In her comments on yesterday's post, my dear Comrade-In-The-Struggle, SMID, asks some hard questions. Thanks for asking them, my friend. Here are my thoughts:
The effects of persistent racism cannot be ignored. They are real. They are present in most facets of life in America if you aren't white. They aren't going away soon. Having said that, there are effects of persistent racism that can be ameliorated by taking the bull by the horns and wrestling him to the ground.
The first thing to do, in minority communities, is to turn away from the cult of low expectations. One thing that I consistently hear from people, particularly black Americans is "it doesn't matter what you do, the white man (also known as "the man", or "whitey" isn't going to let you get ahead, so why try?" I get angry when I hear it, and routinely respond: "Yeah, well one thing is for sure, whitey doesn't have to worry about keeping YOU down... you are already doing it to yourself, and your family, for him". Look, as I said at the start of this post, I realize that racism is real, and it is tangible... but so what? When we tell our children that speaking clear, standard English is "talking white", we doom another generation to low income, underemployment, and subsistence wages. When we tell a child that reading, studying, and getting good grades is "acting white", we doom another generation to being laborers (not that there is anything WRONG with labor, mind you), or worse, criminals/convicts.
Low expectations are a societal killer.
The next thing to do is to embrace all of the bountiful educational possibilities in our communities. Even the crappiest of public schools beats learning to read surreptitiously, because it is illegal... Yes, schools in predominantly minority areas continue to lag, but I refuse to lay all of the blame at the feet of "whitey". Educational achievement is driven by parental participation and interest. If a kid's parent gives them the old line about "Whitey" the kid allows himself not to be bothered... after all, he hasn't got a chance anyway.
Further... the biggest reason that some schools get the best resources is because of low voter turnout... politicians don't really have to pay attention to people that don't vote, because those people won't turn them out of office. So VOTE. In. Every. Election.
The next thing to do is read. Yes, simply that. Read. Read everything. Read all of the time. Whatever you might not be getting in your crappy school, you can get in books. Go to your library. It's free. Whitey can't keep you from getting a library card.
***Special shout out to Mrs Jefferson, the librarian in the kids section of the Vauxhall Public Library, on Hilton Avenue!***
The next thing to do is to keep sports and entertainment in their proper places in your priorities. The NBA and the NFL are fine goals, but then again, so is becoming an astronaut... and your chances for the latter are just as good or bad as the former. We have to stop idolizing athletes and entertainers for the evil deeds that SOME of them commit.
Sure, be proud of the accomplished athlete, but understand that athletic prowess isn't a stand-in for having to obey the law. Criminal behavior is nothing to emulate.... even when that criminal is the President of The United States, the Vice President, or some lying sonofabitch from Texas who happens to be the Attorney General... but I digress.
The next thing is to show a little respect for your own body. KEEP YOUR DICK IN YOUR PANTS!/KEEP YOUR PANTIES ON! Having sex won't make you an adult. You can wait... so can she. Statistics abound on the poor high school graduation rates in minority communities for unwed mothers, and their subsequent effects. It's enough to make you cry... and whitey, again, can't be held responsible for it.
The most important thing to do in minority communities is to foster the belief in the two-parent household. No... a two-parent household doesn't guarantee success, but it sure as hell increases the odds for success. Whitey isn't controlling that, either.
No... "the man" is problematic, but we can't, or shouldn't do his work for him.
As I mentioned a few weeks ago at brother DJ Black Adam's blog, no rescue is coming, we are going to have to get off of the island on our own.