Thursday, May 25, 2017

Ben Carson's controversial statement about poverty lacks nuance.

via CBS News.
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson said in a radio interview airing Wednesday that a mindset parents hand down to their children contributes to poverty.

"I think poverty to a large extent is also a state of mind," Carson said in a SiriusXM radio interview with Armstrong Williams, a top adviser to Carson's 2016 presidential campaign. "You take somebody that has the right mindset, you can take everything from them and put them on the street, and I guarantee in a little while they'll be right back up there."

"And you take somebody with the wrong mindset, you can give them everything in the world, they'll work their way right back down to the bottom," the neurosurgeon continued.

The former GOP contender also referred to a "poverty of the spirit" and a "wrong mindset" that can develop from inadequate parenting and a negative environment.

"I think the majority of people don't have that defeatist attitude, but they sometimes just don't see the way, and that's where government can come in and be very helpful," Carson said. "It can provide the ladder of opportunity, it can provide the mechanism that will demonstrate to them what can be done."
Wow.  For such a smart guy Carson can be a real ass.  His statement lacks NUANCE...and understanding...and empathy.

But he was onto something and didn't even realize it.

What he should have said is that poverty...not having certain goods or being able to afford certain real.

If that poverty extends to not even being able to put food on your table or clothes on your back then it is crushing, back breaking and intolerable for a nation such as our own.

But that isn't the reality for a majority of people that we consider as living in poverty.

The issue is behavior.  The issue is pride.  The issue is having a personal view of yourself that will not condone certain 'actions'.

My grandparents were poor for a loong time and made it to the middle class toward the late stages of their life.

What did I hear from them constantly?

We might be poor but we're proud.

Just because we're poor doesn't mean you have to be nasty.

They can act like that but we don't.  We're no better than them, but we won't be like them.

What was the practical application of those statements that ring in my ear to this very day?  My granny was a neat freak from hell!  You better not let a crumb rest on the dinner table after eating.  Grandpa would have you cutting the yard even if you thought that it didn't need cutting!

You heading out the door?  Shirt tucked in and you better have yourself squared away!

You see some kids acting out in a local store and running around like they lost their minds?  You sure as hell better not take part in the shenanigans!

Carson was wrong in his statement (in my opinion), he had a point but stopped short of the mark.  If he was a bit more nuanced and took the economic factor out of it then he would have been spot on.

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