“Really poor children, in really poor neighborhoods have no habits of working and have nobody around them who works so they have no habit of showing up on Monday. They have no habit of staying all day, they have no habit of I do this and you give me cash unless it is illegal”
By now you know those are Newt Gingrich’s words. Newt believes the US should change their child labor laws. That the country should allow teens younger than 16 to work so they can earn money, in the long run teach them something they need to know about earning a living. Wow Newt that is so… so… I can’t even be kind. I can’t even fake kindness as I type this. Newt I am going to need you to stop holding the hand of your wife or the hand of the chick you are cheating on your wife with (you ain’t changed, no man spends that much at Tiffany’s on his wife) and come with me.
So I was checking out your little idea about having poor kids work in their schools to earn money. I am sure you will work out all the issues with the labor unions that monitor who does what work in school buildings and frown on work being down by students in schools because it does take away from work that the members of their union could be doing. Yes you have thought about it Newt, when you specifically mentioned kids working in schools that let me know you had thought about it. You can ass-rape a labor union while saying you are putting kids to work. How can someone argue supporting putting union janitors back to work, when it means taking money out of the pockets of kids who have become dependent on that cash? Maybe if that kid’s dad was a school janitor and instead of the family getting $28,000 a year to do that work, the kid now does it for 8 bucks an hour.
Cam, what’s up? How is your grandmother doing? Good, I will talk to you later. Oh this is Newt, I know it is hard to say that name without laughing. Newt, this is Cam he was in one of my programs a couple of years ago, he is a sophomore in high school. I am glad you got to see Cam, he goes to one of the better high schools in Chicago. Lives in low-income housing, has to fight and defend his brother a few times a week. Absolutely right Newt, his father is not around. Yeah I did mention his grandmother, yes he is being raised by her… right again, Newt, Cam’s mother is a drug addict. Man you know your Black people.
That high school Cam goes to, he had to get a scholarship to go there. Most of the kids that go to that school have very rich parents, sons of Chicago politicians, and CEO’s. Yes it is a great opportunity for ‘someone like him’. His freshman year, he only received a partial scholarship he was given the option to pay the rest or work off the rest. Well he lives in low-income housing, so his family could not afford the $9,000 the school was asking for. Well to you that isn’t a lot and if I was you I wouldn’t talk about nine-grand so carelessly like that around here. Well Cam worked it off, he swept and mopped floors in the morning and after school. Yep, just like your plan. Yes it got Cam into the school with this awesome education… No, the connections will not work out too well for Cam.
See this is one of the flaws in your plan. When the rich kids walked into the school in the morning, Cam had a broom in his hand. When the rich kids were on their way to baseball practice, Cam had a broom in his hand… Cam was teased and picked on so much that what he knows about work now is, you can get to work early/stay late and if you are not a part of ‘establishment’ or one of the ‘boys’ you are excluded. Do you know how depressing it is to be picked on by rich white kids? What the hell am I thinking? Of course you know what that is like, look at you. When you were 15 you had to be the most awkward looking kid ever and your name was ‘Newt’. I would have hated to be you in the locker room after gym class; I bet you figured out a way to shower in your shorts with a towel draped over your shoulder. You would have had an easier time in a prison shower, with those man-boobs you’d be somebody’s bitch and he would dare someone to say something disrespectful to you as you lathered up.
So Cam does not develop a good work ethic, what he did develop was a better idea of the realities between class in this country, that you can bust your ass all day at work and still feel like you are not getting ahead. What he learned was how to be an American, a working-poor American. Newt sweeping a floor does not teach you work ethic. Work ethic is something that cannot be taught, which pisses me off about your comments. Saying that poor kids do not see parents with good work ethics, thus they cannot learn them. People develop a work ethic, that’s the first thing. The second thing is, your work ethic develops based on if you believe you can get the basics in life by working 8 hours a day. When you have been excluded by others, like you, from having access to a good education and the resources to learn on your own, how can poor kids develop a work ethic when the example given to them is exclusion and, now, we can let you sweep the floor.
What these ‘poor kids’ look at their parents and see someone trying their best to keep a roof over the family’s head. These kids feel their parents stress like you feel your secretary’s ass, often and with a sense to do something that can make everyone involved feel better. Just like you, these kids can only hear no so many times before they go get what they want from somebody else.
Let’s head over here to the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago… What was that you said Newt? Oh, it looks dangerous over here. Nah, it IS dangerous over here. Here, put this pass around your neck and shut the fuck up. No, the people here don’t mind you talking to them, I’ve always wanted to tell you to shut the fuck up and this was my opportunity. They start shooting as soon as the kids start going to school in the morning. The football team has to get on a bus to go to their practice field three blocks away and sometimes they get shot at on their way home. Why do they do it? Do what, shoot at football players or play football knowing they will get shot at? Well they play because they love to play football, it is their outlet.
I use to develop after school programming for teens in this part of Chicago, it was tough to get them to stay after school. The programs were based on what they wanted to do and some of those programs provided a cash stipend. They still didn’t show up. They would run home or at least to their block because they could be shot at if they tried to walk home too long after school was let out. The police are only around the school for thirty minutes after school. If you cannot get kids to stay after school for things they like and get paid for it, what makes you think they will stay to sweep a floor a couple of bucks?
Well Newt I appreciate that you think your plan is an alternative to poor kids selling drugs. Let me ask you something, do you see any drug dealers out here? Hell no you don’t. This drug life that you think is flourishing in the hood, ain’t happening. Yeah 25 years ago when Reagan and his boys were getting pure/uncut from the Contras, the drug game was an option for poor kids.
Newt Gingrich’s statement lets me know that America needs to be updated on drug activity in the hood. Here we go…
ATTENTION AMERICA!!! Ain’t nobody making money like that in the hood!!! Carry on.
Yes, drugs are still being sold in any hood in the country. Kids aren’t involved much anymore; older guys are the ones selling it on the streets. The transactions you think are going on are not for the weak and that includes the kids in the neighborhood. 20 to 40 year olds have pushed kids out of the game. You know what kids are in the dope game? The 17-year-old in the suburbs, trying to be the popular kid/gangster in his gated community, we need to have a real conversation about what is actually taking place in this country. Weed heads know if you want to smoke good… find a rich white teenager in the suburbs.
What is the violence over? Frustration. Everyone fighting for the same one piece of anything. Violence in poor communities comes from reality beating the hell out of you and not knowing how to handle your anger. Not being able to see a way out of it, and it comes out in some very tragic ways. All the fights, all the teens murdered, I have seen in years of working with kids, not one… NOT ONE OF THEM involved in an ‘illegal transaction’. More than likely it involves an argument over someone from the opposite sex or the feeling that someone disrespected you. Which is all you have to look for in poor communities, hopefully someone loves no matter how broke you are and that people respect you enough to leave you alone.
The kids in those ‘poor’ communities (thanks for substituting “Black” “Latino” with ‘poor’) wish they could get into the drug game. What do kids say? I can’t speak for all of them, I can let you know what some kids on the South Side of Chicago have said to me: Just trying to find the right hustle.
Speaking of hustles… didn’t you say something about $60,000 a speech? Let me get this right, you are making $60,000 every time you walk up to a podium and talk about the ‘good old days’ when you use to feed Ronald Reagan jelly beans and talk about tax breaks until early morning hours. When someone wants to really help poor kids, they usually try to show them what they do and tell them how to do it, maybe aid them in getting into that field. Why haven’t you went out and found a few poor kids, teach them the in and outs on public speaking bring them in with you to share their challenges and victories. Then you could break them off a grand or two, another little thing about poor kids, they ain’t asking for much. You could have the Newt Gingrich “Def Conservative Jam” take that out on the road help hundreds of kids and do much more good than you would by putting a broom in their hands. But apparently you can only see poor kids as ‘the help’. I once said ‘somebody has to sweep the floor’ but we have to pay them well to do it.
Newt, I think you believe you believe that this can help poor kids. You remind me of someone else, and I am sure I am the only person that has put the two of you together. Both said something with good intentions, though you both should have shut the fuck up (I really like telling you that). Bill Cosby, in 2004 he have his infamous “Pound Cake” speech in Washington DC during a ceremony by the NAACP to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Brown vs. the Board of Education.
Bill Cosby ranted: “But these people, the ones up here in the balcony fought so hard. Looking at the incarcerated, these are not political criminals. These are people going around stealing Coca-Cola. People getting shot in the back of the head over a piece of pound cake! And then we all run out and are outraged, ‘The cops shouldn’t have shot him.’ What the hell was he doing with the pound cake in his hand? I wanted a piece of pound cake just as bad as anybody else And I looked at it and I had no money. And something called parenting said, ‘If you get caught with it you’re going to embarrass your mother.’ Not ‘You’re going to get your butt kicked.’ No. ‘You’re going to embarrass your family.”
Dr. Cosby was discussing single-parent homes and how our kids want things that may not be needed at the cost of necessities. Like you he criticized those raising kids for not being responsible. Like you Dr. Cosby made some good points, but said them all wrong. I believe Dr. Cosby would have been better off saying “I lost my son to a random act of violence; you have all heard stories about one my daughters battling drug addiction. I am worth hundreds of millions of dollars, if I am being touched by these things, it has to be killing each of you”. It compassion through understanding, something each of us is capable of doing, even you Newt.
Newt, you give $60,000 speeches so you do not need my advice on the proper things to say. I do not get paid a cent to speak to anyone and nobody is lining up to start. So I trust you could have done a better job than what you did. Like Bill, what you said may not have been completely wrong. However, you could have said it differently and who is to say you should have been the one to say it. Our children are much smarter than you give them credit. They see life as a hustle, finding what you can do that people will pay you for doing. Like you and speeches or your knowledge of history. Like Bill Cosby and his ability to craft a story. To your point, if poor kids could now… yes even Nino Brown. The life you think poor kids are living is much like the fantasy Lil’ Wayne is selling to them. (Wow, I successfully compared Newt Gingrich to Lil’ Wayne, I’m riding my own jock on that one!)
Back in the days, our parents used to take care of us
Look at em now, they even fuckin scared of us
Callin the city for help because they can’t maintain
Damn, shit done changed
If I wasn’t in the rap game
I’d probably have a key knee deep in the crack game
Because the streets is a short stop
Either you’re slingin crack rock or you got a wicked jumpshot
Shit, it’s hard being young from the slums
eatin five cent gums not knowin where your meals comin from
And now the shit’s gettin crazier and major
Kids younger than me, they got the Sky grand Pagers
Newt, that was the Notorious B.I.G. discussing the streets that poor kids live in. Yes he did suggest he would resort to selling drugs if he had to, but he was in his 20’s at this point and it was 1994. The name of the song was “Things Done Changed” and they have…
To my surprise, kids on the South Side of Chicago are listening to and know these lines.
I think I’m Malcom X, Martin Luther
Add a King, add a Junior
Couple bible verses, and some sooners
An AK-47 that’s a revolution!! (nigga)
Think I’m Tupac, Bob Marley
Fela Kuti, Marcus Garvey
Them the real ones, light a lighter for em
If you ain’t know, I’m ridin’ for em
Who use most the drugs? Americans!
Whats in Afghanistan? heroin!
You think thats by mistake? They cant stop dat?
Don’t think you safe though, because you not black
Greed is colorblind, so I’m colorblind
They gon’ fuck with yours soon as they done with mine
Newt, by putting a broom in poor kids’ hands it screams to them that this is as much as you think they will ever be in life. Your plan would also keep poor kids from being competitive you’re your grandkids. Who is going to get the President’s scholarship at the University of Georgia? The kid that had the internship with Fannie Mae or the kid that mopped piss off the floor after school, the sweeping thing just doesn’t make a résumé stand out. I think you know that.
What you should worry about is not the lack of work ethic, or the illegal transaction, but that kids have realized they do not have to do what you believe they should do to survive. That these kids are willing to do what it takes to eat, that they are that willing to do whatever it takes to not see their mother cry because she does not know if she can pay the rent. You should be concerned that these kids see you and people like you have lied to them.
Newt, think about another way to get these kids involved in the American Dream, think of another way to get them to develop a work ethic (though they already have one), think about how you would feel if someone limited your options or your grandkids options to sweeping a floor. Think of how make poor kids competitive in the work force by the time they are 25 years old. These would benefit the entire country. Put poor kids in programs that make them more comfortable with science and math so they can compete for STEM jobs 8 years from now. Honestly Newt, if I was getting paid $60,000 every time I gave a speech, like you I would be saying as much as I can. But until you can think before you speak… shut up on this one. I mean that with all respect due a disgraced former Speaker of the House.