Blaming blacks for their problems is plain stupid

By: Pamela Ballard

BLACKS in Detroit have had a tough time of it since the 1950s. The auto companies left, the cotton fields were wiped out by the rot of cancer and blight and violence began to percolate through Detroit.

Many of those neighborhoods were not “blighted,” just run down. The houses needed painting, the yards needed mowing, the walking lanes needed sidewalks, the doorways needed opening and closing and the garbage bins needed emptying.

But Detroit was looking a lot worse than it has in a while.

There are 4.1 million black folks living in the United States, and many are elderly or in poverty, yet still they hold the largest number of black votes in the nation.

The majority of these people have lost much of their material possessions, their jobs and their homes, yet they have the least use for anger. The anger is usually more directed toward the national news media and politicians than toward the political parties and even much of the political culture.

There is something more than anger that endures in the hearts of many black people. Anger is tied into being a poor black person or feeling one is poor and believing it to be true. Yet there is still hope to be found, something to hold onto because it is better than no hope at all.

The next president of the United States, Barack Obama, represents hope, something to root for and a man who seems to have a calming effect and a promise of a new order in America.

His hopeful campaign has ignited hope and aspiration. But hope alone is not enough to make much of a difference for the black people of the future and now.

And to be very blunt, hope can only take us so far, and it is unrealistic to think it can do it all.

A generation ago, a new order in the nation was implemented with a “Contract with America” that included things like welfare reform, deregulating the financial industry, privatization of education, raising the national minimum wage and ending welfare.

This new order led to a better environment for both the black people and poor whites.

Now, we have some of the former welfare families needing jobs, some of the former welfare children needing good education and some of the former welfare parents needing good jobs that will allow them to raise their children right, better than ever before.

But there is a problem.

The transformation of the welfare households of Detroit was taken by one black person — Jesse Jackson — into a national movement.

Today, the modern black family is in the crosshairs.

Most blacks are still the same people and leaders we have always been: good, humble, serious and honest. It is not yet time to worry about black families and even more so black children and the black young.

The need and desire for the black family is still there and even stronger than it was in the ’60s and ’70s.

The former president of the United States was an African-American. That person, his family and their concerns and concerns could help keep black families in the forefront of the black family movement. That man should be Barack Obama.

But first, we need to restore the former U.S. presidents and heads of state, who have affected black families and even better families than Obama. We need to take them out of the history books, dust them off and put them in a place where they can help us all — even the former presidents of the United States and the former heads of state.

We need to get those presidents and heads of state back. Put them in the pantry and anywhere that they can help so that they can be worked into helping us get out of our current doldrums.

James E. Cone is the author of The Crime Generation and scores of other books. E-mail him at [email protected]

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