(Readers: Please note the blog is constructed as a story. While not all chapters are linked, after reading a few recent entries, you might want to start at the beginning. More about the blog and about the author. )

Initial episode for this section begins #67 “Why Do Blacks Remain at the Bottom of the Economic Ladder?” Scene: Coffee shop. Jordan musing about the project, then interrupted.

Jordan: “Wow, JC, what a pleasant surprise. I was just out here…”
010414_1635_16TeachingS1.jpgJC: “…I know, thinking.”
Jordan: “Thinking about…”
JC: “…Jordan, are you OK? You look awful.”
Jordan: “That’s what I like about you JC. Always tactful.”
JC: “Well, are you OK?”
Jordan: “I think so. Just tired. This project has become a strain.”
JC: “What are you involved with now? What is it this time? Saving the squirrels?”
Jordan: “I wish it were that easy. Besides, I don’t think the squirrels need any help. They seem to do quite well, thank you.”
JC: “Alright, then what is the project?”
Jordan: “Before I discuss the project, what brings you to town…and why are you here. Pleased to see you but must be a reason you’re in town.”
JC: “On my way to see Greenie. But she is busy until this afternoon. I got in late last night and took the chance you might be here.”
Jordan: “Well, thank you for coming…and at such an awfully early hour for you. I feel honored.”
MaleJC: “Glad you feel that way. Now tell me more about the project, please.”
Jordan: “I’ve had this idea for a long time. Seems to me…”
JC: “…Get to the point, will ya?”
Jordan: “I want to try to reposition the black community?”
JC: “Do what?”
Jordan: “Reposition the black community. You know how different products – cars, clothes, computers – have different positions in the marketplace? Really certain perceptions of the products. Well, I want to change the perception of the black community.”
JC: “Are you whacko? What’s a white guy like you involved in a project like that? You must be crazy.”
Jordan: “Probably am. Probably nuts to even think about it. But none of the current efforts to help the black community is working.”
JC: “Well, I will say one thing. Mrs. Springer taught you well.”
Jordan: “What are you talking about?”
JC: “Your grammar. You used the proper predicate with the subject ‘none.’ You said ‘None is’ and not ‘None are’, which is not correct.”
Jordan: “Glad I got something right.”
JC: “Let’s get a refill and then continue with the story about the Little Jordan’s new project.”
(Coffee refilled)
Jordan: “Good coffee.”
JC: “Quit beating around the bush and tell me what’s giving you pause about this project. Solving complicated problems is usually not an issue for you so there must be something a little more fuzzy and abstract. So tell me, already.”
Jordan: “You’re very perceptive. I’ve almost convinced myself I am crazy and the project is hopeless.”
JC: “C’mon, Jordan that kind of thinking is not like you. Why hopeless?”
Jordan: “The attitude of the black community is baffling to me.”
JC: “What makes you think blacks are so different? The attitude of evangelical Christians is baffling to me. So are members of the NRA. So you don’t understand them. Does that mean you shouldn’t help?”
Jordan: “No. But what it does mean is my efforts are likely to fall on deaf ears. Why waste my time?”
JC: “What has gotten into you? Drinking bad water that’s creating a bad attitude?”
Jordan: “No. I just think it is a realistic attitude.”
lucy-the-doctor-is-in1 JC: “Alright, pretend you are on the couch in your psychiatrist’s office. ‘Now tell me, Jordan, what do you think caused you to change your attitude?”
Jordan: “Well, doctor, I think I stepped over the edge during the riots in Ferguson, Missouri.”
JC: “You mean the town where the white policeman shot and killed that unarmed black teenager?”
Jordan: “Yes. From everything I know the policeman overreacted to some stupid behavior by a couple of teenagers.”
JC: “So what caused you to change your mind about the project?”
Jordan: “The way the black community reacted to the incident.”
JC: “They protested. They have every right to protest.”
140810_ferguson_riots_04 Jordan: “I agree. But they do not have a right to loot and burn buildings. Looting and burning stores, especially in your own neighborhood, is criminal and idiotic.”
JC: “Anything else? “
Jordan: “The blame game. Residents might not be able to control behavior of police but resident can certainly control their own actions.”
JC: “OK, a few people got out of control.”
Jordan: “Who should have stopped the looting and burning…before it got out of control? Residents.”
JC: “What about police overreacting?”
Jordan: “I agree police overreacted, or at least appeared to overreact. But let’s go back and look who started the looting and burning? The police? No. Residents. My point is simple. Who started looting and burning and caused the police to come out in force?”
JC: “Point well taken. I still think police overreacted but, you’re right, the police did not cause the looting and burning.”
Jordan: “The pattern of burning one’s own house, as it were, seems to have existed in a number of black communities over the last 50 years. The lack of understanding of the consequences of that kind of behavior gives me great pause.”
JC: “What else?”
Jordan: “A bit of a sidebar but I have another example about lack of responsibility that gives me pause about the project.”
JC: “OK, what?”
122813_2140_15Education4.jpg Jordan: “The claim that kids in schools with a high-rate of poverty among parents need to be bused to schools with lower rates of poverty.”
JC: “I’m missing your point. Kids in schools with high rates of don’t do as well in school.”
Jordan: “And my response is the question, ‘why’? Why are kids not learning? And you think time on the bus will help them learn?”
JC: “Well, not really.”
Jordan: “Why did you work hard in school, JC?”
Jordan: “Same reason you did. We were motivated.”
Jordan: “And what was the source of motivation?”
JC: “Parents some. But really from within.”
Jordan: “Were you motivated because your school was new and pretty and had all kinds of neat stuff to play with?”
JC: “No, the school had been built in what the 1920’s or 1930’s, maybe earlier.”
Jordan: “Right. I’ll grant you that parents who have higher incomes might…emphasize might…provide a more encouraging environment for students to be motivated and learn. But lower income does not prevent parents from encouraging their children. If anything, the lower income should encourage them more. Motivation comes from within, not on some bus.”
JC: “Have you been watching Fox News too much lately?”
Jordan: “No. You know I don’t watch Fox News. But maybe I should present this argument to Fox and MSNBC. I think need for personal responsibility is an issue that Republicans, Democrats, Independents and Libertarians can all agree on.”
JC: “If I interpret your comments correctly, you think busing is not worth the effort.”
Jordan: “More than that. I think busing has a negative effect on education. It not only disrupts kids lives but it eliminates the bonding that comes with attending a neighborhood school, it takes money that could be spent on teachers and wastes it on diesel fuel…and worst of all, it takes away the responsibility of parents and students to be motivated. The situation is such now if students do not learn, they can always blame someone else.”
JC: “Whoa, Jordan. I need some time to let this soak in.”

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