In a recent tirade, Columnist Eugene Robinson declared that racism in America is the sole source of all the problems confronting the black community. He cited the examples of the recent killing of blacks by white police as proof positive of his claim. He states, “U.S neighborhoods and schools remain shockingly segregated. Jobs have abandoned many inner-city communities. The enormous wealth gap between whites and blacks has increased since the onset of the great depression. Black boys and men wear bull’s eyes on their backs.” Commentator, Courtland Milloy, shares Robinson’s conviction that the greatest barrier to back progress is the prevalence of racism and income disparity. He declares “Economic injustice, as much as racism, is deeply implicated in the recent killings of unarmed black men by white police.”
When I read statements like this and I watch how the flames of resentment have been flamed to bring thousands to the streets to protest the deaths of blacks who were killed by white police, I can only hope that one day even a fraction of that passion can be generated in regards to a much larger crisis in the black community–the 16 black men, women and the unemployment rate for the country was 25% children who are killed by other blacks every day on the streets of our cities.
Robinson and other pundits who claim that economic injustice lies at the root of those tragic deaths should be reminded that most of the disadvantages and disparities they decry have occurred throughout the past 50 years in cities controlled by black elected officials. Detroit comes to mind. Black children are failing in school systems controlled by their own people. Do whites possess some secret remote control device that causes black professional service providers to fail the people they were hired to serve?
If racism is the determining factor in the dismal prospects for black children, how is it that conditions in the black community were better in an era of legalized segregation and discrimination? In 1954, the number of blacks in prison was 90,000, a proportion that was commensurate with the 10% of the population that was comprised of blacks. Today, that number has soared ten-fold to 900,000, while blacks make up just 12% of the population. In 1965, 85% of black households were intact families in which two parents were raising children. Today, the proportion of two-parent black families has declined to less than 35%.
How does racial grievance industry explain why during the ten years of the depression, when there were no blacks in elected office, and the unemployment rate was 25%, and much higher in the black community elderly blacks could walk the streets of their communities without fear of being assaulted. The marriage formation rates were even higher than in the white community.
If race and economic disparity was the sole culprit in the demise of the black community today why is it that, even during those very difficult times, we did not see the self-destruction that we are witnessing today?
The discussion about the state of the black community in this nation should address these critical issues. But as long as black spokespersons continues to focus myopically on race and incidents in which a victim is black and the victimizer is white, the real culprit will slip away in the night undetected and undeterred from destroying the most vulnerable members of society. And it is the residents of the neighborhoods where the protests are staged and the businesses vandalized and looted who will suffer.
Low-income blacks living in high-crime areas will feel the devastating impact of the wholesale vilification of white police officers. It is likely that white police will be less aggressive in responding to calls in those areas and that , as a result, black-on-black crime and murders will escalate. This was the case 13 years ago in Cincinnati following riots in the inner-city. After the protests against the police, the murder soared by 800%.
The protest organizers and civil-rights “spokesperson” will not be affected by such a tragedy, since they typically do not live in the community where the demonstrations are held. They are free to move on to their next stage, and their silence and failure to act with regard to the larger crisis in the black community will be accepted.
by Robert L. Woodson, Sr.
March 17, 2015