Wake Up, Everybody! People are Dying

What's it going to take before we wake up?

Yesterday's report on black employment is yet another in a long list of sad statistics highlighting the death spiral of the black community in America. It's gotten to the point now where I can recite them in my sleep. I certainly haven't hesitated to write and speak about them.

We've got a problem, however, because no matter how many of us yell, "The house is on fire!" or how often we yell it, somehow we're the ones doing something wrong.

On one side, we're told we're "blaming the victim" and that we should "keep it in the family" and not "air our dirty laundry in public." After all, either 1) the white man might be watching or, 2) it's all the white man's fault.

On the other side, we're told, "It's not about black and white - we're all Americans!" The discomfort that people have when we address issues specifically from the perspective of the black community is palpable.

Please understand that the next statement I make is not out of hate toward anyone, but I need to say it.

It is all a politically correct, thin-skinned, insecure, ignorant or arrogant pile of excrement, and I, for one, am sick of it, can no longer abide it, and cannot be silent about it.

Wake up, everybody!

People are dying out there, whether it's their spirits being crushed by poor education, illiteracy, poverty, homelessness, or incarceration, or their bodies being killed by abortion, poor health, drug and alcohol addiction, or murder in the streets.

Yes, times are hard for everyone, but we are witnessing the disintegration of a once strong, proud and resilient people, and it is entirely preventable.

Don't tell me I don't have a right to speak out about the struggles in the black community because I don't live "in the streets."

By the grace of God in placing me here in America, and through applying the talents He's given me and not squandering them, I have been greatly blessed. Even though, over the past few years, I've known the shame of being unemployed and struggling to provide for my family, I've kept fighting because I have faith in God, in the ideals of this nation, in the people he's placed in my life, and in myself.

But I don't have to look far to see the tragedy playing out in the black community every day. I talk to my mother and father weekly, and they mourn for my siblings and their children. Out of respect for her, I will spare you the details, but there's nothing of which I speak and write that I don't feel deeply, because it's all in the family.

One of my dearest friends growing up, a cousin only a year or two older than me, who used to dream with me about forming a professional football league someday, destroyed himself with drugs and alcohol. He was living in his mother's home when he died a horrible death from cirrhosis of the liver, literally bleeding to death while he staggered about the room, reaching out for help that wouldn't come.

Another cousin lost years of his life in jail because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. He's a good man and is working hard to be a good husband and raise his children, but one mistake in hanging out with the wrong crowd has cost him dearly.

My brother is an officer with the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Department in Lake Charles, Louisiana. What he sees "in the streets" every day has hardened him, and he's had to confront relatives and old friends in the course of performing his duties.

Too many of my female relatives have children through boys who never learned to be men. They either have to raise the father as well as the children if they're married or, if the boy has run off after impregnating them, they're left alone to fend for themselves and their families.

This isn't an abstract or theoretical issue for me. How dare anyone presume that without knowing me! People I know and love, "my blood" as my family would say, are hurting and dying -- and it is entirely preventable.

Yet I'm "blaming the victim," white liberals and their black overseers say.

Who are you calling a victim? And to my black brothers and sisters, why are you letting them classify you as a victim? Who cares more about you - someone who believes in you and won't let you give up on yourself, or someone who thinks you're a victim? A victim of what? Of whom? Ask the hard questions, people, because they have no answers that make any sense.

Frederick Douglass could have considered himself a victim. He was, instead, a "self-made man," and a site dedicated to such men paid tribute to him and demolished the victimhood narrative in the process:

"When it comes to rags to riches stories, there are no rags lowlier than those worn by American slaves. Rising from the shackles of slavery to extraordinary success required monumental amounts of hard work, tenacity, and passion, and Frederick Douglass had these qualities in spades. Douglass understood that nothing in life would ever be handed to him. When his master’s wife, who had been teaching him the alphabet, was reprimanded for doing so by her husband, Douglass continued to learn to read by interacting with white children and working through any written materials he could find. When he was traded to the cruel mastery of Edward Covey, who regularly whipped Douglass, Douglass confronted his master, getting him to back down and never raise his hand to him again.

"In 1838, Douglass took his greatest risk yet and escaped from slavery to Massachusetts. Douglass soon rose to prominence, becoming an outspoken abolitionist, a spectacular orator, a bestselling author, and a newspaper publisher. After the Civil War, Douglass served as President of the Freedman’s Savings Bank; marshal of the District of Columbia, minister-resident and consul-general to the Republic of Haiti, and chargé d’affaires for the Dominican Republic. During the 1888 Republican Convention, he became the first African-American to receive a vote to be nominated for the Presidency. Dying in 1895, Douglass had risen from slavery to become one of the most prominent and well-respected black men in the United States."

Today’s bleats of victimhood ring hollow in the presence of true manhood like that of Frederick Douglass. You are nobody's victim - unless you choose to be.

Yet the whining continues. I'm airing "dirty laundry," they say.

People, I don't have to air the dirty laundry - it's spilled out all over the streets, and in the headlines for everyone to see. Bill Cosby put it best:

"Your dirty laundry gets out of school at 2:30 every day, it's cursing and calling each other [the N-word] as they're walking up and down the street. They think they're hip. They can't read. They can't write. They're laughing and giggling, and they're going nowhere."

"It's the white man's fault," they say.

Is a white man standing over you, with a gun to your head, forcing you to skip school, do drugs, sleep around, steal, or otherwise "ack a fool," to quote Arthur Brand, Jr. a proud, independent and unbowed black man who I'm honored to call a friend?

You can't control how white people think about, feel about or act towards you, but YOU CAN CONTROL YOU. Do not surrender control of yourself because when you do, and you fail, the only person responsible is the man or woman in the mirror. Author Debra Dickerson nails it:

"I think we have to let go of the notion that we can perfect white people—or that we should even try. Leave their hearts and minds to them...I think our energy would be better spent trying to get this kid into medical school or trying to get that one, who could be a teacher, off the assembly line.

"Also, isn't it white supremacist, all this focus on white people? Why are they so damn important? Why? My husband's white—but screw him. Let him live his own life and me live mine. There's still this sort of awe and wonder about the wonderful white man. Get over it. If we want them to get over race, we need to get over race."

If it's all the white man's fault, then why hasn't our plight improved under the political leadership of black people? According to Star Parker, a strong, proud black woman who escaped life on the streets to become the special individual that God intended her to be:

The average poverty rate in the districts of Congressional Black Caucus members is 20.3 percent -- six points higher than the national average. The average child poverty rate in these districts is 28.8 percent.

Black political scientist Jerry G. Watts says it's time to question whether the election of black mayors has done anything to affect the plight of blacks in those cities:

"First and foremost, we need to bring under scrutiny all of those analytical paradigms that presume that blacks (always imagined as a collective horde) collectively gain political inclusion or incorporation when black elites enter the ranks of a city’s governing elite. After all, black elites have been part of the governing coalition of New Orleans for almost twenty-five years. During that same period, the black poor of New Orleans have become increasingly entrenched in poverty. Simply put, scholars of black politics need to begin asking questions concerning the viability of urban electoral politics as a mechanism for generating upward mobility of impoverished populations. We may discover that electing black mayors has had a minute impact, if any impact at all, on the upward mobility of the poor."

We have a black president, but black unemployment is breaking records, and that's not a good thing.

Think about this - the percentage of black men who have jobs is the lowest it's been since they started keeping records.

What good is having a black face in the White House, the U.S. House, the state house or any other house of government, when nothing changes for the people?

We don't need so-called black leaders - we need to lead ourselves and tell these black leaders to pound sand.

Oh, and spare me the psychobabble about culture and conditioning and all of that. What human beings are not influenced by the world around them, their history, or their immediate environment? The fact we are human beings means we are uniquely equipped to transcend our circumstances, and there are far too many examples in our history, and in modern times, of great men and women who've done just that.

Read "My Bondage and My Freedom" by Frederick Douglass. Read "Up from Slavery" by Booker T. Washington. The list of men and women who were in physical chains, worked, whipped, and bred like livestock and abused like property, yet rose to greatness, is too long and reaches back too far into our history for us to use anything we face today as an excuse.

Read "An American Story" and "The End of Blackness" by Debra Dickerson.

If you can't read, have someone read them to you.

Wake up, people! Those who are making excuses for us are either bleeding hearts whose compassion does nothing to stem the flow of blood in our communities, or they are evil people who have no interest in uplifting us, only in keeping us angry, unforgiving, and downtrodden.

We're the ones who suffer as a result, not them. Some wise person once said, "Unforgiveness is the poison you drink, hoping someone else will die." We need to handle our business, and not let anyone lead us astray.

Finally, to my fellow conservative friends, especially those who are white and uncomfortable with race-based cries for help, allow me to appeal to your sense of reason.

I know this is a difficult time for all Americans, not just black people. But if black people were at the bottom when the Great Recession started, as we plunge into an economic abyss that threatens to bring “The Age of America” to an end, black people are going to hit the ground and die first.

In an emergency room, doctors determine the priority of patients' treatments based on the severity of their condition -- it's called triage. By any measure, this patient is critical and needs immediate attention.

If we are all Americans, as you say we are, and which I believe and embrace wholeheartedly, then we need you to meet us where we are, and not where you would like us to be.

We can't process the advantages to us of individual liberty, equal opportunity, and self-government when our lives are in danger. Jesus Christ fed the hungry, healed the sick, and comforted the broken-hearted so they would be prepared to hear His message of salvation. Likewise, we need you to understand that we must heal physically, spiritually and emotionally before we can receive your message.

Whether it's through community centers, charities, churches or other locally active organizations or individuals, we need those of you who have a heart for people and the skill to engage them directly to come into our communities and work with us to make things better. If government isn't the answer, and I think it's obvious that it's not, you need to be the answer instead.

Please, get out of your comfort zone, just as many black conservatives have done to come to you, immerse yourself in the community and, rather than dictate to us how we should fix things, let us be partners in fixing them. Let black conservatives be the bridge that spans the divide between us.

No, we're not much loved in the black community, but we've still got a better chance of prying open the doors than you do, our numbers are growing, and our message is starting to take hold, especially as the post-civil rights generation looks around and wonders why a half-century of liberal social experiments hasn’t led us to economic prosperity and, in many cases, made things worse.

Most importantly, make a long-term commitment to us. Too many times, conservatives give up on us when they don't get immediate results. It's not a NASCAR race, and it's not a quarterly earnings statement. People are dying, and we need your buy-in for the long haul to save them. Black conservatives aren't going anywhere, so we’ll be right there with you, each one of us using our God-given gifts in service to others.

I know your greatest desire is for us to come together as Americans. I share that desire, and I interact with you and the world on a personal level as a Christian and an American.

Anyone who knows me will tell you that I live out the command of Christ – "love your neighbor as yourself” – and the guidance of Romans 12:18 – “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” – with every fiber of my being.

Race neutrality and unity under one flag is indeed a desirable and worthy goal, but to impose it now as a condition of acceptance is as utopian as some of the liberals' most hare-brained schemes. Be where we are first, and then help us get to where you want us to be.

Wake up, everybody!

Please -- people are dying.