Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Hopelessness vs laziness

It occurred to me recently that middleclass and upperclass folks who accuse underclass folks of being lazy don't really understand life in the ghetto. 

When you have little or no hope of landing the kind of job that would allow you, literally, to work your way out of poverty and all of its deadends, a paralysis of hopelessness can set in.  When it does, lots of people simply come to a halt.  It is as if a wall emerges from the ground in the pathway and the parade of a person's life simply stops. 

Hopelessness may lead to a series of odd jobs; you know, hit and miss kind of work that pays a wage, but not one that's liveable or progressive.

For lots of people the deadends of life signal an end to effort. 

"What's the use?" can become the fundamental question of life.  And, until that question finds a reasonable answer, life is going nowhere.

So, the next time you think "lazy," stop and reconsider. 

Ask some questions. 

Get better acquainted with the power of hope and the devastating nature of hopelessness.


Daniel said...

Fear can hold you prisoner--hope can set you free.
-one of my favorite Shawshank Redemption quotes.

Anonymous said...

I completely agree. Unless you've walked in someone's shoes it is very difficult to say whether the issue is hopelessness or laziness, but among those born into generational poverty I would lay odds it's much more often the first even if it masquerades as the second.

Jerry said...

We in the middle class have choices about jobs, clothes we wear, food we eat, where we live, etc. Many poor people have few if any choices...about anything. Lack of choices leads to a feeling of no control, which leads to hopelessness. Keep up the great work, Larry.

Chris said...

If Obama has his way we will all be equally miserable and equally hopeless.

Daniel said...

Ahh... Chris has returned from her holiday sabbatical. We've missed your sarcasm... or off-topic hatred -- I forget which.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Chris, that's it! You figured out Obama's secret! He doesn't really care about hope or change! It's all about bringing everyone down! Thank you so much - and to think I almost didn't see it! Now I have been enightened!

Thank you so much!

Chris said...

His idea of change is to make everyone dependent on government.

Anonymous said...


I have trouble believing that you even believe all this ideological c@#p you throw out because it's so extreme and absurd. But if you do, that's even more disturbing. It's also the problem with American politics today. If everyone really believes that the "other side" is BAD, there's little room for discussion or compromise. We would do much better giving everyone the benefit of the doubt and assuming that, however much we might disagree about specifics, we all have the good of the country at heart, or, as the British would say, that they are indeed the "loyal opposition."

Chris said...

I do believe it, it's all done on purpose in order to redistribute the wealth.

Anonymous said...

All taxes redistribute wealth to some degree. If I make more, and therefore pay more in taxes, then some of my "wealth" is going to subsidize others. A poorer person across town is driving on roads that I paid for. So what? Unless you want to go back to conscripted labor modeal, like Ancient Egypt, or not have roads, you have to get the resources from where they exist - the (relatively) "wealthy." And the inevitable result is "wealth redistribution." The only issue, and the only thing on which R's and D's disagree, is the permissible limits, not the concept. Although R's try to pretend they are against it, they want roads, too.

So, again, I say we would all be better off assuming the best, and not the worst, about each other, even when we disagree. There's a big difference between wanting to do more to "subsidize" (i.e. help) the poor and wanting to "make everyone dependent on government." It's the difference between recognizing honest disagreement and adopting a holier than thou posture and purposely sowing discord.