What makes some subcultures in the United States subscribe to, even embrace the culture,
philosophy, and psychology of failure, disdaining any forms of educational and socioeconomic improvement? There are people who do not wish to their best educationally and socioeconomically. They are quite content living at the educational and socioeconomic periphery of society. They endlessly complain about how hard their life is, oftentimes wondering how they are going to pay their bills and have a roof over their heads yet they refuse to exert the necessary effort to improve their circumstances.
That's how the creation is. Not all are born with same intelligence, same tastes, same capabilities, same motivation, same drive etc.
Is it possible that many are reverting to a form of tribalism, --"the behavior and attitudes that stem from strong loyalty to one's own tribe or social group." --or a loyalty to a tribe or other social group especially when combined with strong negative feelings for people outside the group..
Ayn Rand wrote an interesting piece on such behavior, but it was aimed at Europe. She did note however that such was beginning to reroot itself in the US. "Tribalism had no place in the United States—until recent decades. It could not take root here, its imported seedlings were withering away and turning to slag in the melting pot whose fire was fed by two inexhaustible sources of energy: individual rights and objective law; these two were the only protection man needed."
It would seem that she was correct, as we move further away from individual freedom (rights) and the souverignity of the individual to the collective ideaology of a socialist society the group or tribe becomes more important than the individual.
It would seem that America is reverting to tribalist society in the many divsions being spawned and nurtured by governmment in the form of financial aid, legislative and rhetorical endorsemment to and for the benefit of such groups.
I would think that we are no longer Americans, but hyphenated Americans points to the fracturing of America and speaks to your question.
I believe that it was Theodore Roosevelt, who said that. "there is no such thing as a hyphenated American who is a good American.", but then he was speaking to the Irish and speaking of those Europeans who refused to relinquish their loyalty to their country of origin.
The tribalism that I see is one of looking down at people below you on the economic scale and thinking of them as peasants. The strongest tribe, in this sense, is the millionaires. They say that if you wanted to be a millionaire you would earn it.
I can agree with you Dr. Kidd in some cases but those aren't a majority. I know a few people who are very affluent and they all acknowledge that they worked very hard, risked much more than most and they acknowledge they had some good luck as well.
Many people are born into families where no one reads to them. Sports are even more important than grades in school to some middleclass families--particularly in those which have never had a person go to college.
Other families have the psychological burden of 10 generations of oppression. So there is no hope, no work ethic, no internet, no reason to go to high school.
I think it has to do with lack of role models and lack of hope. I live in a bad neighborhood where most people make their living selling drugs and other nefarious activities, and I don't know of anyone around here who has a degree or isn't barely eking by financially. (well, the drug dealers have plenty of money - until they go to jail and it all gets seized). I've wondered about the answer to this question many times. Why is everyone around here so uneducated and so poor? I think it's because (1) the kids model their parents and end up turning out just like their parents. The parents are uneducated, disillusioned with society, often angry and bitter, and they have no hope of achieving something better, so they don't even try. I've seen kids who start out with hope and dreams at age 5 or 6 who, by the time they turn 16, are school dropouts selling drugs on the corners. I think their immediate environment and role models play a big part in that. They do what they know.
(2) The schools in my neighborhood are terrible. By terrible, I mean dangerous. Even in the younger grades, kids are often beaten up on the bus or at school or bullied somewhere between the time they leave the house and come back home from school. I'll never forget the story of a young 12-year-old boy who was jumped while walking two blocks home from school. The attackers (older boys) tied him up, stripped his clothes off, stuffed his underwear in his mouth, lit it on fire, and they ended up killing the 12-year-old boy. Incidents of bomb threats, weapons being brought to school, and stalking (online and offline) happen monthly. Sometimes the incidents make the local news, and there are frequent mentions of them on the local evening news. The school may be teaching something, but the ability of a student to focus on learning when he's more concerned with his own safety is greatly diminished. I know this because it happened to a kindergartner I know last year. His mother decided to take him out of the schools altogether and home-school him instead, but that isn't an option for a lot of the parents whose kids go to that school. So the kids either get tough and try to fit in, or they get picked on every day.
So I think it has a lot to do with the family environment and the local environment. They do what they know, and when the area itself is bleak, decaying, run-down, and depressing, there isn't any reason to think "I'm going to work hard and be super successful".
I can relate to you on this one! While out Christmas shopping recently, two separate cashiers at different stores complained to me about their lives, without me asking! After each complained, I asked where they graduated from & what they were trying to do to change their circumstances. Each said they graduated from area high schools and then irritated, acted as if high school is enough. Sorry, in today's world you need a trade, a successful entrepreneurial bent, and/or a college degree to be comfortable financially and otherwise.
There are a variety of reasons however, it often comes down to a person's mindset/choices, their opportunities (or lack thereof), and their familiarity and preference for what is known versus what is not. Time and again, many choose to be a fraction of who they could only because less than is familiar to them. There are some who have opportunities to better themselves and/or their financial situation, but to please others or be "accepted" by others (who may not even be good people/role models) they don't strive for better. It is truly sad knowing that adults actually act this way often to their detriment, their families' detriment and that of their communities.
Others may have an opportunity, several or even many to better themselves and their financial situation but will choose not to due to a lack of confidence, a lack of hope, or flat out fear of failure. Perhaps those frozen by any of these things don't know that inaction where action is needed is also failure?
Perhaps their choices are due to immaturity, stupidity, lack of money, laziness, or are complicated by other choices they made previously which make it very hard to gain or grasp any opportunity. A common example of complicating future opportunity is when one begins having children they cannot afford. Other examples of harming one's future and opportunities include not finishing high school, not going to college or learning an in demand trade, or becoming a criminal.
Some people of all races come from long lines of the traits in the above paragraph. What I've personally seen is even excellent mentors not being able to break through even with copious investments of effort with some like those you describe. Even the mentor's encouragement, experience and resources could not outweigh the negation of who and what their mentee chooses to be around or with. If one's family and or friends have a disdain for improvement, for too many, they will very likely also be ensnared.
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