I refer you to my blogs, "Poverty in Peoria", "Growing Class Divide", 12/10/06, "Boot Straps", 7/1/05, and "Poverty Re-Visited", 7/20/05 for some background on this blog.
In July of 2005, I wrote a somewhat critical review of a popular book titled "Nickle and Dimed". On April 11, 2007, I received and email from Jenna Siok, a Bradley student who was writing an article on poverty in Peoria. She said "I read your 7/05 blog on poverty. For a reporting class, we just read "Nickle and Dimed". I agreed with many of your comments about the book.. it was difficult for me to get past the slant the author put on poverty. I felt that she wrote it in such a way that readers should think every low-wage earning person is a victim. Some information I found is that from 1976-2004, the percentage of whites below poverty level has increased by 15.7%. Blacks below poverty level have decreased by 20.6%, and Hispanics below poverty level have decreased by 11.3%."
Ms. Soik then asked me these questions:
Why do you think the percentage of blacks below poverty level have increased? What correlation does this have to stereotypes, if any?
Does it surprise you that whites below poverty level have increased?
What about Hispanics below poverty level?What implications does this have for Peoria specifically?
Any additional comments about poverty?
I answered on April 16 as follows:
"People do less stereotyping since 1976; less on a national basis. More opportunities have opened for all people of any race, gender or color. Are you including Hispanics who entered this country illegally?
An article written in the WSJ dated 6/025/02 titled "Lies, Damned Lies and the Census", says that in the 1990's a record 11 million foreigners immigrated to the U.S. and millions of poor immigrants moved into that bottom (poverty level) category but many more moved out of it, some because of welfare reform. But most of these immigrants moved out of poverty because they were determined not to stay poor forever". (As some moved out of poverty, they were replaced by others moving into poverty, warping some of the poverty levels quoted by some ultra liberals)
Most Hispanics are hard working and tend to pool and save their resources. Savings and good investments tend to elevate people out of poverty. Most Hispanics know that it is imperative that they learn the English language and get some type of job training. Many illegal (and legal) are hired for jobs poorer whites and blacks do not wish to do.
Whether white, black or Hispanic, if uneducated, it is very difficult to rise above what is called the poverty level. In Peoria, all of our public schools are directed to get kids to pass tests to qualify for college. (Since I wrote this, some changes have been made offering a wider selection of curriculum). This belief that everybody is "college material" was and is a large mistake of our local elite and intellectuals. I suggest you read excerpts from two books: William A. Henry - "In Defense of Elitism" and Myron Magnet - "The Dream and the Nightmare - The Legacy of the Sixties".
The implication of past and present mistakes in Peoria are widespread. When Peoria Public Schools dropped Vocational Training (1994) AND COUNSELING EVERYONE TO GO TO COLLEGE; this act helped doom a generation (now two generations) into dropping out of school for lack of interest, helped push them into gangs, into drug dealing and eventually into prison. (On release, 70% eventually are re-incarcerated, because of our terribly wrong warehousing system)
I have written many blogs about the success and failures of our public school systems. Usually, lack of involvement of the student in the school system leads to lack of involvement in society. In Peoria, we appear to have failed generations producing more failed of failing generations. There is, in many cases, a total disconnect of blacks from the white community, especially the upper class white community. And many poorer whites disconnect from higher earning whites also.
If generations of black, white Hispanic, etc., continue to feel that they are being victimized, future generations will continue to use this excuse for their failings.
Bashir Ali, Director of Central Illinois Workforce wrote in the June 2005 issue of IB, "In 1992, 54.3% of high school graduates immediately enrolled in college. 10 years later the rate was 56.7%. However, according to the Manhattan Institute, only 71% of high school students graduated on time. The figures for disadvantaged minority students ranged from 52% to 56%. The study also warns that only 54% of our students graduate from high school with sufficient skills for college work. For blacks, the figure is 23% and for Hispanics, it's 20%.
Hope I was of some help and ask again."
Ms. Siok emailed me back, " Wow! Thank you so much for taking time to answer all my questions. You offered tons of insight, which will help a lot! I will be in touch with you if I have any other questions."
Some of my Democrat friends should forward this blog to Senator's Obama and Clinton. Too many people leading us or trying to lead us continue to live in "ivory towers"