Alright, class. Let’s all start our day with a collective eyeroll.
While watching Bill O’ Reilly via Russell Brand’s “Trews” (only way I can manage to watch Bill), I tried my hardest to get past his caustic manner enough to hear his actual message regarding his belief about the non-existence of “white privilege”. You can call things whatever they like. I won’t take offense to it just because the adjective describes my flesh. I didn’t set up the system to disfavor specific groups of people. But what I will do it break out my lab goggles and coat for the sake of those in those groups – especially when I see flawed logic being sputtered out like it’s remotely true.
“Every American has to overcome the obstacles they face.”
Taken at face value – sounds good as a general outlook, sure.
Actually, any human person has to “overcome the obstacles they face”.
Otherwise they get to die early. Those are the rules.
The problem, as ever, has to do with context and implication. And what Bill’s saying is that every American has an equal go at financial success if they overcome the hand they were dealt. Alright, Bill. But tell me: What about if the mind you need to overcome these obstacles is stymied because of the environment you’re born into? Like poverty? 27.4% of African Americans (compared to around 9% of whites) are poor.
Anyone else read the research last year on how poverty can hinder proper brain development? Scientists followed poor and rich kids for four years after birth, comparing their MRIs. The two groups both began with equally normal brains. Then, slowly, the parietal and frontal lobes (important for things like behavior, learning, and attention) lagged in growth for the poor children through those first four years.
It seems that regardless of when the conditions were set up unfairly for a specific class of Americans, a biological-poverty link like this can carry on like an awful legacy that gets passed down to subsequent generations. And that makes it pretty effing tough to overcome. Can you imagine? You’ve been mind-screwed over before you’ve even gone to kindergarten! It’s like throwing tranquilizer darts in your legs and telling you to race as fast as the other kids.
(This bish is deliciously randomly hilarious and I dare you not to have her song stuck in your head.)
Obviously this doesn’t speak to all African Americans. No research results can represent everyone. But when those poverty stats are so staggering and the MRIs don’t lie, it’s worth looking at if we have to speak in generalizations.
So, I suppose my point is this:
Let’s carefully dismantle Bill’s parietal and frontal lobe (nothing too violent – just something subtle like the dinner table scene from the Silence of the Lambs prequel) and see if he can come into work tomorrow and do his job.
(Plot twist: it’d probably be an improvement.)