Embracing self-destructive behavior gets us nowhere, no matter what race or culture we are
Bob Herbert, being African American, can write what is true, without immediately being silenced, ridiculed, or defamed by the ever-present monitors of American Political Correctness.
Extracts from Mr. Herbert’s essay include:
Parental neglect, racial discrimination and an orgy of self-destructive behavior have left an extraordinary portion of the black male population in an ever-deepening pit of social and economic degradation.
The astronomical jobless rates for black men in inner-city neighborhoods are both mind-boggling and heartbreaking. There are many areas where virtually no one has a legitimate job.
More than 70 percent of black children are born to unwed mothers. And I’ve been hearing more and more lately from community leaders in poor areas that moms are absent for one reason or another . . . .
The abominable incarceration rates among blacks are the result of two overwhelming factors: the persistence of criminal behavior by a significant percentage of the black population, and a criminal justice system that in many respects is racially discriminatory and out of control.
What is needed is a dramatic mobilization of the black community to demand justice on a wide front — think employment, education and the criminal justice system — while establishing a new set of norms, higher standards, for struggling blacks to live by.
Terrible injustices have been visited on black people in the United States, but there is never a good reason to collaborate in one’s own destruction.
© 2010 Bob Herbert, Too Long Ignored, New York Times (20 August 2010) (italics added)
In contrast, Native American nations are doing something admirable in Oklahoma
Pertinent to Bob Herbert’s essay is the presence of television advertising sponsored by a few of Oklahoma’s Native American nations that are designed to instill pride and elicit respectful attention.
The ads are simply, but beautifully done. They often focus on the contributions that a single person has made. They are inspiring in their constructive embrace of humanity.
What we choose to define us ultimately does
Abandoning one’s children and letting them grope later for pride ─ amorphously scattered about in whatever directions their damaged sense of selves will look ─ is not helpful. Yet that is what the African-American experience has become.
Justice rarely comes from oppressors
Virtually all of the harm that has been done to African-Americans came from enslavement and unrelenting oppression by whites. But since those guys aren’t going to fix anything, it is time for a core of African-Americans to design and sponsor ways out of their young men’s downward spiral.