The socioeconomics of sympathy

Five days ago TVJ carried a news story about residents in an inner city community – Majesty Gardens, never heard of it – that completely ticked me off. These women are unemployed young mothers who dropped out of high school and started having children from as early as thirteen. A resident estimates that half of the girls who get pregnant in the community are underage.

[News Clip from Thursday, April 26]

But what really, really, really upset me was this exchange with one of the unemployed mothers. She has nine children. And she’s 34.

ND: Contraceptive is for animal, not human. So I don’t take any. The Bible told us to multiply, not take away. So I just multiply, and God will provide for them.
TVJ: Are you serious about that?
ND: Ye
TVJ: Are you struggling?
ND: Hard. But tru the mercy of God, [Him] keep me.
TVJ: Don’t you think if you had just two or one, you’d be able to manage?
ND: No, a di same problem mi would have cause I don’t have a job.

I have to admit, her argument is original. I’ve never heard that contraceptives weren’t for humans, and the only people I hear with the ‘go forth and multiply’ quip are Rastafarian men. I can’t even fathom her thought process. How does she feed them? How does she send them to school?

Cycle of Poverty

But I am beyond any kind of sympathy. These are the same people who end up having more kids they can’t afford. These are the same people who end up stealing light and water. And these are the same people who end up scamming, or whose children end up scamming. This is a cycle that refuses to be broken and frankly my dear, I can no longer give a damn.

It is exactly the kind of backward thinking and closed-minded ignorance that has trapped so many Jamaicans in a rut of poverty and decreased QoL. When will we stop thinking and acting and feeling like we are somehow owed something by people whose only claim to superiority is that they simply tried harder? Sure, we can point all the fingers we want at Slavery for brainwashing us into thinking that whoever’s in charge of us “slaves” is obligated to provide for us while we just do some manual labour in the fields. But you know what? Big finger never lie.

My grandma raised me on the futility of crocodile tears and the mantra of ‘who caan hear will feel’. That is the outcome for children with too many rights and not enough responsibilities: they reap what they sow.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t help out those people who don’t work as hard are less fortunate, but there’s a difference between giving a man food everyday and teaching him how to fish.


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