The sad, solemn, seemingly endless procession of young and old African American men being constantly carried off to prisons continues while we debate theories of conspiracy, internalized oppression or post-traumatic slavery syndrome, racism, or morals of the black poor and plight of the black family.
And we find ourselves, over and over, taking these trips that start out as trips to the school and the principal’s office because there is trouble at school. Then we are no longer going up to the school, but the procession heads down to the court room. And then finally leads to prison or the cemetery as every year, tens of thousands are funneled into the prison procession and down life paths that lead to arrest, conviction, incarceration and even death.
What has become frightening is that included in this spiraling number are those African Americans of privilege and/or high profile positions in the community including elected officials, athletes, entertainers, and yes - preachers. In all of this, I think that the sign of the times has presented us with a larger picture that begs to be discerned.
The greatest lesson to be learned is NOT that we are are not in a post-racial society. That much is clear. In fact, statistics reveal the injustice of the criminal justice system. And we have marched, shouted, cried, and protested and will continue to do so to point out injustice when necessary. But in spite of the system, we can do better ourselves! A lot of it is on us. A lot of it does not make sense. A lot of it is irresponsibility and immaturity. A lot of this arises out of selfishness and a presumptuousness that black folk will sympathize and stand up for black people right or wrong.
The day of of excuses and sympathy has passed. Folk have moved from what's fair or unfair to trying to survive themselves. So before it is too late, press toward higher goals and new opportunities which present themselves, not giving the judicial system the power or say in our lives to limit or defeat us.
There is a tide in the affairs of men. Which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune; Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries.
Julius Ceasar quote by William Shakespeare