Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The fight for black men goes beyond justice for Trayvon Martin

The fight for the black male soul
I feel deep sorrow for the tragic loss of Trayvon Martin. I feel for his family. I have nothing but contempt for the cruel and reckless actions of  George Zimmerman: he should pay a stiff penalty for his crime.

But I fail to understand how Trayvon's killing galvanized our community to action from top to bottom -- the protests, the speeches, the rallies, the demonstrations and the Al Sharptons -- yet, the thousands of black on black shootings and murders every day, every week and every year fail to move the needle.

Chicago, Philly, Detroit, New Orleans, Cleveland, Camden etc are all nightly killing grounds: Where's the black Church, Fraternities/Sororities, NAACP, activists and the same people that marched with the Martin family? MIA

Are we only upset when a police or white person kills a black person?

To ask an even broader humanitarian question: Where is the outrage in the American society? After all, black men are American citizens. Many true blue Americans love to pronounce USA as the greatest country of all times: Do we not have the resources to build urban opportunities?

We did nation building in Iraq, Afghanistan, Western Europe and Japan (after WWII) but we can't do community building in our own inner cities?

Or, to the average American, black men are faceless/hopeless and are destined to be nothing more than criminals. Hence, we need more prisons rather than more effective schools.

I just finished reading The Fight for Black Men by Joshua Dubois and instead of being depressed by the negative black male statistics, I was hopeful about the organizations and individuals committed to the cause. Here is an excerpt. Read on:

The Fight for Black Men

There are more African-Americans on probation, parole, or in prison today than were slaves in 1850. It is not a crisis of crime. It is a crisis of people being left behind.

So in the span of a few years, Joe went from a stable household to a single-parent family. From a middle-school honor student to a street-corner addict. From the grandson of a businessman and great-great-great-grandson of slaves to the son of an absent father, and a future deadbeat dad himself. It was a jumble of inputs—bad parenting and bad policy, misguided culture and tragic history—resulting in one clear output: a woefully lost kid.

There is a lot more to Joe Jones’s story—more pain than most can bear; more beauty than you’d expect. We’ll get to all of that, including his fateful encounter with the president of the United States.
But first, a few words about the world Joe comes from: the world of low-income black men. Why talk about this world? After all, it’s simple enough to ignore. We can safely tuck these men away in our inner cities and allow them to interact largely among themselves. We can rush past them in front of the gas station, murmur silently when the nightly news tells us of a shooting across town, or smile when we meet a nice, inspiring man like Joe. We can keep them in these places. It’s safe and easy for us.

Yet if we’re honest, we’ll have to admit that when one single group of people is conspicuously left behind, it never bodes well for society as a whole. In many ways, black men in America are a walking gut check; we learn from them a lot about ourselves, how far we’ve really come as a country, and how much further we have to go.

I spent the past few months talking to dozens of experts who are working to address the crisis among black men. It was clear from these conversations that the reasons for this crisis are complex—as are the solutions. But it was also clear that the fight for black men, which is currently being waged by activists, politicians, celebrities, and everyday people alike, can indeed be won. read entire article

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