TODAY -

E-Pao! Essay - Have you inspired anyone.....?

Have you inspired anyone.....?
By: Santosh S*



If you have missed the recent BBC program on black Americans at Chicago or California (I don't remember exactly which city) living on the edge of poverty in a vibrant, advanced country like America, here is what the telly program shows which I would like to share with everyone.

The image of America on verge of poverty, joblessness, uneducated people pushed to the edge of third world condition, which is itself in the heart of big city like Chicago, is unbelievable and hard to digest. Particularly, the TV documentary focus on why the black Americans forms the major part of that mass of people.

The host of the program, himself, a successful middle aged Black American, was going to the black locality and have a chat with the local people and was trying to understand the problems the Black American faced and why such a problems prevailed among the black communities. During the course of interview he had with the local peoples, he was able to dig out host of problems in multitudes.

Statistically speaking, the problems were most of black kids drop out of schools, no much jobs, kids went for quick money selling drugs, unsafe sex, one in five kids in one point of time or other went to the local jail living in parole waiting for next term of jail just like going to some Caribbean holiday. One particular jail inmate pointed out that when he was a kid, he did enjoy the sporadic in and out of the jail. He said,' it is cool....'

It was shown in the program, that in early 60-70s, majority of the family have a decent income and most of the family come under middle class income. People in the locality went to schools and did well. However, there were still problems in the locality. Those who did well thought the locality is not good enough and so they left the locality. Now, it is in the current state of insecurity and poverty.

If you think laterally and try to sort out the problem as any normal intelligent person would do, it would be like let the govt. make laws and policies providing better jobs, better opportunities and better environment to all those people. Others try to reason the cause of the problems that blacks have the habit of being lazy and not willing to work.

The host of the program, during the course of interview, were asking again and again to who ever he interviewed the same question, what is the cause of the current state, why they are in this state of near poverty. The replies from two particular persons impress me most. One is from the young black woman who is the mother of six kids at the age of 29 and another from a 30 year old man in jail who comes in and out of the jail like a holiday hotel. He ask the young mother, why she keep having babies while she could not offer good opportunities for her kids. She replied that she never thought of that seriously, most importantly because of her ignorance and lack of information of all the problems she might have to face if she continues to have more babies.

The reply from the man in jail is most interesting and it keeps me thinking for a while. This long mail is the result of that thought provoking reply. 30 Yr old jail inmate said the locality is not like any normal locality where man struggle to get out of bed to catch morning office going buses and trains. The locality is devoid of office going lawyers, doctors, and professionals. So when he went to school, he didn't want to study, He is not inspired to become a doctor or a lawyer or engineer He was inspired by the street smart drug dealer. Drug dealer is this kid's role model. He is inspired by the quick money, flash cars, women that come along with the dealer. He, then asked, what do expect from kid like that... engineer, lawyer, or a drug dealer?

This question from this guy itself has a panacea, a solution embedded in it. I think what he said is right not the smart intelligent educated guys who talk of changing govt. policies.

The whole point is that we at Manipur have nothing in similarity to kind of problem faced by the black people in this telly documentary. Nonetheless, what he said has an important element any society could learn.

No amount of money any govt. pumped in, no amount of govt. policies, no amount of finger pointing is going to change our lives back in Manipur. The best we could do is to educate people and inspire kids to dream and learn from you. We could not allow the kids to see misguided groups in Manipur as their role model.

Inspire them, make them feel proud and give them hope. Talk to them your wonderful experience of your success. What more can you give then that... Lets give them hope and a dream, a dream that would bring a bright and prosperous Manipur.


Later in the interview, the intelligent 30 year black man, resolved to bid goodbye forever to the local jail and start a new life inspiring young kids to learn. Good luck to him.


* The writer is a Software Professional currently working in
London,UK and readers are free to comment
on this article at [email protected]


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