Help Requested - Minority Survival

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Poet's picture
Poet
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Joined: Jan 21 2009
Posts: 1891
Help Requested - Minority Survival

Hi all.

Just last month, I started a web site to focus on areas of socio-economic concerns that I personally am concerned about.

http://www.MinoritySurvival.com

I created the site because I have a strong and abiding interest in ways that more vulnerable people can survive and thrive in tough economic times, under threat of possible economic collapse... Especially when it comes to minorities, the poor, the elderly, children, and those physically disabled or with chronic medical issues. Some people have very few physical, social, or financial resources - they depend on government programs, charity, family members, etc. They are more dependent on a safety net outside of themselves; it is therefore even more crucial for them to be aware and prepared.

I studied Sociology in college (it is one of my degrees) and took courses on various topics: Community, Social Movements, Religious Studies,  Women's Studies, Asian American History, Black History, Gerontology, Family Studies, Crime, etc. However, I don't think I'm qualified to just start writing without doing more research.

So, I am asking for you to help me compile more information, gather topics, tips and suggestions into consideration, so that I can create a better site with better advice and resources, I am requesting your help and input. Everyone is welcome to provide comment. You don't have to be one of the above, but I bet you either belong in one or more of the above categories, or you have loved ones who are.

To get you started with some ideas on what I am contemplating... a few months back, I had asked the following of Fernando "FerFAL" Aguirre, who writes about survival after the economic collapse in Argentina. Some of his answers were helpful (but I'll admit that I didn't quite think he "got" my question about minorities, maybe because he lives in Argentina and race relations are different there). Nevertheless, I feel that everyone has more to contribute! I need information that is more specific to the United States, but also things that can be applicable globally. Thank you in advance!

Poet

Quote:

What advice would you give to those who are disadvantaged:

1. The poor. How do the poor survive in Argentina? If someone in America were very poor and with few resources (let's say they lost their job and have used up their savings to survive and now depend on the government), would that significantly change the advice that you have given in this post? Is there any additional, specific advice or suggestion or strategy would you give regarding survival for those who are poor?

1. The elderly. How do older, weaker people survive in Argentina? Many Americans have no retirement savings. They are (or wil become) wholly dependent on the government for Social Security payments, Medicare for health care - and we know that this system, though modest, is likely to be drastically reduced. What is it like for elderly Argentinians in such situations? What kind of survival strategies would you suggest for the elderly, including those with no adult children to take care of them?

2. The physically disabled or those with chronic medical issues - There are people in wheelchairs, or the elderly who are weak or sick. There are also people who are otherwise able to work, but requires regular medicine or insulin (which may be expensive), or people who needs daily care. How do these people (like diabetics) in Argentina survive? What advice would you give them?

3. Minorities - People not of the dominant race (White) or the dominant religion (Protestant Christian) in America. As you know, about 30% of Americans are minorities, and American discrimination and prejudice has its own history that is different obviously from Germany or Brazil (or Argentina). Is there major racism in Argentina? Has it increased with the economic hard times as people search for others to blame (like Germans did the Jews)? Since in some states and cities in America, the visible minorities make up less than 10% (sometimes less than 2%) of the population, what suggestions, strategies, and advice would you offer to minorities so they and their families can stay safe and prosper?

4. Children - I know you have young children. I happen to have two twin babies born late last year. What suggestions or advice would you give to parents of young, vulnerable, innocent children? How do you raise them? And what suggestions or advice would you give to children as they grow older at each stage in life: let's say at age 4, at age 8, at age 12, and at age 16? What stories do you tell them, and how do you keep them positive, optimistic, yet smart about the streets and the increased brutality and corruption that you have seen in Argentina in the past 10 years?

I know things will be tough in the years ahead. Just thinking about family members who are poor, elderly, weak, and a minority on top of all that, makes me very concerned.

Ayala's picture
Ayala
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Joined: Feb 24 2010
Posts: 23
God help us

God help us if this is the crap our kids are being taught in school...

Your website is focused on slamming employers, baselessly claiming for example that:

"In tough economic times, employers often know they can get away with abuse, so they do. Women are sexually harassed, minorities have to suffer a hostile work environment, employees may have to keep their mouths shut about safety violations or law-breaking. Men and women may also be coerced into work a lot more unpaid hours"

Really? Often? Have you ever employed someone? I can safely assume no. Otherwise you would know that employers don't generally take advantage of a bad economy to do crap like that. Granted, there are jerks everywhere, but as a group I'd say employers are much more the "good guys" than non-employers. For starters, they are employing people. That's a good thing, my friend. It's good for the employee and it's good for the economy. It's also totally at-will. If an employer treats employees like crap, he's going to lose all the good ones - the ones who can readily get jobs elsewhere - and he'll be uncompetitive. There's a reason most employers do all sorts of things to create a good work environment; we're competing for the best employees and that takes much more these days than just offering a competitive salary.

As you noted, "I don't think I'm qualified to just start writing without doing more research." There is a very good reason why most people graduate college as liberals and then after living life for a while they turn more conservative; they've experienced the real world and they realize through real life experience that the biased drivel that comes out of most Universities (I went to Berkeley and you wouldn't believe the crap they tried to teach me) is mostly academic BS. After 10 years of work experience, I suspect your opinion will change.

In the real world, employers get slammed with frivolous lawsuits by folks who realize you can sue for no good reason and the insurance companies will generally settle and then jack up the rates on employer. I am in the middle of just such a lawsuit now, one in which it's alleged that we did stuff that we didn't do. We just recently found out that this woman has sued a previous employer FOR THE EXACT SAME CRAP. She's becoming quite wealthy manipulating the California legal system. And I've stopped hiring because I cannot afford the risk of these sorts of lawsuits.

People like that are why companies small and large are afraid to hire people. Please take some friendly advice and try and recognize that folks who hire people are making huge contributions to society; they are not to be vilified.

 

Poet's picture
Poet
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Posts: 1891
To Ayala
Ayala wrote:

God help us if this is the crap our kids are being taught in school...

Your website is focused on slamming employers, baselessly claiming for example that...

Excuse me, but this is not the "crap" I was taught in college. None of what I wrote in that article came from my college education. I prefaced my original post with parts of my background relevant to my request for information and feedback on the topic at hand, namely minorities, poor, the elderly, the sick, the disabled, and children.

In the blog entry you quoted, I was actually giving examples that came to mind from various sources. From family - including my own mother's experience of being laid off and out of work for a whole year, from my father who owned or managed several businesses and the stories he told me. From my own past experience as a business consultant and having had workers under me. And from newspaper articles I've read lately and accounts from friends.

Why, here's an example of unpaid internships in the news!

The Unpaid Intern, Legal or Not
"With job openings scarce for young people, the number of unpaid internships has climbed in recent years, leading federal and state regulators to worry that more employers are illegally using such internships for free labor."
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/03/business/03intern.html

Another anecdote: I personally worked for a company that I really liked, and was referring very qualified, out-of-work friends for open job positions - until my manager told me that there was no open headcount, they were just trying to keep a fresh supply of applicants in a pool, ready at a moment's notice in case upper management opened headcount. I later found this was a practice others of my friends had noticed that at their places of employment.

Also at a company i worked for, they laid off 9 people in R&D, and immediately used the savings to open a new R&D center in India employing some 35 people, and had them trained by the remaining folks. I have also often (and uncomplainingly) put in numerous hours of unpaid work, in order to do my job.

So please excuse me if I happened to have just (today) written a blog article entitled "Six Ways Employers Abuse Workers In This Economy"
http://minoritysurvival.com/2011/07/15/six-ways-employers-abuse-workers/

I was inspired to write what I wrote today after reading through postings on "Down But Not Out" - numerous stories of people who have been laid off and are out of work. Maybe in a future post on my blog, I will give praise to all the wonderful employers out there, or write about the disgusting advantages that some employees take of their employers. I reserve the right to do that, but as I mentioned before, it is a new blog.

So please don't judge me based on only an article or two. As I had stated, I only just started the blog last month. The main focus of the blog will be on helping the poor, minorities, children, the elderly, and people with chronic illnesses or disabilities be more aware of the situations that affect them - and that is what I am asking for advice and suggestiosn on.

I am not a hater of American employers just because I posted an article that perhaps struck you as an employer in a sensitive place, or because I happened to mention having taken certain college courses that might strike your prejudices as "liberal". For the record, while I do hold some progressive views, if it will help tilt your very apparent prejudice against me in the other direction, I have always been - even well before my college years starting in the early '90s (so yes, I've been in the workforce far longer than 10 years) - a staunch 2nd Amendment defender (including open carry by non-felons in every state), a believer in smaller government, sound money backed by precious metals, an end to the Federal Reserve, work attached to welfare, caps on lifetime welfare, hard labor for prisoners, a balanced budget amendment. I am strongly against illegal immigration, bail-outs, debt, and unpaid-for promises and liabilities.

Ayala, out of respect for your views, and because you have a valid point, I have editing the wording in that blog post. now, out of respect for me, and because you have yet to respond to my actual request (which is what this forum topic was about), I would like to focus on your suggestions on the issues I am asking about in this forum topic. I think you may have a lot to share. Thank you.

Poet

Wendy S. Delmater's picture
Wendy S. Delmater
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 13 2009
Posts: 1988
resources and stories

Hey Poet,

Let me see if I can help. I will give  you recent challenges that friends have dealt with and resources they used.

But first, let me say that employers can be either abusive or helpful. My step-daughter works for an employee- abusive fabric store. My son works for an employee-friendly auto parts chain. They make similar money, but the employee-friendly chain has no problem with retaining good employees; the fabric store has immense problems keeping people, even in this economy. So it depends on the management, but good business practices win in the long run.

Abusive practices are not confined to certain bad employers.

Abuse can come from your family. And what can one do when home is not welcoming? I have a friend in Canada who's 80-something parents were both committed to hospitals pending an evaluation as to their being competent - my friend's step brother did it so he could basically despoil the elderly couple. My friend is disabled. The move would have left him homeless. His father is not in any way shape or form incompetent (he has a little trouble expressing himself, and is IS 80, but quite lucid.) The resources my soon-to-be-homeless friend looked at were in this order: Canadian government programs (nothing), Catholic charities  (nothing but sympathy - women and children were their priorities),  and a Protestant parachurch ministry  - Focus on the Family Canada (sympathy and prayer and a professional counselor). What HELPED him was friends.  A friend of his father - a Masonic lodge buddy and business owner--became his father's legal guardian and my buddy can still care for his dad. Lesson learned: friends matter.

Example two. A co-worker of my husband's was recently laid off, lost his place, moved in with his girlfriend (a nurse - friends to the rescue, again). On one hand he is an older worker, in his 50s, and unlikely to find more work in this economy. His main client was a military base, and they were about to do an expansion which was put on hold, then canceled. Before you feel too sorry for him bear in mind that he kept pushing all of his other work off on other people so that when this project was canceled--which was foreseeable-- he had no work. Lesson learned: be valuable, bring value into your workplace. Bonus Lesson: try to stay a few steps ahead and see where that value lies.

Example three: Here in SC there have been cuts to payments to single mothers. Deplorable, I know, but the new reality is that the state is dealing with a fiscal crisis and everyone is feeling the pain. The local food bank(s) tell me that they have stepped up donation drives to keep up with the rising demand: the post office had a food drive in your mailbox and supermarkets added donation bins. That's community again. Lesson learned: Everyone wants to be a part of something bigger than themselves - tap into it via to local business community, churches, libraries etc.

Example Four: My girlfriend lives in northern AL: she tells me about the northern  Alabama tornadoes vs. the Joplin MO tornadoes. Joplin made bigger headlines because they held press conferences. Public officials in AL did not. Joplin is getting far more help from more sources. Lesson learned: be the squeaky wheel. Bonus lesson: Realize when something is news, and get that news out there. It can help.

Example Five: My mother-in-law was disabled, but volunteered at a Cerebral Palsy clinic. She did such a good job they offered her paying work and she got off disability payments. Lesson learned: there is always someone worse off than you are - help them and you will at least feel fulfilled, but it might become more. Plus, it sure beats sitting there and feeling sorry for yourself.

My concern for the poor, the elderly and the disabled suddenly became very personal last year when I  needed a hip replacement. I became (thank God, temporarily) disabled. It really made me think - how will I manage if medicine is not available or affordable? I'd been there before , and choosing between food and rent and medicine (pick one!) is no fun at all. Lesson (I personally) learned: stay in shape, have a plan for substitutes for your medicine (herbal, in my case). Bonus lesson: have a question about medicine of healing? For now at least, public libraries probably have everything you need

ao's picture
ao
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Posts: 2220
Poet, Why the focus on

Poet,

Why the focus on "minority" survival?  Why not on the survival of everyone in the middle and lower classes?  Who's more disadvantaged in our present situation than the middle and lower classes?  To focus on minorities seems exclusionary and prejudicial with a bias against non-minorities (whatever a minority or a non-minority is, since now it seems the previous majority has also become a minority).

Poet's picture
Poet
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Posts: 1891
To Ao, Why A Minority Survival Web Site

Ao

Sir, such questions most certainly deserve good answers. I feel almost as if you are consenting to be my foil in this endeavour. Please allow me to address your concerns at length.

ao wrote:

Why not on the survival of everyone in the middle and lower classes?  Who's more disadvantaged in our present situation than the middle and lower classes?

I think your words clearly point out to me where you are coming from, and why I think you don't understand. To me, you might as well ask how survival would be different for the middle and lower class Jews as compared to the middle and lower class Germans in 1930s Germany. Or, to take a less extreme example, how survival would be different middle and lower class Blacks as compared to middle and lower class Whites in 1960s and 1970s America, a mere 40 to 50 years ago.

But let's go further. Middle and lower class Blacks, for example, tend to face problems that all middle and lower classes tend to experience. And they face problems that all Blacks tend to experience. And (due to synergy) additionally face problems that are unique to lower and middle class Blacks. So to me, their situation is very different and deserves some attention.

Add in old age, a chronic illness like arthritis or diabetes, and perhaps a non-mainstream religion like Buddhism to that lower/middle class Black person, and you can bet that life in a coming economic or societal decline or collapse (or even right now!) looks very different for that person. And the resources (including intangibles such as societal support, approval, and willingness to help) that such a person may have at their disposal will be very different indeed from that of a non-minority person who believes in a mainstream faith and has no physical handicaps. It may be that someone who has never experienced life as a minority, may truly not understand, but trust me, okay?

ao wrote:

To focus on minorities seems exclusionary and prejudicial with a bias against non-minorities

What I see two things out there on the web right now:

  1. Most web sites out there that discuss potential economic and civilizational collapse (and survival and preparations), do not seem to me to be geared specifically towards the unique situations faced by minorities, the poor, the elderly, those with chronic illnesses, disabilities, etc. They offer more conventional, standard approaches that may work for the majority of people because they are typically web sites run by and for White men (and a few White women). Certainly there are even a few sites that advise users repent for their sins, arm themselves for holy and/or race war, and prepare for the end times. They may be unwelcoming to downright hostile to those of other faiths, races, or politicial persuasions.
  2. However, because people of minority (whether racial or religious) and/or typically disadvantaged categories face additional issues and have additional concerns, and the above-mentioned sites don't specifically address their needs - i.e. there is a distinct lack of such resources out there that discuss potential economic and civilizational collapse (and survival and preparations) as it applies to them, I felt there was a need for such a site.

So yes, I am a little surprised that you could think that I am seeming to be "exclusionary and prejudicial with a bias against non-minorities" when I am merely attempting to address what I see as unmet needs with one single web site - in a vast landscape where the vast majority of sites out there ALREADY address the needs of non-minorities and the general public.

Remember, I am not starting a minorities-only club where non-minorities aren't allowed. I am trying to focus on a site that is inclusive of everyone, that has resources for everyone. Including you!

Because most certainly, Ao, even you may grow old one day. You may become poor. (Okay, maybe not you.) You may become afflicted with some illness or disability that a collapsed or declining society will not be able to adequately address. You may have children or grandchildren who may be vulnerable at one time or another to the brutal realities of a post-collapse land, including facing religious or race-based persecution, etc. And having exposure to information or resources specifically to address situations faced by people who may find themselves in a disadvantaged situation, may help you one day. (Please Note: I am not cursing you. I'm just pointing out potential outcomes that may affect any one of us.)

ao wrote:

since now it seems the previous majority has also become a minority

If you mean race, well, you are still, Ao, amongst the vast majority, with an 80% share of the American population. Of children born in America today, the majority are still of European descent. All the other racial minorities have to be added together (Asian, Black, Hispanic, etc.) before theaggregate number of non-European descent is numerically larger. But I don't think Asians, for example, who comprise only 5% of the American population, would consider themselves to be part of a majority - even if only counting Asian children born in a certain year. (Heck, for example, there are distinctions even amongst Asians. Certainly a Japanese-American and an Indian-American would take great pains to insist on not being lumped into one group.)

Back to your first question...

ao wrote:

Why the focus on "minority" survival?

Because as a member of a minority in the United States, I want to survive. I understand that I face additional risks and challenges in uncertain economic times that the majority of Americans do not face.

I am a proud American citizen. I am tied to this land and to the American English language as my primary language. I have children who are born on American soil.

People of all races and religions have for centuries come to America to make their home and contribute to her prosperity. Did you know that the first Jew in New Amsterdam (later New York) was a man named Jacob Barsimon who arrived in 1654? Or that Antonio Miranda y Rodriquez was a Filipino who was amongst the 44 sent to found Los Angeles in 1781? Or that Edward Day Cahota and Joseph L. Pierce were Chinese men (adopted by shipowners who had traveled to China) who served in the Union Army during the Civil War?

But I know that in times of economic chaos, the baser instincts of man arise. Mankind seems to a deep need for scapegoats, victims, people to blame or have an excuse to rob or harm or exploit. And in those times, minorities (whether race or faith or both) and people with physical or mental disabilities, people who are different - all have suffered to a greater degree. This isn't conjecture. This is fact and history. Very bloody history.

Some may believe that people have changed and times have changed. But I don't. Just as you and I believe that fiat currencies will crumble while people will return to gold because it has a history of preserving wealth, I believe the veneer of civilized behavior and law-and-order will  deteriorate and mankind's base impulse prejudices will come to the fore. Along with theft and robbery, will come hatred and religious crusades. Minorities need to be prepared for that.

Poet

ao's picture
ao
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Joined: Feb 4 2009
Posts: 2220
something to consider

Poet,

Thanks for an excellent, comprehensive, and well thought out answer.  Just an aside ... you seem to have made some assumptions about my majority vs. minority status.  My family suffered great persecution on my father's side as a minority.  In fact, my paternal grandfather's entire village was annihilated due to being a minority.  He and his one brother were the only ones to escape, and only by fortuitous circumstances.  The rest of them were slaughtered like animals.  However, for me to dwell on that would be counterproductive.  Furthermore, I personally experienced persecution as a minority growing up.  So I am well acquainted with what you describe firsthand, perhaps better than you are, perhaps not.  Truthfully, while I would not wish that on anyone, it made me a stronger person.  Maybe it's just my personality but I personally find it distasteful when, in the media for example, one sees others using their minority status as an excuse to get special treatment or consideration, receive sympathy or comfort from assuming victim status, etc.  While many minority individuals resort to such thought processes and actions (either through their own actions or through the actions of others who operate out of genuine concern or sometimes guilt or sometimes a desire to elevate themselves through seeking some type or moral high ground or some other misplaced feeling), these thought processes and actions serve to weaken, not strengthen minorities.  They wind up disempowering themselves rather than empowering themselves and end up playing right into the hands of those who would oppress them.  There is a divisiveness conjured up by this way of thinking that plays right into the hands of the Hegelian dialectic mindset that has been so effectively used by the elites to subjugate the masses.  I think what you're doing is laudable but one has to be circumspect about adopting a stereotypical minority mindset and be careful of avoiding the pitfalls that have ensnared so many.

 

goes211's picture
goes211
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Posts: 1114
Minority

Although I am not a member of a minority in the USA ( College educated Gen-X white male ), I certainly can understand how it could be a concern to those that are.  I think I agree with what AO is saying, that thinking in minority terms may be counterproductive, but it cannot be denied that when times get tough and community is important, being considered an outsider can be a distinct disadvantage. 

I regularly travel to the UK and sometimes I wonder what would happen if while I was over there, the US did something to become very unpopular?  I at least have the advantage that I can try and keep a low profile with my mouth shut.  An obvious minority in a time of societal stress, could be easily put in a very uncomfortable position.  I assume in those circumstances, knowing your community and your community knowing you, could be of critical importance.

Poet's picture
Poet
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Joined: Jan 21 2009
Posts: 1891
Here's Another Thought

Thank you for your feedback, everyone. SafeWrite I appreciate your suggestions and tips. Please, I need more!

I wanted to share a personal experience I had last month:

I had gone to a presentation given by Nicole Foss ("Stoneleigh") of The Automatic Earth. Afterwards, I talked with a White gentleman. His Asian wife was not there. She was at home with their son, who happened to have Down Syndrome.

Already, few of us can imagine the challenges faced by a parent TODAY in trying to take care of a special needs child, while making plans for their continuing care and security after parents have passed on. How much tougher would it be to do these things in uncertain economic times?

Poet

dshields's picture
dshields
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Joined: Oct 24 2009
Posts: 599
interesting

I have not looked at this thread before.  It poses an interesting question.  However wounded we are at this point, I think that the social services we can actually aford should be limited to just the type of folks you are interested in.  We probably have enough money to do that if all the people who do not have real problems they can not cope with are squeezed out of the welfare system.  You can not believe the things I have seen when it comes to the fraudulent use of the welfare system.  I used to live in Kansas City, Missouri, and living off welfare is a way of life there.  Every conceivable fraudulent use of the welfare system is actively practiced there by untold thousands of people.  The numbers must be astronomic nation wide.  The amount of fraud is Kansas City is shocking.

As for the preparations, I would frequent a food bank or other such places looking for stuff.  If I did not have a job and I was able to work I would be looking for a job.  With a job comes the ability to make better preparation.  Jobs are tough to come by these days.  Other than looking is unorthodox places like food banks and such, I would give them the same advice I give other people.

If I were a person who dropped out of 10th grade to sell drugs and break into places full time with a gang and did not have adequate communication skills to operate in a work environment, I would be very worried.  Of course, people like that do not even know what is coming.  It is going to be very tough for them.  They will be reduced to a life of crime until another criminal, an armed and capable victim, and/or the police put an end to it one way or the other.

Not much to look forward to.  They could probably use a web site such as the one you are building.  Unfortunately, not many will ever see it.

 

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