Achievable Aspiration -v- Misplaced Envy


There was an article in yesterday’s NYTimes which isn’t strictly to do with policing, but it is to do with quality of life in poor neighborhoods, which is tangential. I’ve been thinking long and hard about that article for some twelve hours now. There is something about it which deeply disturbs me.

Why does anyone think they deserve what someone else has, rather than striving to improve their own lot?

I’m about ready to give up on labels. So, I’m not going to try to classify my politics in this post.

But people are not born equal. We have different gifts, different talents, different flaws. I believe in equality of opportunity. But aiming for equality of outcome is an unnatural ambition, which only leads to resentment.

And so it is that I keep reading this article, looking for efforts to improve systemic housing, educational and economic opportunities for those currently in disadvantage. And all I find are people who want to go live with the rich white folk.

Isn’t this just self-defeating?

I really would prefer we try to design policies and programs that are truly color-blind. That work to re-shape communities at risk. With public subsidy where necessary.

But I keep coming up against people who want nothing more than to identify and isolate black people as black people. Black people as much as white folk.

Maybe I suffer from still being an outsider. But, as that outsider, what I see are both black and white straining to maintain segregation.

If you aim for a society that deliberately treats black and white differently, even if the ambition is well-meaning, you merely create a new form of segregation.

The path to true integration lies in creating rules that apply and opportunities that are available equally to all parties.

Wanting what the other person has, leaving your disadvantaged community to go live with the rich people, may serve as a short-term fix. But it actually perpetuates segregation and disadvantage.

Why not instead join forces with your community, create political and economic muscle in numbers, and work for improvement?


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