Tuesday, August 07, 2007

A few links

If you're looking for an analysis of child abuse in New Zealand that rises above troglodyte racism, then I'd recommend both John Minto and Chris Trotter (thanks Bryce) I hadn't been following. But I'd also recommend a piece brownfemipower wrote, although she's writing about America, much of it is familiar:

I never lived in the projects, but I lived in the “bad” part of Flint for about seven years. I’ve also worked at a daycare that catered to low income and impoverished children and their families, and then later at a school with kids from working class poor neighborhoods. And I can tell you–every last person in these areas, even the gang members, know very well what’s wrong with their neighborhood and what they need to make it better.

Many people are even trying to organize–some stand as the lone person willing to risk their benefits and/or safety to make things better and some others are able to slowly but surely form small groups of people who, in spite of the fear and the very real risks they take, stand up together against the violence.

But the thing is, even as these groups or individuals organize–nobody listens. Community members dismiss them as idealists, politicians dismiss them as not their problem, universities dismiss them as uneducated, white folks dismiss them as “niggers,” rich folks dismiss them as lazy–nobody gives a damn about what any person from these communities is saying UNTIL something horrific happens.


When horrific crimes like these happen, suddenly the world is outraged. The world looks down its self-righteous nose and insists–I know things are “bad”–but what kind of *animal*, what kind of *slime* would do something like this? THEN, the world draws itself up in self-righteous indignation and insists–I don’t care HOW bad things are, there is no excuse, no REASON for such hate, such horror–*I* would never do anything like *that*. EVER. (want evidence? look at the overall reaction to the looters in Hurricane Katrina–shoot to kill? well, it’s justified, they’re LOOTING! and *I* would never do such a thing! Shoot them!)


In order to qualify for public housing, you must be poor. Poorer than you could ever imagine being and then multiply that by 5 times. The kind of poor you have to be requires that you be willing to make the decision between feeding your kids that week or keeping the heat and lights turned on for another month. It requires you to choose between your daughter being raped in her own home or raped out on the streets.

This kind of poverty makes people who aren’t as poor feel really good about themselves. They lord their own riches over you as a way to “motivate” you (You too can live the multi-millionaire Bill Cosby lifestyle, if only you shut your legs and yank those boot straps a little harder!), and then they beat you up for wanting what they have (Naughty naughty little boys and girls! Since you want an I-pod, Oprah’s taking her school and money to Africa where they’re so hopeless they expect *nothing* of the world!). This kind of poverty makes people smile when they donate cans of pickled beets to the food pantry, and then snarl and hiss with venom when recipients aren’t properly thankful. (They must not really be hungry then! REAL poor people do not have taste buds!!!)

Go read the whole thing.

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