I am saddened by the state of affairs in our inner cities. Recently in Washington, D.C., the nation’s capital and the place I call home, several young people, including a 15- and 18-year-old, were murdered. Their lives cut short, never providing them with the opportunity to realize their God-given potential. The perpetuation of a Black society that glorifies violence and drug use, which is often heard in rap music, has been a poison for the Black community, particularly young Black males. This subculture has attracted boys from a young age, and like an addictive drug, it is so attractive that far too many of them depend on a way of life that will either land them in jail or, in the worst circumstances, result in their death.
I am saddened by the fact that God created all of those young men with the aptitude and intelligence to accomplish extraordinary feats, but that so many will fail to see it because their circumstances prevent it.
However, it is not only the purveyors of criminal acts who are active participants in this subculture that are severely burdened and afflicted; numerous innocent individuals in Black communities throughout the United States are also adversely affected by virtue of them being stuck in the middle of the conflicts within their communities. In places such as Chicago, it is common to hear of young, innocent children who are killed on their way to school or while playing in the park. The atrocities committed against the innocent in our country are so heinous that they require our immediate attention; no child or family should be forced to live in an environment rife with continuous and hazardous incidents.
Imagine being afraid to walk to your vehicle or jog in your neighborhood due to gun violence. Imagine having to worry about your child even while they are playing directly in front of your home. Unfortunately, this is the reality for so many families living in our urban cities—and they do not deserve it. Despite all of the setbacks that this criminal conduct has caused Black communities, we have done little to combat this violent culture.
Black political leaders have failed the Black community. They have concentrated so much on existential racial issues that they have neglected the very real misery that many Black people confront on a day-to-day basis. These are not racial issues, but rather challenges that demand the urgent attention of the Black community as a whole, with the support of all Americans. Strong families with a strong sense of community, individual pride, access to a real education, and access to opportunities will be the driving force of change in these environments.
For instance, I consider the public school system in Baltimore, which has failed Black children for years, with no elected officials uniting to push for reform, as among the most prominent examples of both our government and our communities failing Black people. In Baltimore, high school graduates are illiterate and incapable of doing even basic arithmetic. There is little outcry over the fact that high school kids with GPAs below 2.0 get promoted to the next grade level. Community members in Baltimore have lost faith in their school officials and have been compelled to take legal action against them. Prominent civil rights attorneys, such as Ben Crump, have sued the school for their shortcomings and to uncover the dark secrets they are concealing.
With all of this in mind, their failures as young adults are particularly unsurprising. This catastrophe will go down in history as among the most detrimental to the Black community because we will be responsible for allowing an entire generation of young people to fall into the clutches of crime, drugs, and poverty, thereby prolonging the perpetuation of a subculture that must come to an end.
What does it cost us as a society if we do nothing to assist our fellow Americans in reaching their full potential? In our nation, every child is born free and has the God-given, unalienable rights to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” But are they really free if they are born into an environment that deprives them of their rights before they ever get a chance to exercise them? Are we ready to say that it is acceptable for Black children to be deprived of life, liberty, and happiness? I don’t believe so, which is why Black Americans must hold their political leaders accountable and examine cultural reforms that the community ought to undertake for its own best interests.
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