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“Is America better now?”

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Since the election of President Donald J. Trump, there has been a lot of controversy surrounding the commander and chief. Numerous protest, investigations, cabinets members removal, and outside allegations. But is there anything in the country going good on the economic side? Is there some truth to the motto, “Make America Great Again?” A lot think not, but there are those that think so. Well, let’s observe that for a minute.


Do we have any positives for the economy under this administration? Let’s observe that for just a moment. For starters the economy is at a higher growth rate in the first few months of 2018 than it’s normal average. And the economy growth has been at its highest since the economic recession almost ten years ago. And then to add to it, the tax cuts of over one trillion dollars. So maybe there is something to this administration performing well.

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When you say what has Trump done that was of good nature, people get emotional. And the perception of a person is nearly impossible to shift once people have their minds made up. Only me, I have my political agenda, but I also have perspective. And that is why people will find it hard to believe any good can come of this administration. We can’t see the economics because socially and politically we disagree so much. So much so, that even if we were to enter a new Gilded Age, he would still be disliked.

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“Where do the new residents go?”

As a New York City resident, I have been seeing the moves made by those in real estate to gentrify properties throughout the city. More so in low income areas of the city. The buildings are renovated and the rent is increased. Increased to a point where so many people can’t afford to live there. Then, they are forced to move into other areas that they can afford. But this is not just a New York City phenomenon, this is a national concern. And why is it a cause for concern? Well because it leaves hundreds or even thousands of families destitute. And where are they to move; into other low income areas. What are some potential drawbacks of this?

Like I said before, I live in New York City, but I am originally from the Midwest. And for me, growing up in the Southern Wisconsin area, about 45 minutes out of Chicago, I see it in that city. And it is something that has actually contributed to the high crime rates. When the housing projects were torn down in Chicago, people from them were thrust back into the communities. But along with them came the criminal element. Gangs and drug dealers introduced themselves into communities that already were plagued with drug and gang problems. What happened next? The gangs already established are now competing with the new entering gangs.

And this is one of the drawbacks of the introduction of gentrification. It’s what I see happening in New York City. When the old gangs are moved out, let’s say in parts of Brooklyn, where do they go. They don’t leave town or stop gang banging, they move into the next best place, usually to another borough. So if they leave Brooklyn most likely they’re going to Queens. But with Queens being built just as fast and Staten Island so far away, they move into Upper Harlem and The Bronx. So what will happen over the years to come, is a sharp rise in rapes, robberies, and murders in Upper Harlem and The Bronx. And why do I say Upper Harlem, because Lower parts of Harlem are even becoming too expensive to live.

But is it all bad when it comes to gentrification? And when I ask this question, I am not speaking in reference of those moving families out. I am talking about the opportunities that may present itself in the new poor communities. Because the great thing about NYC or other major metropolitan cities are the diverse people. If so much diversity is pumped into Upper Harlem and The Bronx, there is money to be made from the community through each other. Just think, from approximately 150th from east to west all the way up into the South Bronx. African Americans, Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, various groups from the continent of Africa, Cubans, Colombians, Mexicans, Jamaicans, Haitians, Trinidadians, Barbados, and Bahamians. Imagine the restaurants, the nightclubs, and even the schools.

The opportunities are endless, and with so much culture in a given area, tourists will now flock to these places. There’s no culture in Times Square, few on Upper West Side, few in lower Manhattan, even fewer will exist in Brooklyn and Queens; while Staten Island is too far away. And with other ethnic groups having people within them finding it hard to economically sustain, you’ll introduce more groups. Russians, Serbians, Armenians, Chinese, Greeks, Middle Eastern groups, and Indians. Upper Harlem and The Bronx will become New York City’s cultural epicenter. You see, in the end, poor people are hurt by gentrification. But there is good thing that can come of this move. Something that the people looking to move you out won’t gain from. And that is getting all these groups to work as a collective. Poverty can become prosperity if the poor work together. If not, an opportunity will be missed. 

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“Growing up in two worlds can he tough.”

Growing up going to school in one environment, but living in another can be a positive and a negative experience. For me, this was the case as well as my sisters in our lives. But unlike our small city life, when you live in major metropolitan city, the adjustment can be quite interesting. Where you have a kid that might be growing up in a housing project and going to school elsewhere. I see it all the time in New York City. Kids going to school at some academy while the other kids go to public schools. And the tough part is if you grow up as a poor child. Well, what are the good things or bad things that can come from living in two worlds?

On the positive side, you get a chance to see kids growing up in a world that is foreign to you. And when I say foreign, it’s you know kids have means above you, but not like what you’re witnessing. It gives you something to strive for, unlike the kids who grow up in your neighborhood. They’re going to schools where graduating from high school is a blessing. You’re not expected to do much after that. At the academy, you are asked your plans for the future in as early as elementary school. Kids in the academic environments of private institutions skills are cultivated at young ages. Since expectations are so low in poor areas, kids are forced to feel out life as time goes on.

But, are their any negatives in seeing so much that you don’t have access to society. The downside is that you grow to have so much resentment with the idea of so few having so much, and so many having nothing. You can’t understand as a child why your environment is in so much turmoil. Another obvious issue you run into while living in these two worlds is that the ethnic makeup of the children. A lot of poor areas in New York City are predominantly Latino and African American, while the groups who retain more economic influence are Jewish, East Asian (Chinese, Japanese, Korean), and Southwest Asian (Indian). Your inner circle may create a bind with the people in your community and yourself.

In the end, that’s the hardest part of living in the two worlds. You lose a connection to the people in your community. Even though you live in a neighborhood, you’re actually more likely to make friends with kids you’re in school with; why? Well, because you’re in school the majority of the time. You meet kids in your neighborhood on the fly. And that loss of connection will start to make you question the environment where you live. People in the community live life as normal, but you know the other side. You’ve seen the top 15%, or %10, or even 1%. You will grow to have a stronger work ethic, yet at the same time, you may become detached from your immediate community.


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“Are you Black enough?” “And what does that mean?”

Stop acting White. You’re not Black enough. You’re a sell out. These are a few of the statements you hear growing up in the Black urban community. But why, why is it that deciding to live your life in a certain manner brings your ethnicity into question? Is it at all possible to act like another group? And if it is, then how do act Chinese, Russian, Indian, Spaniard, or Egyptian? The reason why the previous sentence sounds ridiculous is because it’s not possible to act an ethnicity. That is a constraint that is placed on you in America between Black and White People. Well then, why do we say it?

For starters saying you’re acting a certain group is an ignorant statement to make once we breakdown what that means. Let’s assume I say you’re acting White. Then you say, what am I doing that would constitute me to act White? And when you listen to the response, it generally is from a place of ignorance. But not only ignorance, the reply is usually a dangerous statement. You say to yourself, why is that dangerous to say? For one, it implies that you are appropriating the cultural norm which exist in another ethnic group, which means you must reject your own. False, you can be proud of who you are and express admiration for another groups culture.

Another reason why saying you’re acting like an ethnic group is dangerous is because typically when Black children are told this, it most certainly means you’re doing something positive. Whether it’s reading a book while everyone else part take in fun or speaking with a clear English vernacular rather than slang. Children will grow to think that being Black equates to ignorance which leads to negative views on ones’ self as well as lowered expectations. How and when did this change? And what I mean by how and when because Black people have not always had this in our community.

Being a Black intellectual was celebrated throughout history. But somewhere along the historical timeline, it became popular to exuberate low cognitive abilities. Let’s try to backtrack in time to where this approximately happened. I would say coming from the 1970’s into the 1980’s is when there was a major shift. Poverty during this time was on the rise and narcotics were taking hold. Single parent homes were the norm and gang violence was rapidly spreading. Eventually all of this found it’s way into our pop culture.

And once something becomes mainstream, that’s it. And it’s not because of mainstream alone, but the economics behind the entertainment. Meaning, once young males and females saw the profitability through entertainment such as rap/hip hop music they acknowledged an out. Everybody wanted to be rappers; dress like rappers, talk like rappers, and act like rappers. These men became so influential, you could say they were on par with civil rights leaders of the 1950’s and 1960’s as far as their influence. This was an aspect of the decline in expectations. But what else, entertainment is powerful, but not as strong to cause the shift of low expectations in the community today.

The biggest shift was the lack of quality education in inner city schools throughout the recent decades. On top of poor education, you have students dealing with hardships of poverty, and some even victims of abuse at home. All of this was a recipe for disaster as things worsened, so did the expectations. Now you have a smart Black child being called out for his or her intellect simply because someone or the entire class lack quality knowledge that he or she does. So what takes the place of knowledge when knowledge diminishes; valuables, that’s what.

Black people have been accused of not assimilating into society. But we have, we are a fully economic base. Meaning America is a capitalistic society based around goods and services. Blacks are in full swing where we spend nearly more money than any group of people in America. As a matter of fact we are worth roughly $2 – $3 trillion per year to the America economy. That means if we were a country (Black People), we would be somewhere between 4th and the 7th of the top ten wealthiest nations on earth. So with all that money why such poor education. Well because we have assimilated into this system of economy, that’s the problem. But why are we fully economic.

The reason being, when you grow up poor, it’s hard enough being poor now you look poor. And to top it off, your school environment is poor. So dressing in the latest fashion distracts everyone from your impoverished situation. Now, some economist might go America still benefits. But others will say, if we could get more of this group to come up through the financial ranks, then more money is pumped into the economy, the better America will do. But it starts with education, which brings me back to blackness. Blackness can’t continue to be reached and defined by means of ignorance. A people bereft of knowledge effects us all because we all now take on the financial impact due to the lack of quality education in the environment. But more knowledge, equals more people in the know. More people in the know means elevating yourself. Through elevation comes finances, and from finances comes prosperity. Ultimately, we all seek to benefit being that we share this country.