The power of personal agency

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The power of personal agency

Post by cassowary » Sun Jun 21, 2020 7:51 pm


Let us continue our discussion here.

In other words, if your life falls apart, its mostly your own fault.
In the aftermath of George Floyd’s killing, a telling scene unfolded at a “Justice Can’t Wait” vigil in Bethesda, Md. Nearly 1,000 predominantly white residents—many on their knees with both hands in the air—chanted: “I will love my black neighbors the same as my white ones.” These pledges by white allies that black lives matter to them are emerging across the country as the latest expression of performative empathy.

What distinguished the Bethesda demonstration was both the ritualized oath by newly woke white people to speak out about “racism, anti-blackness, or violence,” and the message that all the challenges facing black Americans can be laid at the feet of whites. This approach is well-intentioned, but it’s dangerous for blacks to think we need to depend on whites to “dismantle structural racism.”

As Al Sharpton eulogized at George Floyd’s funeral, “ever since 401 years ago, the reason we [black people] could never be who we wanted and dreamed of being is you [white people] kept your knee on our neck.” Similarly, CNN anchor Don Lemon recently explained to his colleague Chris Cuomo: “It is not incumbent upon black people to stop racism. It is incumbent upon people who hold the power in this society to help to do that, to do the heavy lifting. Who is that Chris?”

Mr. Cuomo matter-of-factly replied, “White people.”

The narrative that white people “hold the power” conveys a wrongheaded notion of white superiority and creates an illusion of black dependency on white largess. This false assignment of responsibility, while coming from an authentic desire to produce change, can create a new kind of mental enslavement.

Glenn Loury, a Brown University economist, exposed this concern at a 2019 event sponsored by the Manhattan Institute titled “Barriers to Black Progress: Structural, Cultural or Both?” Mr. Loury was challenged with the proposition that before black people address factors within their locus of control—such as high levels of single parenthood, which create a greater likelihood of child poverty—white people’s racist attitudes and actions need to be resolved. “You just made white people, the ones who we say are the implacable, racist, indifferent, don’t-care oppressors, into the sole agents of your own delivery,” Mr. Loury said. “Really?”

Herein lies the great danger of this moment: The next generation of Americans—black and white—might grow up believing that the entire destiny of one race rests in the hands of another, which must first renounce its “privilege” before any progress can be made. The potential damage is that young people are robbed of their sense of personal agency—the belief and ability they can control their own destiny.

For the past decade, I have run a network of public charter schools in the South Bronx and the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Our mission has been to empower the students we educate, most of whom are black or Hispanic and from low-income homes, to become whatever they want to be, regardless of the actions of any “oppressive majority.”

When helping young people of all races to envision what is possible, we have to counter what Tyrone Howard of the University of California, Los Angeles calls the “pathological depiction of and belief in the inferiority of black people, culture, and history.” Instead, we must “identify and speak about black excellence.” Especially now, when the prevailing notion seems to be that black people’s efforts are futile in the face of white supremacy, we must accentuate the positive stories of millions of black men and women who are living the American dream—or are on their way to doing so, despite structural barriers.

Census data show that more than three million black students were enrolled in college or graduate school in 2018. According to the Washington Post, 23 unarmed black people were killed by police that year. This is 23 too many, yet roughly 136,000 black students were in higher education for each unarmed black person killed by police.

George Floyd’s tragic death isn’t emblematic of how most middle-aged black men experience American life. Yes, for black men like me, racism is a reality—sometimes with fatal consequences. But 57% of black men have made it into the middle class or higher as adults today, up from 38% in 1960, according to a 2018 report by the American Enterprise Institute. As the study’s authors wrote: “This good news is important and should be widely disseminated because it might help reduce prejudicial views of black men in the society at large, and negative portrayals of black men in the media.” And the black men who are succeeding in the U.S. are disproportionately likely to have done three things: graduated from college or served in the military, found full-time work and married.

There are pathways to power for young black people. That’s why our nation’s educators must help black girls and boys cultivate a sense of personal agency and convince them that their deliverance is determined more by their own actions than by the incantations of a newly enlightened majority.
Blacks don't succeed in Africa too where they are in the majority. So their problem lies elsewhere other than white racism. Many poor blacks in the US live in Democratic controlled cities often with black mayors. So how can their failure be due to racism.

Here is a list of US cities with a black majority. Topping the list is Detroit which is 84% black. How are they doing when racism is impossible because they hold political power. Not so good, right?
But residents living in poverty didn't appear to benefit, and Detroit remained the nation's poorest big city last year, according to U.S. Census' American Community Survey estimates released Thursday.
Why is it that the Left denies the existence of personal responsibility? In the case of the US, the left is mostly the Democratic Party. Well, I can think of a few reasons. Firstly, they want to win votes. Telling people that they failed because they are bums and thus must improve themselves won't win votes. Blaming failure on other people is a sweeter message that will win votes.

Secondly, I think many leftists have a secret agenda. Some are revolutionary Marxists who want to overthrow capitalism. For them, this equates to subverting and destroying the US. So instead of telling you how to succeed in a capitalism system (work hard, save and invest, avoid sinful activities like drugs, alcohol, gambling, marital infidelity etc), they blame capitalism itself. But they cannot get enough supporters this way.

So they use race. They catch supporters among black failures by telling them its all the fault of the white man instead of helping them improve their behavior and attitudes.

Black people can succeed in America. oBUMa was elected to the highest office in the land. Oprah Winfrey is a billionaire. Telling those who did not succeed because of racism will only guarantee their failure. It gives them an excuse, a crutch not to strive.
The Imp :D

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