I was listening to Dennis Prager speak about the Trayvon Martin case on his radio show and I was reminded of how far we've come as a nation and how much we have refused to acknowledge. He cited figures from a recent Juan Williams (who is black) article.
Here is a portion:
"The most recent comprehensive study on black-on-black crime from the Justice Department should have been a clarion call for the black community to take action. There is no reason to believe that the trends it reported have decreased since 2005, the year for which the data were reported.
Almost one half of the nation's murder victims that year were black and a majority of them were between the ages of 17 and 29. Black people accounted for 13% of the total U.S. population in 2005. Yet they were the victims of 49% of all the nation's murders. And 93% of black murder victims were killed by other black people, according to the same report.
Less than half of black students graduate from high school. The education system's failure is often a jail sentence or even a death sentence. The Orlando Sentinel has reported that 17-year-old Martin was recently suspended from his high school. According to the U.S. Department of Education's Civil Rights Office, in the 2006-07 school year, 22% of all black and Hispanic K-12 students were suspended at least once (as compared to 5% of whites).
This year 22% of blacks live below the poverty line and a shocking 72% of black babies are born to unwed mothers. The national unemployment rate for black people increased last month to over 13%, nearly five points above the average for all Americans.
The killing of any child is a tragedy. But where are the protests regarding the larger problems facing black America?"
His killing IS a terrible tragedy. But those are frightening figures. Back to Dennis Prager. The thrust of his conversation was about the reaction to the Trayvon Martin killing. The "Hoodie Protest". We don't know if the shooter is a racist. He may well be. Time (I pray) will tell us what really happened and why. Glorifying thug life as the ideal for young black men is not the answer. And the figures above show at least two huge issues in the black community. Blacks are MUCH MORE LIKELY to kill each other than be killed by all other racial groups combined. 93% of black murder is black on black murder. 72% percent of all back babies are born to unwed mothers. These two problems alone dwarf whatever lingering problem of bigotry we face in our nation. Those figures should be generating protest. Sadly there will ALWAYS be racism. But the problem is no where near the top of the list of obstacles to blacks or any other minority in the US.
Like I said, I am a musician. I am a full-time musician in a small market during a bad economic period. I live in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Not the blackest of environments nor a media center. My wife is white, my daughters are occasionally blonde, my son is obviously mixed and I am making a living. I have not been attacked or harassed, turned down for employment or anything of that nature. When I was in Idaho with my wife I did get bad to funny looks in the supermarket. The looks stopped...when I took off my Lakers hat! I was still black at that point. In my lifetime, I literally know that I have gotten jobs in my one area of expertise and professional grade talent, at least in part, because I AM BLACK. This has been both because I can do the job AND because these organizations (some of them very white and conservative) not only don't have a problem with black people but are OFTEN very specifically looking for cultural diversity. We (black people) are 12.6% of the population and we are a major force is most aspects of pop culture. I hear that even the President of the United States is widely considered to be black. (His mother is white, his father is black.) You can't tell me "Ain't a
d_ _ _ thing changed!"
Things are by no means perfect in America but I would rather be here in this day and age as a black
an than anywhere else. Again, I was raised not to care about what color someone is. And I have lived my life that way. I have had the "N" word yelled at me in public twice in my lifetime. Before marriage, and at a very platonic point in our relationship, we went to an IHOP in Pasadena. Mind you this was a VERY platonic time in our history. We got daggers from the black family that came in at the same time. No chemistry, no contact between us. Two obvious friends going to IHOP. And I have been in the South with my wife and called "Sir" by white men older than me. This was not in the city. It was a backwoods fish fry joint. We honeymooned at Disney World (theoretically in the South) and had no funny looks or incidence of any kind. And upon returning to San Diego a black waitress wouldn't acknowledge my wife at all and the table of black women behind us talked about us with said waitress the whole time we were there. I have been in Atlanta walking around the underground City with two white friends and gotten looks from both races of "What are ya'll doin?" Not aggressive just puzzled. 6 years later I went back with my wife and the four of us went up state and around town and not a look. Maybe this is my fault for taking my parents at their word and example and just dealing with people based on how they are. But race has never meant anything to me. Do I love who I am? Yes, I do. I love being a black man, it's been great for me. I love being from "my people". But my default setting is love everybody. It's just how I am. And I am not hating on anyone, but in my experience, I have seen more racism from blacks than whites. Ain't a d_ _ _ thing changed? No, THAT IS a change and it is a change that Reverend King would give his life (again) to see reversed.
"Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.
I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today."