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#41 DJ Eco

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 02:02 PM

The mafia while thugs and criminals never voluntarily committed violent acts against people who weren't an ememy or rival. They operated by codes and they held each other to them. While an innocent person was undoubtedly caught in the wrong place at the wrong time, those who committed that act were swiftly dealt with. The mafia didn't carjack a family for their car for fun and didnt beat down a person for his sneakers. To compare today's gangs to these past groups is foolish as they commit acts of violence towards anyone or anything that gets in their way and at the price of anyone or anything,

 

It's interesting to note that mafias came to be in New York to help the large Italian immigrant population get jobs and thrive. Their primary purpose early on was to make sure people of their kind could come to the U.S. and have a job and a place to live while taking care of their family. That in turn made Italian neighborhoods much cleaner and safer, because slipping into alcoholism or drug use or general vagrancy was severely frowned upon; you were thrown out of town if you were a liability to the neighborhood.

 

That obviously was diluted eventually, as soon as drugs came into the picture. And I'm not sympathizing with the mafia, but many people don't realize that their initial purpose was mostly a benevolent agenda, like a proactive community center that wasn't linked to murder/violence/drugs at the time.


Edited by DJ Eco, 18 December 2013 - 02:05 PM.

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#42 NewarkDevil5

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 02:29 PM

So you are saying Newark, who not only receive more funding per pupil than most districts due to it being an abbot district, does not give children an opportunity at education? Please. It's the children who have grown up watching their parents receiving handouts because they chose to play the victim card who chose not to take advantage of the school system and the parents not giving a damn.

You can't improve an area when a large chunk of that population can't improve themselves with all the assistance in the world. Therefore like my original argument a page ago you cannot gentrify a neighborhood with the existing pre-gentrified population still there.

 

Whether more funding or less funding or equal funding, the quality of education in Newark schools is below that of other school districts. Whether you want to blame that on funding or the family life and culture of the students is not my concern in the above statements.

 

As far as the parents receiving handouts, I agree with you on that. I believe the current system creates a culture of dependence and crime. In no part of what I wrote did I ever advocate the continuation of the current systems as they are currently structured. What I said is that people respond to incentives and are more likely to turn to crime if the incentives point in that direction which they more often do in poor areas.

 

On the flip side I don't necessarily think that all of the systems need to be gotten rid of. Tying welfare benefits to community service hours in a form of "workfare" is a good idea. There are things that can be done to make the system work better, because right now the results are fairly disastrous. The devil is in the details, which comes back to education funding. Throwing money into an education system to pay more to administrators that never see the inside of a classroom is a waste of money and does nothing to help the schooling system. Just because things are being done incorrectly doesn't mean they can't be done properly. People believe that government can't get anything done right and create self fulfilling prophecies.

 

All of this is to say that I'm not saying that it is the fault of funding or not enough social programs or whatever, but that the original post seemed to imply that you have people who are just plain no good for being no good's sake and they have chosen to congregate in Newark for whatever reason, which simply isn't true. People may have free will, but they respond to incentives and the collection of incentives faced by an average person in Newark is more likely to lead to a life of crime than it is for an average person in Montclair.


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#43 David Puddy

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 02:39 PM

I disagree with you in some cases and agree with you in many cases, especially my own case.

 

My own area is a good example of this. I live in Hudson County, town of North Bergen/West New York. It's a mostly middle or lower-middle Hispanic population (which makes up half of my background as well) and is undergoing a very steady stream of gentrification.

 

There've been at least 4 playgrounds and basketball/mini-soccer courts get torn down in the past 2 years, and replaced with dog-runs. Not that the original residents don't walk their dogs, but their kids always made full use of the playgrounds, they were always packed. Now, you only see upper-middle class white professionals in their 20s and 30s hanging out with their dogs at the dog-run.

 

It sounds small, but it always starts small. I love my neighborhood because food and groceries are cheap and pretty much everything is cheap and within walking distance. Not to mention, the cuisine is incredible: tons of amazing Colombian and Hispanic cuisine. The next step is once the bodegas and dive bars start getting bought out and replaced with yoga studios and vegan minimarkets and some interpretive arts space opened by some art kid on his rich family's dime. These are all red flags that lead to new businesses and amenities on a neighborhood-scale which attracts a certain kind of people, like termites. And they'll suck all the roots out of the neighborhood and turn it into what their version of the neighborhood "should be".

 

An area like mine doesn't want gentrification. The crime's pretty low, and most people here like it the way it is.

 

An area like Newark though, I don't think you can really argue against a little cleaning up. There's really nothing much else you can do to help many of the people there. Ironbound's tight-knit enough to not really give in to a massive gentrification but I can't say the same for much of the rest of the city.

 

Hah, this sounds very close to my neighborhood, but there's not much to romanticize about my neighborhood. It used to be known for antiques, but the only antique shops that remain are dust buckets. There's a used car lot and a barbershop or hair salon on almost every block. The latest trend is discount cell phone (pay all your bills here!) stores. Plus, tons of empty storefronts. I don't think you can make an argument for my neighborhood having any kind of character.

 

We had a yoga studio in my building that failed within a year (it's now a hair braiding salon). There was a graphic design/t-shirt shop that opened, but is now a cell phone store. The quirky hipster art gallery space (which opened in an antique/architectural salvage place that moved out of the neighborhood) is still going, but the vintage clothing shop and artisanal chili store next to it didn't last long. (Now they're opening an artisanal breakfast shop in the chili place... but it's being opened by a chef with 2 successful restaurants, so it might have a chance. I'm still not paying $8 for red velvet pancakes or whatever they come up with.) Oh, and a micro-brewpub, which I am actually excited about. And we do have some architects and graphic designers moving into the neighborhood.

 

In my neighborhood's case, when there are so many buildings and storefronts sitting empty, you can't complain about any tenant moving in, be it the next MetroPCS dealer or another yoga studio. I just wish there was some middle ground between blight and pretentiousness.


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#44 NewarkDevil5

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 02:44 PM

DM84 above beat me to the main response, but those people in that rural area of 500 aren't adding to the national/state crime statistic and aren't a part of their own problem eating themselves from within, save for the epidemic of cow tipping.

 

,

 

That's not necessarily true, but because those people happen to be white meth addicts in rural areas stealing copper wire out of a light pole in a small town to pay for their meth addiction vs a black crackhead in an inner city holding someone up to pay for their own they get thought of differently. Believe me when I say that small rural towns have their own crime issues.


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#45 DJ Eco

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 03:08 PM

Whether more funding or less funding or equal funding, the quality of education in Newark schools is below that of other school districts. Whether you want to blame that on funding or the family life and culture of the students is not my concern in the above statements.

 

As far as the parents receiving handouts, I agree with you on that. I believe the current system creates a culture of dependence and crime. In no part of what I wrote did I ever advocate the continuation of the current systems as they are currently structured. What I said is that people respond to incentives and are more likely to turn to crime if the incentives point in that direction which they more often do in poor areas.

 

On the flip side I don't necessarily think that all of the systems need to be gotten rid of. Tying welfare benefits to community service hours in a form of "workfare" is a good idea. There are things that can be done to make the system work better, because right now the results are fairly disastrous. The devil is in the details, which comes back to education funding. Throwing money into an education system to pay more to administrators that never see the inside of a classroom is a waste of money and does nothing to help the schooling system. Just because things are being done incorrectly doesn't mean they can't be done properly. People believe that government can't get anything done right and create self fulfilling prophecies.

 

All of this is to say that I'm not saying that it is the fault of funding or not enough social programs or whatever, but that the original post seemed to imply that you have people who are just plain no good for being no good's sake and they have chosen to congregate in Newark for whatever reason, which simply isn't true. People may have free will, but they respond to incentives and the collection of incentives faced by an average person in Newark is more likely to lead to a life of crime than it is for an average person in Montclair.

 

 

I agree with a lot of what you have to say. You have some great ideas and good insight.

 

The problem, though, lies when a really good teacher (someone like my mom) gets reassigned to Newark, and she gets told to "fvck off" on the first day, or physically threatened, verbally abused, etc... There's only so much a person can take.

 

There is definitely a point where parents or a support system (or lack thereof) ARE to blame. Police officers or white suburban people didn't teach a 3 year old kid from the projects how to say "fvck you," or be generally disrespectful to others and not give a sh!t. 

 

It's not the education system's job to teach kids that mugging people is wrong.

 

And you're right, a long gradual change in public welfare policies might do the trick, but even then, who knows?


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#46 Mike Brown

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 03:35 PM

ITT: Right wingers showing that they're full of crap like always.

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#47 TheRedStorm

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 03:56 PM

ITT: Right wingers showing that they're full of crap like always.

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And a left winger pointing fingers while adding nothing. Shocking


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#48 ATLL765

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 03:57 PM

DM84 above beat me to the main response, but those people in that rural area of 500 aren't adding to the national/state crime statistic and aren't a part of their own problem eating themselves from within, save for the epidemic of cow tipping.

 

,

Also they don't have the option to sell drugs and make money because who the fvck goes to middle of nowhereville to get the good sh!t?

If you're living in an inner city and because the schools are garbage(while I certainly don't deny that money hasn't helped the problem, I'd say that's more to do with mismanagement of funds than the students not caring) you have no chance at working and getting a living wage and you're faced with a choice of work some crap PT job with AWFUL hours making $800/month or sell drugs which you can do at your own convenience, provides unlimited ability to move up in the organization and ability to earn income. Seriously, if you're in the right spot, all you gotta do is stand there and let it sell itself or hire somebody to be your runner and you barely have to do anything. I mean, what would you choose if you were poor, hungry and needed the cash?


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#49 TheRedStorm

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 04:08 PM

Also they don't have the option to sell drugs and make money because who the fvck goes to middle of nowhereville to get the good sh!t?

If you're living in an inner city and because the schools are garbage(while I certainly don't deny that money hasn't helped the problem, I'd say that's more to do with mismanagement of funds than the students not caring) you have no chance at working and getting a living wage and you're faced with a choice of work some crap PT job with AWFUL hours making $800/month or sell drugs which you can do at your own convenience, provides unlimited ability to move up in the organization and ability to earn income. Seriously, if you're in the right spot, all you gotta do is stand there and let it sell itself or hire somebody to be your runner and you barely have to do anything. I mean, what would you choose if you were poor, hungry and needed the cash?

 

So you're supporting or advocating a socio-economic system that's supported by selling/running illegal drugs because someone doesn't have a "choice"  or they are somehow "disadvantaged" even when working and earning some kind of legit income? I mean it's one thing to be on the left (and far left) but it's another thing to advocate or defend a illegal activity that leads to prison time, death and poisoning of people all in the name of being poor. Besides, that's not an alternative, that's a choice and as i said people are responsible for their actions/free will and the courts aren't going to hear that it's a poverty problem as a defense. It's bad enough politicians buy into it.

 

BTW...if a kid knows he has this is a route, then it begs the question why throw money at inner city education? It's bad enough you can throw all the money at schools you want and you cant make kids who don't want to learn, learn. But, this scenario makes it a complete waste.


Edited by TheRedStorm, 18 December 2013 - 04:25 PM.

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#50 Devil Dan 56

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 04:44 PM

So you're supporting or advocating a socio-economic system that's supported by selling/running illegal drugs because someone doesn't have a "choice"  or they are somehow "disadvantaged" even when working and earning some kind of legit income? I mean it's one thing to be on the left (and far left) but it's another thing to advocate or defend a illegal activity that leads to prison time, death and poisoning of people all in the name of being poor. Besides, that's not an alternative, that's a choice and as i said people are responsible for their actions/free will and the courts aren't going to hear that it's a poverty problem as a defense. It's bad enough politicians buy into it.

 

BTW...if a kid knows he has this is a route, then it begs the question why throw money at inner city education? It's bad enough you can throw all the money at schools you want and you cant make kids who don't want to learn, learn. But, this scenario makes it a complete waste.

 

 

There's a difference between supporting an illegal activity and understanding why someone with nothing to lose would engage in an illegal activity.

 

I live near Newburgh, NY. It's neck and neck with Rochester every year for worst city in the state. It was ranked the 9th most dangerous city in the country last year. If someone is born into that, and they believe that that environment is all that life has to offer them, and that that is their place in the world, it's very difficult for them to see any way out of it. What is there to stop a 10 - 12 year old from joining a gang when there's nothing else there for them?

 

They interviewed a girl in an article a couple of years ago. She was making something like $2,500 a week as a 16 year old selling weed. Her friends who had regular jobs were making less than a quarter of that. It's not hard at all to see why someone surrounded by violence and poverty would go that route, especially when jobs are hard to come by with so many empty store fronts. Fixing things that are ingrained that deeply goes far beyond the ideas of making better choices.

 


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#51 Mike Brown

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 04:44 PM

And a left winger pointing fingers while adding nothing. Shocking


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#52 NewarkDevil5

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 04:48 PM

So you're supporting or advocating a socio-economic system that's supported by selling/running illegal drugs because someone doesn't have a "choice"  or they are somehow "disadvantaged" even when working and earning some kind of legit income? I mean it's one thing to be on the left (and far left) but it's another thing to advocate or defend a illegal activity that leads to prison time, death and poisoning of people all in the name of being poor. Besides, that's not an alternative, that's a choice and as i said people are responsible for their actions/free will and the courts aren't going to hear that it's a poverty problem as a defense. It's bad enough to politicians buy into it.

 

Whether they hear it as a defense or not is irrelevant. If the incentive to break the law is greater than the incentive to observe it the law will be broken. If the penalty for being caught isn't much worse than the life being led while free, people will not fear being caught. Because of hard-wired mentalities like yours we now have a massive population of incarcerated people that we pay to feed, clothe and house. For someone who claims to be against public welfare, your views have created quite the public housing system.

 

Let me try to break this down for you one last time:

 

Poverty leads to desperation

Desperation leads to crime

Crime either leads to money or jail

Either one will afford the poor guy a roof over his head and three hot meals a day.

 

This is not a new thing. It is the same reason why no matter how tall a fence or how much you try to crack down on illegal immigrants when they're here, as long as getting across the Rio Grande promises a way to feed Juan's family, Juan will find a way across.


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#53 ATLL765

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 05:53 PM

So you're supporting or advocating a socio-economic system that's supported by selling/running illegal drugs because someone doesn't have a "choice"  or they are somehow "disadvantaged" even when working and earning some kind of legit income? I mean it's one thing to be on the left (and far left) but it's another thing to advocate or defend a illegal activity that leads to prison time, death and poisoning of people all in the name of being poor. Besides, that's not an alternative, that's a choice and as i said people are responsible for their actions/free will and the courts aren't going to hear that it's a poverty problem as a defense. It's bad enough politicians buy into it.

 

BTW...if a kid knows he has this is a route, then it begs the question why throw money at inner city education? It's bad enough you can throw all the money at schools you want and you cant make kids who don't want to learn, learn. But, this scenario makes it a complete waste.

I guess your lacking English skills come into play again. got a handle on sarcasm now, so try reading comprehension.

Secondly, everything you learned in DARE class was grade A bullsh!t. Drugs are not scary, they don't turn you into a bad person. You will not become a crackhead or heroin addict upon first encounter and forever steal from your family to support your habit. Though all of these things can happen, they are not matters of fact.

The reason why drug addicts are seen in a bad light is because it's been turned from a public health issue into a criminal issue, which is ridiculous. IF drugs are legalized and legitimate companies manufacture the drugs and it's sold legitimately, the violence will pretty much end over drugs. At least for us. Also, to ignore the disparity seen between poor and wealthy communities in terms of numbers of arrests and sentences for possession is insane. I've never heard of one of my friends going to jail for getting arrested with pot, that isn't the case if you live in a city. Even when I think about those that went for using "hard" drugs, which I think is a stupid designation, are few and far between. I can think of a couple, but not tons. Again, not the case in a city. Especially given that illicit drugs kill nearly no one compared to alcohol and tobacco(not including traffic deaths linked to alcohol).

To get to my point, it's that the "drug war" has been nothing but a useless money pit and a war on poverty since those are the most likely persons to sell drugs and get hefty prison sentences for it. Add in for profit prisons and we see sh!t like what goes down in AZ with that gaping a$$hole Sheriff Joe Arpaio or the PA judge selling kids to prisons. Prison stops being a place for rehabilitation, instead becoming somewhere to hide society's problems and make a few bucks suckling the government's teet.

You want to arrest drug addicts because they commit crimes, do it when they commit crimes that involve actual victims, not the absolutely victimless crime of selling drugs. And no matter what anyone thinks about that, no one ever decided to use drugs based on a dealer's sales pitch....if it wasn't that guy, it'd have been another, so why is it so wrong for these people to try to make a quick buck?

And thank you for pigeonholing me as far left.....despite you only hearing one opinion on one issue. One could certainly say I lean towards the left, but I would not say I'm far left, unless you mean for social issues, which in fact, I feel I fall more in line with a libertarian point of view of get the gov't the fvck out of my personal business. I want the ability to fvck and/or marry who I want, drive how I want(seatbeltless) and snort, shoot and otherwise ingest whatever drug I feel like, so long as it doesn't directly impact another person negatively, i.e. causes actual quantifiable emotional, physical or monetary damage. Just like everyone gets to do with their alcohol. Which btw, no one ever gets shot over anymore.


Edited by ATLL765, 18 December 2013 - 05:54 PM.

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#54 TheRedStorm

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 08:55 PM

I guess your lacking English skills come into play again. got a handle on sarcasm now, so try reading comprehension.

Secondly, everything you learned in DARE class was grade A bullsh!t. Drugs are not scary, they don't turn you into a bad person. You will not become a crackhead or heroin addict upon first encounter and forever steal from your family to support your habit. Though all of these things can happen, they are not matters of fact.

The reason why drug addicts are seen in a bad light is because it's been turned from a public health issue into a criminal issue, which is ridiculous. IF drugs are legalized and legitimate companies manufacture the drugs and it's sold legitimately, the violence will pretty much end over drugs. At least for us. Also, to ignore the disparity seen between poor and wealthy communities in terms of numbers of arrests and sentences for possession is insane. I've never heard of one of my friends going to jail for getting arrested with pot, that isn't the case if you live in a city. Even when I think about those that went for using "hard" drugs, which I think is a stupid designation, are few and far between. I can think of a couple, but not tons. Again, not the case in a city. Especially given that illicit drugs kill nearly no one compared to alcohol and tobacco(not including traffic deaths linked to alcohol).

To get to my point, it's that the "drug war" has been nothing but a useless money pit and a war on poverty since those are the most likely persons to sell drugs and get hefty prison sentences for it. Add in for profit prisons and we see sh!t like what goes down in AZ with that gaping a$$hole Sheriff Joe Arpaio or the PA judge selling kids to prisons. Prison stops being a place for rehabilitation, instead becoming somewhere to hide society's problems and make a few bucks suckling the government's teet.

You want to arrest drug addicts because they commit crimes, do it when they commit crimes that involve actual victims, not the absolutely victimless crime of selling drugs. And no matter what anyone thinks about that, no one ever decided to use drugs based on a dealer's sales pitch....if it wasn't that guy, it'd have been another, so why is it so wrong for these people to try to make a quick buck?

And thank you for pigeonholing me as far left.....despite you only hearing one opinion on one issue. One could certainly say I lean towards the left, but I would not say I'm far left, unless you mean for social issues, which in fact, I feel I fall more in line with a libertarian point of view of get the gov't the fvck out of my personal business. I want the ability to fvck and/or marry who I want, drive how I want(seatbeltless) and snort, shoot and otherwise ingest whatever drug I feel like, so long as it doesn't directly impact another person negatively, i.e. causes actual quantifiable emotional, physical or monetary damage. Just like everyone gets to do with their alcohol. Which btw, no one ever gets shot over anymore.

 

LOL, typical. You can't go more then one reply at most without taking a direct shot at me, kiddo, even when i don't take one at you. As i said before, you can dish it out but you can't take it. 

 

You're such an unapologetic left wing liberal it's actually amusing. You're reading right from the handbook. I don't have to hear more then one (or two or three) replies from you to know any more then that. Just like i can tell you're a little smart mouth, i can tell you're a left winger.

 

BTW, sit in on a drug addiction class or go attend a meeting of recovering addicts. See how their first encounters went and their stories. Or heaven forbid, you actually have one in your family like i did and learn first hand everything you THINK you know. You might actually learn something past the liberal parents and professors that poisoned your mind. 


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#55 Jerrydevil

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Posted 08 January 2014 - 09:27 PM

This was pretty overtly racist. I'm not big on PC, but I'm actually offended by this post. These urban issues are a product of their society. What, you think inherently bad people happen to all concentrate in certain urban neighborhoods, or doyou just think every black and hispanic person possesses the traits necessary to organize gangs and commit violent crimes? Gentrifying areas does nothing to fix the problems of the complete absence of middle class jobs or of institutional racism. These people will still be poor, will still have no opportunities, and problems like gangs, drugs, and violence will still exist, just somewhere else. I can't educate you on the histories of urban social problems, deindustrialization, suburbanization, white flight, basic community planning and urban form in a single post, so do yourself a favor and open a book.

 

thecoffeecake, the truth is race-related. The problem with Newark is ghetto blacks and their dysfunction. Substitute "Newark," with any other majority-black, black-governed city.  Baltimore. Detroit. Memphis. Paterson. New Haven. Cleveland. Gary. The cause is not lack of middle class jobs. It's certainly not institutional racism against blacks. It's because blacks cannot maintain cities that white people built. You may not like this. You may scream racism. But it is the plain, unadorned truth.

 

Not all blacks are dysfunctional people who can't live in a civilized city. And I don't know what percentage of blacks are good people, work hard and raise families right. It doesn't matter. There's more than enough of the bad ones to lay waste to cities, and make them unlivable to people who don't want to live in filth and violence.

 

 

 

It is you who needs an education.


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#56 2ELIAS6

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Posted 08 January 2014 - 11:01 PM

thecoffeecake, the truth is race-related. The problem with Newark is ghetto blacks and their dysfunction. Substitute "Newark," with any other majority-black, black-governed city.  Baltimore. Detroit. Memphis. Paterson. New Haven. Cleveland. Gary. The cause is not lack of middle class jobs. It's certainly not institutional racism against blacks. It's because blacks cannot maintain cities that white people built. You may not like this. You may scream racism. But it is the plain, unadorned truth.
 
Not all blacks are dysfunctional people who can't live in a civilized city. And I don't know what percentage of blacks are good people, work hard and raise families right. It doesn't matter. There's more than enough of the bad ones to lay waste to cities, and make them unlivable to people who don't want to live in filth and violence.
 
 
 
It is you who needs an education.

while im not saying whether i agree or not.. im going to keep that to myself .. this post right here is going to start a huge war.. but all i will actually say is majority to almost every time there is major issue ... what kinds of people are the ones that are the perps and doing the crime... we all know, and its not racist its truth.. white guy shot and killed for his car while leaving the short hills mall .. shot by a couple of black fellows .. not one incident but one example. ..let me know when someone hears of this the other way around.
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#57 DevsMan84

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Posted 09 January 2014 - 09:12 AM

while im not saying whether i agree or not.. im going to keep that to myself .. this post right here is going to start a huge war.. but all i will actually say is majority to almost every time there is major issue ... what kinds of people are the ones that are the perps and doing the crime... we all know, and its not racist its truth.. white guy shot and killed for his car while leaving the short hills mall .. shot by a couple of black fellows .. not one incident but one example. ..let me know when someone hears of this the other way around.

 

You are also forgetting that statistically, most crimes against black people are commited by.....other black people.

 

A lot of liberals as well as college professors tend to ignore this fact too when trying to brainwash their students.


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#58 Jerrydevil

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Posted 09 January 2014 - 11:17 AM

while im not saying whether i agree or not.. im going to keep that to myself .. this post right here is going to start a huge war.. but all i will actually say is majority to almost every time there is major issue ... what kinds of people are the ones that are the perps and doing the crime... we all know, and its not racist its truth.. white guy shot and killed for his car while leaving the short hills mall .. shot by a couple of black fellows .. not one incident but one example. ..let me know when someone hears of this the other way around.

 

You are exactly right.

 

It's important that people look at this issue honestly, and without white guilt.

 

I cringed when Steve Lonegan tried to pin Newark's inability to reduce crime and murder on Cory Booker during the Senate race. It was disingenuous, because it's not Cory Booker's fault. Newark's destruction was set in motion decades ago, and pockets of the city can perhaps be improved with gentrification, but the city as a whole will not be a desirable place for families who want good, safe public schools. See Jersey City.


Edited by Jerrydevil, 09 January 2014 - 11:18 AM.

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#59 mouse

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Posted 13 January 2014 - 09:15 PM

A ton going on here, so I'm not going to try to address each post, but just put some of my thoughts down.

 

First of all, I'm liberal, and unashamed, but also enough of a cynic to question everything I've been told, by my family, professors, the media, and politicians, so I don't believe I've been brainwashed, and find it a pretty poor argument that both sides make against each other anyway. My thoughts are not a result of some massive trick, and I don't believe those of my rivals are either. Let's move past that stupidly disrespectful argument, because it detracts from real issues.

 

I attended a Catholic school in Newark. The students were mostly black and hispanic, and from Newark and the surrounding area (Irvington, East Orange, etc), though there have always been some suburban white kids (including me) as well. It has a long history of successfully educating Newark students, when many Newark schools have failed, and very few alumni have been involved in criminal activity. Most of us are working to support our families, though many of my classmates, including some highly intelligent college grads, are working low paying, retail type jobs. IMO my classmates are not better people than those Newark residents who were not fortunate enough to attend my school, and are in much worse shape (criminals, jail, dead), or worse people than those who were fortunate enough to grow up in wealthy suburbs and have higher paying jobs. I believe that education is one of many factors that can contribute to people's success and morality (or lack thereof), and I believe that Newark's long history of poor education (some of the worst in the country) is one of many factors that has contributed to its problems. I believe in personal accountability. I know that we were taught to take responsibility for our actions, that doing the right thing always matters, and that our future success was our problem, and I have many close friends who chose to be "above the influence." I also know that that influence is more powerful in poor cities like Newark, where criminals become wealthy and comfortable, while hard working parents qualify for food stamps, regardless of their best efforts. I believe that, while we would like our country to be a meritocracy, it isn't, that too often, it isn't what you know, it's who you know, and if you're poor and a minority, you will struggle to get a job in a society that remains dominated by rich whites. I am a teacher, and I believe I am qualified. I got my job not because of my qualifications, but because my dad was friends with a principal. One of my black friends has been a sub for years, because he doesn't have the same connections I did. This is real, and it is serious.

 

America has a long history of institutionalized racism and classism that have created a ton of fvcked up situations. I don't deny that certain poor, black people have made them worse, but those of us who have been fortunate enough not to have been born at the bottom of the race/class totem pole need to acknowledge that 1) we are fortunate and 2) some of our good fortune is at the expense of others. It remains a whole lot easier to stay ahead than to get ahead. I don't know how to fix this problem, especially because I'm not willing to excuse certain people's behavior, but it's an issue that affects a ton of people, and it's egotistical, misinformed, and mean spirited to simply blame them for problems that go way beyond them.

 

While I believe that education matters, I do not believe in throwing money at the problem. I work for the NYC department of education, and none of the money we've spent has benefitted my classes. In fact, due to budget cuts, we have fewer teachers and bigger classes, though our school gets grant money to put in more computers, or run a couple of BS pilot programs. So when we say Newark schools have spent more money, we don't know if that money is being spent in useful ways or not. One thing I will say in Newark's defense is that a few Newark public schools are receiving national recognition, something that would have been unheard of 10 years ago. It is way too soon to see the effects of that progress. The students who graduated after said progress have not graduated college yet, so we don't know what they will do with that education, or if their positive influence will make a difference on future students. I'm willing to withhold judgment on Newark schools for a couple more years. The money they've spent recently may still be worth it. It may take a generation for this to really matter, which is obviously frustrating for everyone, but it takes time to fix years of fvck ups.

 

As for gentrification, there is a tough balance to strike. Ideally, Newark will be able to use the revenue generated by the downtown to improve education and law enforcement throughout the city without kicking out the residents. A vast majority of Newarkers are good, hardworking people who happen to be poor. They deserve to live in safe communities, to send their children to good schools, and to have the opportunity to break the cycle of poverty and violence that have plagued Newark for generations. If Newark gentrifies at their expense, and they are simply forced to move to places like Irvington, who the fvck cares that the Devils have a nice arena? Most of Newark's people deserve better than they have gotten, and the arena can help that. I agree that certain parts of the city need to be blown up. It's why I was fine with the James Street projects being knocked down, but Newark's leaders need to be careful to represent the constituents they have rather than the ones they want.


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You don't turn this around in a couple shifts. Its going to take a little time, but I know the guys will come back. Because I can see it. -- Jacques Lemaire

 

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