[Original letter writer Ed here]
I don't deny that racism exists. It definitely does. However, the US is arguable less racist than it has ever been. Look at the African-Americans who have achieved success at the higest levels of the government: President Obama, Colin Powell, Condoleeza Rice, even Clarence Thomas.
I've studied the subject and read the literature. But if you don't believe me, please check out Bill Cosby's speech in 2004 to the NAACP or John Singleton's movie Boyz n The Hood. The lesson is culture matters.
Thanks for tackling a serious issue.
PS. What do you mean you don't like lesson #3? How about if I rephrased it to " have children only in the confines of a committed relationship"? Does that work better? :) Two adults in the household in a stable relationship almost always leads to better outcomes. Ask any sociologist or anyone that has studied the data.
@ Jimmy Carter I agree.
The poor,urban, black community doesn't share the same values/ behavior (education, work, children in committed relationships,etc) as the larger society. Victim mentality, perceptions of racism (valid or not), government programs all contribute to this. Absolutely. What the Moynihan report said is that the "ghetto culture" itself and absence of nuclear family also contribute. It's a vicious cycle with the bad values being passed on from generation to generation.
Glorification of gangster life seems to me to be anti-thetical to black progress. Where is the attention to positive black role models? What about Obama, Condoleeza Rice, Colin Powell, Eric Holder, even Clarence Thomas? I would venture to say that America is less racist today than it has ever been.
Look at the Mercury doing a serious piece! Good for you guys.
Race issues in this country are still alive and well, even after the first Black president, as the Trayvon Martin case illustrates. But the elephant in the room is that it is black-on-black violence that is the problem. We may argue about where the line between individual responsibility and societal responsibility should be drawn, but there is definitely a problem. Poor, urban blacks have failed to assimilate in to the larger culture and are stuck in a cycle of poverty and violence. It is unfortunate that his has been going on for decades with no easy solution in sight. Daniel Patrick Moynihan wrote a famous report in 1965, tracing some of the causes back to ghetto culture and the absence of the nuclear family. That's still true today and is the reason why the cops are now arresting the children of the people they used to arrest in earlier decades.
The basic social lessons that everyone should learn are: 1) finish high school 2) get a job 3) don't get pregnant until you are married 4) don't do anything illegal. These are lessons that are passed down from our parents and the larger society. Individuals need to follow those basic rules. And society, through its laws and institutions, should help facilitate the following of those rules. Education, employment opportunities, birth control, welfare reform, criminal justice reform, and drug legalization are some of the levers that can be used.
Hmmm, could it be that the police union is a self-serving group that
1) refuses to change
2) refuses to discipline its own
3) all while extoring healthy salary and benefits from the taxpayers
and I am pro-cop. I realize they have a very difficult job and, especially in Portland, frequently have to deal with the mentally ill.
Public unions should be abolished.
Here is a counter-intuitive idea:
Less homeless on the streets, more shopping, more profit, more tax revenue, more money for social programs that help the homeless.
And vice versa.
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