Goodwill Breakfast: Dr. Ruby Payne



I always like to start with a story I was at a church in Waco and they told me this story they said we have this young lady who's been coming to our church and on Wednesday morning for Bible study from the Community College they were very impressed with the young lady so all the ladies of the church finally got together because they noticed she was riding on the bus and they thought she should have a vehicle so they got together pulled their money spent $25 on a used vehicle the next Wednesday when she came to Bible study she was riding the bus and they said to her what happened to your vehicle and she said well my boyfriend had never had a motorcycle so we sold the vehicle to buy the motorcycle they were furious and I said to them if I had been the young lady I would have done exactly the same thing and they said you can't be serious and I said yes I am I said first of all the young lady understood two things number one she didn't have the resources for the vehicle and number two there were said a hidden rules she was following you didn't know take a minute and talk with your neighbor at the table what resources does a vehicle take take a minute up with your neighbor to have a vehicle what kind of resources do you have to have right vehicles are a lot like children you know yet the feedom you have to insure them you have to shoo them you know they take a lot of resources so I said she understood that and number two she understood a set of hidden rules you didn't know and one of the hidden rules in generational poverty is that you have to share your money your vehicles and she knew that would create an even bigger problem for her so she gave you the reasoning that she thought you would understand she did it for relationship you see one of the issues in America right now is this very simple equation as part of what the health care debate was about how do you help the resource without just how do you help the under-resourced without destroying the resource and it's a huge debate and what we've done basically is this historically we've given resources but we haven't given human capacity and when you give resources without human capacity then within three generations you create a group of people who are no longer able to develop their own resources and one of the things I love about goodwill and what you heard this morning is simply this they do it both they give both the resources and the capacity because that was allow you to then transition so I'm going to back up and say just a couple things about what makes a community sustainable why Goodwill participates in that so well some of the issues as you make communities thriving and not feral there's a gentleman out of the Institute for the human future in California Safra and he says this that in 20 years from now communities will either be feral or they'll be thriving by feral he means they'll be domesticated and go back to the wild and what I'm going to say to you is that what keeps that from happening is when you provide both resources and capacity there are three things that actually transition you out of poverty and middle class and they are these three things relationships of people different than you which is social bridging capital the second one is education and the third one is employment you see one of the things is when you people different than you are you get new ideas the problem is is that they're hidden rules interfere with their ability to make a relationship hidden rules are unspoken queueing mechanisms that people use to let you know you do or don't belong and the way you know you broke a set of hidden rules is the way people look at you they never say anything to you no they look at you like you look at something moving in a wastebasket you know but they don't say anything how many have you been to new church and stood up at the wrong time yeah well you broke a set of hidden rules well we are very comfortable with the fact that we have them by race we're very comfortable we have them by religion we know we have them by region to the country but we don't think we have them by economic class and resource basis and actually we do I know a wealthy gentleman in Corpus Christi where I live and he said this to me the other day Ruby we only play golf with that guy one time he said because you know why he didn't know the rules he didn't mean he didn't know the rules of golf he meant he didn't know the hidden rules of the situation well one of the ways you learn hidden rules is by meeting people different than your heart if they're willing to teach them to you and explain to you what happened and I'll give you a very quick story about one hidden rule and then I want to talk about how why when you build community sustainability those rules around people's resource basis really then often create roadblocks and barriers when they don't need to but one of the hidden rules we have in America's hidden rules around food and by class like food in poverty is very important because foods align between being destitute and being poor people would say we were poor growing up but we always had enough to eat and leash around food in poverty is quantity and people will say after meal are you fool did you have enough as a matter of fact that died in poverty very high in carbohydrates and fats because carbohydrates help your brain make serotonin that's why if you were on that south beach diet for more than a week you thought you gonna have to kill somebody okay because your brain wouldn't make nice Eric Thailand well in middle-class Diaz your own food is quality and the question after meal is did you like it was it good you know but in wealth is your own food is presentation was it artistically presented did it go with the theme okay did it have aesthetic appeal how many of you have gone out to eat and spent thirty dollars on the entree got this much food okay and as you were leaving the restaurant somebody in your dinner party said now let's go get real food okay you had to go by Burger King well I tell this story to make a point I didn't know that little hidden rule about food and when my former husband was in the Chicago Board of Trade we were thrown in with very wealthy people and one of them a bond traders wife from all money got sick so as I grew up fairly middle-class one of the things that happened is I took a casserole that's what you do in middle-class you know and I even went up scale with a Pyrex ball you know which she did not return I broke one of my hidden rules cuz you know I had my name on the bottom of it in magic marker and she took one look at and she said we'll just put it in the kitchen well I was upset that she was so rude and she was upset that I was so stupid okay but nothing was said and the real issue around that is that it creates this whole concept of what's intelligent and so one of the things that happens is that you get three chances and the group that has the most money or the most power as a dominant group they think they're hidden rules are the best and the first time you break a hit and roll people notice and they say well don't they say what's your mumbles be having a bad day the second time to themselves they say oh my such a loss of potential there okay but the third time they'll say you know they'll tell their friends you know well the wheel is turning but they stirs dead okay and so part of what happens then is when we get in the workplace environment when we get in social settings and when we get in community issues of sustainability those all come to the table and people say things like well I'm not going to go that meeting again you know what they wasted time you know or I'm you know they didn't even understand our issues and so it becomes a huge issue as begin to know she negotiate the community what a program like goodwill does is it through the one-on-one relationships through the workforce experience they really begin to help develop this understandings one more story about this when I first met my former husband who grew up in extreme poverty we were married about a year and I wanted to buy a house and he said no no we're not gonna buy a house he said because you know what they'll bank on G when you buy a house well actually in poverty because of the way interest rates are because of your understandings of the financials that's often true I said look my parents have had loans all their lives that's how you build an asset base we're gonna have we're gonna have a house where we argue for a year well we found one and his mother went around and I loved her dearly she told everybody in the neighborhood you know what that house is too expensive you know what they're gonna lose that house and then you know what's gonna happen one of them's going to end up moving in with us and this is a problem okay well I kept saying oh we're not going to lose that house because I knew that we only had about 10% indebtedness and you could be up to 30% well we bought the house 18 months later we sold it for 50% more than we paid for it well within two years they all went out and bought houses okay but it's example of when you have relationships and information information is transferred through generations we talked about race being a form of privilege we talk about social access about money and it is but a huge form of privilege that we never talk about is knowledge and it's huge I could give you the stats to prove this but the bottom line is one of the things a program like goodwill does is it provides that information that knowledge base so you can transition so you have can have capacity when I talk about communities I'm going to say in closing because I know where our time frame is very tight today but I'm going to say this about communities communities having them what I call a radar and below that radar there are things that happening Paul saffron says this in his Institute for the human future he says it takes 20 to 25 years to become an overnight success okay and what happens is this you have this radar in your community and we hope things happen and people don't know them for a long time because it takes 20 to 25 years to get critical mass and it's when you have a critical mass 35 to 40 percent in social phenomena that it gets above the radar for example just tell your neighbor what year was television invented tell your neighbor what it was it actually invented what year was it anybody now 1926 when did most homes get television yeah early 50s what year was internet actually invented at the first version of Internet 1969 when did most people get it in their homes yeah some people go never okay well the bottom line on the thing is is it takes a long time and what we see in communities is this is that when the people are under resourced are 10 percent or 20 percent the community is very willing to support it when it gets to 40 percent then the community is overwhelmed and since top 10 percent of the community pay almost 80 percent of taxes they get overwhelmed where we see communities in most turmoil is between 40 and 60 percent of being under resourced that's when the demands on the services start to climb social services law enforcement services etc and communities we see that are going to thrive in the future are those communities that all only provide the resources they provide the capacity and that's what goodwill does i sat on the plane the other day by an investment banker and he said this to me Ruby we're becoming a country of haves and have-nots he said it's not possible to govern to two economies he said if you govern to the wealthy the poor revolt if you govern to the poor the wealthy leave and in America what we are facing right now is how we build resources and capacity simultaneously our social policies for the last 50 years have been based upon the concept of social determinism and so we have given resources and given resources without developing capacity and eventually that's not a sustainable system and what goodwill does is they provide capacity at the same time they provide resources it's an incredible model and it's one we need to use across the United States so in closing I'm going to leave you with a quote that I like very much that's by a man named Joe Jaworski who wrote the book called synchronicity and this is the quote and I leave it with you today because it's so incredible that you have 750 people here today it means that the community commitment is there and he says this if individuals and organizations will operate from the generative orientation from possibility rather than resignation we can create the future into which we are living as opposed to merely reacting to it when we get there thank you very much

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