Ignorance is NOT Bliss

Here’s a first for me: I kind of agree with Ben Carson on something. Here’s the quote:

HUD Secretary Ben Carson called poverty a “state of mind” in a Wednesday radio interview, pointing to habits and a “certain mindset” that poor children supposedly take from their parents. Jose A. DelReal reports: “I think poverty to a large extent is also a state of mind. You take somebody that has the right mindset, you can take everything from them and put them on the street, and I guarantee in a little while they’ll be right back up there,” he said during a radio interview. “And you take somebody with the wrong mindset, you can give them everything in the world, they’ll work their way right back down to the bottom.” He added that he believes this “state of” mind is a “product of negative parenting habits and exposure.” He said he believes that government can provide a “helping hand” to people looking to climb out of poverty but warned against any programs that are “sustaining them in a position of poverty. That’s not helpful.” Carson’s comments came one day after Trump’s budget proposed cutting more than $6 billion from HUD’s budget.

I know. It seems so harsh and demeaning you just shake your head and refuse to believe it. But, I can tell you from personal experience there are valid points in his quote.

First, let’s look at the initial part of the statement regarding someone with the ‘right mindset.’

If that person was born with a silver spoon in their mouth and was never around average hard working people unless they were servants they wouldn’t know where to begin to work for a living. They would whine and wallow in self-pity, perhaps, until their rich uncle bailed them out.

But, someone from a hard working lower to middle-class family who’ve experienced hard times but would rather make their own way than take a handout would fight their way back up. I do believe that.

On the other hand, someone who grew up on welfare and had no strong role models to look up to would accept welfare as part of life. A crutch, if you will.

Somewhere in the middle of those two views is part of my own family. Let me explain.

I’ve personally never been on welfare but my mother did receive aid for dependent children for a while when I was very young. She was between husbands and too proud to ask my grandfather for help. It was temporary but demeaning, none the less.

Others in our family may never have needed to take public assistance but, they had no proper respect for education. Education is the key. I was the first one in my family to graduate from high school. Believe it or not, some of my family mocked me. Even my mother referred to me as a ‘know it all’.

A younger cousin of mine stayed with my husband and me one summer. She was bright and ambitious and by the time we sent her back to Alabama we felt, maybe, we’d saved one from the perpetual cycle of dropouts.

By late fall we found out she had dropped out of school after getting pregnant and marrying another dropout.

I was furious with my uncle for not trying to encourage her to continue her basic education. His response was pathetic.

“I can’t make ‘em learn.” He said.

So, getting back to Mr. Carson, I can see his point. So often poverty perpetuates because it’s easier to accept your child following in your footsteps than trying to force them to do something you didn’t do. There’s almost a fear in some parents that education will create a divide between them.

We see this in our country so often. I do believe having tighter controls on welfare might change some things but, more importantly, making sure kids get a proper education is what will truly make the difference.

Ignorance is not bliss. Also, having someone like Betsy DeVos as secretary of education will only hold us back, not thrust us into a smarter future.

What do you think? Please share in the comments.

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