by field negro, Sat Jul 29, 2006 at 06:23:09 AM EDT
There was a recent story in the Philadelphia Inquirer about the poor performance of inner city schools that broke my heart. I knew the statistics were daunting, but reading this report from the Philadelphia Inquirer brought it home. Black males in Philadelphia make up 14% of the population, yet 50% of them between the ages of 15-29 were the victims of violence in Philadelphia this past year. Only 9% of black eight graders scored at grade level or better reading, compared to 33% of white boys.
Here in Philadelphia, the city has already recorded over 223 homicides; most of them young black males. This is an alarming rate even for a large urban area like Philadelphia. And as is always, the usual suspects are being blamed. The schools, the criminal justice apparatus, the "man", a lack of funding for social programs, blah,blah,blah.
Here is the deal; as black folks we have no one to blame but ourselves. This is a largely self created crises, that can only be solved when we start taking responsibility for our own actions. Brothers, start spending time with your children, go back home to your families, and start raising these children that are being raised by the streets. If you have multiple families, make more time to spend with your offspring, and take less time to hang on the corner and play basketball with your boys. I am sick of seeing these young men being raised by one generation of females after another with no positive role models in their homes.
Many of you-I am still talking to black folks-are will be in church this Sunday morning. You will be singing, clapping, and giving praise for all that you have been blessed with. Nothing wrong with wanting to be saved. A little insurance policy for when you check out from this life and go to another one can't hurt. But we also have to make sure that our present life right here and now on earth, is right too. It's nice to invest in your local church financially and emotionally. Lord knows that the Pastor could always use more members and a new church. But how about investing some of that emotional and financial capital into your communities and homes? Believe me, you will be just as good a Christian for it. I challenge some of these Pastors -who preach a good game, to be more proactive in their communities with their time and resources. Start walking the walk to go along with that nice talk that you give every Sunday morning when you want us to throw something in the offering plate. Or when you want us to support your political benefactor.
And speaking of poIitics, I see where Mr. Steeler, and Governor wanna be, Lynn Swann, took a bus tour of barber shops in Philly. He was supposedly trying to talk to the people and learn what ails the communities in which they live. Well, nice try Lynn, but most black people see your little bus tour for what it was; just another campaign ploy to drum up some black support. It aint gonna happen, so you could have saved some gas for your busses, and some time for yourself. Now if you can promise to talk to the legislators in the Western part of the state to try to do something about the ridiculous gun laws in Pennsylvania, well, then, we might be on to something. But I doubt if you will, because you need that Western Pennsylvania vote, just as much as you need the black votes in Philly. And I don't think that you, or any other Governor of this state will lift a finger to work on the educational crisis, or, the out of control crime rate that's plaguing these mean streets. That would cause you too much political capitol, and cause you to lose...Gasp! The white vote.
So this is why I am talking directly to black folks. Mr. Swann might look like you, but trust me, he isn't here to help you. The only one that can help you is looking at you in the mirror every day. So let's stop all the talking, praying, and marching. And let's start acting, organizing, and working. Before it's too late for all of us. Even the smooth talking Mr. Swann.