Home » Editorial » Designer poverty: Come to the Twin Cities — we do it right!

 

 

 

MSR EditorialBy Don Allen

Guest Commentator

 

There is something to be said about organizations, politicians and community spokespersons who become ingrained in the process of using humans as a way to gain access for nonprofit funding and dismissing the notion of helping their cash crop to become stable and acquire some type of standardized normalcy.

“Dependencies” within most Twin Cities social service agencies are set up deliberately; if someone finds what they are looking for, the “success” is ultimately bad for business.

Author Ralph Ellison wrote, “All my life I had been looking for something, and everywhere I turned someone tried telling me what it was. I accepted their answers too, though they were often in contradiction and even self-contradictory” (Invisible Man).

In the Twin Cities, if you are poor, homeless, angry, drunk, Black, Native American, Somali, or suffering from some form of diversity, you are the foundational backbone of a multibillion-dollar business that survives on misery and the opportunity to study you and your life circumstances, meeting to talk about the challenges while virtually solving nothing.

Twin Cities nonprofit, social-service agencies have presented a sad commentary on defining humanity, culture and the skewed process of which individual human triumph out of poverty is derailed by the need for an individual’s failure to become a social-service funding success. The status quo of poverty in the Twin Cities is to let those in poverty stay lost within their environments, undeveloped, misinformed, and of course misguided.

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In the Twin Cities, if you are poor, homeless, angry, drunk, Black, Native American, Somali, or suffering from some form of diversity, you are the foundational backbone of a multibillion-dollar business that survives on misery and the opportunity to study you and your life circumstances, meeting to talk about the challenges while virtually solving nothing.

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Residents of the Twin Cities, especially those residing in areas with large populations of Blacks and poor Whites, have seen a downtick in proactive engagement and services. In most cases the right processes would lift service-dependent clients up from current norms into an abnormal hemisphere of self-sufficiency while stabilizing their foundations into a station of strength, solidarity and forward progress.

For that to happen, poverty in the Twin Cities would need to have an expiration date — an elimination of life-disrupting incidents brought on by circumstance, environments and a tainted liberal political infrastructure.

The protagonists blocking the success of the lower one-third and middle class in the Twin Cities are those who operated in the areas of nonprofit organizations whose life blood depends on the next grant: the number of poor, homeless, unhealthy, unemployed, untrained, uneducated and of course poor children. I need to make it very clear: There is a need for some of these agencies, but not at the current levels.

In North Minneapolis there are over 200 nonprofit agencies within a three-mile radius. A consolidation of repeat programming could form a cohesive tracking of those in need to the next level of personal success versus the multi-facetted referral system, which in most cases has too many interconnected loopholes that lead to missing individuals who really need assistance.

Another part of this puzzle is the lack of community engagement. This unfavorable, one-sided process is masked in conflict and irony, foreshadowed by a process that has not provided great outcomes.

On a global level we see Oprah building and financing schools in Africa, U.S. citizens sending millions to clothe and feed starving people in Haiti, and we turn on the television and give to the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Yet, right here in the United States, million of children go hungry every day.

Oprah’s hometown of Chicago has one of the highest Black-on-Black homicide rates in the country, along with a school system comparable to Minneapolis’ dysfunctional process in education. I have been watching Jerry Lewis’ MDA Telethons since the 1960s — a billion dollars or two and still no cure.

This is the true meaning of “designer poverty”: Keep people static, or frozen in circumstances. As long as you can control the flow of disparities and solutions, you then control the flow of cash.

Politics and the political process have not been good bedfellows for those in poverty. In minority-ethnic communities, only a few come to the table of information. The usual suspects are encouraged and in some cases required to redirect poverty-stricken residents into hopeless engagement similar to telling them, “If you come back tomorrow, we might be able to do something.”

Perpetual anxiety, mixed with the promise of a “new tomorrow,” complicates comprehension of basic needs for humans who suffer from poverty. “Designer poverty” in the Twin Cities is a multi-billion-dollar business. The people who benefit, for the most part, don’t live within the boarders of the Twin Cities. To stay in business, successful measurable outcomes must be limited; focus must be narrow, and the usual suspects must develop a secret agenda absent of the mainstream.

What I am talking about is very pervasive throughout our capitalistic culture, but most people don’t want to see it. They prefer to think, “It’s a 501(c)3” or “It’s a social service, therefore it’s good.” The ideology and philosophy of nonprofit social-service agencies have been replaced with an operation that in most cases only helps itself.

 

Don Allen is the editor-in-chief of OurBlackNews.com in Minneapolis. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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