Immigration, Assimilation, Ethnicity and All That Jazz

Help or leave them alone?

Posted by chinesecanuck on June 27, 2008

I was recently criticized at a certain blog for suggesting that a certain program can help students in inner cities end the cycle of poverty.  The blog seemed to imply that these programs do not work because we (as in the creators/founders/donors) are imposing our culture onto the kids.  WTF are they talking about?  Are we supposed to ignore everything and just watch?  Are you saying that someone like Oprah should just watch impoverished teenaged girls in South Africa waste away their lives because they can’t get a decent education?  I realize that Oprah can’t help every single kid at her school (and that her school has run into some issues), but helping some kids is better than helping NONE.   And since Oprah’s school is based on a curriculum sanctioned by the South African government, it’s not as if she’s bringing an American education to the kids.

So who is supposed to help these kids?  People who grew up like those kids, but have become successful? Religious organizations?  Are those people truly insiders? I’m not sure.  You become an outsider once you leave the area, even if you grew up in it.  Places change, and change very quickly.  Even kids who attend boarding school on a bursary are considered outsiders when they return for the holidays.

I guess what the blog is saying is that they don’t need any help from other people at all and that they can help themselves.  However, if you don’t have connections, I don’t really see how you can advance.  The reason why the Old Boys’ Network/Club (guys have been networking for centuries.  Women are only beginning to do this).  Those guys all know people who know people, and they would recommend someone to another person who might need help/services.  If you don’t ask and don’t do anything in return, you don’t get any results.

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5 Responses to “Help or leave them alone?”

  1. Look:

    1. We NEVER said these organizations weren’t helping people or doing a good job. However, what works for some people might not work for everyone so we were essentially saying that yeah, there are programs where people can do well; but there have to be more arrangements made; especially for coloured people.

    2. I’ll say it again: WE ARE THE GHETTO KIDS, our area is still the same; I’m there frequently. Once you leave, you always take a part of it with you. It’s no different from changing houses or countries: where you grow up influences you for the rest of your life because clearly; there is a difference between children who grow up in peace and children who grow up in war.

    3. I felt we were pretty clear on the issue and even followed it up with another article (I suppose you haven’t read that one). If you stopped assuming everything we were saying and stopped wanting us to just agree with your point and just said “Hey, I don’t get what you’re saying, please explain” we would’ve been more than happy to do so. Besides, you were the one only talking about these organizations as if they were the only solution. We said that as a community, each of us needs to take responsibility for the education of the youth of tomorrow; we can’t just rely on the government or grass-roots organizations. You didn’t even mention anything about poor BLACK children at all in any of your remarks. Why is that? The article was based on them.

    Also, is it really such a bad thing if people get together and say “Hey! Each kid deserves a proper education and I’m going to do my part to ensure that they get one!”?

    4. You were criticized because what you were saying was “Well, there’s these programs so nothing else needs to be done!” and you also kept talking about the coloured kids who were doing well. We feel there is room for improvment to the education system, especially when things such as internalized racism are on the rise. I know many coloured children, I’ve worked, cared for and lived with them on a regular basis for over 16 years. Kids doing well in school is phenomenal, as always; however what we were addressing were the youth who are lost, who have no guidance, no hope, who may or may not have to sell drugs or work with their parents to get by. The ghetto youth–the ones society throws away.

    5. Thanks for the link. Hopefully some intelligent dialogue can finally begin and hopefully people will realize that all children deserve a truthful, enriching, educatiion and will mobilize towards achieving that for them.

  2. Do we really have to bring race into this? Seriously. In any case, while your article did mention black children, you also talked about non-whites who aren’t black who face similar/same issues.

    You say that people take a little bit of themselves with them when they leave. Do they? In the 80s and 90s, Hong Kong immigrants were buying suburban homes because they wanted a house with a backyard. Back home, a house with a back yard was only for the very, very wealthy. Many homes on THE PEAK do not have back yards! What about “new money” (regardless of race)? It’s big art, expensive big named brands (you know, the women who wear head to toe logo), big houses, big everything, to the point that it’s pretty tacky to a lot of people. How are these people taking a part of their history? It’s as if they’re trying to be someone completely different.

  3. grandpa dinosaur said

    You only talk about Chinese people, I know you only care about Chinese people but jesus: We at PDDP try to help everyone, regardless of race and try to help inform that racism still exists.

    You have a unique Chinese experience and insight and you talk about that a lot. Guess what: “I don’t give a damn.” Because I have a unique Cambodian experience, and I have insight that is broader than the scope of being Cambodian—and I use it. And I can get down and go up, and emphasize (or least try) with anyone’s experiences.

    And I can say, you can’t. You can’t emphasize with anyone but yourself and other Chinese.

    We care about the poor at PDDP. I’m not sorry, deal with it. We try our best to return to our poor roots and help poor people.

    What the hell are you trying to achieve, for us to acknowledge you’re right?

    I don’t really care about your blog and what you have to say because you’re self-centered and only care about yourself. And you’re obviously so hurt that what you think could be challenged or possibly be wrong, but your self-centered attitude will be okay for your blog. But not mine.

    I can read what you’re writing, but I don’t believe or agree with what you have to say. Nor care.

    Why should I care about someone as so self-centered as you.

  4. Scapegoat said

    “I don’t really care about your blog and what you have to say…”

    And you are posting here because….????

  5. Exceptional people often have problems relating to other people – even other exceptional people.
    While I can’t relate to many issues in the Chinese community, some answers can be adapted to my problems.
    Don’t worry about the people who are offended by you wanting to help. Take into consideration that having people of the same group helping others in that group can be more effective than outside help. The effected people need to see people like them (even the “Ghetto-Fabulous” ones you mention) helping and not just needing help as evidence to a better life actually existing.
    The problem with dealing with race is realizing that there are many answers to the same problem.
    Nice blog. Don’t let the haters hurt you.
    ~UBJ~

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