Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Insidious Enslavement by Gummint Cheese

Why is there so much turmoil between Black Americans and police agencies?  Some people think they know, and many of them are wrong.  The answer to the question is...... “gummint cheese”. 

Follow me for just a minute here....

FACTOID 1: Black males  commit more crimes per capita than other parts of the population.
FACTOID 2: 40% of all police officers killed are killed by Black males though Black males are only 6% of the population.

   Why?  What are the reasons or causes for this higher level of criminality?  Is it that Black males are genetically more prone to be criminals?  Not at all.  Our own social policies drive poor inner-city Black males in that direction.  It's not all Black males; it's predominantly poor inner-city folks who comprise most of this statistic.

Imagine this…a foreign power takes over our country.  In order to placate the masses, we are provided subsidized housing, free food through the use of vouchers, assistance for utilities (up to 100%), medical care, and other support for which we pay nothing.  There is one catch though, we cannot earn more than a specified amount of money (as low as $1,276 per month 1), or we begin to lose these benefits, one by one.  Wait, there’s another catch –  there is a rumor that a woman cannot have a man living in the house with them.

This isn’t a fictitious takeover of the United States; it is what happens in our inner cities. 

This is our modern welfare system.  Is this true?  Must a man be “out of the house” to qualify for welfare in the United States?  Does welfare end, when families begin?  Not necessarily, but the belief still exists in many communities.  Here’s how it started…

The “man in the house” rule was written into the 1935 Aid to Families with Dependent Children welfare law.  AFDC was intended to help women and children.   If a man lived in the house, they needed to get out and work to support their family.   In 1968 this part of the law was ruled unconstitutional.  The lawsuit was brought by children of a mother who had been refused welfare because she had a periodic, but consistent boyfriend.2  So, how did the law change after the Supreme Court decision?  Women could still receive benefits, with a man in the house, as long as the man was not considered a parent! 3


That’s right, a man could co-habitate with the woman AS LONG AS HE WAS NOT CONSIDERED A PARENT TO THE CHILDREN!!!  While this no longer holds true, the idea was implanted in the last generation. 

What effect could this have had?  We can only point to correlations, not causation, but consider this…. 
- In 1890, 80% of Black homes were headed by two-parents. 
- By 1970 that figure had dropped to 64%. 
- Just 20 years later (1990), the rate of two-parent Black families had fallen to 38%.

Male children, much more capable and prone to violence, have been losing role models thanks to our welfare system 4.  Unfortunately, many of these male children are Black...but they could just as easily be White, Asian, or Middle Eastern and suffer the same fate (see France for an example of Algerian ghettos).

So, back to our occupied country example… if you are limited in what you can earn, how do you obtain those things you WANT to have?  New Nike tennis shoes, a nice jacket, a PlayStation?   If others can have those things, why can’t we?  Stymied from earning money legitimately, Social Strain 5 tells us that some will obtain those material goods through “unconventional means”6.  An underground economy and criminality are two of the more deviant means.  If you can’t earn money, you can hustle for it.  You might sell drugs, you can steal.  In the 1980’s there was a wave of inner city children harming other children to steal their Nike Air Jordan tennis shoes.  If you Google “killed for Air Jordan’s" you’ll find this is still going on.  This type of behavior becomes the new norm in some disorganized communities (The case of Trevon Johnson 7).

As a community accepts deviance as a legitimate means to an end, social disorganization forms 8.  Social Controls (the social pressure inside a community that helps to regulate behavior) diminishes.  Churches, schools, and police were the primary forms of social control.  But, remember that inner cities have government-imposed lower incomes thanks to the welfare system.  The tax-base is lower and so schools had less money to provide an adequate education.  Churches become less influential and seen as judgmental against those who embraced these new norms.  Gangs form new "congregations". 

 The last form of social control, policing 10, is seen as an impediment to achieving those things we believe we deserve.  In these strained communities, police are charged with trying to keep the community safe.  As other social controls fail, they are often the option of last resort.  At the same time, gangs and community organizers are trying to diminish police impact by waging a turf war against officers.  Even Black officers aren’t respected in this environment.

This is the highly charged atmosphere that leads to clashes in the inner cities.  While not all residents of disorganized communities embrace deviance, a significant enough portion does so and rejects any controls that would heal their neighborhoods.  Those who are contacted by the police in these neighborhoods may be law-abiding, but police must take every precaution inside these war zones -- sometimes with disastrous consequences.
Law-abiding residents may be trying to escape this environment, but some are hamstrung by the reliance on government programs to meet their day-to-day needs.  SNAP, TANF, Housing Assistance, and even WIC’s free gummint cheese 11 are insidious ways to make a population dependent on their elected officials for their sustenance.   In return, the population continues to vote for those politicians.

Rather than fix the problem, they keep these residents subjugated.  Sounds a lot like the days of the plantations.

Welfare policies, well-meaning, helpful to some, were the catalyst in this world of unintended consequences.

The only way to fix this issue is by reforming the economies of the inner cities.  Jack Kemp once proposed "enterprise zones" to make this happen.  Even President Obama agrees with this approach 12.  As people take pride in earning their living, their right to self-determination is enhanced.    Pride in the community will stem from the pride of ownership.  With money to spend, businesses will return.  Disorganization will diminish, as will the need for the poor to embrace "unconventional means" and eat gummint cheese.

1. http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/eligibility
2. King v. Smith, 392 U.S. 309, 88 S. Ct. 2128, 20 L. Ed. 2d 1118 (1968)
3. http://tinyurl.com/hhs9jn2
4. http://articles.baltimoresun.com/1992-05-18/news/1992139210_1_unintended-consequences-poor-families-social-welfare-policies
5.  Merton, R.K. 1957. Social Theory and Social Structure, rev. ed. New York: Free Press.
6.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strain_theory_(sociology)
7.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ZGSQXmJPaQ
8. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_disorganization_theory
9. Velez, M. B. (2001). The Role of Public Social Control in Urban Neighborhoods: A Multi-Level Analysis of Victimization Risk. Criminology, 39, 837–864.
10.  Kappeler, V. and Gaines, L. (2015). Community Policing: A Contemporary Perspective, 7th ed. Anderson Publishing
11. http://www.fns.usda.gov/wic/wic-food-packages-regulatory-requirements-wic-eligible-foods
12. http://bigstory.ap.org/article/76f8ca143df34aa79103275cb3ed080a/obama-administration-designates-9-new-promise-zones

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