Today's fight shouldn't be about race -- let's face the real issues

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I made a personal decision to back away from public commentary on happenings around me, trying to concentrate instead on my creativity in the visual arts. Up until now, that has worked quite well. I have had time to put my energy into creating three-dimensional artwork, which I find more difficult to produce than two-dimensional. However, I love the challenge just the same.

Yet, no matter how hard I try to keep my mouth closed on local and national issues, I keep getting the urge to put my proverbial two cents in the conversation, for whatever it is worth. And, often, it is worth very little, according to the responses. But like they say, everyone has an opinion, and I’m not least among them, if you will.

WITH THIS PAINFUL confession, I must speak on recent headlines in the news, where we black people have had a say – a very vocal one I might add. And that’s just what continues to worry me. Are we being too vocal? We seem to be, in many instances, rebels without a cause, looking for the first sign of racism.

Yes, black individuals still suffer indignities across the board. Yes, still in some cases, we are the last hired and the first laid off. Yes, white people would rather be around themselves than around us, and so do we. What’s new? Yes, we still suffer injustices.

However, it seems to me there ought to be another strategy for fighting theses ills without blaming other people – especially a whole race of people. A whole race of people, by the way, can’t really be blamed for anything. In most cases, it’s just one individual. But the case is made stronger when we can include everybody.

Is it fair? No, for either race. As long as we have others to blame for things we can fix ourselves, or that we brought upon ourselves, we will forever be subject to the very people from which we say that we are trying to gain independence. What we are really saying is that we need the white man to fix our problems. We can’t fix them ourselves. In other words, we are more dependent on him than we would like to admit. I hate to inform us that Reconstruction is over. The white man is not giving up anything but bubble gum – and he’s fresh out of that in these uncertain economic times.

I am tired of seeing us protesting for everything. Take, for instance, the Trayvon Martin case, which was deliberated recently by a jury of six women and a not-guilty verdict rendered. I think black people in general, and from the beginning, took this case to point out racial prejudice in the justice system. It didn’t matter whether George Zimmerman was of mixed racial origin. He looked white. He shot and killed Trayvon. Therefore, he is a racist.

In other words, we did to Zimmerman what was often done to us in the past. We tried, convicted and hung him before he had
his day in court. And not a civil rights worker said diddly-squat about it.

THIS CASE WAS about race and, no doubt, we made it that way. Under the same circumstances, if both men had been black, only family, local people and those involved would have known about it. We must find other ways to bring attention to the plight of black people without invoking race in every occasion.

Before anyone thinks I am condemning all demonstrations, we have had over the years demonstrations to win the conscience of good people – people who had influence to change things. History has proved repeatedly that those kinds of demonstrations worked in our favor. However, I now must question how effective today’s demonstrations are. Even in the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s day, the demonstrations were not about race. They were about inequality. People of all races can relate to inequality. This phenomenon affects whites as well as blacks.

What I am trying to say, I suppose, is that today’s fight shouldn’t be about race at all. Someone has said that race is an artificial construct anyway. It’s hard to grasp, to get your hands around. The black man cannot win that fight, even if he thinks God is on his side. For one reason, God, says the Bible’s Book of Acts, is “no respecter of persons.” He ain’t on nobody’s side. So He’s not going be dragged into a racial fight, anyway.

Our energy should be spent trying to prove that we are willing to drop our buckets where we are, as the great Booker T. Washington once said, and start contributing our share to this great country of ours in the 21st century. We waste too much time talking about what this country owes us and what it’s not. In fact, there’s not too much we can do about that but talk. The task is too difficult to figure out who is owed what and how we can make what’s not a reality. But I think it all starts with individuals, not groups.

However, the first thing we can do as a race is stop blaming the white man. If we have a problem, let race be the last, the very last thing to which we attributed the problem. Surprisingly, most often, the problem has absolutely nothing to do with race.

Now, don’t think that I am naïve to think that racial prejudice is nonexistent in 21st-century America. However, trying to eliminate it shouldn’t be a priority of ours, in light of those ills we bring upon ourselves that we are afraid to talk about, for fear of ostracism.

LET’S TALK ABOUT our children not taking advantage of education. Without it, everything else is downhill. Let’s talk about the lack of respect our children have for authority. Let’s talk about killings within our own communities. Let’s start talking about girls having babies so that babies can provide lives for mothers that mothers should be providing for babies. Now that’s a hot issue – babies taking care of parents through the welfare system. The more babies, the more money the government will provide to mothers.

What I’m trying to say, black people, is that if we just take time and take care of these problems, race would be less of a factor in our lives. Stop allowing so-called leaders to jerk you around to rebel without a cause.

(The writer is a former Augusta City Council member and a retired labor relations manager from Bechtel Savannah River Inc.)

Comments (38) Add comment
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gaflyboy
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gaflyboy 08/04/13 - 02:55 am
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Reflection and reason

This is good advice for every person, regardless of race or nationality. If you want to improve your world or your standing in it, you must look inward first.

This was well written, positive and much appreciated - A breath of fresh air. Thank you for sharing.

myfather15
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myfather15 08/04/13 - 04:59 am
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Wow, Mr. Abrams; you need to

Wow, Mr. Abrams; you need to still be in office!! We need more people like you, simply telling the truth, no matter who it offends. Thank you!!

etlinks
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etlinks 08/04/13 - 06:34 am
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Great letter!

Interested in running for President Mr. Abrams or at least an advisor to what we have now in office?

avidreader
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avidreader 08/04/13 - 06:52 am
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Ditto

See the three commentaries above. Ditto for me!

Riverman1
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Riverman1 08/04/13 - 07:26 am
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For anyone who didn't respect

For anyone who didn't respect Mr. Abrams in the past, don't you feel dumb now?

bubbasauce
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bubbasauce 08/04/13 - 07:48 am
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Great read Mr. Abrams. Well

Great read Mr. Abrams. Well said!

chascushman
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chascushman 08/04/13 - 07:54 am
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ditto to all the comments,
Unpublished

ditto to all the comments, good LTE Mr. Adrams

llamback
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llamback 08/04/13 - 08:12 am
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Respect

Respectfully written Mr. Abrams. Enjoyable read. Thank you!

soapy_725
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soapy_725 08/04/13 - 08:29 am
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Only the truth can set you free and you have to choose freedom.
Unpublished

Only the truth can set you free and you have to choose freedom.

jimmymac
45780
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jimmymac 08/04/13 - 08:41 am
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Mr. Abrams
Unpublished

Your letter is a breath of fresh air. The thing that angers many today is the lack of leaders in the black community willing to stand up and tell it like it is. You've hit the nail on the head with your excellent letter. Women living off their kids instead of it being the other way around is the leading factor causing many to never becoming a producing member of society. These poor kids are behind the eight ball all their lives due to such poor role models and a lack of parenting. Kids having kids living on the dole makes success a long up hill climb that surely must seem impossible to many. We need more leaders like you to come forward.

willie7
1047
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willie7 08/04/13 - 09:09 am
0
0
Grady, a great editorial---We
Unpublished

Grady, a great editorial---We Afro-Americans must admit our problems first, and make plans to solve some of them.

seenitB4
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seenitB4 08/04/13 - 09:22 am
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Best letter in years..

Mr Abrams...all can say is thank you SIR!!

mybaskett
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mybaskett 08/04/13 - 09:37 am
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Thank you Thank you..

Well said!!

allhans
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allhans 08/04/13 - 09:58 am
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Hats off to Mr. Abrams.

Hats off to Mr. Abrams.

Gary Ross
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Gary Ross 08/04/13 - 10:00 am
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Great letter!

I hope EVERYONE has a chance to read this and take it to heart. I too agree that it's totally wrong for a mother to live off her children through welfare. That's a sign of a great sickness within a society. The same can be said about abortion. Real mothers would sacrifice themselves to save a child, not sacrifice a child to save a personal lifestyle.

A scene often comes back to me when reminded of the the lazy takers of this country (of any race). Hurricane Katrina. A large group of blacks sitting around complaining about the lack of government rescue. "Why don't you get up and pick up some of that trash behind you and help make this a better world?".

justthefacts
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justthefacts 08/04/13 - 12:43 pm
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Interesting

It's a bit instructive that no Liberal has commented on this letter.

CobaltGeorge
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CobaltGeorge 08/04/13 - 12:56 pm
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You Mr Adams,

Ben Carson and many like you that has the correct way of thinking about a sever problem America has, should all get together. I really believe you and others like you could achieve a turn around on one of the major issues that is bring this nation down.

I wish I had the ability to put words on paper as will as you did. Many thumbs up.

dichotomy
36290
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dichotomy 08/04/13 - 01:11 pm
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Cannot add a thing.

Now this is one letter to which I cannot add a thing. Excellent Mr. Abrams, excellent.

mrenee2003
2946
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mrenee2003 08/04/13 - 02:07 pm
3
9
So

I hope all those White Appalachians take note and stop living off their kids, get jobs, and get off the meth. The world would be a better place! Where are the White leaders?

jroupe
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jroupe 08/04/13 - 02:24 pm
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Well said!

Imagine the turn-around our country would experience if our President and First Lady had the courage to say these things publicly. They have squandered their opportunity to improve race relations as well as the general state of Black society. Mr. Abrams, thank you for your excellent letter and your level head. Your editorial needs to be shared far and wide.

specsta
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specsta 08/04/13 - 02:30 pm
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9
Some Observations

Grady Abrams wrote - "However, the first thing we can do as a race is stop blaming the white man. If we have a problem, let race be the last, the very last thing to which we attributed the problem. Surprisingly, most often, the problem has absolutely nothing to do with race."

This is a very wise assessment - it makes perfect sense.

However, this need to be directed at all races. White people need to stop blaming black people for every ill in society.

There is no end to the chatter about crime being caused by blacks. The absent black father. Black boys in gangs. The fact is, HUMAN BEINGS commit crimes - of every race. Father are absent in every cultural make-up of households. There are just as many white, Latino, Asian, etc. gangs as there are black gangs.

Black people may blame white people for their problems, but black people do not yield the power, money or influence that white Americans yield; therefore black Americans are unable to institute change on a massive scale completely on their own. It takes cooperation among all races to enact change. The Civil Rights Movement would have been a failure if not for the direct involvement of honorable men like Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner in Mississippi, working together, facing death at the hands of racists.

Here is the crux of the problem; white Americans are telling blacks to "get their act together", yet whites continue to maintain their grip of power in government, in corporations, in education, in finance, and in almost all aspects of American society. There are still those who make it their objective to restrict and prevent equal opportunities for all Americans.

"Get a job" - but clandestine ways to eliminate black candidates from hiring consideration, such as credit score requirements or demands that applicants be currently employed are used.

"Get over the past" - slavery destroyed the black family. Mid-20th century brought Jim Crow and rampant lynchings. Now, for-profit prisons have served to remove the black male from the family structure. Trigger-happy cops murder black men without repercussion. Black men face inadequate health care and suffer higher death rates in all the leading causes of death, and live 7.1 years less than any other racial group.

The systematic effort to remove black men in this society began with slavery and continues today.

Which leads us to - "What about these babies having babies?" With the father absent in many cases, due to poverty, death from preventable disease, homicide, incarceration, etc. there is a whole group of young black women who have never had a black male as an authority figure in their life. So their self-identity is distorted. Girls need fathers.

As a result, they associate with the closest thing to a male authority figure - a male peer. Now this is the same male peer who's father also may have been absent, due to the causes listed above. There has been no role model for this young man. The teen girl gets pregnant and the young man has no example of a male heading a family. So he might bail. And the cycle continues.

This is all caused by the reciprocal effect of the systemic elimination of the black male from slavery to present time. And there is no easy solution to this problem.

Opportunities must be created up to the highest levels to eliminate barriers to growth; such as laws that prevent employers from using a credit score in the hiring process. Perhaps establishing mentoring programs for young men and women to observe male authority figures in the community. And certainly revamping the justice system to remove for-profit prison mandates.

Bizkit
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Bizkit 08/04/13 - 02:35 pm
2
4
Wow. An "Honest" approach,

Wow. An "Honest" approach, and soul searching. Kudos my friend we are brothers. Likely there will always be wars, disease, and racism or prejudice against anything from gender, age or religion. But because it will likely exist is no reason not to address it every generation (we have short memories) and "try" to at least "Neutralize" it-or as the wise ole sage Barney Fife would say "nip it, nip it, nip it in the bud". All the inflammatory rhetoric of late (on all sides) isn't productive nor constructive and really just plain hateful-all that produces is just more hate (like putting out a fire with gasoline". I have also discovered that being "right" isn't enough-it's how you say it or do it which is often most pivotal. Gosh I can't recount the times that I knew with impunity I was right, or tried to do the right thing, but the way I handled it-it all came out wrong. The road to hell really is paved with good intentions at times isn't it. Here is that start to an honest conversation. I would like to apologize to all ethnicities for the discrimination they've endured by my ancestors. One of my grandfathers was a die hard racist-even as a child it was embarrassing to me even though I had no clue of what racism was-I could feel "hate". My father was a physician and I remember going to his office and seeing the white waiting room and water cooler, and then the black. I didn't know what racism was but I sure could see an injustice. What's that ole sayin': From the mouths of babes.
I remember trying to explain abortion to one of my children when they inquisitively asked at an early age. I thought she is too young to understand but I tried to "logically" explain my support and blah, blah, blah-this was before I became a Christian too. I remember the whimsical look on her face and man talk about being convicted-she is right it is taking a life. I thought Biz you fool-you might as well try to explain it's OK to steal. One of those ah ha moments for me. My personal attitude about abortion changed forever as it is just plain wrong. But still in a political context I acquiesce because I think my personal freedom to pursue a religion (and people "having" to tolerate it) is also contingent on others freedom and me "having" to tolerate it. That dang Catch 22 again. Believe me I struggle with this position because I often feel I am betraying my faith and just giving in, but I am concerned about losing my freedom of religion if I persist on denying others their freedom.

Bizkit
34415
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Bizkit 08/04/13 - 02:41 pm
3
6
I agree with Spec on this.

I agree with Spec on this. The problems we point out to the black "race" is now common to all ethnicities-and having the same dramatic effect on us all. We really are but one race-the human one, and we dang sure need to drop the artificial divide (because there really isn't a race) and unite to save our youth and future. We need a united "Intervention" because if we don't I predict a "violent" future.

mybaskett
231
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mybaskett 08/04/13 - 02:57 pm
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3
Opportunities must be created.....

Sorry Bizket I don't agree with Specta. Opportunity begins with education, PERIOD!!! Everyone has a right to that. No more excuses.

Bizkit
34415
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Bizkit 08/04/13 - 02:57 pm
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Wow thumbs down for unity and

Wow thumbs down for unity and trying to solve our problems. Yep that hate is still really alive isn't it???

Bizkit
34415
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Bizkit 08/04/13 - 03:08 pm
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3
Well I don't agree with all

Well I don't agree with all of specs posits but the idea that the same problems are common to all I do. An education is a start but is NOT a guarantee to anything, but I agree we can't make life fair-that is a fool's dream. Part of the problem of income inequity isn't because of education because even within the educated it depends on your education. Lots of really smart educated with PhD working at low income positions-I had waiters with PhDs. We can only create equal opportunity and just plain opportunities too-which now because of technology and automation the days of the common worker is coming to an end-it will just be high end high education jobs in the STEM fields that Americans don't seem to be interested in, hence the flux of immigrants to high paying jobs here. Robots aren't the future they are here performing surgery and as butlers to those who can afford them. We can't fix the past-only fix the future.

mybaskett
231
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mybaskett 08/04/13 - 03:33 pm
3
2
Well I don't agree with all...

Bizkit, I can agree with what you're saying, but with that being said I am really unsure how to solve the problems you' re speaking of. I can only assume that it is the choices and paths we create for ourselves.
Meaning that we should set a goal and create a plan to reach that goal. Fixing the future would entail going back to the basics.

deestafford
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deestafford 08/04/13 - 08:26 pm
2
1
Mr Adams...well spoken. On par with Walter Williams, Thomas

Sowell, and Ben Carson. Great Americans all. Too bad the liberals don't really understand the problem and want to paint with a broad brush so as to avoid the better solution.

myfather15
55844
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myfather15 08/04/13 - 08:29 pm
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1
Specsta completely avoids the issue;

That black's disproportionately are raise in single parent families, but I suppose that's the white folks fault as well, because of slavery!! Are you serious with this junk?

"The systematic effort to remove black men in this society began with slavery and continues today."

Really, so slavery was about eliminating black men? You mean is wasn't about greedy folks wanting free labor? So they wanted to eliminate them, so that must be why they continued shipping them over here by the tens of thousands and placed them on farms to WORK, when they actually just wanted them to die!! If they wanted them eliminated, wouldn't it have worked better to leave them in the home Countries?

In REALITY, the systematic effort to eliminate the black people in general, came in the form of ABORTION!! In Margaret Sanger's OWN WORDS, not mine; abortion's would mostly affect the poor people and "undesirable" races and people.

But you won't hear a harsh word about the LP hero Margaret Sanger!!

myfather15
55844
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myfather15 08/04/13 - 08:55 pm
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1
Bizkit

Why do you feel the need to apologize for the actions of others? Yes, on the surface it appears to be a kind gesture, but if you think about it, an apology for something you had NOTHING to do with, means nothing and in reality, seems shallow.

We MUST stop dwelling on the past, or we will be doomed to keep living in the past!! A person of ANY color today; can make it in this Country, but that doesn't mean they will be millionaires or rich. It's seems people today judge success on whether you're rich or famous.

I'm a white male and was born dirt poor!! I was raise in a single wide trailer most of my life, that we didn't own, until my grandfather died in 1984 and we moved in with my grandmother, to take care of her. I NEVER had new clothes growing up and ALWAYS wore hand-me-down clothes from my cousins and other family members. I'm 39 years old, but I was raise in the mountains of NC, a little more back country than most. We raised our own gardens and canned our food. We never had much in life growing up, but we didn't require much; a couple friends and a cool creek to swim in was plenty. I also feel like I've succeeded. I'm doing pretty well and that is an opportunity afforded to everyone. If we judge a persons success on whether they are extremely RICH and live in a 300k house, then the VAST MAJORITY of people are failures!!

Seems like in today's world, if you don't have three vehicles, two computers (one home and one laptop or tablet), a smartphone (which I still don't have), recreational vehicles, boats, and whatever else you fancy, you not considered a success. It amazes me how many times I see people living in government housing or in the lower income areas, yet they've got brand new Chrysler 300's, Lincoln Navigator's, Ford Expedition's, Chevy Tahoe's, and every member of the house owns an I-phone or some other smart phone.

I have NEVER been able to purchase a brand new vehicle in my life!! Every vehicle I've purchased has been used or "preowned" as they like to call it. Maybe if these people weren't paying $600.00 vehicle payments and high insurance on these vehicles, they could afford to live in a middle income area. My mortgage payment is $600.00 by the way!!

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