Poverty in The Bronx

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

In an article in The Nation, editorial director of Colorlines, Kai Wright, argues that poverty in The Bronx results from policy, not personal choice. 


Kai Wright

Comments [17]

HA, HARD CORE from n .y.c

i say close all them schools now and quick !
too many graduates and not enough jobs , let the lie of supply and demand come in to play !

if all those companies need trained worker let them train them on the job.
enough with all this over flooding of graduates and excess trades men .

dont we all see the crazy educational industry system that them made .

all those bosses and companies crying they need more employees when actually they want more applicants dreaming about non existant jobs .

Apr. 12 2012 09:08 PM

Well intentioned public policy does not match today's economy.

My dad came from Puerto Rico in the 50's and lived in the South Bronx. He taught me that the only way out of poverty is education. We were not-sure-if we-will-eat-tonight poor but I believed what he said, worked hard, and after 14 years of NYC public schools (yes, the Head Start Program), went to Harvard on a full scholarship.

I raised my own daughter with a lot more economic security and was able to send her to Harvard as well. The tuition room and board are now exactly FOUR TIMES what they charged when I was there. The sad part is her starting salary just out of college (and she was one of the lucky ones to even find a job) was exactly the same as the one I earned just out of college.

My education cost $10K. Her education $40K.
My starting salary $20K. Her starting salary $20K. And she doesn't get health insurance with that.

How could anyone get ahead today? There is stagnation in our country. Government is clueless and bogged down. The time to believe in the "American Dream" has passed. My advice to anyone at any income level is NEVER buy anything on credit, even education. It just doesn't pay and it will probably haunt you for life!

Jan. 04 2012 12:46 PM
jimmy from bronx

No Carol, some are just lazy. It is exactly your view that enables people to not take a driver's seat in their own wellbeing and simply take responsibility. If you showed up for elementary and high school everyday and earned and was not just given your diploma, if you got yourself to college by any means necessary and studied something that could get you a job. Then you showed up every day for class and earned yourself a good GPA which in turn would help you find a job only for that job to become a casualty of the economy then you have a right to be depresssed. But if for your whole life, it was always someone else's fault, the teachers, the school system, your landlord, the government, the boss that gave your job to someone that worked harder than you and earned it, then its just plumb lazy. Everyone should read this Puts things in perspective.

Jan. 04 2012 12:04 PM
glork from NJ

I gotta wonder about the obvious- on one hand Mr. Wright praises the ingenuity and the inventiveness of the hustle that most poor people are forced to develop. Many also are ingenious at scamming,running cheat hustles, etc. So why souldn't they be the first to recognize when THEY are being gypped? If you are alive with hearing,you know college educations are costly. That even privileged people need to save up for it. That college does not guarantee a job. So how in the hell do people making $100 a week from a job and social service benefits suddenly feel that a $100,000 item ( a house, a college education ) is within their means because someone fast talks them? When did all their "street wisdom" evaporate? Come on, some of this begs the imagination. Sure, businesses prey upon the helpless and fools-PT Barnum, etc., but ya gotta wonder. What happened to "if its too good to be true, then it's not probably not a good idea?" Good grief, guys, soem personal responsibility is called for here. Or when the immigrant landscaper wants a mortgage for the house next to the McMansion he is scraping at, does no one say "no" because its not "politically correct"? Emerson's "Self-Reliance".

Jan. 04 2012 12:03 PM
siouxan from Bronx

The commenter who blamed the NYPD for poverty in Brooklyn? Talk about the blame game. I'm no fan of the NYPD by any means, but your assumption is that all the men of poverty incarcerated by the NYPD would be productive, child supporting members of society if they had not been arrested. By any measure, some of them might eventually become that, but the truth is that many cannot or choose not to.

Jan. 04 2012 11:57 AM

Your guest seems to defend lazy people by explaining that it is their right to be poor.

Doesn't he realize that the establishment of a "consumer rights" regulator will directly usurp the plans and dreams of the lazy rich, who feast and breed in the twisting knots of loopholes and unfair incentives?

Jan. 04 2012 11:52 AM
Carol L. Danilowicz from Brooklyn

What is often referred to as "lazy", is actually a deep-seated all encompassing depression. I don't believe there are many people who are simply "lazy" -- that's an easy way to label people so they can be given up on - they're "lazy" - thus despicable.

Jan. 04 2012 11:50 AM
fuva from Harlemworld

On another note...Seems that black "intellectuals" think they must be light and airy when discussing serious, depressing racial issues on shows like this. This was also commented on with Skip Gates. It's a curious, interesting phenomenon...

Jan. 04 2012 11:48 AM
mike from Brooklyn

You both touched on a lack of father's in this community contributing to poverty but ignored the fact that a huge contributing factor to the lack of father's is incarceration rates that stem from inequitable policing, the drug war, and stop and frisk. Stopping predatory lenders and predatory schools is a good example of how to stop the world from putting the screws to the south Bronx, but we can't forget that the NYPD is responsible for a lot of the poverty in this neighborhood as well.

Jan. 04 2012 11:47 AM
MichaelB from Morningside Heights

Here, here! to the current caller, who is challenging the guest. I think the guest makes some really important points, but he is also glossing over and dismissing these types of points rather casually. In other words, he is spouting cliches when confronted with different points of view.

Does he mean to say that role models DON'T matter for children growing up in poverty??? But the government will show them the path out of their despair?

Jan. 04 2012 11:45 AM

Hate to say it but Gingrich has a point perhaps. You can see this with boxing gyms. If you're going to fight you have to train everyday doing grueling workouts, hard sparring and maintain a disciplined diet all with the hope maybe some time weeks or months out you might get to fight. Some kids have no concept of this and it might be their first exposure to this kind of structure and discipline. Of course the kids that take to it the best are the ones who's dad brings them in and encourages them or is involved. Still it really helps people learn to be goal oriented and disciplined, not to mention the physical confidence from the training can help kids in other ways. Unfortunately I think the number of free community gyms has dropped while bourgeois MMA gyms have been popping up all over.

Jan. 04 2012 11:44 AM
fuva from Harlemworld

As far as the source of poverty in the Bronx, depends how far back you want to take it. The economic divide that the Bronx reflects started many, many scores of years ago -- systematically created, yet never effectively, systematically addressed. The ensuing, ongoing poverty lacked/ lacks the political power to get effective policy implemented.

Jan. 04 2012 11:43 AM

Re: Rick Perry staying in the primary race--

My theory is that Perry entered as late as he did because he was pressured by the Republican Powers That Be to become a candidate, to take one for the Mittens. Meaning that the more not-Romney candidates in the race, the easier for Romney to garner enough delegates to win the nomination.

With so many evangelical, far right candidates running, the not-MItt vote gets splintered into too small to affect the outcome.

Were there only one strong not-Romney, that person might well win the nomination and the Wall Street side of the Repub Party does not want that.
Both Romney and Obama mean the Money Crowd comes out OK, but having a wild card far right candidate might just upset their carefully piled up apples on the apple cart.

Perry has to be in SC and possibly FL to ensure Romney wins the largest possible number of delegates -- and the others then cannot continue due to lack of funding.

(Did no one in the MCM (Mainstream Corporate Media) wonder how Perry got so many mega donors so soon after throwing his hat in the ring? And doing so poorly in the debates yet still get that Big Money? He's cheap as insurance against Romney not winning.)

Jan. 04 2012 11:40 AM
Harry from Around the corner

Do the hasidics use restricted covenants to create their isolated communities? If not, how do they do it??

Jan. 04 2012 11:39 AM
mp from NYC

I work for a CUNY and am always saddened by that all too common tale of "private" colleges that prey on the uninformed by encouraging them to take out loans they can rarely afford to pay back. I've recently been encouraged, however, by the subway advertising campaign by the city that has been warning against exactly these types of schools. It's called "know before you go"

Jan. 04 2012 11:39 AM
Lissa from UES

I went to UoP from ASU and thought i would get out faster, but they did not keep their promise and dragged out my schooling over two years when it should have taken one... needless to say I racked up $10000 in debt that extra year....

Jan. 04 2012 11:36 AM

education is the only way to escape poverty. for those with a college dregree the unemployment rate is near 5% if you don't have that piece of paper the rate is over 15%.

Jan. 04 2012 11:06 AM

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