Children Without Conscience, Response and Reply
On August 1, 2017, we published a post entitled, Heartless, Children Without Conscience. The piece took to task a group of 5 African American teens, who offered no assistance to a drowning man. They instead mocked, ridiculed and verbally abused him. We received multiple responses to the article, one of which was noteworthy. The issues raised by both the article and response, coupled with the recent invasion of Charlottesville, Virginia by white Supremacist and the carnage that is Chicago demand a reply.
The Respondent began her commentary with the assertion that “yes, White America is never more pleased when we (African Americans), discount the many injustices perpetrated in our communities, blame the victims, and then call for the solution to be anyone but the true culprits.” The author expresses the frustration of living black in America and concludes by stating “racist White America does not get a pass. It is time to place both the blame and solution for the callousness, addiction, dysfunction and violence of some African Americans squarely where it belongs, on the shoulders of those who cause it. That and that alone should be our charge.”
There is no debating our history of racial injustices. America was founded on white superiority and race is the one issue that cannot be discussed dispassionately. Even the professional class resort to angry diatribes for the mere offense of disagreeing. Witness the televised shouting matches that have occasioned discussions regarding the Charlottesville matter.
Additionally, the issue of how African Americans should best deal with the legacy and reality of racial discrimination has been long debated, by the likes of Frederick Douglas and Sojourner Truth, Booker T. Washington and WEB DuBois, Marcus Garvey and Langston Hughes, Martin Luther King and Malcolm X. It is now contested by Black Lives Matter and beyond. Still, we fundamentally disagree with the Respondent’s position.
We are not blind to reality. A review of Blackacre blogs reveals a well-documented history of exposing institutional racism and censuring the agents of bigotry and oppression. The latest such post was the July 7, 2017, article entitled Crack vs. Opioids, the Arbitrary Nature of the War on Drugs and Social Rejection.
However, while we have been historically victimized, self-identifying as victims is not a solution to the problem of racial discrimination. It instead surrenders our strength, power and self-determination, our ability to grow and prosper to the very forces which oppose us. This, pleases our adversaries far more than reasonable self-reflection and the insistence upon personal responsibility.
We also fail to see how the young men who refused to render aid and assistance to a drowning man; who mocked and ridiculed one of their own for the unpardonable sin of drowning are victims or how calling them out for their inhumanity to a fellow human being constitutes “blaming the victim” or gives a pass to “the white man”.
Insisting that African Americans treat other African Americans with kindness and respect is not an act of ethnic betrayal. It is instead a recognition of our minimum duty of care to each another, even if our breach of said duty is exploited by others.
We are equally confused as to precisely how we can erase the past, make others love and respect us when we demonstrate so little for ourselves, guilt people into doing that which they are disinclined and/or unable to do and/or force others to assume responsibility for our families, our neighborhoods and our well-being?
To feel aggrieved is completely understandable. To demand justice and fundamental fairness is more than appropriate. To contest racial injustice is an act of moral courage.
However, we are not defined by our past. We are not controlled by what others think of us or the challenges of today. Rather, we are judged by who we choose to be. We are measured by what we do now. And we are ill-served by bitterness and hatred. Love will prevail.
In conclusion, African Americans are a people of immense talent, strength and resolve. There is nothing we cannot accomplish. Yet, we control only ourselves and our maltreatment of each other is neither excused nor justified by pointing the finger of blame at someone else.
We are therefore ethically obligated to refrain from harming one another, despite the forces aligned against us. Hence, while we respect the Respondent’s position, Blackacre is moving in a different direction.
We nevertheless invite the Respondent or any other follower to comment as appropriate. We welcome the discussion.
Leo Barron Hicks, Founder and CEO
Blackacre Policy Forum