It’s all about what we’re really teaching our kids, how we hurt them and ourselves even as we try to make their world better for them now, and them better for our world later . . .
Young Pitching Arms Race
[His coach] tried his best to protect the boy, he said. He mentioned the Internet guideline he followed regarding proper rest — one hour of downtime for each pitch thrown. “I don’t recall where I got it,” he said. Later he admitted, “I just don’t know what’s right.”
Neither did [his dad] Ken Manning. “One of my main goals in life was to get my kids grown with no athletic injuries,” he said. “Now Alden gets out of school an hour early twice a week for physical therapy. I asked myself a hundred times, How can this happen to my son?”
As for Alden, he didn’t worry about complicated issues. “I just wanted to play,” he said.
Not that the parents are complaining. Andrew Topel’s parents paid $8,000 this year to a service that helped their son, a junior at the University of Tampa, get a summer job as an assistant at Ford Models, a top agency in New York.
“It would’ve been awfully difficult” to get a job like that, said Andrew’s father, Avrim Topel, “without having a friend or knowing somebody with a personal contact.”
. . .Andrew’s parents used a company called the University of Dreams, the largest and most visible player in an industry that has boomed in recent years as internship experience has become a near-necessity on any competitive entry-level résumé.
If poverty tends to criminalize people, it is also true that criminalization inexorably impoverishes them. . .
In just the past few months, a growing number of cities have taken to ticketing and sometimes handcuffing teenagers found on the streets during school hours.
In Los Angeles, the fine for truancy is $250; in Dallas, it can be as much as $500 — crushing amounts for people living near the poverty level. . . . 80 percent of the “truants,” especially those who are black or Latino, are merely late for school, thanks to the way that over-filled buses whiz by them without stopping. I met people in Los Angeles who told me they keep their children home if there’s the slightest chance of their being late. It’s an ingenious anti-truancy policy that *discourages* parents from sending their youngsters to school.
The pattern is to curtail financing for services that might help the poor while ramping up law enforcement: starve school and public transportation budgets, then make truancy illegal. Shut down public housing, then make it a crime to be homeless. Be sure to harass street vendors when there are few other opportunities for employment. The experience of the poor, and especially poor minorities, comes to resemble that of a rat in a cage scrambling to avoid erratically administered electric shocks. . .