“Black Lives Matter”, “Hands Up Don’t Shoot” — all slogans that incite riots, looting and bad behavior. I agree Black lives matter, I am Black and so are my children, my brothers and some of my family to one degree or another. But what happens when the slogan is used as an excuse for anti-social behavior such as thievery, murder, assault, poor manners, shutting down the speech of opposing voices, bullying and menacing? What about the fact that the finger is always pointed outward …… at others in order that THEY might DO something FOR YOU rather than taking the responsibility of doing for yourself.
Tonight I watched the footage of the rioting in Ferguson, Missouri. The “peaceful” protests were in commemoration of the shooting of Michael Brown. And what about Michael Brown? What in the world are we commemorating the demise of a young man who likely would have KILLED a policeman if the policeman did not shoot him in the process of this assault? What are we commemorating? The fact that he stole a cigarillo from a convenience store and literally threatened the store owner or manager with his actions? What are we using to recognize the passing of Michael Brown, the legendary “hero” of the angry protesters? A “fantastic” slogan made up from a lie concocted by his accomplice, a man by the name of Dorian Johnson, who is now in trouble with the law himself for assaulting a police officer.
So what are we commemorating? One robbery, two assaults, and one lie. I ask you have we lost our minds? One robbery, two assaults, and one lie. resulted in the White House sending two officials with the White House Office of Public Engagement as well as one Broderick Johnson, chairman of the My Brother’s Keeper Task Force to a prominent funeral for a man who got shot as a result of assaulting a police officer after stealing a cigarillo. No White House officials, though, were part of the presidential delegation sent last year to Thatcher’s funeral. She was just the Prime Minister of a country..
One robbery, two assaults and one lie, caused people for two years in a row to destroy the very meager surroundings that is now Ferguson, Missouri.
I ask, what is the “anger” for? And I ask, how will burning out your won hometown going to solve this anger? A new police chief has been hired, new people put in place, all Black. As of 2014, the community itself has a 13 percent unemployment rate, more than double that of the national average. The household net worth in that community is $10,000, a third less than the national average. In addition the unemployment rate for Blacks are roughly 3 percent higher —- coming in at about 16 percent.
Does this point to racism? Maybe, but before we look OUTSIDE to what OTHERS might think of us, it might be worthwhile to look inside. In order to have a “job”, one must have something to offer. In other words, the “job” must be available, and the labor supply must have the adequate skills to fill that job as well as the willingness and discipline to be reliable and competent at the job.
Two thirds of the 21K residents of Ferguson are Black. Less than on-third are White and there are some mixed race families in the rest of the population as well as other races. So the preponderance to the population is Black.
The Normandy school district from which Michael Brown graduated is one of the poorest school districts in Missouri. Schools are usually supported by the taxes paid in the district, and as I have stated, Ferguson does not boast an affluent population base. The district ranked last in overall academic performance and had lost its accreditation by 2014.
Fifty percent of the black males that attend Normandy High School do not graduate. And only 25 percent of the 50 percent left 25 percent attend college. This amounts to roughly a college attendance rate of 12.5% overall for Black males in this district.
In contrast, in the nearby Clayton Public School, which is predominantly Caucasian, the district is among the top 10 percent of the state, 96 percent of the students graduate from high school and 84 percent will go on to attend four year universities.
So, is it “racism” that encourages 50 percent of the young Black men to leave school in the Normandy district? Are they so concerned about the accreditation of the schools so they prefer to drop out? No.
I am going to put forth and idea here that we have to wrap our minds around and understand. IT IS , WHAT IT IS . We WORK for change, we don’t wait for others to give it to us and we certainly don’t “tear up” our own surroundings like wild people because it won’t be forthcoming. From the time that we appeared on the face of this earth, the person across the street, the family next door, the girl that sits in the front of the class and the boy that plays great basketball has always been richer, luckier, prettier and more athletic. Life just ain’t darned fair.
I remember when my brother was in medical school and he would study for hours and he felt that it was unfair that his nemesis, a fellow that he always felt competition from was able to spend the evening drinking and shooting pool, after which he settled in to “look over” his notes. Both received the same “A’s”, graduated the top of their class and are both Blessed with the title of Dr. One just had to work a bit harder. My brother made his life “fair” one hour at a time and probably 4 more hours than his school chum per night.
Another example, my daughter is 5 foot nothing. Really 4’11”, but we give her the inch. She is also small boned. But….. she is on the college volleyball team. We went to the exhibition game this summer. She will no doubt be the shortest and smallest team member. She will just have to jump higher, move faster and learn to “duck” if necessary. If life were “fair” she would be five inches taller and the rest of the team at least three inches shorter. Then life would be “fair”, but she will have to make her “fairness” where she can get it…. by jumping higher and serving harder.
What I am talking about is more than wearing a tee-shirt with the slogan “Black Lives Matter” and screaming this in other people’s faces or stomping on the American flag……. make the best of even the raggy-taggy school in the Normandy District and then you can make a difference. Is it fair that one school is “better” than the other? Nope, not at all. But if your life, as a Black person, matters, take the lemon and make lemonade. YOU can make it fair by taking what you have and caring about the outcome.
How fair is your life and how much does it matter to you when you drop out of school and “hang” all day long? Is the “education fairy” going to grant you an education? Or if you are jealous because you don’t attend to the “predominantly white” school in the other county……. are you dropping out to drop into that school or just to sit on the porch or stand at the corner store, or get high, or rob a store, or sell drugs….. or assault a police officer?
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (C.D.C.), in 2013 in nearly 72 percent of births to non-Hispanic black women, the mothers were unmarried. In Ferguson, an important but unreported indicator of Ferguson’s dilemma is that half of young African-American men are missing from the community. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, while there are 1,182 African-American women between the ages of 25 and 34 living in Ferguson, there are only 577 African-American men in this age group. In other words there are more than two young black women for each young black man in Ferguson. Simply put, this is almost a rooster in the hen house scenario. I ask you, is that “fair” to the children? So if Black lives matter and we feel that is important, should we not take this into consideration?
The bottom line here is this, YES life is “unfair” – we can’t get everything we want anytime we want it or just because the person “over there” has it. YES, there are consequences for our actions and these consequences may be “unfair” but if we did not do the “deed”, the “unfairness” would not have been imposed upon us. For example, if you get drunk, drive your car through the front showroom of a Mercedes dealership at 1:00 am and then resist arrest…. you might get shot. Is that “unfair”? Well… it just depends upon your point of view, but I suggest that you might have been fair to yourself by foregoing that “adventure” and realizing that your life mattered … regardless of your race.
No one is doubting that “racism” exists and there are people out there who hate you “just because” you are not the right color, not the right religion, not the right height and/or not the right…… But you can’t help that and you have no control over what they think. You just have control over how YOU react, how you “matter to yourself”. It begins and ends with respect….. for yourself and others.
Black lives should matter to Black people. All lives should matter, to ALL people. We, as a nation, need to GROW UP.