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Does the Ghetto Exist in the Mind?


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Akala the rapper clearly states that the ghetto or the "hood" is in the minds of the people who live in these areas and that it is more a state of mind in rich Western countries than a reality. I agree with him. 

What do you guys think?

 

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On 10/6/2020 at 2:35 PM, jimmydasaint said:

Akala the rapper clearly states that the ghetto or the "hood" is in the minds of the people who live in these areas and that it is more a state of mind in rich Western countries than a reality. I agree with him. 

What do you guys think?

 

I disagree with him. Have you ever heard of redlining and greenlining? 

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Redlining and greenlining. Please explain. 

I grew up in what could be termed a ghetto or "hood" environment in Glasgow. I don't know what your background was, but we were all poor. The poverty was just a temporary shortage of funding as I understood when we grew up. Doctors, PhD's and scholars came out of that environment, yet a large portion of the people believe in the hype of the ghetto and what it is meant to represent - trying a little bit, failing and then giving up. That archetype is what dominates ghetto environments .  The way out is to sell drugs and get rich quick, or die trying.  The criminals offer young children a different role model of easy acquisition of wealth to surround oneself with wealth.

This is an erroneous and dangerous mindset and philosophy passed on from father to son in my opinion. 

 

Please do elaborate on redlining and greenlining....

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I remember a conversation with a Pakistani friend at school where he said he was going to try to become a doctor and that i should do the same. I just laughed at him - i've no idea where i picked it up, no one had ever explicitly said i couldn't, but even the idea of being a doctor was already beyond me. I was, however, explicitly told by my teachers that i couldn't be a pilot or a scientist.

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On 10/6/2020 at 9:35 PM, jimmydasaint said:

Akala the rapper clearly states that the ghetto or the "hood" is in the minds of the people who live in these areas and that it is more a state of mind in rich Western countries than a reality. I agree with him. 

What do you guys think?

 

I think there is no universal answer, for some people this may be true for others not. I have a friend whom I've met 40 years ago when we were sat besides each other on our first day in first grade primary school. He ended up solely owning an industrial manufacturing company worth more than 100mln USD right now, his 21 year old son just left the psychiatric hospital again last week - drugs, street life, severe depression, suicide attempts, etc. Is this caused by a mindset? Probably, partially yes but there are so many angles and factors to take into account that this kind of generalization is only good for rap songs imo.

Edited by koti
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4 hours ago, jimmydasaint said:

Redlining and greenlining. Please explain. 

I grew up in what could be termed a ghetto or "hood" environment in Glasgow. I don't know what your background was, but we were all poor. The poverty was just a temporary shortage of funding as I understood when we grew up. Doctors, PhD's and scholars came out of that environment, yet a large portion of the people believe in the hype of the ghetto and what it is meant to represent - trying a little bit, failing and then giving up. That archetype is what dominates ghetto environments .  The way out is to sell drugs and get rich quick, or die trying.  The criminals offer young children a different role model of easy acquisition of wealth to surround oneself with wealth.

This is an erroneous and dangerous mindset and philosophy passed on from father to son in my opinion. 

 

Please do elaborate on redlining and greenlining....

Oh! Awrite mate! Similar situation as yourself, but grew up in Edinburgh, probably too multicultural where I was from to be considered a true ghetto though, that being said, you could argue that some ghettos are based on socio-economic class alone. 

Up until last month, I was living in a racially segregated ghetto on Chicagos South-west side.

Quote

The term "redlining" ... comes from the development by the New Deal, by the federal government of maps of every metropolitan area in the country. And those maps were color-coded by first the Home Owners Loan Corp. and then the Federal Housing Administration and then adopted by the Veterans Administration, and these color codes were designed to indicate where it was safe to insure mortgages. And anywhere where African-Americans lived, anywhere where African-Americans lived nearby were colored red to indicate to appraisers that these neighborhoods were too risky to insure mortgages.

How the US government segregated America.

So, I think ghettos do exist. 

However I want to develop an argument from your point of view that they only exist in the mind (which in some ways is actually accurate since racist and classist fears are all in the heads of bigots) but why that is still a bad thing.

I was once trying to get on a STEM course and my interviewer point blank told me "Some people just aren't capable of getting a PhD, so I don't think this course would be good for you if that is what you want to do." (Cow). I had told the interviewer it was my dream to get a PhD in physics at the time, other than my socio-economic background being from a really poor family in Edinburgh there was nothing this person could have known about me that would make her say something like that. Unless, in her mind I was from a ghetto. 

So, it's all very well to say "The ghetto exists in our minds" but we need to ask, does it only exist in the minds of people from ghettos? Or does it also exist in the minds of people trying to keep us there? If it is both, then the idea of ghettos definitely contributes to making ghettos a reality people from them have to overcome. An extra hurdle for us in comparison to rich people. To the point where it even makes it difficult for people like me and you to get onto entry level stem courses.

Note: will be back to edit and complete in 20 minutes, phone is dying.

Resumed: Now back to redlining. Do you know where American public schools get their funding? Property taxes. So Schools in redlined districts would have far less funding than schools in green districts. We are talking about decades of over-investment in white neighbourhoods vs underinvestment in minority ones. Take a drive across Chicago and the evidence for it is plain to see. It's like crossing between different worlds when you go from North to South. Why? Redlining. Decades of it. Even ending the practice hasn't fixed much because the effects of it were so potent that those neighbourhoods still have very little money whereas the green districts never experienced these things and their property values just kept rising and rising while red districts were forcefully stagnated.

The crazy thing is, whites in green districts were under the belief that if black people moved in, it would lower their property value. When in reality it actually raised it because minorities had to be willing to pay more for a house than white people were in order to actually own property. It was just sheer racism. The damage these policies caused has in no way been fixed because even now insurers and lenders still feel it is too risky to invest in these ghettos. There is still less opportunity for minorities because of the decades of funding and investment inequalities.

Edited by MSC
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On 10/9/2020 at 10:17 AM, Prometheus said:

I remember a conversation with a Pakistani friend at school where he said he was going to try to become a doctor and that i should do the same. I just laughed at him - i've no idea where i picked it up, no one had ever explicitly said i couldn't, but even the idea of being a doctor was already beyond me. I was, however, explicitly told by my teachers that i couldn't be a pilot or a scientist.

I remember our Primary School teacher telling us that we needed basic English and Maths so that we could get jobs in factories.  My response was to do anything to prove her wrong.  Most of my colleagues accepted her view without comment.  I feel terrible when teachers say this stuff to people.  As a teacher (now out of retirement) in my whole teaching career of 22 years, I have never told a child they could not do something. I have always stressed that they could do anything that they set their mind towards. I apologise on behalf of teachers. 

On 10/9/2020 at 10:27 AM, koti said:

I think there is no universal answer, for some people this may be true for others not. I have a friend whom I've met 40 years ago when we were sat besides each other on our first day in first grade primary school. He ended up solely owning an industrial manufacturing company worth more than 100mln USD right now, his 21 year old son just left the psychiatric hospital again last week - drugs, street life, severe depression, suicide attempts, etc. Is this caused by a mindset? Probably, partially yes but there are so many angles and factors to take into account that this kind of generalization is only good for rap songs imo.

Sorry about your friend's son, that appears to be a mindset. However, a person has only failed when they admit it to themselves, in my opinion. I have taught in an area which can be described as an equivalent of the projects, and the mindset of a significant minority of students was exactly the same as the one that I viewed as a child. I take your point about generalisations and I did mention that doctors and other professionals came out of the same tough environments.  It would appear that the successful minority of people have a different mindset and that mindset is maintained despite external circumstances.  So, in my opinion, the rest of the people who are stuck in the ghetto have a mentality that is a story that they relate to themselves to keep them stuck in their circumstances.

 

21 hours ago, MSC said:

Oh! Awrite mate! Similar situation as yourself, but grew up in Edinburgh, probably too multicultural where I was from to be considered a true ghetto though, that being said, you could argue that some ghettos are based on socio-economic class alone. 

Up until last month, I was living in a racially segregated ghetto on Chicagos South-west side.

How the US government segregated America.

So, I think ghettos do exist. 

However I want to develop an argument from your point of view that they only exist in the mind (which in some ways is actually accurate since racist and classist fears are all in the heads of bigots) but why that is still a bad thing.

I was once trying to get on a STEM course and my interviewer point blank told me "Some people just aren't capable of getting a PhD, so I don't think this course would be good for you if that is what you want to do." (Cow). I had told the interviewer it was my dream to get a PhD in physics at the time, other than my socio-economic background being from a really poor family in Edinburgh there was nothing this person could have known about me that would make her say something like that. Unless, in her mind I was from a ghetto. 

So, it's all very well to say "The ghetto exists in our minds" but we need to ask, does it only exist in the minds of people from ghettos? Or does it also exist in the minds of people trying to keep us there? If it is both, then the idea of ghettos definitely contributes to making ghettos a reality people from them have to overcome. An extra hurdle for us in comparison to rich people. To the point where it even makes it difficult for people like me and you to get onto entry level stem courses.

Note: will be back to edit and complete in 20 minutes, phone is dying.

Resumed: Now back to redlining. Do you know where American public schools get their funding? Property taxes. So Schools in redlined districts would have far less funding than schools in green districts. We are talking about decades of over-investment in white neighbourhoods vs underinvestment in minority ones. Take a drive across Chicago and the evidence for it is plain to see. It's like crossing between different worlds when you go from North to South. Why? Redlining. Decades of it. Even ending the practice hasn't fixed much because the effects of it were so potent that those neighbourhoods still have very little money whereas the green districts never experienced these things and their property values just kept rising and rising while red districts were forcefully stagnated.

The crazy thing is, whites in green districts were under the belief that if black people moved in, it would lower their property value. When in reality it actually raised it because minorities had to be willing to pay more for a house than white people were in order to actually own property. It was just sheer racism. The damage these policies caused has in no way been fixed because even now insurers and lenders still feel it is too risky to invest in these ghettos. There is still less opportunity for minorities because of the decades of funding and investment inequalities.

I have read your reply and the link.  I take the point, underfunding and racism do contribute to negative attitudes.  I also take the point that ghettoes exist in geographical location from deliberate Governmental legislation and decades of maladministration, and that other people have a mentality of what is expected from ghettoes.  Despite those points, I can state that I am working with a teacher who was educated at primary level under a tree. Under a bloody tree! Yet she showed an aspirational mindset and is now the best Science teacher in my school, by some margin.  The keyword in my opinion is aspiration.  It was aspiration that took me out of Glasgow, took you out of Edinburgh and took that teacher out of a small village in Pakistan. Aspirational mindset disregards environment, in my opinion, regardless of what racists and class supremacists do in any part of the world.  A person fails and stays in a stagnant situation when they relate the story of their failure to themselves.  It normally starts when they blame others for all their problems...

 

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One day we'll realise, that privilege is not hereditary; any more than a ghetto makes one tough. 

We evolve, if we're lucky, from where we start...

The world will change, so look on ye mighty and despair...

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6 hours ago, jimmydasaint said:

I remember our Primary School teacher telling us that we needed basic English and Maths so that we could get jobs in factories.  My response was to do anything to prove her wrong.  Most of my colleagues accepted her view without comment.  I feel terrible when teachers say this stuff to people.  As a teacher (now out of retirement) in my whole teaching career of 22 years, I have never told a child they could not do something. I have always stressed that they could do anything that they set their mind towards. I apologise on behalf of teachers

This hits very close to home and while you are certainly not a teacher I'd say was part of the problem, the apology is appreciated even though you're clearly one of the consistently good ones and not the one who needs to apologise.

That being said I completely see where you are coming from vis a vis aspirations. I am glad you posted this on the ethics forum however, as I don't think it is anywhere near so cut and dry as what you say here;

6 hours ago, jimmydasaint said:

Sorry about your friend's son, that appears to be a mindset. However, a person has only failed when they admit it to themselves, in my opinion. I have taught in an area which can be described as an equivalent of the projects, and the mindset of a significant minority of students was exactly the same as the one that I viewed as a child. I take your point about generalisations and I did mention that doctors and other professionals came out of the same tough environments.  It would appear that the successful minority of people have a different mindset and that mindset is maintained despite external circumstances.  So, in my opinion, the rest of the people who are stuck in the ghetto have a mentality that is a story that they relate to themselves to keep them stuck in their circumstances.

 

6 hours ago, jimmydasaint said:

Despite those points, I can state that I am working with a teacher who was educated at primary level under a tree. Under a bloody tree! Yet she showed an aspirational mindset and is now the best Science teacher in my school, by some margin.  The keyword in my opinion is aspiration.  It was aspiration that took me out of Glasgow, took you out of Edinburgh and took that teacher out of a small village in Pakistan. Aspirational mindset disregards environment, in my opinion, regardless of what racists and class supremacists do in any part of the world.  A person fails and stays in a stagnant situation when they relate the story of their failure to themselves.  It normally starts when they blame others for all their problems...

You've made excellent points and I feel that most of what you are saying is true and pertinent. That being said, it's not the whole context but together we can come to a greater understanding of the structural context at hand.

There are indeed mindsets which will contribute to stagnating or negative growth. 

Now you said, "Most of my colleagues accepted this without comment." Did you accept this without comment, reject without comment or did you openly object at the time? Obviously you rejected this in action but I want to know if you openly argued with teachers about this at the time?

I know at the time that I should have lodged many formal complaints, both during Primary, Secondary and higher education. In one extremely violent and traumatic instance I could have straight up sued the school in question, I still can since there is no statute of limitations in Scotland on child abuse. 

We've entered into the ethics topic of Responsibility now. Of which there are two kinds worth mentioning. Causal responsibility and moral responsibility. 

Where blame is concerned, there is plenty of causal responsibility to go around. I was hurt by teachers and student. I didn't do a good enough job self-advocating to the schools or my parents. My parents didn't do enough advocacy for me at school, neither my parents or teachers got me help for ASD (Aspergers in the UK still) which I was diagnosed with at 23 due to my own actions of following it up with a psychiatrist. I chose to leave school at 16 before my exams due to my own perceived inability to be able to take bullying at school anymore. There is lots of nuance and lots of instances where I could draw on here, but it would make this comment far too long.

Dealing out moral responsibility, where children are concerned should be done with a light hand. A three year old using a derogatory racial slur is probably not morally responsible for the impending harm of said slur, same with swearing in general. The words the three year old were exposed to was causally down to someone else and the child can't reasonably be expected to know the history, meaning or intent behind the slur. The adults in the childs life are morally responsible for it. 

All children are aspirational

Not all aspirations survive childhood

Our aspirations become our responsibility once we are old enough to truly know better.

The problem. If not all aspirations survive childhood, how morally responsible can we hold each individual adult if they must be judged based on their knowledge and experience? 

This means, to me at least, that the onus of moral responsibility is on higher education and other forms of adult training programs, need to be reminding people that they once had Aspirations and that the people who told them they shouldn't have had those particular aspirations, were mostly wrong. 

How can I be sure of this? Well I just described what you are currently doing as a teacher. You remind me of Samuel Beckett. 

In terms of what is and isn't an adults fault; Damage to their aspirations during childhood was not their fault. Not listening to you or others who are trying to repair those aspirations, is their fault. 

Also I'd really really like to thank you so much for starting this discussion. It's helped me realise some things and you've helped me come up with a solution to the Is/Ought gap problem in moral philosophy! 

Will start a thread on that soon. 

 

Edit: Self-Correction, this is in the general philosophy thread not the ethics thread. Should maybe probably be in there.

Edited by MSC
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On 10/10/2020 at 11:15 AM, jimmydasaint said:

I remember our Primary School teacher telling us that we needed basic English and Maths so that we could get jobs in factories.  My response was to do anything to prove her wrong.  Most of my colleagues accepted her view without comment.  I feel terrible when teachers say this stuff to people.  As a teacher (now out of retirement) in my whole teaching career of 22 years, I have never told a child they could not do something. I have always stressed that they could do anything that they set their mind towards. I apologise on behalf of teachers. 

Appreciated, though there are still a few teachers i would slap if ever i met them again. I think the thing that pissed me off the most though was that my GCSE science teacher had never even heard of the big bang, and laughed at me when i asked what exotic particles are.

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If you guys had bad experiences, I feel for you.
I don't recall a single teacher that I've hated, although there were a few bad teachers.
Maybe I just got lucky, but quite a few of my teachers and Profs actually inspired my love of learning.

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5 hours ago, Prometheus said:

Appreciated, though there are still a few teachers i would slap if ever i met them again. I think the thing that pissed me off the most though was that my GCSE science teacher had never even heard of the big bang, and laughed at me when i asked what exotic particles are.

Indeed, in the culture we find ourselves in, teachers have arguably more responsibility than parent's (in their education), and by extention those who employ them. it takes a village to educate a child and no-one has explained to the parent's, how big a village is, nor who is responsible for that definition. 

They talk about a meritocracy, while keeping that dream just out of reach; by displaying the truly exceptional as an example.

“Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” I don't know who said that, nor do I care; all I know is, I doubt Einstein would be a very good plasterer.

Edited by dimreepr
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As for basic English and Math, keep in mind that every opportunity you pass up to learn something, closes a door in the long hallway of life.
Keep as many options  ( and doorways ) open as possible.

Maybe A Einstein did learn how to plaster, so if he failed with GR, he could always do house renovations.

Edited by MigL
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15 minutes ago, MigL said:

As for basic English and Math, keep in mind that every opportunity you pass up to learn something, closes a door in the long hallway of life.
Keep as many options  ( and doorways ) open as possible.

Don't forget to include basic farming and building, those doorways don't build themselves...

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I didn't.
I have a veg and herb garden … and a lemon tree ( in Canadian weather ).
And I can do reasonably good tile and even concrete work ( hey, I'm Italian-Canadian; that's what we do ).

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