Dave from the SW Side | Chicago Reader

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Re: “Two students, two high schools, two divergent paths to college

Sorry for my typos.

Posted by Dave from the SW Side on 10/27/2012 at 9:50 AM

Re: “Two students, two high schools, two divergent paths to college

Those who say parents income doesn't matter just don't know how much it really does matter. Look at the work of economists like Stiglitz and others, all the data they show proves that social mobility is lower in America than in most OECD countries. In America, regardless how strong your work ethic is, your life prospects are unfortunatley limited to your parents income and education level. Those two factors matter because they provide choice and access. Those who are deprived and limited have only what the state offers which is depressingly low these data compared to previous generations.

The European immigrants who arrived in huge numbers between 1875-1920 may have come here in desperate poverty but the government stepped in and expanded state services to allow people more opportunities. They weren't guaranted success, but they had options because their was a support system in place. They grew up in the era of progressivism and liberalism which allowed people more access and so they didn't live in small bubbles with other poor people, the support system allows them the ability to "get up and move" around the country. AA's migrated north in two waves between 1920-1960. AA's faced discrimination in labor, housing, and education. They were essentially bubbled into their concentrated areas of poverty with little mobility. AA's made major legal and political victories in the 1960s/70s. But by the late 1970s/early 1980s you have massive economic decline, wight flight, deindustrialization, deregulation, massive cuts to education and other essential government services beginning with Regean and continuing on through the 90s. There was a small window for success for AA's. Some were able to rise but you look around the city and you see many are still trying to make it in this city. Today's average college graduate, graduates with an average debt of 25k, that is the only firm if debt in America that's you cannot declare bankruptcy for. How are kids who come from single parent families with poor credit and no family assets gong to be able to even get into college much less finish it?

I pointed some of these hidtorical facts to show that your ability to thrive in this country is still largely determined by structural environmental factors. If you reject that notion than you're essentially making an argument that culture and personal responsibility determines your destiny. I think this is a cynical and short sighted view. If that's the case, our analysis would just find that blacks/latinos are lazy and have a culture that doesn't want success. I just wish the people who believe this way would just drop the phoniness and say it.

2 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Dave from the SW Side on 10/27/2012 at 9:48 AM

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