On January 11, 2010, I wrote the following letter to our President, Barack Obama. I never received a reply from the President however, I did receive an acknowledgement receipt of my certified letter from the White House. I share the entire letter with you because I want you to see the concerns and issues I expressed to President Obama. Many of us are clueless as to what is truly happening to us as a race.
As a people, Black African Americans have become a race of beggars and we have convinced ourselves that this is acceptable behavior. We have lowered our standards so low, that the achievement bar is lying on the floor and all we have to do is exert a modicum amount of effort in order to crawl over it. Consequently, we have less of everything positive and more of everything negative than any other race in America because we gladly look forward to receiving the crumbs tossed to us. To quote Michael Angelo, “The problem is not that we set our goals too high and missed them. We set our goals too low and reach them.”
The setting of low goals began with Daniel Patrick Moynihan and his “Moynihan Report,” (all underlined words are links) which was based on Willie Lynch’s Slave Manifesto (see my Willie Lynch post). The primary target is and has always been Black African American females. Remember, per Willie Lynch, the key to the destruction and continued physical and mental enslavement of the Black African American race is the control and manipulation of Black African American Females and their children. After reading this post, I greatly appreciate your comments.
Jerry Smith, LCSW, LMSW
My name is Jerry Smith and I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Georgia and a Licensed Master Social Worker in South Carolina. I am also a Landlord contracting with the Augusta Housing Authority’s Section 8 Program. My reasons for writing you are many.
First, I take this opportunity to congratulate you for the inspirational manner in which you successfully campaigned and became our Nation’s 44th President of the United States of America. I was one of the millions who proudly came to our Nation’s capital to witness history in the making on January 20, 2009 (all underlined words are links). There is no doubt that “Change” has truly come to America and for this I sincerely thank you!
Secondly, I am writing to share with you my concerns about the state of America’s families in general and the lower socio-economic families in particular. Mr. President, I have worked as a mental health professional for nearly 30 years in all types of milieus, ranging from psychiatric hospitals to medium/maximum penitentiaries. Although I cannot honestly say that I have seen it all, I have seen far more than the average American. In particular, I am talking about the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Section 8 Program.
Sir, as you know, during World War 2, President Roosevelt authorized the establishment of the “Convoy System” which was created to protect lone ships transporting supplies and war materials across the Atlantic Ocean to Great Britain. The peculiar thing about this “Convoy System,” was that it was geared down to accommodate the slowest ships. Consequently, because of the slow speed of many of the ships, the entire convoy was being jeopardized. Yet, there were indeed safety in numbers and the war ships attached to these convoys offered protection to all.
Like the “Convoy System” of World War 2, the Section 8 program was developed in 1937 to offer protection to America’s most vulnerable citizens. Rather than being left to fend for themselves, our Federal Government saw fit to give poor families a helping hand. However, I don’t think that the Section 8 Program was ever designed to become a permanent handout, as it is today.
Mr. President, I know that you are very busy, however, I was inspired to write you after reading the following quote attributed to you: “The days of Washington dragging its heels are over. My administration will not deny facts, we will be guided by them.”
Mr. President here are some facts that you may not be aware of:
1. A 17-year old female with at least one child living at home with her mother, who is a Section 8 recipient, must move out on her 18th birthday.
2. On her 18th birthday, she and her child/children can move into a homeless shelter and be immediately placed at the head of the list to receive Public Housing Assistance. Here in Augusta, Georgia she’ll be in her own home within 30-60 days.
3. Once she receives either a two-bedroom apartment in the Housing Projects or a two-bedroom Section 8 Voucher, based on her current standards of living, she will be financially secure for at least the next 18 years. Additionally, with this voucher/housing assistance come food stamps, utility allowance, Medicaid (which she already has) as well as financial assistance.
a. As her family size grows, the size of her voucher and housing unit will automatically grow:
b. After a certain age, HUD does not allow children of the opposite sex to share a bedroom, nor does it allow any child to share a bedroom with the mother.
4. Once on Housing Assistance, as long as she agrees to remain poor on paper, her benefits will last until her youngest child turns 18 years of age; or, she takes legal custody of her grandchildren (on paper) and the Section 8 handout continues for another successive generation.
Mr. President, as both a Social Worker and a landlord, I am seeing the above scenario play itself out in ever-increasing numbers. This is becoming the dominant goal of many teenage females. It is not uncommon to have third and fourth generation recipients of Federal Housing Assistance in the same families. As this cycle continues, our taxpayers are being hit more and more to pay for the opulent lifestyles of many of these Section 8 recipients.
Sir, you have also been quoted as saying, “If we want our children to succeed in life, we need fathers to step up. We need fathers to understand that their work doesn’t end with conception-that what truly makes a man a father is the ability to raise a child and invest in that child.”
Mr. President, no rational person could disagree with the above quote. Yet, are you aware that our Government is complicit in removing many fathers from the lives of their children? For instance, in order to qualify for Section 8/Public Housing Assistance, the mothers must stipulate that the children’s father is not living in the home, nor are they contributing financially, whether this is true or not. After all, no one will verify it. As a Social Worker and landlord, I know there are working males (who are not the fathers) living in some of these Section 8/Public Housing Assistance homes; however, the recipients of Section 8/Public Housing Assistance are not reporting it. To my understanding, this is both fraud and abuse of the program.
In many cases, both the mother and the father grew up on Section 8/Public Housing Assistance so, for them, this is their norm. Consequently, it is not uncommon to hear young male high school drop-outs saying, “I’m gonna find me a project girl.” What they are saying is that they are no longer eligible to live with their mothers because they have outgrown her Section 8/Public Housing Assistance, so they are going to find a female Section 8/Public Housing Assistance recipient and “shack-up” with her and her children.
Mr. President, you are also quoted as saying, “Government can put more cops on the streets, but only fathers can make sure that those kids aren’t on the streets in the first place. Government can create good jobs, but we need fathers to train for these jobs, and hold down these jobs and provide for their families.”
Sir, too often parents put too much emphasis on what children hear and not enough emphasis on what children see. In too many of our so-called “under-privileged” homes, the children are the only ones in the household that have to get up in the morning on a regular basis and go anyplace; they go to school. After a while, they too begin to question the purpose of having to get up so early, so they do as they see the adults in the home do, stay up half the night and remain in bed until noon. After all, they have all of the trappings of a lower middle class household without any effort on the part of their mother’s or father’s whatsoever.
The fourth generation of Section 8/Public Housing Assistance children has already been born. These boys and girls see how well the Government is taking care of them. They are aware of how much the household receives in food stamps, housing assistance, TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families-formerly called Welfare), Medicaid and in some instances Supplemental Security Income (SSI). They also know that their mother, father, or mother’s live-in boyfriends, do not have a high school diploma, GED or marketable skill, yet they are living very well off of the backs of hard working taxpaying Americans with absolutely no shame or remorse. In fact, many of them consider their lifestyle as an entitlement, saying, “They owe me this.”
In many cases, the only contribution that some of these families make to society is the out of wedlock children who grow up totally dependent on society. This is a waste of precious, innocent lives; and, a waste of healthy minds and bodies not being utilized because our Government is giving them everything they need and many of their wants for absolutely no cost to them. The babies/children suffer by not learning responsibility and their parents also suffer by getting lazier. At the current trend, there is no end in sight!
Mr. President another quote attributed to you says, “No one has written your destiny for you. Your destiny is in your hands-you cannot forget that. That’s what we have to teach all of our children. No excuses. No excuses.”
In reality, we are rewarding our children when they make excuses. When they give birth to an out-of-wedlock child, without any means of providing for the basic care of this child, they say, “I thought he/she was using protection.” The Government immediately steps in and says, “That is alright! Let us take care of you and all subsequent children for the next eighteen years of their lives. Here is free housing, free food, free utilities, free money, free medical, free childcare and whatever else free you can find that you qualify for by any means necessary.”
Sir, we kill dreams by providing such an easy life. Effort is a muscle that if left unused will atrophy and kill the spirit of self-esteem. Without struggle and effort we must find other ways of feeling good about ourselves, even if it is vial, immoral or criminal. I strongly believe that anyone who drifts through life without making any positive contributions to society has no right to be called “citizen!”
Mr. President, I share a quote from Thomas Hamblin’s book entitled, ‘WITHIN YOU IS THE POWER,’ “Until man realizes that the cause of all his troubles is within himself he can never do anything to remedy matters, because, obviously, the only thing that is required is for him to change within. Man has to become changed within before his life can be altered. His thoughts, his ideals, his attitude towards life must all become transformed. When this change has been effected, he not only begins to repair his present life, but he creates a fairer and nobler life for the future.”
Sir, many in this current population of Section 8/Public Housing Assistance recipients must be brought to realize that their free ride is coming to an end. They must be strongly encouraged to accept full responsibility for their lives, the lives of their children, as well as both they and their children’s behaviors. They will do this by obtaining a marketable skill that will get them into the workforce. Once working, they can identify their dream job and pursue it.
They must be taught that the sole purpose of struggle is to build self-esteem, character and the development of wisdom through experience. Therefore, life must always be full of difficulty in one way or the other. When the reward is great, the effort to succeed is also great. On the other hand, when our Government gives all the rewards without requiring any effort, no one will have an incentive to do for themselves. Sadly, those who stand to gain the most are often the hardest to convince of this.
By providing many of the young healthy Section 8 recipients with marketable skills and putting them to work, they then become taxpayers as opposed to tax burdens. The financial gain to the rest of us taxpayers and the Country would be phenomenal. In addition, this would give the Section 8 recipient self-esteem and self-respect where they would want to come off the program.
At present, there doesn’t seem to be a check and balance process of who is in need of the program and getting help versus who is just getting handouts from the program simply because they have children and applied for assistance. Sir, when you are looking at ways to save money, may I suggest that you take a serious look at the Section 8 Housing Assistance Program.
Mr. President, is it right to make people that have worked hard and paid taxes all their adult lives to live in fear because they don’t know if they will be able to feed or provide shelter for their family, while many of the folks on welfare and in the Section 8/Public Housing Assistance programs have never worked a day in their lives, are allowed to live better than some of the working tax payers?
Mr. President I am attaching a copy of a proposal that I have sent to Secretary Donovan suggesting changes to HUD’s Section 8 Program.
I sincerely thank you for allowing me to take your time away from other important matters to read my concerns and recommendations.
With All Respect,
Jerry Smith, LCSW, LMSW
I did not share in my letter to President Obama the fact that far too many women who are the recipients of Public Assistance are engaging in behaviors designed to intentionally harm and/or endanger their unborn fetuses. As a Mental Health Professional, I have had numerous women tell me they intentionally ingested a chemical substance, such as alcohol, cocaine, marijuana, large amounts of tobacco products as well as other legal and illegal drugs during their last trimester of pregnancy. Their hope was that these substances would be present in their newborn child. Should this occur, their newborn baby could be born with a developmental disability, thus qualifying to become a recipient of Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI).
In many cases, neither of the child’s parents, nor the child has ever worked a day in their lives, yet, through their callousness, they had no compunction about damaging their own child, in some instances for life. Should they not be successful in intentionally creating developmental disabilities in their children, they have a Plan B. As the child becomes older, they will provide a very minimum amount of discipline, thus allowing the child to develop significant behavior disorders. If successful, these children will receive a psychological diagnosis of “Attention Deficit Disorder” (ADD), or “Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder” (ADHD). Both disorders could qualify for SSI benefits. Professionally, I have known far too many females who have multiple children receiving SSI benefits due to the premeditated harm they inflicted on their children in order to live on these SSI checks.
When my generation was coming along, we lived off the care and financial support provided to us by our parents. Today, far too many parents are living quite well off their children. In many instances, if you remove the child/children from the custody of their parent(s), the parent(s) would immediately become homeless, because their Section 8 Housing is determined entirely on the fact that they have minor children living with them. They would also become hungry and penniless because the number of eligible children living in their households determines the amount of food stamps and financial aid (SSI & TANF) they will receive. Not only are too many mothers living off their children, they are allowing their live-in boyfriends to also live off their children.
Many years ago, I heard a story about a small rural Georgia community that had problems with wild hogs. As the story goes, a large number of a farmer’s hogs escaped through a hole in the fence and he was unable to recapture them. Once free, these hogs learned to fend for themselves and had no desire to return into captivity.
As time progressed, they became quite destructive to the surrounding farms, as they would forage into the cornfields, leaving them in waste. It became so bad that the community raised a bounty and placed a reward on the capture of these wild hogs. Many “Great White” hunters came from near and far in hopes of earning this reward, all in vain.
One day, a very old Black African American man rode into town on his mule-drawn wagon, which was full of lumber and hog feed. The town leaders asked, “What do you think you can do “uncle” (a term of disrespect)? He humbly told them, if they would agree to pay him the reward, he could capture the wild hogs and end their rein of destruction. All of the White men burst into laughter, saying, “Do you think you’re better than White men?” The elderly man said, “No Sir, I just think I have a better way to solve your problems with the hogs.” Out of desperation, the White townspeople agreed that if the old man captured all of the hogs, they would give him the reward.
The old man got back onto his wagon and road deep into the woods, until he came upon a clearing. He then unloaded the lumber from his wagon, and placed it into a pile. Afterwards, he opened a bag of feed and poured it all the way around the pile of lumber. When finished, he got back onto his wagon and road off quite a ways, and set up camp.
The next day he returned to the clearing and all of the feed was gone. He then placed all of the fencing into a square, laying it on the ground. This time, he emptied four bags of feed into the center of the square and road back to his campsite. Returning the next day, all of the feed was gone.
He proceeded to build an enclosure out of the fencing boards he had left lying on the ground. After completing the entire enclosure, and building a gate, he then placed the remaining bags of feed in a huge pile in the center of the enclosure, leaving the gate wide open. The old man returned to his campsite for another night of rest.
The next morning when he returned to the pen, all of the hogs, as well as their offspring were laying around the remaining pile of feed. They had gorged themselves to the point of becoming lethargic and complacent. They still had a large pile of feed remaining, so they decided to stay and eat at their leisure. When they raised their heads and saw the old man, they just laid back down. The old man then closed and locked the gate and went into town to collect his reward, which the townspeople gladly paid him.
If you notice, all of the Housing Projects in Augusta, Georgia is enclosed in fencing. The height of these fences range from about three feet to about eight feet and some consist of only a single link of chain (3 feet fencing) to wrought iron steel. The primary purpose of the fencing is to have a psychological impact on the residents. As our children grow up living behind these fences, they become desensitized and complacent. Per chance these children end up incarcerated, it is no big deal for them, because they have been living behind a fence all of their lives, in addition to having the state provide them with food, clothing and shelter.
This is how the Section 8 Program, as well as the prison industrial complex has reduced many Black African Americans to beggars. They receive their every need and many of their wants from the government with absolutely no effort on their part. Consequently, their only incentive is to maintain their current behavior, ensuring that they will continue receiving something for nothing.
We must break this cycle of dependency by placing a lifetime cap on how long a mentally and physically healthy person can be on the Section 8 Program. While on the Section 8 Program, all healthy recipients must have access to free marketable skills training and childcare.
Once they have exhausted their time limit if they are not self-sufficient, they will no longer be eligible for the Section 8 Program. If they choose, they can move into a multi-family dormitory type environment until they become motivated to stand on their own feet. Remember, the Section 8 Program is a hand up and not a hand out.
Oh what a blessing it is that my people do not read, think or use common sense says the Pastors, Pimps and Politicians.