Stories on TV about the poor are depressing enough without the bafflegab of professionals.  Take one about a housing project in Chicago:

  1. The poor there receive many benefits from the government. They say they want the best for their children, but one third of the girls got pregnant by 15.They vow not to have another child, but do.  Many don’t consider abortion because of an ‘appreciation for life’. One had seven kids and left them with her mother to ‘self-medicate’ on drugs.(‘medicate’?) She wouldn’t change because ‘chemically dependent people aren’t ready for help’.  (When will she be ‘ready’?) Many of the students don’t have ‘classroom skills’. ‘It never occurs to these people to look in the paper for work because the habits of work aren’t available to them’.  (‘available’?) They don’t look for work because of ‘psychological barriers’ – like racism.  (Racism didn’t stop others of the same group from working.)
  2. A bunch of young people looked for work. ‘One found a job; for the others, there were no jobs’. (assumption) Many people reach their mid-20s having never held a job.  (Many immigrants reach their mid-20s having never had a vacation.) The people don’t have the ‘resources’ to visit other parts of the city.  (No shoe leather, bicycles, bus fare?)    The young people have ‘nothing to do’. (There are jobs if others can find them, and in this case, there was a nearby vocational school with a 75% placement rate.  It had many openings, despite recruitment drives.)
  3. The housing projects appear ‘hopeless’.(No mention of how tenant management of projects in other cities has performed miracles.)  The people have no ‘daily management skills’ or ‘support systems’.  (What could these mean, but by now who cares?  This double talk is just excuses.)
  4. Too many ‘professionals’ use jargon, rhetoric, theories, and twisted logic to excuse the poor from responsibility.  Until they use plain language and common sense, the condition of the poor will continue to appear hopeless.