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If I was a Poor Youth in America

Updated on November 11, 2017
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Jack is a volunteer at the CCNY Archives. Before retiring, he worked at IBM for over 28 years. His articles have over 120,000 views.


In recent dialog with another hubber here, we touched on ways to help poor people in America, especially in the inner cities, to succeed. Why so many immigrants come here and within a short period of time succeed in reaching the American dream yet some of our own citizens have such a hard time getting by?

- August 2016

Here are Some Concrete Steps I would do...

  • I would go to the nearest public library and sign up for a library card. It is free.
  • I would go online using the public library's computers and look up our country's history and learn all I can...
  • I would then look up books relating to basics, literature, classics, and fictions and find books that interest me and read it.
  • I would try and find what skills that match up with my own interests.
  • I would sign up for online courses on various topics including on the Constitution from the Heritage Foundation. All free.
  • I would check the local police station to see if they have a youth program such as PAL, which can provide some sports and recreation activities after school.
  • I would do some volunteer work in local Hospitals and Churches.
  • I would learn about our various political parties and what they stand for...
  • I would go back and learn our history, and read the letters of our Founders...
  • I would also study the various economic systems that have been tried in the past and failed. Such as Communism, Socialism, totalitarianism...
  • I would read autobiographies of modern day figures such as Clarence Thomas, and Dr. Ben Carson and others... How they struggled and pull themselves out of poverty.
  • I would apply for internships in local businesses and learn what is it that they do.
  • I would attend weekly church services and seek guidance from local pastors.
  • I would do my best to look for ways to escape from the current living facilities.
  • I would look for a part time job after school to help my family's income.

What is the Underlying Principle?

In case you missed what I was trying to say, the basic underlying principle is to learn. Either by yourself or from others who have succeeded. The basic Conservative principle of self-reliance is the key to success.

The other key point is about personal behavior. Try and imitate good role models.

No Guarantees

Despite doing all the above, there is no sure way to success. Sometimes, luck plays a factor. You may meet just the right person along the way who can give you a hand. You may in your daily live, help another person in need. You are building something called "Good Karma." You heard the phrase, what goes around comes around... It is the same concept.

We all live in a community. It is up to everyone of us to help each other in need. It is the Christian way.

Part II

In the second part of this exercise, what would I have learned? Reading and studying and following the news...

Here is a list.

  • I would have learned that being born in the USA is like winning the lottery. The world population is 7 Billion and we are only 320 million. The majority of the rest of the world live in abject poverty. Most live with 1 dollar per day. The poorest of the poor here in the US is ten times better than the third world. That is why they all want to immigrate here legally and illegally.
  • I would have learned that we have been lied to by the elected officials. They have told us they are watching our back if we just elect them. Yet, after 50 years of democratic rule, we are no better off.
  • I would have learned why our public school is not working. It is the teacher's union that along with local politicians refuse to make any changes to the education system even where it was demonstrated that some charter schools get much better results.
  • I would have learned from history that it was the racist Democrats in the past that have opposed racial equality. It was the Republican party of Lincoln that free the slaves.
  • i would have learned the dishonest press that prop up leaders like the Reverend Jackson and Sharpon to speak for the black community when ever racial strife occurs. Yet, they have profited personally year after year and our own plight has not improved.
  • I would also learn that Conservative blacks who have succeeded are persecuted by both the Democrats and the black community with name calling "uncle tom."
  • I would finally realize the power of our Constitution for all people. Why conservatives are the true friend of all minorities. They have been misaligned by a dishonest press.
  • I would also realize the battle between economic systems have been faught and won. Capitalism wins over communism and socialism every time.
  • I will finally realize it is much better to work for a living than to be given entitlements. It gives a man dignity and a purpose and hope to a better life. Instead of trapped in a vicious cycle of poverty and dependency.
  • I also would realize that both Political parties are really controlled by the same people behind the scene. They donate to both party to win favors.

Part III - The Final Step

Lastly, having learned the above, my next thing is what to do going forward.

  • Communicate with friends and family members
  • Ask questions...
  • Challenge the status quo, especially politicians that want your vote
  • See what the politicians actually do, not what they say they will do.
  • Hold people in office accountable.
  • Be open to new ideas...
  • Keep engaged in the news but doing your own research.
  • Make your vote count.
  • Always, follow the Constitution.
  • Seize the Moment (Carpe Diem)
  • Be a role model for your peers
  • Reject the knee jerk reactions of Activist groups

How to Improve Race Relations?

How do we, as a country, move forward and reduce racial tension and improve all our lives?

Let me suggest let us all not look at every issue through a racial lens. The fact is, not everything is about race. When you choose to make it so, it elevates the tension on both sides. Let me offer a prime example of this. During the 1990s, the OJ trial was on TV all the time. Even though the evidence was over whelming, he was acquitted because his defense team decided to play the race card. 90% of black Americans cheered the verdict. Most clear thinking person disagreed. It was a crime of passion and he was guilty of two murders. There was never a racial component to this story except for the fact that OJ was a black athelete and actor. He was living in Hollywood and not in a black community. He associated with celebrities of all color. Yet, he benefited from a highly volatile and emotional case. He later lost a civil trial on the same case. My point being, he should have been judged based on the evidence alone. If he was white, he would have been convicted. This should tell you that this was not a racial case but was made into one to get him off.

The real lesson is that we should all take a step back and weigh the evidence before pre-judging any case. In some police shootings, it may not be about race per se. It the police acted badly, let the criminal justice system work it out, the same way it would for any other case. If it was due to the actions of the arrestee, don't blame the cops just because it was a black victim. The protests of BLM just escalates the tension. How does that help solve anything?

Long Term View...

To me, the long term solution to our race relation problem is tied to economics. The phrase rising tide lifts all boats come to mind. It is true that if people are given the chance for upward mobility, they are happier and more satisfied. The system needs to be fair. If everyone is given the same opportunity, if some succeeds and some fails, that is normal. Many successful people suffered defeat and failure in their past. They were given the opportunity to live and learn and re-try their dreams.

What is the proper role of government?

We conservatives believe in a minimal limited government that provides for the basic safety net for the poor, and a level playing field for all business large and small.

We don't believe in social engineering and picking winners and losers by way of entitlements and tax credits.

We believe in a color blind justice system that treats everyone equally. However, law and order must be followed by all citizens.

We believe in the soverignty of our nation. A nation that is defined by our borders, our language and our culture. If legal immigrants want to come here and adopt or philosophy, they are welcomed. We are a nation of immigrants.

We believe in a fair tax system where everyone pay their fair share.

As I envision it, as we move forward as a nation, we will be a more prosperous country where upward mobility is available to all who is willing to work harder and smarter. We are in a global economy where we must compete with China and India where the labor cost is much lower. Our advantage has to be that we provide a better product or services over the competition.

My Prediction...(As a Conservative trying to help)

Here is my prediction. I make this prediction having had reactions similar in the past.

"How dare you proposing solutions when you have no clue as to being a black person in America? You are insensitive, arrogant, self righteous...fill in the blanks."

They are correct of course in the fact that I am Asian first generation immigrant that is living in a suburb of NYC. I am not black and in fact a Conservative and a Christian.

They are mis-guided in thinking I have no clue. In fact, I took these ideas from people like Dr. Carson, and Clarence Thomas, and Thomas Sowell and others. They are black Conservatives who have succeeded in America following the very things I spoke of.

The question becomes, what does it matter where the ideas come from? If the message is a good one, why reject it just because it was a Conservative that recommmended it?

I really hope I am wrong about this prediction. I hope all of us, black, white, asian, and all races will have an open mind and look for new directions to solving our race relations. The status quo and what has been tried are not working. The very politicians and activist groups that claim to help are in fact part of the problem and not the solution.

Some Additional Role Models

  • Oprah Winfrey
  • Condoleeza Rice
  • Mia Love
  • Lauren Greene
  • Colin Powell
  • Allen West
  • David Clarke
  • Alan Keyes
  • J. C. Watts
  • T. D. Jakes
  • Armstrong Williams
  • Barack and Michelle Obama (for being a family role model, not for their politics)


What I try to do in this hub is to offer some advice to all young people. The principles will work for both rich and poor, white or black, Christians or Jews or Muslim...

I truly believe that ultimately, the best path to a free and fair society is through economic empowerment. If we can provide the path for anyone white or black, to reach financial independence, it will go a long way to reduce racial tensions in our country.

Good behavior leads to good life.

Good luck.

© 2016 Jack Lee


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