What's Wrong With Baltimore....What's Wrong With America
It's time to stop the division in our country. And it's up to we, the people, to do it.
You would have to have been buried under a rock this week to not be aware of what's been happening in Baltimore Maryland.
Most of us have been treated to a daily dose of video and commentary and profanity and opinions and lies and violence.
And many of us have, sadly, seen and heard it all before. Riots like these have been happening since I was a teenager in the 60s.
This isn't new. And that's what's wrong with Baltimore and every other inner city ghetto in America. And the fact that it ISN'T new and that it keeps happening, is what's so very wrong with our culture.
Its happened before and it will continue to happen long after all the Kumbaya sports figures and Hollywood types etc have left Baltimore with their promises for justice and keeping their cities safe etc. etc. etc.
I watched awhile ago, on television, as protestors marched thru the streets of Baltimore accompanied by this famous black athlete and that famous black actor, all claiming that they're there today to “give back” and remind those inner city blacks, that they can rise above the poverty and the drug and gang influences. It makes them feel good about themselves to march with their brothers in solidarity.
Forgive my doubts and my pessimism and my general feeling of you athletes and Hollywood types being self-serving and sanctimonious because here's the real truth:
You'll leave in a few days and you'll go back to your gated communities and your fancy cars and generally speaking, your sparkling, glittery lives, where you'll be insulated from the gritty world you just left.
You've given lip service and that's about all you've given. And so have the politicians and the race baiters who claim that more money thrown at the problems is what's needed.
And the tragedy in all of this is that those people, the ones left behind, deep down inside, they know. They know that all of you who are there right now with all the right words and platitudes and promises are just big bags of wind. They've seen and heard it all before and they're tired of hearing it and hoping that it might come true. They'll go home pumped up and begin waiting for something that wont happen.
Keep your words. Keep your money. What they need in these ghettos is your TIME.
Regardless of whether or not you agree that much of the issues in the ghetto trace back to single parent families where there is no father, there have been enough studies done which point to the fact that many of these young kids ARE the result of not enough parenting, not enough caring, not enough love, and not enough time. (see Moynihan Report below). Black leaders and politicians have been fighting against the theory that the fatherless black home is a root cause of the troubles we see in the ghettos for a long time now. They don't want to admit it because its easier to lay blame on someone or something else.
They should just stop. The statistics are simply overwhelming. We can point fingers. We can blame. Lets face it, theres more than enough blame to go around. But finger pointing isn't going to help solve the problems and the problems are huge and they are getting bigger. Its time for black church leaders to rise up and make themselves seen and heard in their communities. They need to be central figures in all of these war torn areas where gangs roam the streets threatening the decent people who must still inhabit those areas because they are too poor to move. Church leaders, NOT politicians need to become central in the revamping of the black ghetto. Politicians and race baiters are only in this for their own self gain and to line their own pockets. They promise this and they promise that and they give great speeches and then they fall away like the athletes and Hollywood types will in a week or so when the dust settles in Baltimore.
These problems arent going to be fixed quickly. And anyone who thinks that throwing a couple of million dollars into new buildings in the ghetto, or hiring a black mayor simply because she's black, or having a black president is the answer to the malaise we have seen for decades in these communities is proof positive that reality is being ignored.
Young black boys are being indoctrinated into gang life early. I was astounded when I saw the young boy whose mother beat his sorry butt on the now gone viral video from Baltimore the other night. Without his black hood and sweatshirt covering his face, he looked not much older than my 13 yr old grandson. And my heart kinda broke a little when I thought that his life could easily be over before it ever really began. Hes more than likely one of the lucky ones. And I believe there will come a day when he will look back on the day his Mama smacked his ass all over national television and be grateful and thankful that she did.
But for every one like him, who has a caring mother, there are how many who don't? There is no father waiting at the front door ready to rain down holy hell on his son for roaming the streets for most of these kids. And single mother's are either too tired or worse, they don't care.
You cannot expect children to grow up in the straight and narrow without love, support and guidance, but even worse, with negative influences all around which are contradictory to living decent lives.
Years ago there were organizations The Boys Club, for example, or Big Brothers. I don't know if they still exist and if they do, to what extent they do get involved. I know that one of my favorite television shows, Blue Bloods, has shown an inner city program, run by the police, where the cops are actually involved in mentoring young, oppressed black kids. They get them involved in sports and after school programs and they give them their TIME and their CARING.
Now look, I get it, its television and not the real world....or is it?
It might take years and it probably will. But we need more people to give more time to get to these young kids before its too late. If we cannot fix the problem of single parent homes, then we MUST recognize that those children are at risk and most likely going to end up in crime and probably prison, or worse...death.
The black community needs to rally around this and organize to save their kids. Black people with means need to put their money where their mouths are and get back to the ghetto. Not to march or be seen on television. Not to give pompous speeches. And certainly not to promise and then fail. And they need to do it not when the cameras are rolling after another riot breaks out. They need to do it on a Monday or a Friday or a Wednesday and any other day of the weeks, months, even years that its going to take to start making a change.
They need to roll up their sleeves and mentor these young people. They need to develop programs to keep these kids in school and if they've already dropped out of school, then the mentors need to help these kids develop a trade. Mentors need to counsel young girls on why getting pregnant without benefit of a father is setting her and her baby up for a lifetime of poverty and misery. In short, these mentors need to save lives.
And they can. They can, where no white person can and I have to wonder if its not already being done, why its not being done.
We will all benefit. The entire country benefits. If we keep on going the way we are, I fear for all of us and our once great country will fail at the most basic tenet of what our forefathers spoke of...human dignity and the right to pursue happiness.
And we will, sadly, all pay for that.
Its never too late to try to if lives can be turned around, then it will have been worth it.
The Moynihan Report
- Moynihan Report Facts, information, pictures | Encyclopedia.com articles about Moynihan Report
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Statistics on Black Fatherless Families
- BLACK MALES - AN ENDANGERED SPECIES - Contending For The Faith
This article first appeared in NRB (National Religious Broadcasters) Magazine.