I was angered and frustrated to read an article in the Tennessean this morning. The title read:
Nashville leaders seek solutions, call for community involvement
The article itself was riddled with tear-jerking reporting and dripping with political correctness. Here's a short sample from the (much longer) report.
In Nashville if you are African-American, you are four to five times more likely to be murdered than if you are white. While the rate of white homicides has declined over the past several years, black homicides have increased, according to the latest data.
The victims range in age from a newborn who was beaten to death to a 54-year-old man fatally shot in his car on his drive home from work. Motives vary: abuse, domestic problems, drugs, gang activity, robberies. Some were students, parents. Others were gang members and drug dealers.
"We cannot wait until some prominent person gets killed or is the victim of a crime to wake up and say let's do something about it," said Metro Councilman Jerry Maynard. "This is a crisis, and we have to have ownership by the entire community."
Why are Nashville's black residents, particularly its black youths, at such risk? Answers are hard to find. Political, religious and law enforcement leaders rattle off a collection of possible reasons: geographic isolation, economics, Nashville's racial history, politics, the breakdown of families, a lack of father figures, not enough jobs or recreation. Some blame movies, video games or rap music.
"In our own city, we have kids that see the rest of the world on TV, they see it across the street. How do I get from where I am to graduate high school, to graduate college, to get a job?" said Metro Police Chief Steve Anderson. "The reduction in federal funding for police prevention programs, for police outreach programs, is also going to have an effect."
Colin Loftin, professor of criminology at the University of Albany, State University of New York, said that research has conclusively linked only one major factor to high homicide rates: poverty.
"Statistically, the big factor that's consistent over time and place is economic status. You have very, very few homicides in a middle-class population," he said.
Nashville's black residents are almost twice as likely to have incomes below the poverty level, 2009 census data show. The average African-American family of four with two children brought in less than $22,000 a year.
Leaders say a sense of hopelessness in the poorest areas of the black community dominates attitudes.
"Those are the ones that are dangerous," Maynard said. "Because they feel they have no future."
There's more at the link.
Despite all these pious and/or politically-correct platitudes, what you won't find, anywhere in the article, is the recognition that most of the deceased brought their deaths upon themselves through their involvement with criminal activity - gangs, drugs, street thuggery, a life of crime. As to what caused that criminal activity, poverty's a convenient excuse, but it's also a lie. Millions of people grow up in precisely the same conditions and do not choose a life of crime. If poverty created criminals, all poor people would be criminals - but they're not. Therefore, those who claim that poverty is the reason or the excuse for criminal behavior are lying to you, plain and simple. It may be a contributing factor, but it's not the cause - not by a long shot.
Furthermore, no-one interviewed for this article has admitted that the real reasons were diagnosed as long ago as 1965. In that year, the Moynihan Report "focused on the deep roots of black poverty in America and concluded that the relative absence of nuclear (that is, husband-wife) families would greatly hinder further progress toward economic and political equality". Politically-correct and racially-motivated critics blasted the Report, but its analysis, conclusions and forecasts have proved to be prescient. In a later article, "Defining Deviancy Down", Senator Moynihan showed that the more people deviate from societal, moral and ethical norms, the more some people will try to justify such deviance, to the point where deviance becomes the new 'normal'.
Time and time again, sociologists, anthropologists and community workers - those, at least, who are interested in and searching for the truth, rather than trying to work to a politically-correct and -motivated agenda - have correlated such findings with conditions in the real world. However, there are too many politicians and others of their ilk who have made their fortunes - both financial and political - out of demagoguery; inciting and/or exploiting racial conflict and social unrest to gain and hold their positions of power. They've made sure that articles such as this morning's never discuss the real reasons for the problems in Black inner-city communities . . . because to do so would force those involved to confront reality. They dare not allow that to happen, because to do so would risk the political power they've built on perpetrating a lie.
Bill Cosby has done a remarkable job in challenging his own community to confront the problems endemic in their society. Here's his world-famous 'pound cake' speech from 2004. It's short, pithy, and absolutely to the point.
I respect and applaud Dr. Cosby's work . . . but there are too few like him. Unless and until more Black leaders start to recognize, and speak out about, the truth, there will be no improvement in the conditions that give rise to such an appalling death rate.
That's the truth - no matter how politically incorrect it may be.