Simply put, equalization doesn’t work. The more our studies looking at why things are unfair lay the blame on our institutions or infer that rather than stating it outright, the less we look at individuals and their individual responsibility for the positions they find themselves in. Hence, the further we get from any real solutions to poverty, the wealth gap, education (especially the high school dropout problem), racism, sexism, and any other ism you might want to add.
This isn’t about blame or politics and it isn’t to say that things aren’t unfair or that any of the above doesn’t exist. It is to say, however, that the bulk of our research has gone awry and will never lead toward real solutions for the isms above until we return to looking at what we know works, which in every case begins with individual acceptance of one’s situation, accepting responsibility for one’s self and making individual effort toward changing one’s situation. Or, we will never find solutions if we continue looking away from the role of self, and even then, solutions will not be perfect since there’s no helping anyone who isn’t willing to make an effort on their own behalf and who simply wants freebies.
Honestly, and without doubt, Pediatric Neurosurgeon and former presidential candidate Ben Carson is the paradigm for solutions to the inequality issues in our society. If you don’t know about him, Google him. If you haven’t read what he’s written, or heard him speak, read one of his books and check out his speeches. He came up from the bottom, and in short, he says if he can do it anyone can.
So I taught in the Bronx for twenty-three years, in the ghetto, as they call it, in the combat zone as the NYCDOE used to label it unofficially, where the teachers used to get extra pay unofficially called combat pay, where almost always I was the only Caucasian in the room. Almost every student was from similar circumstances as Ben Carson. Most of the kids were smart. Most of the kids could use their hands to fix things, do hair, etc. None of the minds were any lesser than the minds born into golden-spoon circumstances. Almost all of them were street smart and savvy and could take care of themselves since they lived in a dangerous environment filled with predators of all kinds. All of them were capable of escaping the ghetto if they so chose and were given the right education, mentoring and an opportunity.
Most of the students where I taught failed for one main reason: absence. They cut school so many times it was statistically impossible to pass. The students who missed for legitimate reasons either made up the work or were offered alternate ways to pass. An education system is not at fault for a student’s failing because s/he didn’t want to go to class. But our society and its education system are at fault for not finding solutions to this issue. And there are many solutions out there.
So first we must own up to the fact that equalization of wealth is not a solution. Take three people, one a hard-working, money-saving person, one a drinker and one wanting a good time and lots of material things and give them each a thousand dollars then watch them for a few months. Enough said?
Next we must decide if we really want to work on the equal opportunity issue, if we really want to work toward providing opportunity for our peoples here. If after more than 50 years the 23 trillion dollars spent on the war on poverty have not made a noticeable difference in poverty in America, the real question is whether or not we actually want to work on solving the problem.
Finally, we must move away from enabling dependency and compensating lack of effort by making excuses for those who do nothing more than cry out about how unfair life is and how they are owed their own personal happiness and a stipend to support it.
Until we do this, we are locked into a quagmire that goes on indefinitely. Given our history with the issue, one might think our leaders don’t want to solve the problems at hand here. Look at how they benefit while we stay divided. Regardless, equalization doesn’t work and never will. Even if we were a homogeneous society, it wouldn’t work.