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Somewhere in America

Updated on July 9, 2015

Somewhere in America, a young black man fires a gun and another young black man lies dead.

Somewhere in America, a black man stands before a judge to be sentenced for a crime.

Somewhere in American, a young man or woman spends far more time worrying about what’s on his or her head than what is in it.

Somewhere in America

Who are we to blame for this?

Somewhere in America, a young black woman opens her legs and begins the nine month process of having another child that she cannot afford to raise without government assistance.

Somewhere in America, a young black man is unsure of the number of children that he has fathered because he neither sees nor supports them.

Somewhere in America, because she’s never felt love, because she’s never been told that her life has value and is a beautiful and precious thing, a young black woman sells her body for the first time and will never be the same again.

Somewhere in America

Who are we to blame for this?

Somewhere in America, a young black man or woman starts down the road to drug addiction and physical and moral degradation.

Somewhere in America, despite a two-term president who is a man of color, who is highly educated, intelligent and articulate, a young black child painfully discovers that to speak as if you’re educated is to be accused of speaking white. So that child lowers their expectations in order to fit in, and they remain that way.

Somewhere in America, self-anointed or media appointed “black leaders” lead demonstrations against racism and demand apologies for slavery but are mute on the issue of self-genocide and rampant ignorance.

Somewhere in America

Who are we to blame for this?

Should we blame America for its well documented history of slavery and Jim Crow, for systemic, pervasive and institutional racism that has still not been completely eradicated? Should we blame gun manufacturers, lax gun laws, the easy availability of drugs, the apparent sky high cost of birth control devices, the demonstrated disparity in the judicial system, the lack of jobs for young black people, the demise of the two parent home, the absence of community and family role models, and on and on and on?

While blaming, should we take time to wonder how and why so many with only a rudimentary grasp of our language and customs can immigrate to America from China, from India, from the African continent, from Mexico and Central America, from Russia and the Middle East, from so many far-flung places and succeed here in building a prosperous and productive life while so many of our children cannot?

Who are we to blame for this?

Should we accept that creating a child confers a lifelong responsibility and begins an unspoken covenant with society to produce a productive and contributing member to that society? Or is that unreasonable?

And if this is unreasonable, who are we to blame for that?

Who are we to blame if we fail to limit our birth output to our financial capability.

Who are we to blame if we fail to live a life that provides a positive example for our children.

Who are we to blame if we continually espouse and portray the belief that there’s no point in working to get ahead because there is no ahead to be gotten.

Who are we to blame if we continue to view education as optional and not mandatory. Ignorance isn’t embedded in DNA but it is an easily inherited trait.

Who are we to blame if failure is the only option we provide our children and we treat as hilarious the notion that education and a commitment to productive ventures can improve our lives.

And again I ask, who are we to blame for the social, moral, physical and legal ills that have befallen so many black Americans?

In America, even the poorest of homes has at least one mirror. Perhaps that mirror might be used less for vanity and more for soul-searching, less for the cosmetic and more for the moral, less for touching up and more for looking in depth. So, let us start with ourselves and then, when we know that we have done all that we can do to produce healthy, morally sound, caring, committed, educated young people, let’s see if there is any blame left that needs to be assigned. I think we may find, to our great surprise, that there is much less cause for blame than we originally believed.

Somewhere high above America, our ancestors surely look down and bemoan the waste of their tribulations, their sacrifices, their determination and their hard won victories. They must wonder how we’ve strayed so far from the path that they forged and how we became so lost.

Somehow, in America, we must regain that path and begin moving forward. And if we don’t, if we fail at that, who are we to blame?

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    • Robert Litchfield profile image

      Bob Litchfield 2 years ago from Ohio

      Thank you for an amazing piece. This should be posted on the refridgerator of every home in America....not just black homes, but all homes. All good things in life begin with accepting personal responsibility. Attempts to blame others for our misdeeds doesn't and shouldn't let us off the hook.

    • Robert Litchfield profile image

      Bob Litchfield 2 years ago from Ohio

      Thank you for an amazing piece. This should be posted on the refridgerator of every home in America....not just black homes, but all homes. All good things in life begin with accepting personal responsibility. Attempts to blame others for our misdeeds doesn't and shouldn't let us off the hook.