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Cynique

Could Be

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A recent article by controversial Chicago Sun-times columnist, Neil Steinberg, advanced a theory that he shared with his readers because he wanted to observe Black history month from a different angle. 

 

In making his case, Steinberg cited a study that took place over 20 years ago. It was administered by Harvard sociologists and it tested young children to determine the long term effects of an experiment where these kindergarteners were given a choice to accept a single treat right away, or to wait until later and get 2 treats.  The testers followed the particpants in this study for 20 years and found that those who waited and got the extra treat, fared better in life than those who didn't. The sociologist also injected a trust factor into the results, determining that those who opted for the first choice for whatever reason didn't trust the promise to get more if patience was exercised.

 

 Steinberg then went on to apply this study to the racial situation in America by theorizing that because Blacks have no reason to trust The System, they opt to "get while the gettin is good", But, according to Steinberg,  this attitude has proved detrimental in the long run and, according to his postulation, Blacks are so insecure when it comes to the American dream, that this distrust permeates their entire approach to life whether it's a young gang banger impulsively pulling a trigger over a minor slight or a black homebuyer allowing unscrupulous mortage industry to exploit their dreams for homes they couldn't afford, or a loser using drugs to dull the pain. Instant gratification is a bitch!  

 

Considering how embedded institutionalized racism is and how uncertain the future is, "a bird in the hand being worth 2 in the bush" is an easy pattern for Blacks to fall into.  "In God we trust" may appear on our coins, but when it comes to trusting in America who could blame Blacks if they have  a "take the money and run" mind set.

 

Steinberg assumptions can certainly be challenged on the grounds of being generalization and his comparing Blacks to impetuous children reeks with white paternalism, but his contentions possibly contain an element of truth.

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Yeah I heard about this before.  In fact NPR spoke about it yesterday as well. 

 

Of course the inability to delay gratification is a problem.  Some people can not lose weight with diet and exercise but rather fall prey to any gimmick promising fast effortless fast weight loss.  Others rush to have children way too young rather than getting themselves established first.  Some folks opt to spend money as soon as they get it rather than saving for the future.

 

I'd imagine all of us are guilty of some form of this behavior in some aspect of our lives.  Rich people, of course, are immune to the ill effects of this behavior, so we focus on the poor.

 

Folks in the majority will bend over backwards looking for any reason, other than centuries of institutional racism, to explain differences in outcomes for Black people and themselves.

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