When I watch and listen to these very accomplished and intelligent individuals, I am amazed at the level of helplessness in their tone and substance on this issue. Don’t get me wrong; I believe that the government has a role to fill for all Americans. However, I would not stake my existence and quality of life on it. Consider the following:
A significant percentage of the minority community has been able to achieve significant levels of education and economic success. However, in spite of their educational and financial achievements as a collective group; they have not proactively created strategies and systems that reduce or provide a counterbalance to the systemically adverse treatments contributing to their public safety, health disparities, and educational downward trend in their communities. This lack of proactive action is evidence of an internalized belief system of lack of control over theircircumstances; irrespective of their level of socioeconomic status.
It is believed that these characteristics meet the level of Maier & Seligman’s (1976) clinical diagnosis of Learned Helplessness; leading to depression and other mental health issues resulting from continued and prolonged exposure to stressful conditions. It is the internalization of failure, incompetence, and low self-esteem in the minority and disadvantaged population from daily exposure to tangible actions on behalf of systems that allegedly are designed for anyone who is a citizen of this country; irrespective of socioeconomic status.
Maier, S. F., & Seligman, M. E. (1976). Learned helplessness: Theory and evidence. Journal Of Experimental Psychology: General. 105(1), 3-46. doi: 10.1037/0096-3418.104.22.168