What are we, as human beings on planet Earth, specifically the United States, doing to empower ourselves and the marginalized?
On May 4, 2015 the NY Times published an article on their website called “The Best and Worst Places to Grow Up: How Your Area Compares” that shows how much mobility (or how little mobility) is offered to children in U.S. counties.
Do we care that the neighborhood a child lives in affects his or her class mobility? Does it matter that the opportunity (and resources to make opportunities) to pull oneself up by ones’ bootstraps varies GREATLY from county to county?
I think we do. I think there’s shame in admitting that the “American Dream” of hard work and ingenuity is widely unattainable for children in our major cities and other densely populated areas. In fact, I can hear a dozen arguments in my head as to why the “American Dream” is not an impossibility to these children, but they sound an awful lot like excuses or denial.
Here’s what it comes down to: not all U.S. children are given the opportunity to receive the same standard of public school education. The worse the education, the worse the available jobs in the neighborhood are. The worse the jobs in the neighborhood are, the harder it is to make enough money to finance a move to a nicer neighborhood.
Yes, they can make and take opportunities for themselves. But how can we encourage and enable them to do that?
This is the question bouncing around my head lately, and not just about children in low income or disenfranchised neighborhoods. How can I empower others? How can I give them the opportunity to share their story and/or to inform and educate themselves? What specific ways can I as a human and can we as a society empower ourselves and others?
I may spend the rest of my life answering that questions, but it feels like a good and valuable question to spend time on.