Friday, August 10, 2007

A recent study on murder statistics shows that half of all murder victims are black, and that 93% of those were killed by someone of their own race.

This is quite stunning. One of my first posts dealt with the problems facing today's African-American community, and in it I longed for the leadership and inspiration of Martin Luther King. The point I made was that the black community appears to be self-destructing, and the black leadership seems to be devoting their attention to other issues. I am disappointed in the lack of a strong leader-figure in the black community, someone who can inspire and elevate as Dr. King did so well. Instead, we have people like Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and Louis Farrakhan, people who seem to traffic in racism and profit from the sufferings of their own people while offering little in the way of solutions to the problems that cause that suffering. There seems to be a "blame the man" mentality that often acts as an excuse for failure, and these so called leaders do nothing but echo and enable that sentiment.

Drug use, illegitimate births, high school dropouts, gang violence, gangster rap and poverty are decimating the African-American population while Al Sharpton devotes his time to an insensitive, ignorant remark made by Don Imus. Does this inspire people? No. Does it solve any problems? No. Imus was wrong but come on, Reverand, you've got bigger fish to fry.

Our politicians don't seem to have an answer either. We're now four decades into the Great Society programs and still we're staring at these problems wondering what to do. Trillions have been spent, and still our political leaders (at least in one of the major parties) only want to continue throwing money at the problem. Don't these issues go deeper than simple lack of spending? When half of our murders occur in a group of people that only comprise 13% of the general population, I think the problem goes beyond money. But still, the empty promises flow.

This is a problem rooted at the most basic level of our society...the family. George H.W. Bush was mocked in 1992 because of his platform of family values, and the importance of family in America. I think he was on to something, and I think the objective African-American who sees these problems every day would agree. If things are going to change for the black community, then they're going to have to change at the most basic levels. The black family is going to have to be strengthened, the black neighborhood given a boost of pride. I like Bush's ideas of faith-based initiatives, increasing home ownership in the black community and doing things to favor small businesses. This allows the community to play an active role without having to rely on big brother government, which seems to only leave us wading through the rancid waters of a flooded city. Business and home ownership brings pride to the black neighborhood, pride brings involvement, involvement brings action. After that, the ripple effect will take hold. And, still, Congress passes a minimum wage hike that will do nothing but hurt small businesses and probably cut jobs, and now they're talking about raising taxes, another business killer. I just don't get it.

There are some serious problems here. Congress is sleeping on the job. The black leadership is side-tracked and uninspiring. No one seems to have any answers beyond the failed premises of the blame game and increased spending. 50% of our murders are black citizens. Dr King, oh how we need you now more than ever.

2 comments:

JB said...

It is an unhappy truth that racism is a way of life for the vast majority of white Americans, spoken and unspoken, acknowledged and denied, subtle and sometimes not so subtle -- the disease of racism permeates and poisons a whole body politic. And I can see nothing more urgent than for America to work passionately and unrelentingly -- to get rid of the disease of racism. ... Somewhere we must come to see that human progress never rolls in on the wheels of inevitability. It comes through the tireless efforts and the persistent work of dedicated individuals who are willing to be co-workers with God. And without this hard work, time itself becomes an ally of the primitive forces of social stagnation.

-Martin Luther King Jr.
Washington, DC, 31 March 1968


In a few weeks some of us are coming to Washington to see if the will is still alive or if it is alive in this nation. We are coming to Washington in a Poor People's Campaign. Yes, we are going to bring the tired, the poor, the huddled masses. ... We are not coming to engage in any histrionic gesture. We are not coming to tear up Washington. We are coming to demand that the government address itself to the problem of poverty. ... We are coming to ask America to be true to the huge promissory note that it signed years ago. And we are coming to engage in dramatic nonviolent action, to call attention to the gulf between promise and fulfillment; to make the invisible visible. Why do we do it this way? We do it this way because it is our experience that the nation doesn't move around questions of genuine equality for the poor and for black people until it is confronted massively, dramatically in terms of direct action.

-Martin Luther King Jr.

Unfortunately Dr. King who was a target of the Warrantless Wiretapping by the FBI was murdered before he made it to Washington for the Poor People's Campaign.

The Loop Garoo Kid said...

Let us not forget that Dr. King was murdered by a white man.

I must agree that the black leaders to whom you refer are less inspiring than Dr. King. I may also be guilty of understatement, but also rmember two things; First, there have been few leaders of Dr. King's stature in our country's history. Secondly, he was a product of his times. There was a need for greatness and he filled it. Sadly, like all who schieve greatness and die young, we are not only left w/ what might have been, but also w/ a reality poignantly expressed by A.E. Houseman's "To an Athlete Dying Young."