Last week the editor and I got into a bit of a brouhaha over a commentary I asked him to publish. The commentary was titled “What Really Matters.” Much of it predicated on the opinions of Dr. Derryk Green, a political commentator with a doctorate in Theology and Spiritual Leadership, and a member of Project 21 – a National Leadership Network of Black Conservatives.
Even though it was my ‘off week’ for putting commentaries in the Vail Daily I hoped the editor would publish it, but he felt the commentary was “tone deaf and racially insensitive.” I disagreed and believe the statistics I used in the commentary were simply facts without context; it’s individuals who impute moral imperatives and judgment. But he’s the editor and as they say, you can’t fight city hall. Meanwhile, I did post the commentary on my blog so those receiving this have already read my take on the current unrest we’re seeing. Nonetheless, I’m posting it again because I’m approaching the issue a bit differently as another black man has been shot by a police officer, more monuments are coming under siege and there are signs of a growing backlash. As a result, now more than ever I believe America needs to listen to Dr. Green’s message.
Green is a black man who believes rejecting Black Lives Matter, as a movement does not mean rejecting the idea that black lives matter. He opines that if we’re to actually improve the lives of black Americans a more comprehensive approach to what black communities face on a daily basis is needed. He believes Black Lives Matter is too narrowly focused and legitimately asks the question “What has the Black Lives Matter movement done to improve the quality of education in black communities?”
Meanwhile, as the mainstream media sensationalizes events, a recent article in the Wall Street Journal offered a bit of clarity to the situation. Columnist Jason Riley, also a black man, opined while “it’s too early to know what will come of the violent protests in response to the death of George Floyd…we do know that recent history has not been especially kind to militant efforts to advance racial equality.”
Riley went on, “… Most black people know that George Floyd is no more representative of blacks than Derek Chauvin is of police officers. They know that the frequency of black encounters with law enforcement has far more to do with black crime rates than with racially biased policing. They know that young black men have far more to fear from their peers than from the cops. And they know that the rioters are opportunists, not revolutionaries.”
The real issue facing us as a nation is how to best improve the quality of life for black Americans, and Dr. Green believes doing that requires more than just defunding the police. We must address all the factors militating against the black community, from police reform to the growing number of black children being born out of wedlock (72% according to CNN) to the lack of equal educational opportunities.
On the latter point, I believe creating equal educational opportunities for black kids is the most critical part of the equation, because over the long haul education is the surest way to advance the cause for blacks in America both socially and economically.
And speaking of economics, some believe a $15 minimum wage is necessary, but the reality is kids who have been victimized by a poor education and subsequently leave school with limited skills, will find few employers willing to pay $15/hour. Instead, businesses will pay several part-time employees $8 or $9 and hour.
The issue of racial equality is too encompassing for a 700-word commentary. But a commentary can make clear that while it’s easy to put a black square on social media, if America is sincere about improving the quality of life for blacks in this country, the issue needs to be looked at as a whole and not just the one aspect that fits the BLM narrative. Only then can we begin to remove the barriers to black success and force our political leaders to take the steps necessary to redress these issues
Quote of the day: “The heart of the question is whether all Americans are to be afforded equal rights and equal opportunities; whether we are going to treat our fellow Americans as we want to be treated.”—John Fitzgerald Kennedy