Entrepreneurs and Inmates — Good and Bad

The train ride, I just had (from the green line Halsted to Clark/Lane, “Chicago”) was my worst one, I have ever had.

It started at the T-stop, within a few sec, I realized that it was all filled with african americans. All seemingly going to a low wage (beg and scape) job. The conversations and behaviors were pathetic. The neighborhood was pretty poor but is it an excuse for people to revolve around low wage jobs, never progress? That’s certainly not the american dream. I am not American yet it pains me. By color of skin, I am black too but I couldn’t stand the whole situation and my mind kept racing on why perhaps the African- American culture (neighborhood specific) has gone completely wrong.

Here’s what my mind entertained. In every neighborhood they are just more people than are more energetic, aggressive and have less respect for the status quo. Now these traits are good depending on two factors, is the neighborhood poor or not and whether you are a minority of not. I would bet more heavily on the first though. For some neighborhoods in Boston or Silicon Valley this mean that you will be good at entrepreneurship if you are effective. In some other poor neighborhood it just keeps you closer to jail. Let’s jump to the story.

Before I arrived at my last stop at Clark/Lake, an african-american in his mid 20s hands me a flyer. Naturally, I don’t take flyers but heck this time, all the people (african-americans) near me took it and without a surprise, the first thing it said was “No Experience required — Management opportunities — customer service — from 400 to 600 weekly”. Well they could have just said, come and become a slimy sales guy, we will pay you worse than minimum wage, use abuse to make you work really hard, threaten you by telling you that you can be fired if you do one thing wrong. And by the way, there is no career advancement opportunity with this, so you will have to start from scratch and take another minimum wage job later on, prepare yourself for weeks of gap where you will be unemployed, you will have to beg and scrape to get by.

Are you sold yet? That’s the fucking opportunity right there. Take it or go hustle drugs, become a janitor, or get involved in other whimsical schemes such as rapping or get bored and make amateur porn with cougar white chicks or you might as well just go to jail, it is super tough and you will lose your freedom but hey it way easier than dealing with this complicated and complex life.

No wonder why it is so easy for the young, ambitious and energetic african-american, to end up in jail.

I have been in Chicago for less than 24 hours but I have been given the big picture. There is a strong sense of segregation here mainly rich and poor areas, it is also quite unfortunate that it is race specific.

Now I am a believer of taking fierce action on the things you believe in. Here are two solutions to this self-fulfilling prophecy of mediocrity:

  1. Get yourself hard technical skills (sacrifice a year and devote to coding jump back and forth on whatever projects you are passionate about, brainstorm all the ways you could make it possible. Google is your friend). Learn everyday, set goals and ignore anything else.
  2. Get perspective, don’t get trapped or defined by your neighborhood. In an era where I can book a round trip domestic flight for less than $100. You have no excuse on never traveling to other states or countries. When you do travel go to both rich and poor areas. Soak up the good and bad.
  3. End the neighborhood, country, religion or community thinking, you are an individual and have power over your thoughts and actions. Get wide perspectives and get to work.
  4. Never watch TV again. In fact, burn it down. Avoid any type of mass-media. It just makes you dumber.

Disclaimer: I don’t think that race is the only variable to this phenomenon. I think this same pattern is a reality for poor white neighborhoods. Poverty in itself has deep sins, no one in it is truly happy.