Excellent article, and all of the bad decisions you mention are made by people of all races, ethnicities, and backgrounds. The societal factor is the influence of the people around you. If your community doesn't discourage the poor decisions, then only the strongest people will break the cycle. Unfortunately, as adults we typically encourage the same decisions we made, whether they were good or bad, in order to justify our own path. And we lower our expectations to try to make things easier for kids, or so that they will like us. Life is hard! But it will be harder if you put yourself on the wrong path. The high school dropout rate in this country is a national tragedy! We need more straight talk like this and less enabling of our youth.