Incorrect assumptions about 'helplessness'

Updated 6/28/2021 2:47 PM

In response to a letter printed June 24 regarding "learned helplessness," I need to call out the writer for some incorrect assumptions and ugly messaging.

Why call out liberals vs. conservatives? There is enough division in this country, but please don't add to the fire. Let's not push the idea that liberals or conservatives all think alike and are incapable of forming their own opinions.


If people have never heard a liberal point out the value of a strong family structure, then maybe they have not been paying attention. Michell Obama and Lori Lightfoot have both praised their families and thanked their parents for their commitment and sacrifice. I think we can all agree that a strong family support structure leads to better outcomes for all.

The writer then pushes the idea that inner city families are to blame for poverty, crime and income disparity simply because they aren't making the same commitments and sacrifices that suburban families have to maintain these family support structures. You don't have to read between the lines to see how ugly that statement is.

If you want to learn a little bit about the history of racism/segregation in Chicago, I recommend you read The Third Coast by Thomas Dyja. It is excellent. I learned a lot from it. There has been a lot of ugliness in the past that has not ever been corrected.

Finally, let's not sit in the suburbs and think we can tell Chicagoans how to fix their city. I think that is up to the people who live there. I have visited the city hundreds of times and can say I have no idea -- OK, maybe too many guns? Whoops, is that too "liberal"?

Tom Owensby

St. Charles

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