By David Outten, Production Editor
One of the great concerns in America today is the 22.1 percent unemployment rate among young black males. It’s nearly double the 11.5 percent unemployment rate for young white males. Cries go out in the media to spend more on education or to use more affirmative action, but the real change needed is in the media itself. Thus, it’s become abundantly clear that America’s poverty culture is fostered by the mass media.
Consider the impact of the media on young black males.
First, they are more interested in sports and music than realistic job skills.
In black society the glamorous way out of poverty is to become either an athlete or a rap singer. Both are high-paid, heavily-glamorized, media-related occupations. Children see these occupations as a means to becoming famous and rich. The odds of succeeding in either of these fields, however, are horrendous. Many hopefuls are left hopeless without any useful job skills.
If you can sack an NFL quarterback five times a game, you can wear a ring in your nose, tattoos on your forehead and dirty-looking dreadlocks. If you can’t, your appearance had better fit the job you want! When your media of choice encourages you to look out of place in the typical American workplace, you risk limiting your employment options.
Furthermore, rap culture is not conducive to employment.
The attitude promoted by many rap musicians is resentful, angry and loaded with blame. A child who grows up with such an attitude is not the kind of person employers want to hire. They desire employees with a constructive attitude, dedicated to providing quality service. If you spend your days complaining and blaming others, you are like a disease in the workplace. When the media promotes ugly attitudes like the kind one finds in too much of the rap music industry, it makes those who adopt these attitudes undesirable employees.
Secondly, the mass media has heavily promoted the idea that sex need not be reserved for marriage. Blacks, more than whites, have taken this course of action. Both common sense, and many studies, indicate that children raised by both of their parents grow up with vastly more disposable income and do far better in school. They are also more likely to find good-paying jobs that meet their family’s needs. Children of single mothers, however, have much higher rates of suicide and leaving school, as well as going to prison.
Thirdly, the welfare state has turned many black communities into virtual political plantations.
The media pretends that it’s the great champion of civil rights and helping the poor, but it has turned millions of Americans (not just blacks) into lazy freeloaders. The mass media has convinced these sad people that they must continue to elect the most liberal representatives they can so that they can keep getting more and more benefits. Yet those very same benefits require that recipients stay poor to keep receiving them. This creates a permanent underclass in America’s cities.
Fourthly, the media promotes affirmative action in the hiring of blacks. Employers are expected to adjust the way they assess tests, resumes, and interviews to favor blacks. They can even be expected to meet quotas. This harms qualified blacks. Everyone from the employer, to fellow employees, to customers wonder, “Were they hired to meet a quota, or because they were judged the best person for the job?”
Imagine how blacks would feel if seventy percent of all professional athletes on every team were required to be white. Wouldn’t that build up tremendous resentment and anger?
The media has done its best to convince Americans that the right to have an abortion or to have gay sex is a continuation of the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 60s. The ugly secret the media rarely mentions is that blacks are much more likely to have abortions or to die of AIDS than whites. The media has used blacks as the cannon fodder of the sexual revolution, and the casualties have been horrendous. The black unwed birth rate of over 70 percent is a clear path to poverty.
Poverty is not an issue of skin color. There are many very wealthy and successful blacks, and there are many very poor whites. Poverty is more closely related to culture. There is a “poverty culture” shared by millions of blacks and whites in America. It’s a culture of dependence. It’s a culture of blame. It’s a culture of low expectations from yourself and high expectations from taxpayers. Those who live in this culture often spend a great deal of time as consumers of media.
America has other cultures. There are communities where parents want their children in schools with high standards and expectations. In these communities, parents will spend time preparing their toddlers to do well when they get to school. The parents expect their children to have as strong a work ethic as they do. They live in a nicer neighborhood. They have more disposable income. It is an entirely different culture than a culture of poverty. If such a family experiences and economic catastrophe and winds up impoverished, they work like mad to recover. They have the skills and the attitude necessary to do so.
The people who are rising from poverty to middle class, or from middle class to wealthy, undoubtedly work long hours and spend far less time as media consumers. They might spend free time on the Internet studying something that might help them move forward.
The story of America is one of poor people working hard and moving up. Many uneducated Americans worked hard so their children could move up (go to college, etc.). This is a culture. It’s a way of life. It’s counter to a culture of dependence, excuses and blame. It’s a suck-it-up and do-what-it-takes culture. Many immigrants, legal and illegal, come to be part of this culture.
When the media spews blame, makes excuses, fosters dependence, and promotes immorality, it draws more and more people into a poverty culture. When it promotes hard work, solid Biblical moral values, free enterprise, and the American spirit of ingenuity, it invites people of all colors to enjoy the American Dream.
The media has a larger role to play in combating poverty than schools. Children get 60,000 hours of media to just 20,000 hours of school. The media profoundly impacts how children do in school.
Think, for example, how much impact the media has on student expectations.
Is it more important to girls to look like a media model or to do well in math? Is it more important for any teenager to have seen the latest movie or to have finished your homework? Teenagers can be more concerned with being fashionable than preparing for a good job when they’re 22.
This is magnified when your media of choice glorifies rebellion. When being disrespectful is seen as “hip,” don’t expect children to get a good education. Expect gangs, expulsion, dropping out of school, unwed pregnancies, violent crime, prison, and even more poverty. This awful is media-fed. Are you familiar with rap music?
A radical change in American media could lift millions out of poverty. The national debt could be paid off, and America’s greatness restored, but television ratings and advertising revenue would fall if millions of Americans reduced media consumption to work on bettering their lives. Activists using the media to push the sexual revolution would be outraged if the media began to promote biblical standards for behavior. Politicians dependent on poverty culture votes would call anything that sets their voters free “racism.”
Like a demonic pied piper, the mass media is leading America down the poverty-culture path and over a cliff. Professing to be champions of the poor, the media is creating more poor people and demanding even more government freebies to help them.
We are all in the same boat going down the river toward the falls. Those living the American dream are rowing upstream. Those living in America’s poverty culture are demanding the dreamers row faster. As the poverty culture grows, the ratio of rowers to occupants shrinks. Those rowing can no longer row harder than the current requires. The boat drifts dangerously downstream. If those in the poverty culture can be converted into dreamers (and help row), the boat can again head upstream – toward prosperity for all. The falls can be avoided. If more rowers became just passengers, the arrival at the falls will come much sooner.
The mass media has sold the nation the idea that compassion for the poor requires ever greater government spending. This is as foolish as a naked emperor believing he’s clothed in royal attire.
Real compassion would invite those trapped in America’s poverty culture to move to America’s prosperous culture. This culture is not measured by home and car values. It’s measured by work ethics and moral values. It’s built and sustained with attitudes that bring success. It builds, fails, rebuilds, fails, rebuilds, and succeeds. It doesn’t quit or give up.
A truly compassionate media would be crying out to the poor, “You can do this too. There’s opportunity for all.” It wouldn’t be giving out excuse slips, promoting bad attitudes. It wouldn’t increase the use of foul language. No young person is going to get hired for a decent job because they have a foul mouth. In fact, they just might get fired for it.
It’s time for media executives to look in the mirror and ask, “What can my company do to stop promoting a culture of poverty?”
What can my company do to encourage all those unemployed kids to become the kind of young people I’d want to hire as my personal assistant? I want someone helpful, dedicated, loyal and respectful. How can my company encourage young people living in poverty to be like that?
It’s time for media executives to consider the messages their media is putting out and ask, “Are these messages promoting rebellion or respect? Are they promoting independence or dependence? Are they promoting civility or vulgarity? Are they promoting prosperity or poverty?”
The message of Jesus Christ is one of forgiveness, compassion, kindness, generosity, civility, respect for others, and, above all, love. This message has been central to the building of America’s prosperity. To succeed in free enterprise, you must serve others well. To excel in free enterprise, you must excel in service. Two of the Ten Commandments guard the right to private property, “Thou shalt not steal,” and, “Thou shalt not covet.”
The path out of poverty is paved with God’s wisdom. The path into poverty is paved with foolishness.
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