a lot of the opportunity to be proactive has passed. They're doing better now, I see a lot more black people in the suburbs and in positions of leadership at their work. This is because opportunities started opening up slowly over the past 30 years as racist attitudes and segregation receded. Both of which were huge economic and educational obstacles.
Had the post-Lincoln presidents tried to interfere in the postwar South to educate freed slaves and thusly enable them to diversify economically and participate in skilled trades (which are the best way to start a trans-generational social climb) they might have been able to mitigate the lost economic opportunities posed by racist attitudes in the North and South. And killing the exploitative and destructive sharecropper system would have been a boon in itself, in some ways it further degraded black opportunity to improve their condition.
Wealth, skills, and intangible advantages such as mentality are passed down through generations. This is why poverty is cyclical: if you come from nothing you have nothing to use to improve your living, reducing your chances of doing so, and having advantages to give your offspring. Because these advantages could not develop under slavery, no wealth for the next generation to inheirit and no precedence of success for them to draw from, the freed slaves did not have the tools that some migrants and middle class whites had. A jumpstart was needed, but once the war was done nobody cared. Hell, a lot of the free staters and abolitionists still wanted nothing to do with the blacks. Lincoln himself cared only for the preservation of the Union and democracy.
This is a community that lost everything when they left Africa, was denied the opportunity to start anew for 300+ years, and was economically hampered even outside of the plantation slavery model by precedence-inspired racism. Who will invest or trade with people that they have been taught are incompetent, especially when social pressure is levelled against them for even considering the idea?
A defeatist mentality is inspired, reinforced, and spread through defeat. We have seen this occur in other places, such as the Gaelic nations of Britain. Once the cycle is started, whether by human action or misfortune, it builds momentum both within the hampered community and its neighbors.
In such situations, suffePost too long. Click here to view the full text.