Friday, April 25, 2008
Marc Steiner at Goucher
Buz went to hear Marc Steiner speak at Goucher College last Wednesday. His topic was: the state of the city.
Marc emphasized the state of "hopelessness" of the black community today. Buz felt pretty hopeless by the end of the talk. He remarked that the streets of the Inner City are different now than they were when he was growing up. There used to be a certain amount of respect for old people, women, the church and police, now there is little to none.
He asserted that a "prison culture" has taken over the streets, with something like a 90% chance that a black male will end up eventually on parole or probation, or in jail.
Buz sees that in his everyday dealings with citizens and clients. The long white T-shirts and no belt with your pants hanging down is "prison": they only order one size of T-shirts (large), and they take your belt away. Plus there is the sexual component of prison life, with your pants hanging down below your belt. I wonder how many of the young people I see (and adults who still haven't grown up yet) wearing this garb realize where the ideas came from. And how many young guys showing off their butts for "fashion" realize what that signifies in a violent prison culture where normal sex and women aren't available.
buz thinks: The juvenile justice system often sends kids the message that there are no consequences (except for a few); thus, when they become adults and rack up 2 or 3 arrests, some with convictions, they arre shocked when they cannot get a real job. When they could get a real job, there are often surprised when the boss is displeased when they miss work, or are late, or start fooling around.
Marc said that some hip-hop and rap which idolizes violence and contempt for women (ho's), is a degradation which pulls America down. And more than 95% of that music is bought by white suburbanites.
Marc believes the solution to these problems is WORK: turnaround can only occur if families have stability through jobs. But he said the changes must be systemic, and he pointed out that many advances in this country occurred because government funding fueled them. He cited as examples the past building of canals, railroads, and highways, not to mention space flight and the New Deal programs.
Buz sees no large systemic improvements such as these on the way, and feels most of the blame lies on the silence of so-called "leaders", failing to follow Bill Cosby's call for some sense of parenting and responsibility.