Saturday, May 26, 2012

Hard work

I spent evenings sitting with men in western Africa.  They would brainstorm about what 'little business' might succeed.  They built and stocked kiosk stands beside the road, they tried to rebuild a wrecked taxi and return it to service, they transported produce from the countryside to the town market to sell ...  because good jobs don't exist for them.  Even for those who completed public school, there aren't enough jobs at entry level or any level.  All of them work harder than I do or you do, all day, every day.  Their lives are harder, shorter, and their children face near-impossible impediments to escaping poverty.  Jobs are reserved for the privileged and favored.  If you're from the wrong tribe, the wrong family, the wrong race or ethnicity, it's harder.  That's how discrimination works in every culture and country.  Even ours, today.  That's the way it works.

My conservative friends sometimes quote the Rush Limbaugh-esque solution, "they just need to get a job and work hard like we did."  It's embarrassing to have to explain real life.

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