One of the common mistakes of a certain type of conservative is the "I did it, anyone can mentality" among people who are successful despite being disadvantaged. That mentality can seem arrogant and insulting to those who aren't as successful and it is not completely accurate. I believe that many more people can escape their impoverished or otherwise disadvantaged background than currently do, but it takes more than willpower.
Many people do try very hard, but lack the discipline and skills to be successful. The most important factor for success seems to be having a mentor who believes in the potential of the individual and provides hope, guidance and encouragement. The other major factor is the development of self discipline and the ability to focus on a task. For most disadvantaged people, these are skills that needs to be learned and they take time to develop. For many people from middle class or higher status families, these qualities are modeled and taught starting in infancy. As a result , people often fail to recognize that these skills are not innate and don't just happen naturally. Sadly, many low income families are unable to provide effective mentoring and are unable to teach and model self discipline and focus.
Other problems keeping people from escaping their impoverished circumstances include the neighborhood culture, low quality schools that expect little from the students, racism and classism, lack of work opportunities for teens, family obligations (i.e young people forced to babysit younger siblings or care for an elderly or disable relative), post traumatic stress and other psychological problems, unstable families and homes. If one takes a close look at all these challenges it becomes easy to recognize all the obstacles to success. Outsiders or successful escapees from the lower class telling people with such problems that they just need to try harder is not really helpful and is understandably unappreciated.
Last edited by Hard Truth; 02-12-14 at 06:43 PM.
The power of disadvantage should not be undervalued. Not only does it depreciate the circumstances many people have, but it also lessens the degree of success of those that overcame it.
"No religion is true, but some religion, any religion, is politically necessary. Law and morality are insufficient for the large majority of men. Obedience to the law and to the morals are insufficient for making men happy. […]Law and morality are therefore in need of being supplemented by divine rewards and punishments."
You can never be safe from a government that can keep you completely safe from each other and the world. You must choose.
I believe what Justice Thomas is doing is comparing a systemic culture of racism in the South to the raking over the coals he got during his Conformation Process for a seat on the Supreme Court. It should be pointed out Justice Thomas doesn't claim the Northern Liberal Elites were racist, just mean to him.
If you recall his Conformation hearings there were quite a few problems with his past legal opinions and writings, and of course the Anita Hill controversy. Many pointed to how light his back round was in court experience, not that as a black man he wouldn't be up to the task of sitting on the Supreme Court bench.
But the few idiotic verbal attacks pale to the South back in the day. Justice Thomas would have to be a very thin skinned man to point to the very few idiotic and quickly apologized for statements made, but he damn sure played the poor me victim race card during his conformation where no one was attacking him as a black CON....