Larry James: Hopelessness vs. Laziness

Larry James is president and CEO of Central Dallas Ministries.  This brief post on the link between poverty and hopelessness is one of the best things I’ve read in a long while.

Hopelessness vs. Laziness

It occurred to me recently that middleclass and upperclass folks who accuse underclass folks of being lazy don’t really understand life in the ghetto.

When you have little or no hope of landing the kind of job that would allow you, literally, to work your way out of poverty and all of its deadends, a paralysis of hopelessness can set in. When it does, lots of people simply come to a halt. It is as if a wall emerges from the ground in the pathway and the parade of a person’s life simply stops.

Hopelessness may lead to a series of odd jobs; you know, hit and miss kind of work that pays a wage, but not one that’s liveable or progressive.

For lots of people the deadends of life signal an end to effort.

“What’s the use?” can become the fundamental question of life. And, until that question finds a reasonable answer, life is going nowhere.

So, the next time you think “lazy,” stop and reconsider.

Ask some questions.

-Larry James

One thought on “Larry James: Hopelessness vs. Laziness

  1. In medicine, diagnosis is only half the game. So it is in urban economics. How do we progress from diagnosis to effective treatment. IMO, it cannot be done for the urban poor, but must be done with them. How? Somebody smarter than I.

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