My Brother’s Keeper Won’t Keep

In my opinion, the president’s initiative, “My Brother’s Keeper”- an attempt to effectively target and positively influence the lives of young black men, may be too little too late.  This initiative should have been a priority five years ago, immediately after the president was inaugurated into office.  If not then, it definitely should’ve been implemented when blacks and some of their “leaders” were beseeching him to do something significant for his most faithful demographic.

Remember his response?  Obama said that he’s not just the president of black America; he’s the President of all America. The president made this statement having already signed and touted the Lily Ledbetter Act (pandering to women), the DREAM-Act executive order that granted a reprieve from deportation of illegals immigrants (pandering to Hispanics); repealing the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy regarding gays in the military and “evolving” and promoting same-sex marriage, and verbally signaling that his administration would no longer defend DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act – a congressionally-passed law, in court (which panders to gays).

In other words, the president told blacks to beat it.  The president essentially told blacks that there wasn’t enough political capital to be gained by doing something for them.  In the president’s mind, there were more important things to do than to worry about black socio-economic pathologies- no matter how damaging they were/are to blacks and the country.

At that time the national unemployment rate was 8.1% (88,897,000 not in the labor force) but the black unemployment rate was 13.9% (11,588,000 not in the labor force) and for black teens it was 38.3%.*

Funny the difference presidential unpopularity polls make.

So in his endeavor to influence these polls and ward off the quack of “lame duck” status, the president turns his short attention span to the most loyal of political pawns- black America.

Many blacks agree with Raymond Winbush, director of the Institute for Urban Research at Morgan State University, when he said, “It’s better late than never. We’ve been patient with President Obama.”

I’m sorry, but this initiative is a momentary nod- a fist-bump- to black Americans, as if to say, “Here you go… I didn’t forget about you. Don’t say I never did anything for you.  Now run along and continue to support me- from over there.”

And sadly, blacks will be filled with pride from this better-late-than-never gesture because the black President has finally looked their way- regardless of how shallow, insincere and fleeting this public relations pandering is.**

Watch Don Lemon.

Don’t get me wrong; something qualitative needs to be done to address the moral, social and economic calamities plaguing black communities across the country.  And the name of this initiative works.

Indeed we are our brother’s keeper, but not necessarily through the vehicle of government.

But the content and conversation surrounding the initiative that doesn’t.

I think the noble-sounding intentions of this program are obvious- they have to be for President Obama to significantly influence and increase his likeability among Americans.  Again, no matter how the BS is spun coming from the WH pressroom, the president pays attention to poll numbers.

But what will the results be?  That’s what ultimately defines and gives integrity to intentions- the results they produce.  And if history is our guide regarding government programs, the results will be terrible.

Doesn’t matter though; this program will be forgotten by next week.  Why?  Because the conversation that needs to be had, won’t.

The president talking about the ills of marijuana is good start- as are imploring people to recognize that the negative statistics coming from black communities represent real people; so was the president identifying with the young men present as also coming from a single-parent home.  But in reality, Obama’s personal experience was FAR removed from the inner cities, and for good reason.  But these gestures only go so far.  

The real conversation is discussing why these pathologies are plaguing black communities in the first place.  It’s a very painful conversation, saturated with tough love and accepting personal responsibility.  Nevertheless, blacks desperately need to have and hear this conversation, though very few people are willing to engage it.

The president is right when he says that the reality of life for young black men is an outrage, and that taking the necessary steps in redeeming that life is a moral issue.

But what needs to be said is that- it’s a moral issue that black children be born within the consecrated bounds of marriage.  As it stands now, black women- who are at most 6% of the population, represent 30% of all abortions performed.  It’s shockingly worse in places like New York and Mississippi.  Of the children lucky enough to be carried to term, 73% of them are born illegitimately.  Of that 73%, almost forty percent will live in poverty.

The stigma and shame associated with having illegitimate children needs to be resurrected.  Now- like yesterday, now.

It’s a moral issue that blacks create and provide nurturing environments for themselves and their children.  As it stands now blacks create and perpetuate some of the most violent homes and communities in the country, which encourages and breeds violence, resulting in innocent children being killed in the midst of such violence.  In addition, the black-on-black crime that this violence represents is a self-evident existential and national embarrassment.

It’s a moral issue that children be allowed an opportunity to receive access to quality education. As it stands now, not only do blacks lack the familial foundation, which contributes to the academic stagnation seen from first through twelfth grades, but black parents also support the very political party- funded by teacher’s unions- that assiduously delivers the substandard education that nourishes bad habits and poor character to black children.  Yes- the Democrat party stands as a proud and defiant obstacle between poor parents and quality education reform.

As a friend recently observed, blacks seem like a suicidal people in many ways.  Not only will they not raise a voice or lift a finger to change their self-immolating ways but they will verbally- and sometimes physically- attack and fight anyone who does.

Woefully, this seems to be nothing short of the truth.

There truly is NO dysfunction- both external in social, moral and economic pathologies, and internally for the virtually debilitating nature of rejecting change- like that which continues to contaminate black America. It’s sad, pathetic and angering. Nothing short of a religious/spiritual awakening can redeem this situation.

The president has promised that his newly created task force will report back to him when assessing “the impact of Federal [state and local] policies, regulations and programs…” to see what works, what doesn’t and what can be created and developed to have positive impacts on black youth.

Please understand, this will be a colossal waste of time.  Since Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society” programs, blacks have been inundated with federally-funded social programs, provisions, set asides and the like which have essentially abetted the very same problems the government claimed to have wanted to fix.  Fifty years of ineffective government programs offering assistance which has robbed blacks of their self-dignity, the nobility of work and self-sufficiency- and suddenly this initiative will be the one that will open the eyes of the socio-political do-gooders, making them realize that… they’re part of the problem?

I doubt it. So does the reader.

Blacks need help, period.  No one denies this, but another government program? We’ve used crutches for so long that our legs have atrophied.  We remember standing and walking, but we don’t remember how it feels.  We need to accept and do our part in self-rehabilitation. We need to return to prayer so that God will “break the bars of our yoke that we may walk with our heads held high” (Lev. 26:13b). It will be a difficult process; it will take some time and yes, it will hurt.  But unless we can first prove to ourselves, and then to others, that we possess the internal fortitude and disposition to embrace inevitable pain and overcome it, we can forget about crutches, or a wheelchair.

We’ll need a cemetery.

Again, this initiative sounds good, but it simply amounts to more window dressing. Until the country- beginning with blacks- is prepared to seriously and sincerely address the destructive issues encompassing black Americans- in other words, culture change- we will see more of the same half-hearted initiatives and government handouts that we’ve seen for the last fifty years.  The symptoms are reflective of the illness, so let’s cure the illness and the symptoms disappear.

* Keep in mind- these numbers were probably doctored, according to the story found in the NY post -and never recanted- to reflect a better economic picture to aide the president’s re-election effort.

** I think it was a distraction and in poor taste to have the parents of Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis at the president’s speech. Though this initiative has a determined racial focus, obviously, the presence and distraction of these parents- particularly the Martins considering how President Obama manipulated that situation by twice injecting himself into it, excessively politicized and racialized the event in a manner in which it wasn’t needed.

Blacks Must Become Multilingual

This isn’t a call for blacks to learn an additional language to communicate alongside the English we speak now.  Even though Hispanics are an increasing percentage of the population- displacing blacks as the largest minority in the process- I’m not advocating the need to learn Spanish; though that may indeed prove helpful.

What I’m advocating here is something quite different and I believe more practical and much more pressing.  Blacks are monolingual- we only speak one language and oftentimes it’s at our own expense.

The language isn’t English… it’s race.  On occasion, we speak it very well and considering the historical presence of blacks in America, it’s understandable.  From slavery to the Emancipation, from Reconstruction through Jim Crow segregation; from the Civil Rights Movement to the present day- our historical reality in America forced blacks to develop a polished articulation of racial language.

But in twenty-first century America, the language of race is no longer as welcomed or as understandable to hearers as it once was.  The old black/white paradigm of racial semantics is no longer the reality as it used to be.  The presences of Asians, Hispanics- and yes Africans, including other races and ethnicities have drastically changed the vocabulary of racial language.  More and more, mainstream America is closing its ears when blacks speak the language of race- particularly when it’s spoken in the narrative of accusatory victimization.

If blacks continue the delay in conceding this new reality, and stubbornly refuse to adapt and learn other languages, they will become culturally and politically irrelevant.

Some argue that this irrelevancy has already set upon us.

Politically, black irrelevance is already a distressing, self-imposed reality.  It’s the reason that one political party- very intentionally- takes black for granted, while the other political party ignores them altogether.  It’s why both political parties are creating deliberate yet incoherent and destructive strategies of Hispanic outreach and capitulation, even though blacks represented a greater percentage of the electorate in 2008 (12.3%) and 2012 (13.4%) than did Hispanics (7.4% & 8.4%, respectively).

Both parties are fully aware that blacks are self-limiting, one-dimensional racial linguists and that language only goes so far.  It recycles itself but doesn’t create anything of value.

If blacks want to avoid becoming a cultural and political afterthought, and I believe we do, then it is an existential imperative that we become multilingual.

Blacks must learn to speak the language of education- specifically education reform. It’s not simply enough for blacks to mouth empty platitudes about supporting quality education for black children.  It’s even harder when blacks support a political party that steadfastly refuses to deliver meaningful quality education to black children.  The education establishment has intently provided substandard education to black children for generations and will continue to do so until blacks speak the language of education reform so loudly and defiantly that it would be impossible to ignore.  At one point in American history it was illegal to educate blacks and as such, many blacks risked their lives to be educated.  Now that it’s legal, risk isn’t involved but sacrifice is.

Blacks must learn to speak the language of economics.  The past five years, black unemployment has been at or above 15%, twenty-nine times, and at or above 16%, eleven times. Black teen unemployment has been much worse, falling below 35% only three times and reaching 40% or higher, thirty times.  These are catastrophic statistics, and no amount of government handouts is going to rectify this bleak reality in any qualitative way.  In combination with the language of educational reform, blacks need to instruct and expose themselves to the virtue, dignity and incentives of work and entrepreneurship.  From this comes self-sufficiency, respect and greater wealth accumulation.

Blacks must also relearn the language of love- of self and of others.  Blacks accounted for thirty-six percent of all abortions between 2007-2010.  In 2012, 80% of black pregnancies in New York City ended in abortion.  In Mississippi between 1995 and 2010, 72% of black pregnancies ended in abortion.  The sad reality is that abortions are responsible for roughly 1400 deaths of preborn black babies each year.  Those children lucky enough to escape the womb unharmed have a very high likelihood of being killed by another black who was also lucky enough to have been born. Or they have the disproportionate probability of engaging in delinquency and experiencing the correctional system.  This dysfunction is all too pervasive.  Blacks must learn the language of love that: resuscitates the stigma and shame of having illegitimate children and thus, encourages the virtue of marriage prior to having children; that motivates a man to demonstrate a responsible masculinity for his son and an archetype of a future husband for his daughter.  To waste what our antecedents fought and died for is inexcusable.

Blacks must relearn the language of morality and faith. The self-destructive, immoral behavior categorized by a lack of self-discipline exhibited by blacks is enough to make our ancestors weep.  It also gives reason to question if our predecessors struggled and died in vain.  We’ve discarded this language and the effects are undeniable, noticeable to all.  Though blacks continue– in theory- to be the most religious demographic in the country, many blacks do their best to conduct themselves as if they are allergic to dignity, incapable of impulse control, and immune to morality.  We act as if public and personal rules of civility, etiquette, and the rule of law are applicable to everyone except us.  We engage in this imprudence proudly, centered in the many pathologies plaguing black America, characterized by the excessive participation in violence and criminality, the disrespect shown to authority, the disregard we have for ourselves and our families; the production, consumption and romanticizing of sexually explicit and vile images, the indifference shown to the values that guarantee success and the crutch-like dependence on guilt-ridden, racial shakedowns leveraged against white guilt to assert a perverted notion of power – done without sense of shame or a hint of guilt.  It’s not only a slap in the face to those who came before us; it’s offensive and threatening to those who are affected by it.

Blacks used to speak the language of faith and morality well, but you wouldn’t know that today.  We descend from a cultural heritage that was once saturated with a spirit-filled religiosity, grounded in biblical Christianity.  This faith nourished the strength and resiliency that buttressed the spirit against the evils, pain and anguish associated with slavery, segregation and the successful fight for civil rights.  This same faith was the foundation upon which our forefathers molded the integrity of their character and the dignity of their humanity, despite the doubts and difficulties they faced.  If they could do it, considering what the many obstacles they faced, I know for certain we can do it.

These are but a few of the languages that blacks must learn to ensure cultural respectability, moral legitimacy and political relevance.  Again, developing the talent of multilingualism isn’t a suggestion; it’s a prerequisite for self-preservation.  The once obligatory language of race, spoken with a specific articulation, sincerity and urgency in American history, has virtually become obsolete. Our failure to adapt to the changing linguistic landscape will result in blacks being completely left behind in a reality only they recognize.

And it will be our fault.

Smearing “Uncle” Thomas

Over twenty years after being nominated and confirmed to the Supreme Court, Justice Clarence Thomas still raises the ire of the Left.  No sooner did he finish his speech lamenting that society has grown more race conscious and too sensitive regarding racial identities, the liberal mentality he identified as being the source of such racism validated his point.

Rep. Alvin Holmes, D- Montgomery expressed his dislike for Clarence Thomas simply because “he’s married to a white woman.”  Holmes then “backtracked” his original statement, saying it was “misinterpreted,” Holmes “clarified” his position regarding Thomas saying, “ I don’t like him at all because he’s an Uncle Tom.”

Well, I’m glad Holmes cleared that up.

That Justice Thomas has been charged with being an “Uncle Tom,” a “sell out,” a “house slave,” and worse, isn’t new.  Simply search Google and see what Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Michael Eric Dyson, Spike Lee, Julianne Malveaux and many self-identified Democrat liberals have said in disparaging Justice Thomas.  But the denigration of Justice Thomas points to something more sinister and ugly.

Think about what Rep. Holmes said about Justice Thomas, what so-called “reverend” William Barber of the North Carolina NAACP recently said about Senator Tim Scott; what black Democrats and others have said about Lt. Col. Allen West, what the racial provocateurs on MSNBC has said about Thomas, Dr. Ben Carson and Herman Cain (here, here and here) and what many other self-identifying liberals and progressives have said about the aforementioned… what does it represent?

These examples illuminate the continued emotional dysfunction of many blacks caused by perpetually embracing a racial identity that incorporates the silly, archaic and destructive notion of black “authenticity.”  Blacks are the only group who willingly canabalizes their own members for independent thinking and behavior that deviates from the accepted narrative of black victimization.  Truly a self-defeating, tribal mentality.

But it also illustrates the only acceptable form of racism that’s encouraged and applauded is that against black conservatives. And it always originates from the left.  Always. Democrat racism is good; Republican or conservative racism is bad. This intentional double standard and narrative is used as an effective strategy to intimidate more blacks away from thinking for themselves and toward intellectual and political freedom.  In other words, keeping blacks in their place.

And blacks suffer as a result.

The life and achievements of Justice Clarence Thomas should be held as an example for all Americans to follow.  He transcended poverty, embraced the values of hard work, self-discipline and determination and reached the jurisprudential heights of the Supreme Court of The United States.  By all accounts, Justice Thomas is a decent and honorable man.

But none of that matters to those who only see “race.”