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Below the Poverty Line; A critical examination of a cultural divide in America

Tune in to any major news outlet today and you will be bombarded with scenes of racial division on the verge of violently boiling over and imbalanced social divides left over from the days of the Civil Rights movement.  Proponents of this social divide will make the case that 60 years isn’t nearly enough time to outlive the strife of a race of people enslaved for roughly 250 years in western society, and that current social injustices are still holding an entire race of people below the poverty line.

Statistically, violent crime in metropolitan areas has risen from 2014 to 2015 by 10%, as estimated by the FBI Uniform Crime Report.  Minorities have traditionally resided in urban metropolitan areas unable to afford an exodus to the suburbs where crime is traditionally lower and the population is defined as middle to upper middle class.  Liberals and supporters of a seemingly societal construct that holds minorities under thumb keeping them in a cycle of poverty will point to white privilege and a deep racial divide in society that perpetuates this oppression but is this really the case?

I had an interesting opportunity to be submerged in urban ethnic culture, during my high school tenure, while still attending a suburban high school with high academic prowess and a high graduation rate.  Enter Saginaw Michigan, constantly one of the FBI’s most violent cities in America.  Saginaw is one of the 3 cities that makes up mid Michigan’s Tri City area, about 25 minutes from Flint and 1.5 hours from Detroit.  Saginaw, the largest of the Tri Cities, is an interesting place demographically in that there are many small and rural townships residing in Saginaw county, but are a very short distance 20 minutes or less from one of the most violent cities in America.

While attending my rural class AAA and predominantly non ethnic high school, I became very good friends with 2 of the 5 black kids that made up my high schools ethnic minority.  Though we all lived in the same area they had family ties, and eventually moved back to the inner city of Saginaw.  My high school career afforded me the opportunity to spend a lot of time “over the bridge” in some of Saginaw’s most violent areas; I became intimately exposed to a world of inner city poverty, gang violence and the vicious cycle that keeps a class of people in poverty.  In the early thousands urban pop culture became chic idealizing  violence, drug use and distribution, and the ill treatment of women.  Music, movies, video games advertisement and fashion all glorified the lifestyle of the inner city hustle and those that lived it. An entire generation simultaneously growing up in the digital boom era had been spoon fed this mantra from every media outlet.  Suburban and rural kids across America, and because of the new concept of globalization made possible by the internet, the world came of age wanting to be a gangster.  An interesting thing happened when my friends and I graduated from high school, I went to community college and on to a University where I obtained a BA and crippling student debt, where the majority of my friends relocated to inner city Saginaw to pursue “the hustle”.

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Now in the late 20-teens American pop culture has left behind urban chic for the next marketable fad, but a new generation of adults is left behind still living the hustler ideals they were taught in poverty stricken communities across America.  Now, as an educated critical thinker I scoff at the Social Justice Warriors and liberal interest groups, that have likely never set foot in the hood, screaming at the American populace of  white privilege and societal injustices keeping an entire group of people in a perpetual state of poverty.

The NCPA did a study that found 4 life choices that will ensure living above the poverty line: Stay in school, get a job, get married, and don’t have children out of wedlock.  The polar opposite of these 4 universals are being followed religiously in urban America and the last two are being eroded, the institution of the family, by social justice warriors and the current administration.  A critical thinker regardless of political affiliation, race or social status can understand these maxims; everyone in America has the opportunity to graduate high school, everyone has the decision to not have children out of wedlock, a smaller percentage but a majority have the opportunity to join the military and an even larger percentage can join the Peace Corps to pay for higher education.

The nations media outlets will scream at us that there exists a racial rift and societal injustice, to the scale of the civil rights movement of the 1960’s,  that keeps a group of people in poverty.  That’s not to say that racially motivated or socially biased situations do not occur in urban areas that culminate in the violation of civil rights, or in the worst situations the deaths of unarmed civilians; however, the facts are that our nation has in place the societal structures and opportunities to make it out of poverty.  When the day is done it comes down to personal choices, what we have in America is a cultural problem, a group of people that consciously choose to chase the hustle perpetuating their own demise and life under the poverty line.

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