The Opacity of ‘Minority’ Cultures

I am of the opinion that the opacity of minority cultures, as a rule of thumb, is due to a phenomenon called ‘multiple deprivation’. And it limits our connection with more than just race and religious groups but also ‘white poor’ (a group that faces invisible prejudices). The Pollyanna quick fix goes to deepen the prejudice against all groups who experience ‘multiple deprivation’ and the ones who devote their work in fixing this broad issue. Perhaps the reason being, a Pollyanna quick fix leaves the helper empty and unrewarded. This is the impetus for a new industry in America, where first generation graduates might eschew the corporate rat-race to help their communities rise out of multi-generational deprivation that causes them to experience ‘multiple deprivation’. ‘Community tech’ is the new business brought about by the interconnections of the last new kid, the internet.

The ‘University Leadership Network‘, a student success initiative at the University of Texas, saw struggling students who might be ‘white kids from rural West Texas, say, or Latinos from the Rio Grande Valley or African-Americans from Dallas or Houston.[NY-Times]’ Most seemed to be first generational university kids or else their parents were ‘derailed’ by unexpected life events. And so these kids grew up in households that had to deal with additional travails, in order to get them where they are today. And in the same NY-Times article, the short-term Pollyanna quick fix might be to abolish ‘common-core’ on the basis that S.A.T. exams poorly represent cultural interests. As if science and mathematics ought to be ‘cultural’ like eugenics. And what the University of Texas has found is to teach these kids, as soon as possible real leadership skills so that they can manage their personal priorities living with more complex issues at a young age. The solution is to teach them more, not less and to give them the tools usually given to corporate elites.

And I say the economy is at the cusp of another tidal wave of business and work opportunities where ‘community tech’, I use technology here as the application of knowledge. What governments have found after spending billions to improve the condition of people dealing with ‘multiple deprivation’ is that ‘legacy systems’ do not have the ‘features’ to tackle the problem. Bureaucracy, like a circuit board, requires existing central processors and pathways in order to deliver what we need it to. And you need to be a government ‘engineer’ to build new pathways like building new circuitry. Having quadrupled government budget to improve infant health and thereby community health, only such that years later everyone is worse off and ‘health’ has declined, a medical professor says, “What I haven’t seen — and I expect doesn’t exist — is that any structure was put in place to achieve that objective,”.

Around the world, community groups, practitioners and professionals are looking at ways to organize ‘big solutions’ to put in place such structure, because ‘bad health and failing communities’ are more than just Pollyanna feel-good projects. The longer these deprived communities fester, they continue to produce ‘ill will’ that lack trust and faith in the country. If they trust the country they are ‘failed by it’ and if they do not then they will readily sell out its security. This is an impetus for a new innovation and for new careers and a new type of trustworthy economic activity.

[Guradian UK]

One such example of government innovation, with strategy and infrastructure to follow is highlighted here..

The Program aims to drive inclusive economic growth by improving access to the City’s supply chain for diverse suppliers and leveraging meaningful training and employment opportunities for people experiencing economic disadvantage, including those belonging to equity-seeking communities. The Program creates a foundation to shift the City’s procurement culture long-term, showing how all divisions can make a positive impact on the City’s poverty-reduction goals. [City of Toronto]

I say it takes more common-core science and math, not less to solve the problem of culture.