Friday, 31 October 2014 / TRUTH-OUT.ORG

Individualism is for the Rich

Saturday, 05 October 2013 11:55 By Ajenai Hampton, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

Many people in America believe that people's success in life is based on the individual, and that if you do not have any success in life, there is no one to blame but yourself. These people are called Individualists, and are usually very financially successful themselves. Individualists do not believe in helpful government assistances such as welfare and they do not think that the government should be involved in an individual's success, financially or otherwise. Individualists also believe that if you are unsuccessful, it is your fault for not working hard enough.

According to Bill O'Reilly, poverty is the result of people who are "irresponsible and lazy" and "in this country, you can succeed if you get educated and work hard." However, there are many families in this country living in poverty even though the mother of the family is working two jobs to pay for suitable living conditions for her children, and that is neither irresponsible nor lazy.

One could argue that people are unsuccessful and living in poverty in America because, although they work hard, these hard working people did not get a good education when they were young. Even if this is true, a high number of students who drop out of high school or never go to college are pushed away from good colleges and a good education by their teachers or their school district. A recent article called "Are Our Children Being Pushed Into Prison?" by the US Department of Education Office of Civil Rights says "68% of all males in state and federal prison do not have a high school diploma." Not only that, but according to a similar statistic by Prison Legal News, "Most prisoners report incomes of less than $8,000 a year in the year prior to coming to prison." This shows that most people in prison did not have the money to pay for a proper education, and therefore could not have been able to make it successfully in this country on their own.

Even though these people end up in prison, it is not so fair to judge them as criminals straight away. According to the article "Are Our Children Being Pushed Into Prison?," black students are three and a half times more likely to be suspended than white students, and 70% of students involved in "in school" arrests or referred to federal law enforcement are black or Latino. This shows that the way the law enforcement arrests young offenders is based off of their race, and possibly not even whether or not they are guilty.

Individualism is a belief and a lifestyle maintained mostly if not completely by the rich or famous people in this country, who can afford to be individualists. Wealthy individualists only believe that the world is equal to everyone and everyone has the chance to get rich in this country, because they do not want an unfair system accredited for their fortune, instead of their supposed hard work and years of labor. Many statistics, as well as actual living people, can testify that this country is not equal, and not everyone can become successful if they work hard. The truth is, the only people you see who are individualists are conservative politicians and wealthy, successful people, proving that individualism is a belief only for the rich.

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.

Ajenai Hampton

Ajenai Hampton is a high school student in San Francisco. She lives in the Sunset District with her mother and her grandmother.


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Individualism is for the Rich

Saturday, 05 October 2013 11:55 By Ajenai Hampton, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

Many people in America believe that people's success in life is based on the individual, and that if you do not have any success in life, there is no one to blame but yourself. These people are called Individualists, and are usually very financially successful themselves. Individualists do not believe in helpful government assistances such as welfare and they do not think that the government should be involved in an individual's success, financially or otherwise. Individualists also believe that if you are unsuccessful, it is your fault for not working hard enough.

According to Bill O'Reilly, poverty is the result of people who are "irresponsible and lazy" and "in this country, you can succeed if you get educated and work hard." However, there are many families in this country living in poverty even though the mother of the family is working two jobs to pay for suitable living conditions for her children, and that is neither irresponsible nor lazy.

One could argue that people are unsuccessful and living in poverty in America because, although they work hard, these hard working people did not get a good education when they were young. Even if this is true, a high number of students who drop out of high school or never go to college are pushed away from good colleges and a good education by their teachers or their school district. A recent article called "Are Our Children Being Pushed Into Prison?" by the US Department of Education Office of Civil Rights says "68% of all males in state and federal prison do not have a high school diploma." Not only that, but according to a similar statistic by Prison Legal News, "Most prisoners report incomes of less than $8,000 a year in the year prior to coming to prison." This shows that most people in prison did not have the money to pay for a proper education, and therefore could not have been able to make it successfully in this country on their own.

Even though these people end up in prison, it is not so fair to judge them as criminals straight away. According to the article "Are Our Children Being Pushed Into Prison?," black students are three and a half times more likely to be suspended than white students, and 70% of students involved in "in school" arrests or referred to federal law enforcement are black or Latino. This shows that the way the law enforcement arrests young offenders is based off of their race, and possibly not even whether or not they are guilty.

Individualism is a belief and a lifestyle maintained mostly if not completely by the rich or famous people in this country, who can afford to be individualists. Wealthy individualists only believe that the world is equal to everyone and everyone has the chance to get rich in this country, because they do not want an unfair system accredited for their fortune, instead of their supposed hard work and years of labor. Many statistics, as well as actual living people, can testify that this country is not equal, and not everyone can become successful if they work hard. The truth is, the only people you see who are individualists are conservative politicians and wealthy, successful people, proving that individualism is a belief only for the rich.

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.

Ajenai Hampton

Ajenai Hampton is a high school student in San Francisco. She lives in the Sunset District with her mother and her grandmother.


Hide Comments

blog comments powered by Disqus