The poverty problem in America is not about jobs and it is not about racism.

Oseola McCarty is a 75-year-old African-American cleaning woman from Mississippi. From working all her life she accumulated enough savings to donate $150,000 to a student scholarship program at the University of Southern Mississippi. In short, a black woman, living in the most racist and poorest state in the union (almost half her life under segregation), can earn enough money washing other people’s clothes to save $150,000 and give it away. If Oseola McCarty can do that, what American cannot?

Oseola McCarty’s example tells us that the poverty problem in America is not about jobs and it is not about racism. Poverty is about individual failure. It is about family dysfunction, character disorder and self-destructive behavior. That is what Oseola McCarty’s achievement means. It is no surprise that, while most self-appointed spokesmen get tongue-tied when asked if African-Americans have gained anything from the civil rights revolution of the last 30 years, Oseola McCarty had no hesitation.

She said the world is a “much much better place” than when she was a child. So it can be for anyone liberated from the philosophy of liberalism. The new mantra would be this: Spare us from the kindness of those who would cripple us with excuses for attitudes and behaviors that can only destroy us. Keep us from the charity of those who would chain us to their benevolence with lifetime handouts. Spare us the compassion of these saviors who secretly despise us, who think that we cannot compete on our merits, or live up to the moral standards they expect of themselves. This is the creed of true equality. It just has taken me a long time to understand.

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