By Beverly Gadson-Birch
There is no mistake that crime is tied to education or lack thereof. Crime knows no boundaries; it’s everywhere. No one is immune from crime, no neighborhood, no school, no church, and no movie theatre. Crime does not discriminate. It comes in all colors and nationalities and by the rich and the poor.
Among high profile crimes are crimes committed by high profile people, mass murders and suicide bombings. Low profile crimes are often drug related, break-ins and domestic violence and occur more often in black communities.
According to an article by Aaron Bandler in the Daily Wire, nationally, 93% of black homicide victims are killed by other blacks. So, what are we going to do about it? What are we going to do about crimes committed against each other in our neighborhoods? It is time for a restoration of values in the black community.
So, where did we go wrong? Some folks will say Blacks need to get a grip on things. Slavery is over. The doors that were once slammed shut in your face are now opened. You can be anything you want to be. Well today, I believe about 40% of those platitudes.
Although, it had been hammered into my head time and time again in the sixties that I could be whatever I wanted to be, it was a struggle breaking through discrimination. Although there are more opportunities today for Blacks, it is still a constant struggle.
Blacks are still discriminated against in the workplace. Let me share a story with you. I know a young black accountant who left Charleston for better opportunities. He is working at a very high profile company in a big city. When he was hired the company had three other accountants including the supervisor. Two accountants left and the supervisor went out on maternity leave. He assumed the duties of the entire accounting department and kept it going until the supervisor returned from maternity leave. He was not paid any additional monies, although the company saved monies from not having filled the two vacancies, and his Christmas bonus was cut. When he questioned why his bonus was cut, he was told he did not take “enough initiative”. His evaluation was good. His attendance was good. He covered three persons’ jobs and yet your bonus was cut and you did not take on “enough initiative”. Give me a break!
EDUCATION. Parents struggle financially to send their children to school. Some are fortunate to get grants but many minority students have to depend on loan assistance. Once they graduate, they have to repay the loans, limiting their expanse in life. Why can’t these students get off to a fresh start? Is there any reason why the state of SC cannot offer free tuition? I remember former Senator Robert Ford running back and forth across the state to get the Lottery Bill passed. Well, as it turned out, the Bill passed but who benefitted the most? Minority graduates starting their lives off with whopping student loans quality of life differs much from their counterparts. The problem is black parents and students can qualify for student loans but they can’t qualify for decent housing or a mortgage impacting their quality of life. Are you following me?
EMPLOYMENT. The job market is wide open but who gets the top jobs? Let’s not talk about preparation because many minority applicants are more than qualified and many of the white supervisors are not. We do the work and they get the pay. Y’all know I am right! Blacks have been on jobs where they were expected to train the new white worker and the worker became their supervisor. It’s something about black folk; no matter how good we are, we just aren’t good enough. We are expected to do more than our fair share of the work without receiving fair share compensation.
JUSTICE SYSTEM. Now, next to education, this is where I have my biggest problem. As far back as I can remember, Blacks have been hog tied, roped and thrown into jail on minor offenses with major time. Take drugs for instance! Who got the most time before legislators finally took another look at the sentences? You darn right the sentences were discriminatory. Drugs are drugs. A crack head received more time than a Heroin addict. I never could figure that one out other than money talks. Crack is more likely the favorite of poor whites and blacks while Heroin users are high among wealthy whites. Well, at least that was the way it was back in the day. Since I am no street drug expert, my understanding is the price of Heroin has dropped making it more accessible. Many Blacks that languished in prison were there under the three strikes law while their counterpart received lighter sentences or underwent drug rehabilitation. When one thing seems to be retreating, something else pops up to keep blacks down like racial profiling. Yep, that has been another trap set to ensnare black men into paying higher fines, jail sentences and even death. And, the beat goes on …..
I will be doing a series of articles to try and get us back on track. Sometimes folks just have to recognize there is a problem and address it. While doors have cracked opened for some, Blacks still remain under attack. Believe thou this!!!