There's a lot of people who have trouble losing weight because they grew up in households as kids where they ate a lot of fatty foods. It is extremely hard to break such habits, and statistically they face a much higher barrier in losing weight. Like what you've described, many of these people are in generational obesity, and you can blame it on the cheap fast food, the habits, and so on. There is certainly campaigns that are on-going, and starting up, to create more opportunities and support for these people, so that over the long-term, hopefully these inequities can be reduced.
But of those people, the ones that do manage to go out and achieve their goals, told themselves that they can rise above those challenges. In other words, they accepted their situation, and focused on the end result, regardless of how much effort they would need to put in compared to their peers. It will be 10x harder for them to achieve, but life isn't about where you start, but in what you achieve. Everything in life is about attitude.
Perhaps it's a matter of where your concern is. Often enough, when people emphasize individual "attitude" or "intiative" or "responsibility" that's done as a way to say that individuals can do anything "if only they put their mind to it," and/or look, a few people over here managed to pull it off, so no one else should be able to succeed unless they can prove they worked equally hard under equally harsh conditions to do it completely alone
. But conditions are rarely all that identical -- they're often just harsh in some other ways, so round and round it all goes when people suggest attempting anything to actually provide a security net or generalize opportunities more across the population. And it's also
a crutch frequently adopted happily by anyone who really wanted fewer to no social programs in the first place, think the Tea Party...
"Oh, we could do it so surely anyone else can." But you're simply not in the same place looking at the same obstacles. You don't know
that for sure and you're not taking the time to go in and study the actual
obstacles, I would suspect.
You say it's "all" about attitude, and that's precisely where it falls apart. In your own example above, you said there were campaigns
by others working at the same time
, in the same places, to make more opportunities for those very people. And you set up a case where the assumption is those campaigns are
actually working and have enough membership or enough political clout, something, enough organization perhaps, to actually make a difference. And presumably no one is picketing them shouting "You're going to hell!" or trying to frame them for terrorism or deprive them
(the campaigners) of a chance to get to the voting booth -- or not enough that it stops them.
In any case, your example is not all about individual attitude. It's at least partly about achieving success in an environment
where you also assume cooperation, activism, perhaps charity, and maybe social programs as policy platforms. You're rosily assuming some unspecified degree of the changes I ask for would naturally "happen" without taking up the question of how, and with what sort of resistance those changes are actually facing -- as if the arguments you make were not much the same arguments that very resistance loves to use. But in fact, they are and they do.
And when you say talking too much about the "realities," the actual odds facing people, is defeatist, then I think you need to check your definition of reality somewhere. The odds don't go away simply because people stop talking about them. Sometimes, you can't even surmount them if you don't
talk about them, because you won't plan well for what is really out there. If you think simply saying that there are
systemic obstacles and something should be done about them is a distraction when people should be working their butts off religiously on the assumption it will somehow
all work out, then that's completely contrary to the role of the campaigns you put into your own example.