seems to have an opinion on the causes of perpetual poverty among
blacks, despite the inconvenient statistical fact that black families
have dramatically risen in wealth over the last four decades.
Discussions today have as a kind of background noise the black
underclass, which seems impervious to all government programs
to lift this statistically unrepresentative group out of poverty.
So, in the spirit of helpful do-goodism, which is the politically
correct update of what used to be called the white man’s burden,
here are my suggestions. They begin with a presupposition: class
position isn’t primarily about one’s level of income. Class position
is mainly about one’s worldview: one’s theory of cause and effect.
a church. I don’t mean some shrinking, liberal, mainline
denomination, especially one whose name begins with the word
“United.” I mean a Bible-preaching, hell-fire-and-damnation
church, which warns people weekly that moral transgressions
produce negative results. Avoid the never-ending liberal blame-shifting.
“And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me,
she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. And the LORD God said
unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the
woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat” (Genesis
ten percent of your income to your church. This practice
is called tithing. It announces to yourself and your church’s
deacons, “I rely on God for my money, and ten percent off
the top is a token of my faith that there’s more where that
came from.” In short, “Every good gift and every perfect gift
is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights,
with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (James
school. Graduating from high school or college doesn’t
make you smart. It makes you reliable. It sends a message
to prospective employers: “This person finishes what he starts,
even if what he starts is inherently boring, such as school.”
This is the kind of person employers want to hire. Finish
what you start. “And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put
his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom
of God” (Luke 9:62).
married and stay married to the same person. This takes
advantage of the productivity offered by the division of labor.
It’s also a huge motivation for you to get a job and keep
a job and keep it. There are no dead-end jobs. All jobs
are stepping-stone jobs for people who are willing to pay
the price to move up. When a job turns into a dead end, start
working harder, longer, and smarter to persuade your boss
to give you a promotion. He’ll notice. There aren’t that many
good workers around. “And the keeper of the prison committed
to Joseph’s hand all the prisoners that were in the prison;
and whatsoever they did there, he was the doer of it” (Genesis
39:22). You’ll get a promotion — or a job offer from
your boss’s competitor. “And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, See,
I have set thee over all the land of Egypt” (Genesis 41:41).
cheaper initially. Want to overcome resistance to hiring
you? Lower your price. It’s amazing what business owners’
greed and their desire to exploit an opportunity, i.e., you,
can do for your job prospects.
something. It doesn’t matter what, just something. Find
out how to do something really well. Read everything you can
about it. Practice what you’re read. Take a night school class
on it in your spare time. Which means. . . .
watching so much television. TV may be free; your time
isn’t. Those sit-coms aren’t funny. It doesn’t really matter
how a weekly TV drama turns out. Abandon the concept of spare
time. Your motto from now on is TANSTASP: There
ain’t no such thing as spare time. Jesus said: “I must
work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night
cometh, when no man can work” (John 9:4).
to help others. It doesn’t matter what you volunteer to
do. There is plenty of work to be done, and plenty of people
who need help. You will also find yourself in closer contact
with successful people — other volunteers — as well
as people who need help.
some goals. You need lifetime goals (age 70), mid-term
goals (a decade from now), and short-term goals (every quarter).
Age catches up with you.
ten percent of your after-tax, after-tithe income. It’s
good discipline, and the money adds up over time.
a business. Begin working for yourself on Saturdays. This
means that you must go out and persuade customers to hire
you, so that you don’t get harmed too badly if one of these
employers “fires” you. Spread your employment risk.
steps work equally well for Euro Americans, Latin Americans, Asian
Americans, and Native Americans.