this article orginaly appeared in Townhall Magazine
I refer specifically to the largely hollow discussion over the removal of the Confederate battle flag from the grounds of the state capitol in Columbia, South Carolina. While removing the flag might make some guilty whites feel a bit better about themselves, provide another scalp for those who earn their living in the racial grievance industry, and remove a legitimate reminder of hate for some, it won’t actually help one single black family.
The removal of the Confederate flag is not going to raise the average net worth of a black American family. It won’t release a single African-American youth from a prison system in which he’s jailed because of racial sentencing disparities. It does nothing to address the fact that a black kid who escapes Detroit for California can’t get in-state tuition but an illegal alien can. Hauling down the flag will not raise the high school graduation rates for blacks or deal with the decline of historically black colleges and universities. Zero African-American families cry, “I am poor and the flag made me that way!”
When will African-Americans stop accepting form over substance? When will they start demanding reform of economic policies that hurt black families or a legal structure that unjustly and disproportionately targets African-Americans?
At every turn, I see us accepting form over substance. President Barack Obama said the N- word in a comic’s podcast but what was the point? Where was the substance behind it? There was none. It was as pointless as his much-heralded Beer Summit following a police dust-up involving Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. in 2009. Obama has the power to take substantive action; he could commute the inordinately harsh sentences of individuals imprisoned under Bill Clinton’s unjust omnibus crime bill, for example.
Even the President’s My Brother’s Keeper program looks like a flop. What started out as an opportunity to do something constructive for young black men and boys has fizzled into an essentially dormant website (at least it works!) on which the latest “News” item is dated July 22, 2014. It has all the appearance of a vacant lot on the Internet, overgrown with weeds, a small testament to form without substance, a digital Cabrini Green.
Blacks who want improvement in their lives and communities must start insisting on substantive change with tangible benefits. Let’s start with the Constitution itself; African-Americans should demand their leaders stop eroding their Second Amendment rights. Sorry gun deniers, but it is possible that the deaths of Cynthia, DePayne, Ethel, Clementa, Tywanza, Susie, Daniel, Sharon and Myra at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal in Charleston could have been avoided if, like Jeanne Assam was at the New Life Church in Colorado Springs in 2007, someone had been packing. Even T.D. Jakes, among the best known, Holy Ghost-filled, miracle believing, black Pentecostal Pastor and his 40,000-plus congregants employ “a team of armed, unarmed, uniformed and plainclothes guards.”
Originally published on September 17, 2016 by SpeakerMatch Speakers Bureau