteed.

If you feel disenfranchised by this nation, that’s your problem. The only thing stopping you is you (and your choices). How is the white man keeping you down? I "really" would like to know. Maybe you were born in the wrong era. You probably would have been an effective organizer of slave rebellions. I could see you as one of Malcolm X’s loyal F.O.I, or maybe as one of Garvey’s foot soldiers. You would have been right at home as a Panther, or in one of King’s legendary sit-ins. But those days are past. Black folks aren’t doing those things now because they want a piece of the economic pie (they want to participate). They don’t want to tear down the system; they want it to work for them. The Civil Rights struggle opened the doors for us, and now it’s up to us to reach our potential.

I’m just curious. You always accuse those who disagree with you of letting the system off the hook. That’s a pretty damning criticism for not knowing to whom you’re speaking. What do you do in your daily life to fight the system? I see that you maintain this blog, but that doesn’t constitute an act of resistance. Are you an activist? Are you active in politics? Are you a community leader? Do you participate in some form of relief work? I’m not trying to provoke you, but I would assume that someone confident enough to make such biting judgments of others, must be an exemplar of resistance.

Anyway, I’m not your enemy, but I should be able to disagree with you without a Crips vs. Bloods gang war erupting.

Best,
Renu

 
At 1:48 PM, Blogger Faheem said...

Renu, what does Noah activism has to do with the words he has written? If we had a dollar for every time one who disagree with us, ask us to list the things we do or give them our plan because they could no longer argue against what was being said we would be rich. Furthermore Renu, what way do you have to prove or disprove anything Noah or I say in regards to what we do in our personal life? I can list a hundred things here and you would have to take them on face value just as we do all of those who find it so necessary to list their background and education.

I find it funny ass hell that no matter where we debate or encounter those who disagree with us, they never fail to mention the level of education they have attained, the lifestyle they lead and everything else about themselves, while we find it absolutely irrelevant to the majority of the discussion we have surrounding socio-political and economic issues to list our level of education or financial attainment.

The only reason I can think of why so many of those who we encounter want us to know what level of education they received is to again say to us, I am smarter than you because I have an MBA, or am about to finish my Doctoral thesis, you can’t talk to me like that. Please... No one cares what level of education you have or how much money you make. I can assure you, you are not dealing with a couple of poor broke Black dummies on this Blog. If anyone cares, after a long struggle, I did finish kindergarten!

 
At 1:54 PM, Blogger Noah TA said...

Renu, if you note I did not include your name in the list. I knew who I was calling out and who I was not calling out. As I have said many times (it seems like millions), what is true for the whole is not necessarily true of all component parts. What I have said is directly on point for some and off the point for others. If I compose an essay to address the uniqueness of each individual’s dissent, can you appreciate how long such an essay would be and how such an essay would exacerbate attention deficit?

I don’t know how long you have been reading this blog Renu, but many of the dissenters on this blog go way back with us. We have history with many of these dissenters from our participation in other forums, prior to the creation of this blog. When I make a claim or claims, it is based upon a long history of pattern recognition of those who dissent. My claims and analysis are far from knee jerk reaction to disagreement. I have synthesized the disagreements, over the years, and made a commentary in regards to the pattern that I recognized.

I do not make the claim that people are afraid of my judgment. What I know, from the summing of history of dissenters, is that they will simply ignore an argument that they have no way of obfuscating or misdirecting, instead of gravitating towards a potential greater truth. Thus, I do not believe that I am guilty of mischaracterizing what people have said. What I think you are lacking Renu, is the history of my experiences with dissenters qualify you to make that claim. As I said, it might not be true of many dissenters, but that does not mean it is not true for many others….I don’t try to cover them all….I just try to cover the dominant rule.

In regards to your story of rising to a level of economic comfort, I am truly happy for you. However, you cannot use yourself and your life as a template or microcosm of the possibilities of others. The probability is much greater, in the circles that we are keeping here, that we will hear from the people who did X, Y and Z and rose out of poverty. We are unlikely, in our circles here, to here from people who gave equal effort or ambition to X, Y and Z…yet are stuck in poverty. Yes, some people make bad choices and seek fast money, but choice is not the alpha, options are the alpha that leads to choice. The array of information and or perception of the viability of options often determine people’s choices.

We all have our individual stories and people we have encountered in our individual lives. You won’t read very many essays on this blog were we use our personal experience as a template of what is probable or possible for the whole. Every individual’s life is unique, born from a unique convergence of genetics, environment, time, place, contacts and other to create shoes than no one else has walked in. We tend to focus on the BIG PICTURE here, not our individual stories as black people. We tend to believe that there is a reason for everything here. We know that there are bad choices makers in all races. We know that there are lazy people in all races. We know that that there are irresponsible people in all races. We know that there are fornicators and baby makers in all races. Seeing these traits as HUMAN instead of as BLACK, negates such traits from being the cause of the black inequality of the day…would you not agree? If not, what makes a greater propensity of these negative human traits manifest in black people to the degree that it keeps us down? Again, there is a reason for everything and the argument presented by most detractors, if not all, alludes the believe that these are not HUMAN proclivities, but rather, BLACK proclivities that blacks need to become responsible and accountable for, if the collective is to rise to equilibrium.

 
At 2:28 PM, Blogger Noah TA said...

What I find so amazing is that many people who supposedly come from hard or tough backgrounds (but eventually “made it”)….are so ultra-sensitive. People who come from trials and tribulation are generally not that sensitive or taken aback by a challenge or confrontation. Based upon the type of conflicts and struggles in the life of the poor, there is little that can be said on a forum that they would interpret as real conflict or threat. To make the suggestion that our commentary in regards to the current context of this blog is like the Crip and Bloods is an absurd embellishment…..or the product of abnormal or selective sensitivity. I don’t think that we in anyway have proclaimed any black person as our enemy, though they may very well be.

I think that such needed to be said….

 
At 4:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Noah,

The Crips vs. Bloods comment was a metaphor for the nasty battles that occur on this forum; it is not to be taken literally. But frankly, I shouldn’t even have to explain that. I realize that you did not mention my name in your post, but I have been attacked repeatedly on this forum: and enough times to find it off putting.

I think everyone that comes here is sensitive to the issues raised, and they undoubtedly have strong feelings about them. But the issue is really not about sensitivity; it’s about the possibility of civil discussion without name-calling, obscenities and insults. None of us should have to tolerate irrational anger simply to prove that we’re not sensitive – that’s absurd. Besides, you of all people should not be calling anyone “ultra-sensitive.” If you weren’t sensitive, you wouldn’t even have this blog. Come on brother…really!

Are you seriously trying to suggest that we're all a bunch of frauds because we're sensitive about race issues (that we must not have come up poor). If so, that's just plain stupid.

And yes, you most definitely have proclaimed many dissenters as your enemy! It’s all over this blog. You and your friends are constantly calling people Negro-Cons, scared-to-death-Negroes, middle class finger pointers, uncle Toms, and many other colorful insults. And usually these insults are not warranted or provoked, beyond the individual’s differing opinion.

I think that people begin to tell their stories because you and your buddies seem to believe there is no space for black redemption. You paint an entirely bleak and nihilistic portrait of the black experience; like we are all disenfranchised with no possibility for uplift without rebellion. The only problem is that we’re living in the post-rebellion era. We have to fight from within the system now. We have agency. Like I said, I don’t look down on anybody, but my own experience is not an anomaly – and it’s emblematic of a larger societal trend. Black folks are beginning to prosper in this nation at a remarkable rate. Things are just not that bleak, and many of us are doing fine. There’s nothing wrong with injecting personal experience to make that point.

Yes, I am educated and I have a good job, but when it comes to the plight of black people, I am very sensitive. But I think that the way dialogues on this forum descend into childish, playground name-calling is ridiculous. It’s almost impossible to say anything without someone jumping down your throat and putting some stupid label on you. Is that the way you want your forum to be? I just don’t think it’s very adult. But hey, if that’s how you want it to be, so be it.

I come here because I like to discuss these issues, and especially because I like to write. But if we can’t converse like adults, what’s the point. I think maybe you, Faheem and Nmaginate, are better off just speaking to each other. You guys seem to get along great and share the same attitudes.

Faheem, Noah’s activism (or lack there of) has everything to do with his words. But I’m just going to leave you to think about that one. Also, why are you so concerned about people looking down on you? Who cares if they do? If you feel insecure when someone mentions their achievements, then you have to work that out for yourself. That's a self-esteem issue. Frankly, I couldn’t care less if someone looks down me, which is one of the reasons that I don’t feel disenfranchised, or beat down by racism. Fuck Racism!

Best,
Renu

 
At 5:59 PM, Blogger NmagiNATE said...

It’s almost impossible to say anything without someone jumping down your throat and putting some stupid label on you.

ISSUES!!!

Seems to me, from what I know of your posts, YOU CAME HERE WITH THAT PRE-CONCEIVED IDEA!

So just give it a rest and/or address the substance HONESTLY without the BS.

And the "FUCK RACISM" thingy was pretty cute. Gotta hand it to ya!

Too funny! I guess that has EVERYTHING to do with everything you've said here!

 
At 6:40 PM, Blogger NmagiNATE said...

But you do need to get a handle on ya man Nmaginate. -- Louis C


Ha! Ha! Ha!

Apparently, I'm:

Too Hot To Handle and Too Cold To Hold... lol

Please... I don't need this much entertainment in my life! :}

 
At 7:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here we go, down the same silly path. Is this how you want things to go on your forum Noah/Faheem?

Best,
Renu

 
At 7:30 PM, Blogger Faheem said...

Renu you are sadly mistaken if you think Faheem is worried about someone looking down on me. I can assure you I have no problem with Black achievement and will applaud it where ever I see it, but I will not allow ones achievement to act as a shield to their flawed logic or conclusions. This is the same tactic used to defend Condoleezza Rice love for George Bush, her Negro defenders try to use her accomplishments as a shield and would love for us to embrace her because of where she sit.

My point is we present our position on this blog not our resume and academic achievements. You want to see my resume and academic achievements; you need to be a recruiter or a possible employer. You want to debate the socio-political and economic condition of Black men and women in America; jump right into the debate, if you make sense, the level of education you have attained is irrelevant. Another interesting aspect of those who love to throw their academic achievements and financial status around is they are dismissive of other Black men and women who academic achievement and financial attainment is in their face and need not be questions, i.e. Eric Dyson. He is referred to as an essentialist and one who is not respected in academic circles but yet the very folk saying this want us to think highly of them simply because they have achieved a certain level of education. I will end by saying this, George Bush has degrees from Yale and Harvard and he is a damn idiot.

 
At 8:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Faheem,

No one said that their credentials were meant to make you think highly of them? That's all in your head dude. And no one posted their resume on this site; at least not that I’ve seen. I’ve only seen people make “vague” references to suggest that they have progressed away from poverty. That’s it! Why do you have to exaggerate and make off-base generalizations? When did someone ask for your resume? I must not have caught that one.

Stop making up shit and address the issues I raised in my posts.

Furthermore, why are you bringing up Condoleeza Rice and Bush for; no one else did? I think we all would agree that Bush is an idiot, and Condoleeza’s ass should not be supporting him. I guess you’re somehow trying to spin some fiction that I must be a Bush/Condi supporter – how the hell do you arrive at that? You’re doing that: If you don’t agree with me, you must be a Negro-Con” thing. That can’t be your answer for everything my friend.

Also, when I spoke of Dyson, I said he is not respected in academic culture – which is true. But I also said that I personally respect him and enjoy his books and lectures very much. Get it straight...

Damn... Why do I have waste all this time correcting your ass all the time. Just read what I say a little closer, so we can get down to business.

With your final Bush statement, I suppose you’re trying to suggest that I’m educated, but still an idiot. Would that be an accurate assessment? Anymore insults…?

Best,
Renu

 
At 8:14 PM, Blogger Noah TA said...

Renue, this is not an inter-racial debate this is an intra-racial debate and I do not believe racial sensitivity has anything to do with these debates, assuming that you are black. The blood and Crips comment, metaphor or not, was an embellishment. Just because I call or characterize a person as a Negro Con or as a scared to death Negro, such does not make that person my enemy. Indeed, I may simply see them as brainwash victims.

Your argument has in effect become a filibuster. You are not addressing the points made in the essay. Notice that little, if any, of your comments in this essay are related to the essay. Rather, your commentary is related to the commentary.

Yes, black people are doing almost better than ever (we have digressed slightly under Bush). However, doing better than ever is no substitute for equality, which we as a people are far from. Don’t become blinded to inequality and struggle from your own success. Also don’t be naïve about the fallout of the decline of manufacturing in America, which allowed many marginally educated and uneducated blacks to reach middle income, if not middle class. Not all blacks who are middle class and have risen did so via a college degree. They did it by hard work and opportunities for good pay for high school graduates. Now many of those opportunities are dissipating, due to cheaper sources of labor in developing countries. Trapped in an unequal educational system, lack of role models and so forth, the coming years is likely to see a shrinking of the black middle class. So get off this “we have overcome” rhetoric.

 
At 9:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, Noah, I didn’t say anything resembling “We shall overcome,” nor did I suggest in any way that I have become blinded to inequality because of my own success. I don’t think I’ve ever met someone that thought there is no such thing as “inequality.” That’s a bizarre thing to say. You guys feel so comfortable just making shit up and then pass it off as someone else’s words. Just review my post, and you’ll see that I have said nothing of the sort.

Why you’re questioning my blackness I don’t know.

Don’t even try to back-peddle and cover your ass by suggesting that black conservatives are not your enemy. No one is going to buy that one. You hate them more than white folks. That’s how you behave, so just stand by it. Hell, it’s all over this blog. Just own it!

Our entire debate (especially my comments) has been directly related to your post. In fact, two of your last three posts have just been hastily thrown together diatribes in response to the comments of your many detractors here; there was actually no issue brought to the table. You were just commenting on comments. Don’t start trying to hold me to a standard that you have never abided to yourself.

Yes, the Bush years have been difficult for blacks, but there you go with the nihilism and the gloom again... Think positive dude! Bush can't stop us, unless we want to be stopped. It's our choice.

The loss of unskilled labor jobs, and many skilled labor jobs (going over seas) is a problem for the black community, which is precisely why education is going to be increasingly important for our future. This trend, however, is seriously crippling our economy, and it will come to an end. In fact, there is a concerted effort within congress to put a stop to this. If they don’t, our nation is going to become a feudal state with a small minority of wealthy elites living in castles and millions upon millions of destitute people. But that won’t happen. Then again, maybe it will.

Either way, we have to help ourselves!

Signing off for a bit…I’m going on holiday tomorrow. Brazil baby!!!

Cheers Victims!!!

Best,
Renu

 
At 9:26 PM, Blogger Scott said...

Noah, I am responding only because you directly asked me to. You are correct that middle class people are generally not rich because they don't work hard enough. And at times I do look down on myself. But the point is I don't require any welfare payments to buy my food. The point is I pay taxes and I am not receiving transfer payment from the government. I don't have poverty pimps trying to get the government to pay for my shiftless behavior.

My dad once told me “pay your bills”. And I pay my bills.

And I don't like paying other peoples bills, whether they are illegal immigrants, unwed mothers or farm subsidies.

So I have no beef with people whose lifestyle I don’t have to directly subsidize.

Also I don’t believe in relative poverty. People who believe in that and measure their life style against others are stupid. I know people who make 5% of my income and others who make 1000% of my income. Guess what all of our cell phones work the same, we watch to same movies and TV, our homes are warm at night, we all get fresh water from out taps and we all get 2000 plus calories of food each day. In all of the things that matter we are all doing ok. The fact is majority of the world is working very hard to have just have what we all have which is being out of absolute poverty. And to bitch about someone having more when we all have so much more than the average person is selfish.

I live in a country where if want more I can work harder and get it. Or I can choose to chill and enjoy what I already have.


But don't expect me to be patient with those who can’t do the minimum required to be self sufficient in America.

 
At 2:41 AM, Blogger Constructive Feedback said...

One man's "looking down on others" is another man's "SEEING CERTAIN BEHAVIOR THAT IS BEING (key word coming up) ENCULTURATED INTO A SOCIETY OF PEOPLE AND REACTING WITH INDIGNATION THAT SUCH BEHAVIOR IS BEING "NORMALIZED" "

Noah and Faheem:

I believe that the counter thesis to your claim is that I can accuse YOU and Michael Eric Dyson of protecting the status quo WITHIN the Black community.

Now think about that for a minute. I am not talking about from the perspective of the outside looking in, the perspective that most Civil Rights Leaders and others who have their LOCUS OF CONTROL FOR THE BLACK COMMUNITY OUTSIDE OF THE BLACK COMMUNITY and thus they are really talking to white people as a means of having them change to provide more resources to the Black Community.

I am talking about BLACK PEOPLE and the messages that need to be communicated TO BLACK PEOPLE as we live and interact with each other.

In my view your conversations to other Black people with the hopes that they will change are LIMITED. Any dialogue that is spread to other Blacks is done within the context of having us to demand resources from Whites/the Government, get them to change their behavior toward Blacks or to protest as a means of voicing a concern to those with power over you.

Little is said on what Black people need to do in the way of reprioritizing our time, our values, and what we communicate to our children so that they will receive a diffrent set of messages.

If you notice when the National Urban League released its "State of Black America" report in which the Black man was 76% of a White man in America today their agents immediately went to Capitol Hill to market the results of this report. Have you seen any nation wide community forums from this report, providing information to Black people on where we are falling short, giving the masses BEST PRACTICES on how we might be able to Close the Gap? Suggesting that we target 3 key areas and remain conscious on a daily basis? NO - THE REPORT WAS WRITTEN FOR WHITE FOLKS AND THOSE IN POWER TO CONSUME.

Many of you all have yielded, as unwittingly as may be the case, that the Black Urban dweller is POWERLESS TO CHANGE HIS OWN CONDITION OVER TIME. You believe that they, along with AFRICA can only be saved by having resources from afar brought in. Thus you talk to the folks with resources rather than those who, aligning themselves accordingly can amount equal resources if their CULTURE worked in conjunction with their goals.

I AM NOT "LOOKING DOWN ON BLACK PEOPLE" IN ORDER TO PROMOTE MYSELF.

I am simply checking our STATED GOALS AS A PEOPLE and noticing that certain behaviors and thoughts are not compatible with this goals. Rather than being sheepish I AM VOCALIZING MY CONCERNS.

You should be more concerned with the people who attempt to DEFEND THAT WHICH IS OPPOSED TO THEIR OWN COMPASS BEARINGS because they want to defend against a supposed "Racist Attack" on poor Black folks. This only perpetuates the conditions in our community and insures that no one speaks out against it in the future. When the community collapses from this burden it is YOU who should be blamed because YOU chose to defend it rather than REORIENT THAT WHICH EVEN YOU FOULD ABBORANT.

I WILL NO LONGER BE A SILENT KNEEGROW TO THE ISSUES WHICH IMPACT BLACK PEOPLE TO A GREATER PORTION THAN THE HAND OF THE WHITE MAN TODAY! THAT HAND IS OURSELVES!!! (I realize that in Noah's eyes I am allowing the White man to escape culpability)

 
At 6:25 AM, Blogger Noah TA said...

Scott, when have you independently quantified the caloric energy expenditure of the rich to know that their success is the product of working harder? What about inheritance? What about connections? What about insider information? What about being at the right place at the right time? Social stratification has very little to do with hard work, because most people who are employed work hard.

I am glad we have finally got down to the crux of your concern Scott, which is TAXES and transfer payments. Your response does not at all sound like a person who is concerned with the black working poor, many of whom are without proper medical insurance. All you all worried about is MO MONEY, MO MONEY, MO MONEY, for yourself, via reduced taxes. You are always going to be paying other peoples bills, such as the Bills for the Savings and Loan debacle under the Reagan reign that cost the tax payers over a trillion dollars. You will be paying the Bill to win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people. You will also be paying the bill for the incarceration of people in jails and prisons.

Your response revealed your true motive is CONSERVATISM, less government and more money in your pocketbook. Your concern is not with the working poor, with inequality, with discrimination or anything else…..its all about you having mo money in your pocket.

 
At 6:33 AM, Blogger Noah TA said...

Renaldo

You shouldn’t run the place if you don’t speak the truth.
You shouldn’t run the place when you practice sleuth.
You shouldn’t run the place if you don’t teach the youth.
You shouldn’t run the place using wicked seeds to grow the fruit.

Courtesy of Capelton

 
At 8:16 AM, Blogger Noah TA said...

Is it just me or does Renu sound like a person who likes to be braggadocios? First it was his credentials, now while we bath in victim hood, as he perceives, he wants for us to know that he will be living the good vacation live in Brazil Baby! Would it not have sufficed for Renu to simply have made his counter argument or agreements, without interjecting his lofty accomplishments? Would it not have sufficed for Renu to simply have said that he would not be posting because he will be on vacation? What was the imperative or necessity to note that he is GOING TO BRAZIL BABY…and to facetiously refer to us VICTIMS? What was the need for Renu to no MY background, unless it was to juxtapose it with his own? You see, status and rank is a relative phenomenon that can only be created by comparing and contrasting oneself with another. Renu has this need to be ostentatious in regards to his status. A person cannot see status over the internet, thus, one must tell others of their status, if people are to know of it and see them as accomplished people. That is…if you value other people knowing your status, activism and vacation itinerary….I know I don’t.

 
At 2:14 PM, Blogger Scott said...

>>Your response revealed your true >>motive is CONSERVATISM, less >>government and more money in your >>pocketbook.

Or course that is the point of convervatism let people have the money they earn to take care of themselves instead of restricting people freedom by taking away the product of their labors. I am glad you get it.

But the point of your main post is that we look down on poor to make ourselves feel better. I don't look down on working poor. And I know both they and myself can make more money with better decisions and a little hard works.

 
At 2:21 PM, Blogger Noah TA said...

The question is do you think, if you are working middle class, that the working lower class is less hard working and have made inferior decisions to yourself and other middle class people? Do you feel that they had the same array of option before them as you, but simply chose to different than you and other middle class? When I say they, I am referring to the collective of working poor, keeping in mind that there are likely working poor people where this is true…but do you assume it true as the general rule?

 
At 7:07 PM, Blogger Scott said...

"if you are working middle class, that the working lower class is less hard working and have made inferior decisions to yourself and other middle class people?"

Yes,

But I would say middle class families have worked harder and made better decisions than lower class families. The family is the key economic unit not the individual, so bad choices by your parent have a huge negative and positive effect on you. And this is what Bill Cosby is talking about. And it is true, I had many advantages and they didn't come from my parents lack of wealth it come from the choices they made.

A simple example is how marriage is one of the best anti-poverty and health increasing measures. And if success of your marriage isn't a sum of personal decisions then you don't believe in any personal responsibility.

 
At 8:09 PM, Blogger Noah TA said...

Then you are indeed looking down upon the working poor. If you assumed they were on the same level as you, you would not have to look down. The fact that you assume inferior work ethic or decision-making means that you have placed them beneath you.

I am just curious as to how you bare witness of the collective effort and decisions of the working poor to come to that conclusion?

 
At 8:51 PM, Blogger Scott said...

"Then you are indeed looking down upon the working poor. If you assumed they were on the same level as you, you would not have to look down. The fact that you assume inferior work ethic or decision-making means that you have placed them beneath you."

Please explain your logic. You seem to have drawn a conclusion without any evidence or logic.

 
At 8:57 AM, Blogger Noah TA said...

The evidence is that you have never met the masses of the working poor; yet, you have concluded that they are beneath you in work ethic and choice making. You have prejudged the majority rule as being LOWER than you in these traits. Consequently, that is my evidence. If you assume anyone as lower performing in human traits, then you are looking down upon them and juxtaposing yourself as their superior.

 
At 9:29 AM, Blogger Scott said...

Noah where is your evidence of knowing the working poor? I lived in Harlem with the the working poor most of my life.

How about you ?

 
At 11:22 AM, Blogger Noah TA said...

Oh, excuse me for my ignorance, but I never knew that ALL the working poor in America resided in Harlem. I think it is irrelevant for me to tell you of my experience with working poor…because I have likely come in contact with less than .001 percent of the total working poor in America. As such, I certainly cannot use that sample set as a microcosm to extrapolate from. How about you? Now only that, NYC is certainly no microcosm of America. So the point and evidence still stands, you have prejudged millions of people whose lives, efforts and obstacles you have not bared witness to, yet, you presume a behavior inferiority in most of these people to yourself.


I never claimed any evidence of the working poor. What I claimed is giving them the benefit of the doubt and not looking at their condition as being a product of ethical or moral inferiority to my own, now that I have achieved the middle class.

 
At 11:58 AM, Blogger Scott said...

Noah I hope you are not as ignorant as you pretend to be.

You ask us not to use individual stories to illustrate a point, nore do you want us to use statistical data such as gained from the census.

So basically unless I know every single of the working poor, I am allowed to talk about it in your blog.

You are and idiot, thanks for reminding me why I stopped visting.

Go get an education.

 
At 12:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Noah,

Asserting that one’s choices have a direct impact on their economic situation does not coincide with looking down on those with less. Scott articulated this very well. It is possible to acknowledge the poor choice of individuals without viewing them as inherently inferior. Why do you have to drain all the complex nuances and intelligence out of every issue in order to make some inane point? And why do you keep conflating “bad choices” and “inferiority” like they’re the same thing. Stop generalizing and putting words in people’s mouths. You make many bad choices on this forum, but I don’t think you’re inferior. Get it dummy?

Hypothetically speaking, let’s say that Scott does look down on the working poor. So what? He can look down on whom he wants, in the same manner that you look down on black conservatives, or anyone that disagrees with you. There’s plenty of your hate-filled, condescending bullshit on this forum to support that claim.

You have an epic inferiority complex, and you’re a narcissistic bore, who really only cares about his own wounded self-esteem. It’s clear that you feel inferior, and you would rather rationalize your lack of success as the result of external racism, as opposed to your own flawed choices. I don’t think you really care about black people, in fact, I think you have fully assimilated yourself into the unconscious logic of black inferiority. The majority of your contempt on this forum is directed at other blacks (black conservatives and visitors to your blog that disagree with you). You hate black people and you hate yourself. This blog is your vain attempt to find dignity and self-respect by lashing out at others. But you need to stop worrying about people looking down on you, and just work harder and make better choices. Yes, you are a black man in America and many people think you are inferior. But you don’t have to internalize it like you do.

Honestly, I believe that’s the reason why you refuse to tell us about yourself. You know you have nothing to offer, no accomplishments, no credentials, no activism, nothing! Surely a pompous, judgmental, blowhard like you would never shut up about his accomplishments if he had any. Instead you just hide out in the blogsphere. Why should we respect any of the crap you say; give us a reason? You don’t even read. You just watch the news and scour the internet looking for things to get mad about. Never have you grounded your discussions in a legitimate body of knowledge, like a historical or critical text.

We should read the same book and then discuss it here. That is my challenge to you blowhard. Let’s see how we all interpret the same material.

And don’t worry; I’m not going anywhere!

Nat Turner Jones

 
At 12:39 PM, Blogger Noah TA said...

It’s amazing how you guys look for an escape when your argument becomes untenable. Now I am once again an idiot, because it is your argument that does not hold water. Furthermore, while there is direct evidence that I said individual examples are virtually irrelevant in the collective scope, there is no evidence of your claim that I ever said that statistics of the whole are not allowed. Moreover, where have you ever seen statistics that have measured work ethic and choice making between the various social classes?

You call me an idiot, others point out my grammatical imperfections, others try to attack my character, others try to misdirect, others try to filibuster, others say I am not being civil….and the list goes on. The bottom line is that none of you dissenters or black conservatives wants to play by logical rules. You all want to live and debate in the world of subjective reasoning, that is based upon nothing but personal experience and assumptions of inferiority of others.

Now, you are looking down upon me as an idiot. Just who is not inferior to you Scott? Are you the MOST HIGH?

 
At 1:06 PM, Blogger Noah TA said...

Mrs, Jones, thanks for returning to be assaulted by my inaccurate construction of communication via the language that you love so much. LOL. For your information, I never asserted your assertion. What I asserted was the propensity of many middle class people to look down upon lower class people for having made inferior choices and demonstrated inferior behaviorism to their own and such is the cause for their lower class status. I never asserted that recognizing the correlation of those traits to social class is looking down upon people. If that is the case, then I too am looking down. The problem is, that there are MANY factors that contribute to social position and none of you have shown any evidence that you have controlled for the other factors in your assumption that behavioral inferiority, to your own, is the cause of their class status.


Bringing to light an inferior performance is to look down on someone, when your performance is superior. For example, you look down on my English skills and call me a dummy…. any honest and intelligent person would with the same level of skill and intelligence would not call another a dummy unless they perceive them to be inferior to them. You may try to be civil and patronize someone, but you are still looking down upon him or her…. or me in this instance. You are such a master at English, that you put all your eggs in that basket to where you no nothing of anything else…like human nature and logical reasoning,

Yes I have an inferiority complex or more precisely, I have a complex about the false assumption of black inferiority by a white dominated nation. It is just like the complex that I have about being seen as a criminal, because I am black,….when I know I am not.

You guys kill me with your…tell me your story….your status….your activism….as if any of you have any way of corroborating anything that I say…LOL. Let me just say this, based upon your stated assumptions….you would be very disappointed to know the truth…because you would love to see me as a failure LOL.

 
At 1:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Noah,

It’s not your grammar blowhard (that’s just a nuisance), it’s the fact that you make unfounded, illogical statements and then demand others to be logical and methodologically sound. An “assertion” is not logic my friend (it is by definition, subjective reasoning). Why don’t you just try posting something that is backed up historically, factually and theoretically; then we can talk.

And stop trying to save face by harping on the grammar comments. Your inequities are far more troubling than that. At least look up words before you write them to make sure you’re really articulating what you intend. I wish you would stop trying to rationalize your problems with the English language.

You pathetically say that I have ignored logical reasoning and human nature (?) to learn English. What you’re not getting blowhard is that one must fully understand and master language before they can effectively make a logical argument. That was my reason for pointing out your misuse of words in the first place. How can you be logical when you don’t even understand the words you’re using?

You simply don't make any sense because you haven't taken the time to master the English language. Don't blame me for pointing that out.

A big part of my career success has been the result of my mastery of language, and my ability to articulate myself both in oral and written forms. As black people, we can’t afford not to have such skills.

Noah, I really hope you are successful, because I only want the best for my people. And I’m glad you finally admitted to having an inferiority complex and low self-esteem as a black man; I think that’s healthy, and a good way to begin the healing process.

Nat Turner Jones

 
At 8:00 PM, Blogger Noah TA said...

Mrs Jones, logic is not bound by the inexact science of language. Mathematics is the language of logic. One can send a projectile into orbit by communicating with mathematical formulas that coincide with the laws of nature. Logic and reasoning is laws of nature, numbers and mathematics, set theories, truth tables and the like. Logical reasoning can be represented through a language such as English, but the validity or invalidity of the logical reasoning is not BOUND by the rules of grammar. That is what you seem to not understand. The only truth that is bound by the rules of grammar… is the rules of grammar.

You keep saying that I used the wrong term, which therefore makes my conclusion invalid. Lady….look…..let us just say that I did use the word wrong…what that means is that I mapped a thought to the incorrect term in the English language. It does not mean it was an incorrect thought…it just simply means that it was an incorrect mapping. The correction of the incorrect word mapping to the correct mapping WOULD NOT CHANGE THE CONCLUSION!!!!. You keep talking about ONE WORD used incorrectly in a 500-word essay…as if that negates inferences and conclusions. Then attempt that I am trying to safe face…. NO genius…I am trying to save truth from your logical fallacies and distortions.

What I have said all along is that none of us can bare witness to the lives of each and every 280 million Americans. We cannot even bare witness to 1000 Americans daily lives and walk in their shoes. Consequently, to have an opinion as to why people are in the status they are requires a lot of ASSUMPTIONS. It is those assumptions that are basically beliefs in inferiority, if one does not give those that they cannot bare witness to, the benefit of the doubt of moral and ethical equality. When one assumes more equality of people they don’t know, who are much poorer, it can then only be external circumstance that has caused the inequality with those who have achieved more.

 
At 9:09 PM, Blogger Scott said...

"Moreover, where have you ever seen statistics that have measured work ethic and choice making between the various social classes?"

As I stated before there is huge body of evidence that shows how marriage choices effect your economic and physical health. This is common knowledge to most educated people. You can start reading here.

http://www.heritage.org/Research/Features/Issues2004/family.cfm

http://www.heritage.org/research/features/marriage/index.cfm

http://crcw.princeton.edu/fragilefamilies/index.asp

 
At 10:45 PM, Blogger Noah TA said...

If that is true Scott, then does marriage choices account for the income and wealth discrepancies between the upper class and the middle class? It should if they theory holds true. Moreover, have you ever considered that college educated people tend to get married at higher rates than not college educated people…thus producing the greater household income? Had these individual not gotten married, they would still posses a higher PER CAPITA income than the per capita income of the working poor. When one looks are PER CAPITA income, as opposed to HOUSEHOLD INCOME….one can easily see that with or without marriage, the income discrepancy would still exist.

All that having been said…were are the laziness or work ethic studies? You did say that you believe the working poor did not work as hard as you…so where is those studies?

 
At 6:53 AM, Blogger Scott said...

First not working harder does not equal lazy. Also note I made no judgements about people decisions, I just said people/family choices play a large part in their economic outcomes.


I have already pointed out how one of many decisions marriage effects people economic standing.


But you wanted some info on laziness which for this disscusion I will define as working fewer hours.

I can point you to

http://www.ncpa.org/pub/ba/ba428/

" * Only 2.6 percent of people 16 years or older with full time jobs are poor, according to Census data.

* By contrast, 11.4 percent of part-time workers fall under the poverty line, and 20.8 percent of those who do not work fall below the poverty line. "

Read the whole article it talks of multiple decisions that put people into poverty.

"It(poverty) is also the consequence of specific behaviors and decisions. The 2001 Census data clearly show that dropping out of high school, staying single, having children without a spouse, working only part time or not working at all substantially increase the chances of long-term poverty. Certain behaviors are a recipe for success. Among those who finish high school, get married, have children only within a marriage and go to work, the odds of long-term poverty are virtually nil."

No before you go back to changing the issue, please reread my thesis statement which I have proved by evidence I have presented above, which was.

"I would say middle class families have worked harder and made better decisions than lower class families. The family is the key economic unit not the individual, so bad choices by your parent have a huge negative and positive effect on you. And this is what Bill Cosby is talking about. And it is true, I had many advantages and they didn't come from my parents lack of wealth it come from the choices they made."

You have also asked "wealth discrepancies between the upper class and the middle class? " if you are interested in some of the behaviors and decisions that seperate the rich from the middle class I would suggesst thay you read "The Millionaire Mind - and the Millionaire Next Door- by Thomas J. Stanley ".

 
At 9:34 AM, Blogger Noah TA said...

Scott, I do not disagree with any of the facts you presented. Our disagreement is born from the causation of the facts. The question is not simply what people do, but what leads people to do what the do.

You say that you do not define not working as hard as lazy, but working fewer hours. Well, how do you control for those people who work part time, but want to be full time or people who work full time but who want to work another job to supplement their income? You can show statistics of poverty related to hours worked, but you cannot show statistics of peoples will or desire to find work, work full time or even two jobs to pull out of poverty. If I may, you seem to be suggesting that the fact that people are not working or working less hours is the product of choice…. and not a limitation on options.

This is true of all behavior and choices. How do you know that a poor women or poor man simply are not finding people worthy of marriage? Certainly, poor women would love to marry an educated fellow with good earning potential, but would he want her? Certainly if she could catch such a mate, it would lift her up, but he may see it as lowering himself and seek to marry a women of equal education and potential. If two unemployed, uneducated poor people got married, you would simply produce an unemployed uneducated family unit. Thus, I question your assertion that marriage is the core unit of income, if that is what you said. Marriage does not produce income or education, which is the produce of individuals within a marriage. I challenge you to present a better argument that marriage increases income. Marriage increases household income, but if a man with two kids marries a woman with two kids of her own, there is really no net gain of income per capita for each member of the new family. Household expenses will likely be slightly reduced from the sharing of rent or mortgage, but per capita income in the family unit is not increased.

The same is true for education. What are the reasons the make some people drop out of school and others not? Being born in poverty produces an environment of different stimuli than being born in an environment that is middle or upper class. The fact that the drop out rate is less in the middle and upper class than the lower class is revealing. The conundrum is that a high drop out rate is BOTH and SYMPTOM and CAUSE of poverty. That points to a circular causation. Consequently, people are making decisions, or should I say reactions, to a different set of external stimuli or options, that result in different decisions. The only way that you could truly compare such decision between individuals is if all the external stimuli were the same, which we no is not true.

Thus, my conclusion is still the same. Behavior, choices and decision are often the product of environmental stimuli and options. Therefore, one really should not make assumption about the poor desire or will, based simply upon statistics of outcome. It can very well, and often is, the result of unequal environmental stimuli and options.

 
At 10:01 AM, Blogger LouisChauvin said...

Well Scott as much as I tend to dislike conservatives, (maybe due to ingnorance) you make a compelling argument.

Thanks for the Links!

LouisC

 

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