It's about our community and our spirituality!

American Whiners

When Phil Gramm slammed Americans for being a nation of whiners and having a mental recession mindset, he was body slammed hard and heavy by many pundits as well as the man he was campaigning for, John McCain. Barack Obama ridiculed Mr. Gramm saying America already has one doctor Phil. When people are losing their homes, their jobs, their ability to earn a comfortable living, and provide for the future of their families it is not a crisis of psychology. When people are having difficulty just buying the basics such as food and gas for transportation, it is a crisis of real consequences that can have repercussions for us all. For Mr. Gramm, no doubt a handsomely paid and wealthy individual compared to the average American, to dismiss the problems with people’s finances as nothing more than a mindset is to demonstrate a serious lack of compassion for others who are not as fortunate.

In essence, Mr. Gramm was trying to tell people to quit having a victim mentality and a lot of people took exception to his indifference to most people’s plight. No one said that Mr. Gramm might have a point. No one said that things would get better when everybody took more personal responsibility for their conditions although it goes without saying that we the people could have better prepared for these rainy days. More of us could have purchased more efficient living accommodations. More of us could have purchased more efficient forms of transportation. More of us could have used our credit resources more sparingly. Most of us could have done things more wisely. But should haves and would haves and could haves do little to help alleviate the fact that people are concerned about what they need right now. We can point the finger later but right now people need help.

The parallel between the current economic conditions of America compared to the economic conditions of many people in the black community since forever are similar. Black people have always been given rhetoric to quit being a whiner and pick ourselves up by our boot strap. Many people have the attitude that black people are just a bunch of whiners and need nothing more than to change. Despite the overwhelming evidence that says there is a fundamental economic dysfunction within the black community, regardless of the reason it’s there, most people are content to turn a blind eye and say this problem would not exist if people in the black community didn’t suffer from their weakness of character that prohibits us from rising to the challenge and meeting our problems head on.

It is a matter of public record that on average people in the black community earn only seventy eight percent what people in the white community earn. And that is if black people can find a job. The rate of unemployment in the black community runs approximately twice the rate of unemployment in the white community. Black people are much more likely to be incarcerated and to have less access to adequate legal representation. The lack of compassion for people in the black community is tremendous.

But now that the other economic shoe is free falling and more people in the nation are being impacted with the specter of unemployment, unaffordable housing, poor public education prospects thanks to the ill conceived program called no child left behind and the other maladies that are plaguing us as a nation, more people want reassurance and some understanding that their problems are not psychological but are real and our frightening.

Why doesn’t the dominant community take this rare opportunity to show the black community how easy it is to just quit being victims and whiners when there are no jobs available or when there is no money available? I believe there is a lot to learn here! Everybody in the black community can learn first hand how to get a job when the job market is shedding jobs at a rate of fifty thousand a month. We can learn how to balance budgets between income and expenses when there is no income. We can learn how the responsible people are paying for housing even though foreclosures rates are rising almost exponentially. And mostly of all, people in the dominant community can take this golden opportunity to show exactly how we should respond to uncompassionate rhetoric from someone who just doesn’t give a damn.

So far, the reactions from the dominant community have not been very educational or enlightening. In fact, if anything, the responses from the dominant community have been quite similar to the type of responses that would originate from the black community. I would dare say that no matter the skin color, when people feel like they could use some help, it would be appreciated if others would show some kind of empathy or concern for their plight. If anything, the dominant community demonstrates that when you are a victim, there is nothing wrong with having a victim mentality. Picking up a boot strap to lift your self out of a predicament really is pointless if there’s nothing to hook that boot strap to.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008 - Posted by | African Americans, Black Community, Black History, Black People, Capitalism, Economy, John White, Life, Politics, Racism, Republicans, The Economy, The Race Card, Thoughts, Unemployment


  1. BrotherP,

    They meaning the dominant community love to point the finger but don’t like it pointing back at themselves. Just like any group of people. In fact they will argue that this is totally different because somehow this economy has nothing to do with anything they did or didn’t do. When the black communities problems are caused by their lack of responsibility.

    I have even heard people saying that the trouble plaguing us ALL right now was caused by irresponsible blacks taking loans for houses they knew they couldn’t afford. So now even what is plaguing them is our fault. There’s taking responsibility for your predicament for you. If this is teaching us anything it’s that anyone getting into an impossible economic situation can’t rely on bootstraps and the lack of whining to get them out of a jam.

    Loved this post. It needs to be said and I wish to god that this could reach every white person out there and those blacks who have their fingers firmly and continuously pointed at the black community.

    Comment by theblacksentinel | Wednesday, July 23, 2008 | Reply

  2. Thanks for the feedback theblacksentinel,

    But people forget that if this problem stems from the fact that there were irresponsible blacks getting loans weren’t there irresponsible lenders making loans? I mean if I was responsible for making home loans don’t I have a responsiblity to the people I work for to assure that they will get their money back? I’ve seen a lot of the same type of comments. Corporate America even targeted the black community for these expensive loans and it is the black community’s fault for being a target. Please!!


    Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Wednesday, July 23, 2008 | Reply

  3. As per the loans, I think for 90% of the bad loans (my opinion, not a statistic) were the fault of either the borrower (for not reading) or both borrower and lender (former not explaining properly, or outright lying for his/her commission, the latter again for not reading, or just being plain greedy about keeping up with the Joneses). I wouldn’t dare to presume it to be the faults of blacks, as it is of the specific people, regardless of color. Those who presume its a black borrower-created proble is nothing short of ignorant.
    As for America turning into a nation of whiners, while I disagree with Mr Graham’s particular subject matter, I would say that as technology has increased and made life overall easier to accomplish tasks, we as people have devolved in our strengths. Our parents, grandparents, so on and so forth, have been progressively stronger individuals physically and mentally as to what they could handle (with relatively little complaint compared to today’s people [mainly youth]). Race aside, I’d challenge any of today’s youth to perform the physical tasks and take on the mental/emotional challenges of our predecessors. I’m afraid we’d fail miserably, and that is my opinion as a member of today’s youth (age 29). Off subject, but I thought the subject of whiners was apt for my example.

    Comment by Mike Lovell | Monday, July 28, 2008 | Reply

  4. Mike,

    I don’t know if I could say that our youth is weaker than those of yesteryear. Because the same could be said of those from yesteryear. Could they survive in our atmosphere right now. The violence, video games and high stress to achieve? I doubt it. There was a lot less pressure on the people back then. So each time has their pros and cons. I do believe that given no choice that anyone from today could carry on the life of their predecessors. It is a matter of necessity. Right now their is no reason to do manual labor so of course people become complacent to it.

    Now I personally don’t put the blame squarely on the borrower because of “reading”. I know that even reading the papers you would have to have knowledge beyond that of the lay person to understand. Not to mention if they asked questions do you think that they would get an explanation that would actually educate them? I think those folks doing the substandard loans were only interested in getting the most loans done as possible. The people that were being preyed upon were just happy to have a loan given to them.

    Also, the fallacy that people were taking on homes that were far out of their price range is overstated. I believe that the people got homes within the price range of what they qualified for. If the bank tells you that you can afford a half a million dollar home then you probably believed that you could. The problems came when people believed that the housing bubble would never burst. That nothing would ever come of those variable rate loans. That somehow they would never rise above the low 6% that they had stayed for so long. Not to mention the fact that almost 500,000 jobs have been lost and that has to play a role in people being unable to afford their homes.

    I just think that there is a lot more to what happened than a bunch of non reading fools who wanted to spend too much and a bunch of overzealous lenders. I think that maybe 30% is of the loan problem was created by idiot non readers, another 30% to overzealous loans and the rest was due to loss of jobs.

    Comment by theblacksentinel | Monday, July 28, 2008 | Reply

  5. Black Sentinel-
    Very true. I can see your ratios on the loan problems. As for people taking out too much of a house, not so much the fault of the reader, but of the banks that told them they could afford a million dollar home, when in actuality with previous credit standards and standard 30 yr loans the house they could actually afford a house half the value. As you said, the lenders, believing just as much that the housing bubble wouldnt burst, were pumping out loans to raise their own commisions or win intercompany contests, whatever their motivation. The borrowers who took those now infamous “interest-only” loans, I don’t know how smart that was, as it seems pointless to make small payments while never building equity, only to be forced into bigger payments later.
    But yes, job losses play a pretty big role as well.

    Comment by Mike Lovell | Wednesday, July 30, 2008 | Reply

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