Something’s not right.
Something’s not right with Rodney King’s odd fame and short, directionless life.
Something’s not right when, according to The Center forConstitutional Rights’ website, some 84 percent of the people stopped in New York City’s controversial “stop-and-frisk” policy are Latino and African-American.
Something’s not right when the majority of deaths reported in Chicago’s recent homicide spike involved black men on the sprawling city’s South and West sides, according to WBEZ Radio in Chicago and my own work as aWest Side beat reporter during the 1990s for The Chicago Tribune.
Something is not right with the hypnotic draw of the gangs, the Baby Daddy-Baby Mama drama, the homelessness, the joblessness, the lack of drive and motivation for some, the dreams deferred for others.
And then there are the prisons and their revolving doors, their warehousing of men like animals, the way society acts as if they don’t exist “in there.”
Something is just not right with the status quo for men of black African descent in these United States of America.
I’m not looking to blame anyone. I’m tired of all the blaming, from conservatives and liberals. From angry black nationalists and from blacks who hate being black.
I’m calling for open dialogue about solutions, followed by informed action. I’m calling for a commitment to real change.
It will not happen, however, if we can’t address each other with respect, if we can’t form coalitions across racial lines.
Honestly, folks. Who cares that some people are, possibly, “racist?” Who cares that some want radical, in-your-face change? Isn’t it enough that enough of us—from all walks of life—really want to make things better for black men in this country?
We can improve conditions and, as the leader of the free world, we should. Past societies have improved, whether by reform or revolution. We’ve done it right here in the United States, with women’s suffrage, gay equality and the transition of descendants of illiterate slaves to millionaires, diplomats, and a First Lady.
It’s clear that something is not right. The only question remaining is this: are we brave enough to come together, get beyond the rhetoric and reform our families, communities and systems?
Because letting this continue is just senseless.
— Janita Poe is a veteran, multi-platform journalist and host of The Janita Poe Show on WIGO “The Light” 1570-AM