OMG, that’s actually Gen. Dinkins up on the dias
Caught lying on her first day in office.
Just hours after being sworn in as the city’s public advocate, Letitia James went on TV to claim that she played a key role in helping expose “the face of poverty in the City of New York” on the ‘front page of The New York Times.
“And, in fact, I had established a task force on Auburn, and the conditions continued. And so we decided to work together to basically put on the front page of The New York Times the face of poverty in the City of New York.”
It wasn’t James’ first attempt to portray herself as a champion of the homeless — at the inauguration, she invited young Dasani to stand at her side for the swearing-in.
But the Times refuted James’ account, saying she had nothing to do with its articles.
How about poor little Dasani Coates, the child portrayed in the NYT article and exploited as a poster child by Letitia James? Kay Hymowitz tells the real story in a brilliant essay, one that shows why “inequality” is not what’s keeping Dasani in such wretched conditions. Read the whole thing – here are some excerpts:
Chanel, Dasani’s mother and herself the daughter of a welfare-dependent drug addict in Brooklyn, has six children by three different men, a long history of debilitating drug use, an explosive temper, and numerous arrests. Her husband, Supreme, has brought his own drug addiction and two more children by a deceased wife into the mix; Elliott makes vague reference to previous children as well. At some point, Supreme worked as a barber, but as far as we can tell, Chanel has never held a job. In truth, she isn’t much of a mother, either. She is often “listless from methadone”; the family’s room is filled with “piles of unwashed clothes.” Dasani appears to be the primary caretaker of her seven siblings. She wakes up early to change and feed her baby half-sister and get the other children ready for school; understandably, though her school is only two blocks from the shelter, she is chronically late. What role, if any, her parents play in this morning chaos known to every mother and father, rich and poor, is left unsaid.
… True to the progressive spirit, Elliott implies that the structural forces arrayed against Chanel and Supreme are so great that the two are powerless to help their children. (It should be mentioned that in Elliott’s nearly 30,000 words, she makes not a single reference to Dasani’s genuinely invisible father.)
But on several occasions, “Invisible Child” unwittingly reminds us that there might be ways out of the family’s misery. Chanel inherits $49,000 on her mother’s death; within a short time the money is gone, and she can’t figure out where it went. A local charter school, the lifeline for many other poor parents and children, advertises its “rigor and excellence”; Elliott sniffs that it sounds “exclusive.” In the wake of welfare reform—howlingly protested by the New York Times, by the way—Chanel’s mother, Joanie, “turned her life around,” landing a $22,000-a-year job cleaning subway cars. Calling her first day of work the “the happiest day of her life,” she was able to save enough for “a cozy apartment in Bedford Stuyvesant” and to earn a pension that would be inherited—and apparently squandered—by Chanel.
Elliott’s other target—inequality, or “a neighborhood’s profound divide,” as she calls it—reveals the ideology that guides her project. She often refers to Brooklyn’s growing affluence with barely disguised distaste: the gleaming residential towers, the wine store with its sommelier tastings, and “the whims of the wealthy.” The reality is that inequality is a mixed blessing for Dasani. It’s true that before gentrification, Fort Greene was more equal:everyone was poor. Many residents also faced the chronic threat of violence—one scourge, at least, from which Dasani and her family appear relatively free. More important, underclass poverty of the sort that threatens Dasani and her siblings preceded incoming mayor Bill de Blasio’s “tale of two cities” by decades. Ironically, by blurring Bloomberg-era inequality with the perpetual carelessness of Chanel and Supreme, theTimes diminishes those workers who are genuinely struggling with stalled median wages, working poverty, and poor skills.
The reason for this confusion is clear: in the progressive mind, there is only one kind of poverty. It is always an impersonal force wrought by capitalism, with no way out that doesn’t involve massive government help. Progressives blame lack of compassion—and the city’s failure to provide more services—for tragedies like Dasani’s, but they’re mistaken. It in no way excuses the appalling conditions at Auburn or the incompetence of Homeless Services to note that, even if she were living in a four-bedroom apartment, Dasani’s situation would remain awful. The shelter did not cause her mother’s drug problems, violent temper, or indifference to her children’s development and education. Living in an apartment, Dasani will still be late for school because she’s busy feeding and clothing her seven siblings while her jobless parents nod off on methadone.
What Dasani’s story really proves is what progressives don’t want to admit: how tough it is to free a child from the “choices” of her parents. “When they’re happy, I’m happy,” the remarkable Dasani says. “When they’re sad, I’m sad. It’s like I have a connection, like I’m stuck to them like glue.” That’s the thing about kids. Even the best social services cannot unglue them.