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Why It Isn't the Individual's Fault

Wednesday, 02 October 2013 13:53 By Hernan Guzman, SpeakOut | Op-Ed
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According to Obama, people can succeed due to self-responsibility. Obama says there is "no more room for excuses" and to stop blaming our hardships on our race. I disagree with Obama, because the system has just as much "fault" as the individual does. This system has put a lot of limitations on blacks, Latinos, and other immigrants. There is statistical evidence to prove that the system and society we live in does play a role and does influence our lives. There is proof to show that jobs do discriminate against different races.

According to President Barack Obama, it's the individual's fault for not getting ahead, because there aren't any obstacles that could get in our way to succeed. If there any obstacles, then we have to overcome them. In a speech to the NAACP in 2009 Obama states, "No one has written your destiny for you. Your destiny is in your hands-you cannot forget that. That's what we have to teach all of our children. No excuses. No excuses." Obama suggests that there are "no excuses" for why children aren't succeeding or impediments preventing that success because they can and should get ahead on their own. This isn't entirely true since public schools aren't getting enough funding for books and materials necessary for our learning.

According to Michael Eric Dyson, the educational system isn't preparing children for the real world. Michael Eric Dyson states, "If the rigidly segregated educational system continues to miserably fail poor blacks by failing to prepare their children for the real world of work, then admonitions to 'stay in school' may ring hollow." Michael Eric Dyson advocates that if blacks can't succeed, it's due to the enduring segregated school system. The school system is subtly segregated since most of the black and Hispanic people end up going to a public school rather than a private school. Children in private schools are more prone to succeeding since they have the money to pay for school materials than children attending a public school do.

Also, there is statistical evidence to show that job employers do judge by race, and this can be called discrimination. In the data obtained by a study on the Racial Impact of a Criminal Record on Interview Callbacks, 2003, it is shown that a white person with a criminal record still has a higher chance of getting called back than an African American with NO criminal record. As seen in the data, a white person with a criminal record has a 17% chance of getting called back for a job, while an African American with no criminal record has only a 14% chance of getting called back. These statistics show that jobs do discriminate against your race, and it can determine if you get the job.

This matters to me because it's the society we live in today. If we don't do anything about it now, then it will only get worse. The government and it's limitations will get out of hand to the point where we won't be able to stop it. The problem with Obama's argument is that it only reflects obstacles in general, but omits the limitations government, society, and other people place on us. If Obama wants children to succeed, he should probably fund the schools in the UNITED States of America with enough money so the public schools can have the essentials to support the rest of the 99%.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

Hernan Guzman

Hernan Guzman is a student in San Francisco, California.


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