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Personal Habits and Success

August 15, 2020 (475 words)

A lack of cognitive ability, or possession of a lesser degree of cognitive ability, can be an obstacle to securing viable employment. But this condition – like the blessing of inherent dignity, native intelligence, and even genius – is found among all races and ethnic groups in similar proportion.

It’s not as if the white population is any smarter, on average, than the black population. (As a white man i can assert this with absolute authority). There are plenty of white guys who are not exactly the brightest bulb in the pack, but who have nevertheless managed to remain gainfully employed down through the years. Their main attributes consist of showing up on time, keeping their nose clean, and mastering a routine.

So when faced with the fact so many black men are just scraping by financially, one has to consider the profligate way some of them have chosen to conduct their personal lives, and how those choices have impacted their employment prospects in a negative way.

The phrase “no Justice, no Peace” is regularly invoked to explain outbursts of anger and even civil unrest that occur in the black community on occasion. And it does make for a compelling argument that has always resonated with me.

But the level of injustice experienced here in the United States is relative. Even in our poorest communities, most everyone has a place to sleep, and enough to eat. Indeed, smart phones proliferate even in the ‘hood, do they not?

The “islands of concentrated poverty” many inner city blacks are forced to inhabit may not be pleasant, and may have been created by residential housing segregation known as red-lining.

As business writer Holman W. Jenkins, Jr. notes, what are now obviously broken communities have been further condemned to failure by public housing subsidies and a welfare system that fixes people to their current, broken down address. So, yes, the political class may want to re-think the place-oriented way they currently allocate federal dollars to address intractable problems like economic and social injustice.

But why did these communities become broken in the first place? Is being poor a direct corollary to not taking care of what little one has? Does living in poverty inevitably result in crime and violence?

Not receiving one’s “fair share” is certainly enough to get worked up about, and is a good reason to complain. But does that justify wonton violence in one’s own community, and the destruction of property? Doesn’t such self-inflicted mayhem make the poverty that much harder to bear?

Put another way, is systemic racism the reason black men shoot each other as frequently as they do? Is it the reason they don’t marry the women who bear their children? Living an indulgent lifestyle dilutes one’s effectiveness on the job. Living a criminal one removes a person from the “employable” category altogether.

Robert J. Cavanaugh, Jr
August 15, 2020

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