Thank you
by jesuitirish (2007-03-30 13:15:15)
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  In reply to: Well, crap… I’m about to go to bed and you hit me with that one.  posted by IrishApache

for the time and thoughtfulness of that response. I appreciate it and I learn from it.

I have found myself working in the Bronx, in East L.A., in Cabrini Green, in Camden, and now in third world slums that make these places look like paradise, so I can certainly appreciate your vivid description of the malaises found in these sorts of places.

On that note, I guess we agree. It's a sad world these people live in.

I suppose I also agree with you on how to move forward. "The poor need a cultural revolution and a mentality change," you wrote. That should be emblazoned on a title page or spray painted on bodega walls. It's profoundly true.

But what does it mean? How would this revolution look? What would engender this change in mentality? Maybe -- because of the ND connection -- I can assume youre Catholic? If we share that, we might also agree that the only real 'conversion' is one that leads people closer to God, through the grace of Christ. (Which doesnt go a long way to telling us what the fuck we should *do*... especially cops.) But how do you encourage this change in mentality?

I certainly dont know, despite dedicating myself to this problem. My first instinct is to diagnose what went wrong. And that's what got me writing about hopelessness and despair in my previous post. If I were to state what I think was the biggest misconception about the 'ghetto poor' among people with no contact there, it is that these damned teenage thugs just arent scared enough. They need to be frightened into respecting authority, moral codes, old fashioned American values, etc. This is a misdiagnosis, I think. The problem isnt a lack of fear, but a lack of hope. These adolescents have absolutely no hope for their future.

The most useful 'thought experiment' I think NYU or ND students could do would be to try to imagine their lives absent ANY form of hope. How long till youre throwing bottles at police?

So I guess I just wanted to write to thank you for your post. If I disagree with you at all, it is in your use of (and apparent value in) terms like "left" and "liberal"... as if the real important issue was to skewer the Other Side. Liberal and conservative mean fuck-all, these days, I think. They have become empty terms and function like Coke/Pepsi or State/Tech. Down with the other side.

The cultural crisis among the poor undermines these terms and this way of thinking.


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