We as a Society Seek to Help our Most Disadvantaged & At Risk Citizens…*

Posted: October 5, 2011 in "Those People", Humans, Rants, Sexism, The Hardline According to Ren

*If they look the part and live in the right places…

First, I gotta say, you make three posts in a row involving firearms and I guess people start to look at ya funny.  So today, no firearms, and back to some posting I promised.  So yeah, let’s get on with that then, shall we?

It was prolly more than a month ago I read an article about a program up in NYC that had been set up to help out disadvantage/at risk young men- you know, provide them with choices other than crime and gangs and drugs and such.  It seemed that the focus group of this program was Latino males age 12 to about 20.  And I am not going to poo-poo such things, I think if we are gonna spend money on programs,  any sorta program that helps kids and young adults avoid trouble is a good thing.   Yet still, reading about this program, for young Latino males, in NYC, stuck this little hook  in my brain, and it would not go away.

So I started digging around, looking into this sort of thing, these kinds of programs, finding out more about them:  where they were, who they were for, how they were run, who paid for ’em, things of that nature.  Results of that digging?    Well, results have lead me to believe that we, as a society, seek to help our most disadvantaged and at risk so long as they look the part and and live in the right places.  You see, a  great majority of these programs are in large cities, are geared towards black and hispanic populations, and tend to be far more prevelant for young men/boys than for young women/girls.    Many are government funded, others are private and rely on donations from the public (often a few very wealthy folk)- which may play into why they are mostly in cities, after all, the government tends to pay more attention to big cities (more money, more businesses, more voters, so on), and well, big cities also tend to have more folk wealthy enough to donate to/fund private run organizations of this nature.  If you look around, there are plenty of these sorts of programs in places like NYC, LA, Pheonix, Chicago, Philly, San Diego, Dallas,  Atlanta, Miami, so on…BIG CITIES .  You even find them in not so giant metropolisis like Minneapolis, Indianapolis, Buffalo, so on.  But they are, without a doubt, a city thing, and geared towards a certain section of society: boys and young men who are black or Latino.  Heck, even in NYC, it is far easier for a man to find a bed in a homeless shelter than a woman…after all, many times women have children with them, and shit, that gets expensive!

So, then I did some more digging and found some interesting stats, and really, not a lot in the way of programs, government funding, private funding, or even mere interest in such problems for these issues- at all-in the actual areas where they ARE issues!  Aside from downgrading these folk as not important enough to HAVE programs…  For Instance:

The States with the Highest Rates of Teen Pregnancy Are:

New Mexico
North Carolina

Hummm, you notice a theme there?  Aside from maybe California & Texas, and maybe Florida?  Which are  HUGE states full of cities, but also gotta ton of rural areas too. Oh yeah, and well, pregnancy happens to…females…

How about Unemployment?  I mean, this is an issue everyone can prolly agree is a big issue.  And these programs address it a lot, providing people with job skills and work ethic and alternatives to crime and all those things…programs that seek to empower young men, and to a lesser degree, young women, to enter and be a productive part of the work force.  And yeah, well all know the economy is crap, but…

States with the Highest Unemployment Rates are:

South Carolina
Washington DC*  (district, not a state, but it’s up there anyway)
Rhode Island
North Carolina

Once again, Cali on this list,  FL and even DC too, but humm, a few over laps there, yeah?

How about the stats on High School Drop Outs?  That one might play into this whole deal too, yeah? That putting young adults and kids into disadvantaged/ at risk zones?  So here we go for that one, states and stats style:

States with the Highest Drop Out Rates:

North Carolina
South Carolina
New Mexico

Then I even kind of took a different tack, since I am sort of on the subject of at risk and disadvantaged… so how about suicide rates?  I mean, for someone to kill themselves, shit has gotta be pretty dire I reckon.  As a general rule, one is gotta be pretty dang depressed and lookin’ at a glass that is more than half empty to take themselves out…so, I looked into that. First thing that caught my eye is the leading group of folk who off themselves is white men, followed by white women.   But lets look at the states and stats on that one too:

State Stats for Suicide:

New Mexico
West Virgina

Hell, look at  that, Nevada for the win, or lose as it may be!

And then I looked into some other stuff, watched some documentaries on the History Channel, the Health Channel, A&E, things of that nature, where I learned that well, it’s not LA, or NY, or Boston or Chicago where drug use rates are jumping through the roof.  It’s…Ohio.  Where the abuse of prescription painkillers and heroin use has hit afterburner levels of increase.  Ohio.  Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado, Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas- dramatic increase in the use of everything from methamphetamine to heroin (and most prevalent amid white folk).  Alcoholism?  Very big deal in places like Alaska,  Nevada (again), Wyoming and North Dakota- and seemingly most prevalent amid white folk and Native American folk.   Oh, and for the record, the state with the highest rate of illiteracy is Mississippi I do believe.  And you know what I noticed?

None of these places are NYC,  and no one, from the government to private citizens, are paying too much attention or spending too much money trying to, oh…fix this? Help out?  Do shit to help these disadvantaged or at risk people?  Now, I had my resident Devil’s Advocate suggest the reason for this is because well, the government is focusing on trying to keep young men and boys outta gangs and turn ’em into productive citizens…to wit I responded, the widely regarded most dangerous gang in, oh, the world? MS-13.  Whose  US headquarters are in…ahem…Manassas Va.  Not LA, not NYC, not Chicago, or Detroit, or Phoenix, or Dallas.  Yep, right here in good ole Manassas Va.   And ya know, Manassas is not swimmin’ in the programs designed to keep kids from going bad, and it ain’t a big city either.   And the world does not begin and stop, alpha and omega style, with young men who are at risk for joining gangs, yet there seems to be very little out there for anyone other than them.  I also noticed, well, not to much interest at all in stopping white dudes, Asians, Native Americans,  or…gasp…women/girls from joining gangs (and they do, believe it or not-all those groups of people in our society have/join/belong to gangs!)

I am also big on playing Devil’s Advocate myself, but I honestly think this time, it ain’t the Devil’s Due I am advocating.  I dunno if people need to yell at their congressmen, or rich folk in town, or speak with their votes, or go to their churches, or what…but damn.  Look at those stats y’all.  Nevada sounds like one of Dante’s Circles of Hell as far as this shit goes, and (ahem) so do states like Georgia, North and South Carolina, Florida, Mississippi, New Mexico, so on.  States that are not necessarily swimming in big cities or big money (casinos aside for NV).  I mean hell, NY is not on a single ONE of those stat lists.  Nor is Illinois!  You know, where NYC and Chicago are!  And you know…cause you can bet I noticed it, a lot of these states on this here list (not all, but many), they are the American West/ Southwest and the South.  And with the exceptions of Texas, Cali, and Florida?  Not swimming in cash, or…voters.  And it leads me to wonder…why is someones son or daughter -black, brown, white, yellow, mixed, or any other thing, in a NYC or Chicago or LA or any other big city area more deserving of help, of assistance, of programs than someones son or daughter in Nevada, or Georgia, or Mississippi?  Or anywhere else for that matter?  Why are people who are more at risk for joining gangs or what not taking almost universal precedent over folk who are at risk for dropping out, getting pregnant, having no job, or, well, killin’ themselves?  IMHO, they aren’t.   And while I am pretty far from a yay government- funded social programs for everyone kinda gal, it seems to me if we are going to have them, at all, we need to spread that love around- make it an equal thing, with shit out there and available to folk in urban and rural areas, for women and men, and for folk of all colors…because damn, it looks like Nevada could use a program like the one I read about in NYC a hell of a lot more than NYC could.

I think it comes down to a couple things, really.  Votes prolly has something do to with it….but I also think we, in the US, have poster child-ed (yeah, I made it up) a very specific type of person  (young black or Latino male) as our most disadvantaged and at risk members of society.  That imagine is not accurate, and not representative, and in fact, probably pretty dangerous all around for everyone.   A dude who fits that image is no more at risk or disadvantaged than a pregnant sixteen year old girl in Mississippi or a drug addicted out of work white guy in Nevada…and it is long past fuckin’ time we figured that shit out and used social programs to truly help our most disadvantaged and at risk members- regardless of what they look like or where they live.

* sources:  Suicide Stats, Pregnancy Stats, Unemployment Stats    Drop out stats

Television and other media: Words Most Dangerous Drug (Discovery), Heroin in the Heartland (Oxygen), American Meth (History),  Drugs in America (Discovery Health), The Worlds Most Dangerous Gang (Discovery),  Intervention Special: Epidemics- Florida, Ohio, Nevada (A&E) , Gangland: MS-13, Gangland: Gangster Girls (Discovery).

  1. dead_vladimir says:

    Well, also how much of that spending is local spending though? NYC runs a lot of programs with state money financed by the three surronding suburb counties-so to a degree, all charity is local yes?

    also are these per capita stats or pecent stats..for example Nevada might have a 7% teen pregnancy rate and NY let’s say a 4% (made up #s) but as an actual # as opposed to percent $% of NY’s population is a much higher number than 7% of nevada’s.

    I do find it interesting that the wonderful paradise of California is on a ot of the lists

    • Ren says:

      all are per capital I do believe EXCEPT the drop out rate…

      Yeah, California is truly paradise…in fact, maybe (looking,,,cali, fl, sc, ga) maybe there is a palm tree coloration? Hawaii might blow that theory thou…

    • Ren says:

      and yes, state funding applies too, and NY is a far richer state than say, Mississippi…

      • dead_vladimir says:

        ah but if people want to spend their $$ locally to help the people closer to them, or who may have more an impact on thier immediate life..is that a sin? If I live in NYC suburbs, spending $$ to fight local issues i can see the impact of, as opposed to Nevada, is that not something I am allowed to do?

        • Ren says:

          Sure you are. Hell, people can do with their money what they want, and help “at home” before elsewhere, never gonna say that is wrong or they can’t….but if people are TRULY looking to help the most disadvantaged/at risk sorts…well, those folk may not necessarily BE in their back yard, but rather a few states away and hell, would prolly appreciate the help because they obviously get LESS of it.

  2. dead_vladimir says:

    ok looked at the teen pregnancy and it is a percent based list at least for example nevada is 113 per 1000; ny is 41 per 1000.
    Now Nevda has a population of 2.7 million while NY has a population of 19 million -so while NY has a lower rate per 1000 of teen age pregancy-it has a vastly higher amount of pregnant teens, so logically it makes sense for more resources to be spent on it. That’s the problem with statistics sometimes. Nevada is #1 in teen pregnancies but far behind NY in actual #s

  3. dead_vladimir says:

    New York would be about 788,000 teen pregnancies, while Nevada would be 305,000. What is troubling is why are conditions in Nevada that such a high percentage of the population gets pregnant, but in actual costs to service, NY would require more resources. NY would need more fiscal resources, while Nevada screams out for more social engineerinf resources (or one could argue or ask perhaps in NY with an easier access to medical care such as abortions and birth control -is NY’s rate falsely depressed?_)

    • dead_vladimir says:

      an interesting question is do these states get missed because there actual #s are not as high, and perhaps some endemic and cultural issues are being missed?

      • Ren says:

        oh, the populations of the states are key, on all fronts. more citizens, more money, more services, more political clout in tons of ways, no question….and more attention paid. Hell, that last hurricane? It TRASHED NC and various other smaller areas…yet the news about it, all about…NYC. NY, especially NYC is a BIG, high pop and high profile area with access to more and attention of more people….

        which is kinda my point. If we are truly OUT to HELP our most disadvantaged and such…well, we need to SEE them, and they may be in smaller, poorer, less high profile places with no help, money, or services.

        • dead_vladimir says:

          but it’s not just NY has higer progfile teen pregnancies-it has over double the amount of Nevadal-so it does have more needy people in needof more help, so on some point it just flat out needs more money-i hate to say it same thing with NC-the population of NYC and it’s subrubs exceed and ithe area is more developed than coastal NC -so damage there is more impacting-now admittedly the NYC hurricane press was a little crazy, so mcuh that worse effects in some of it suburbs were missed.

          • Ren says:

            Eh, point is, I am not so sure that Person X in NY is somehow MORE deserving of attention / help than person Y in Nevada….

            And EVERYONE pays attention to NYC, for whatever reasons- no doubt, its an important place on a HUGE US scale, no question. People will ALWAYS pay attention to NYC. Other places do not have that kind of attention, and really, they need it too. Some of this shit, like the drugs in ohio, or hell, all of nevada…its scary…and a lot of those folk are citizens and such too…do they deserve LESS than NYC?

            I HATE to use this as an example, but it kinda fits. 9-11. EVERYONE remembers NYC and what happened there…but the pentagon and the plane in PA? Often, they are…forgotten.

            • dead_vladimir says:

              not true -they arent forgotten
              and again more people died in NYC then in the PA plane or pentagon
              a scale of thousands to hundreds

              a person in NY might not be derserving of more attention than a person in Nevada, but NY has actual real # (not percent of population) people deserving attention. 800,000 teen pregnancies is larger than 300,000 going to attract more $$ even if you spend the same amount on each individual

  4. dead_vladimir says:

    as for Ohio that is one of the states hardest hit by the 2nd depression err i mean Recession
    lots of jobs have disappeared out of there, so I think increases in drug use are only natural.

  5. Roy Kay says:

    Eh, I am wary of “prescription drug abuse” numbers in general. I have troubles believing DEA clerks are smarter about people’s pain levels than doctors, especially rural doctors. These campaigns tend to be part of the rotating drug of the month club things just to keep the drug war in the public eye. All most papaers seem to do is take the DEA press releases at face value.

    • Ren says:

      Roy, as a person who has been off and on heavy duty pain killers; Oxy, Vicodin, Tramadol, so on, for Four Years let me assure you…they are REAL easy to get- legally, from a doctor or pain management clinic- and often times folk will even get open-ended scripts for one or more than one of them. Hell, they are trying to actually crack down on a lot of the pain management clinics in various areas (ohio included) because if you walk in with cash, you walk out with heavy duty shit.

  6. Roy Kay says:

    Well, I see your posts has been met with a bit of negativity and I don’t look to detract from your main point – which is the dearth of interest in the states with the highest per capita difficulties. I do concur that being outside of major media markets reduces attention and interest.

    I do note, that some stated, e.g. Mississippi get more funding from the Feds than they provide in taxes. I am always rather surprised that the hip people in NYC are so eager to finance the hick people in MS, while also parading their disdain.

    As to the availability of pain killers, there are two elements that affect this in poorer areas. 1) The cost of monitoring the patient who usually barely has funds for the drugs let alone monitoring. 2) There really are no objective measures of pain; we can only go by self-report. Let me put it this way – who should have the greater control of the pain meds available to an Appalachian sufferer of Black Lung Disease – the patient or a comfortable DC Statistician who sees a blip on the charts and decide there is “too much” pain amelioration? Remember the DC statistician has a brighter future if they subscribe to the program of the power structure.

    • dead_vladimir says:

      I don’t know i’d say the post is met with negativity- I think it is valid though to question just looking at the percentage..as i said large states can have a lower per capita yet have a higher #-which will draw more money and more attention becasue of actual #s. The question I think is do the high cpaita low actual # states get lost int he shuffle as to haivng the root cause addressed. After all Neveda may not need more money than NY or even as much to solve it’s teen pregnancy issue, but with 3 times the rate per capita, perhaps the issue in Nevada is not funding direct aid, but adrressing the root cause, and the social engineering needed to tackle why it is nearly 3 times NY?
      Part of the probllem is states like NC, have the population of 9.3 million as of the 2011 census, the greater metro area is slighty higher. While Irene may have done more damage to NC in erms of obvious houses torn down, much of the state population of NC was unaffected, so while NYC seems to hog the attention, if 10 million people are being affected by Irene there and only 2 million in NC-it actually is the greater area of concern and focus. That is what gets lost in the shuffle sometimes depending on how we view things, sometimes statistics hide the actual #s which when looked at explain why

  7. rootietoot says:

    We knew a family who’s son was on our son’s t-ball team, eons ago. He was a trucker, she was a receptionist. They were not wealthy by any stretch,but lived and paid their bills and such. Her husband was found to have bone cancer, and had to quit work. He needed 4x/week radiation treatment at a facility 2 hours away from their home. She quit her job to take care of him and they applied for welfare assistance. They were denied because their car (paid for) was less than 10 years old. They needed a reliable car to be able to take him to his medical care. They were told they’d have to sell the car and move in to a smaller place (they had a doublewide trailer that they were making payments on) in order to qualify. I remember her being in tears, trying to reconcile needing help,just long enough to get him through his treatment,with the requirements that they “downscale” their living situation. “It’s temporary!” she said. Either her husband would die, and she’d go back to work, or he’d recover, and she’d go back to work. And yeah, White and in Alabama. For what that’s worth.

  8. Now go through and look at whether those states are mostly run by Dems or Rethuglicans.

    I see the pattern already, but then, I live here.

  9. Coming from the big northern city perspective, I feel like a lot of these government-based programs are for show. “Look! We’re helping our disadvantaged! SEE?” But in reality, it’s a child-sized band-aid covering a gut wound. Very superficial and based on the conversations I have overheard on public transit and that I’ve had with social workers who associate with this work, everyone involved knows how superficial it is.

    As far as private programmes through charity orgs, obviously it is more citizen-based and so a significant number of citizens have to care enough to help. But even then, if the issue is one of so-called vice or morality (ie. teen pregnancy and drug use) and the citizens of the organization needs to put the person before the issue. This is not done as frequently in the Bible Belt as it is in large, northern cities. I know not everyone in the Bible Belt is religiously conservative but those who would, say, run a needle exchange programme or a non-religious affiliated drug addict support group or helping teen mothers without preaching to them, I’m guessing doesn’t outnumber or outfund the religious conservatives in their area.

    Finally, you can’t discount the progress made by arm-twisting. A lot of the programmes you reference in the large northern cities came about because the communities demanded them. If the community didn’t demand them, despite the programme’s less than satisfactory performance, it wouldn’t be available. But first, a problem has to be publicly acknowledged and for those who think only certain people have that problem, they’ll disassociate from it even if they really need help.

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