Blacks must reconcile differences with whites, move forward

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There is no way for me to have lived almost 75 years and not, from time to time, change my perspective on life’s issues. We are constantly evolving, looking at the same things from different perspectives, based on where our experiences take us at any given time. Doing the same thing over and over will never get anyone beyond his own limited individual frame of reference.


SOMETIMES LIFE takes us off the beaten path and gives us experiences that jolt our thinking in such a way that we begin to question our own value system. Such has been the case with me. My friends and acquaintances are confused about my identity – and so are many of my family members.

They have a right to be confused if they are looking for the same person they talked to last week or last month or last year. I am constantly evolving because I am constantly thinking. The problem might be that we may be on different levels of thinking, and it is expected that there will be differences on positions also.

However, it does not mean that I am right and they are wrong, or the reverse. If we, in general, could except this principle, many of our petty problems will go away.

I am saying all of this to get to the issue at hand: What should the strategy of black people be moving forward? Keep marching? Keep protesting? Keep calling the white man a racist? Keep blaming others for our predicament?

All of these strategies have been tried over and over and none of them have produced much of a benefit for us. We are still behind in just about every economical, social, educational and political category we can think of. Something for sure is not working. We need not be lulled into thinking that because something worked in the past that it will work now and in the future. New times call for new strategies – not against something, as in the past, but for something now in the present.

It is a time to reconcile our differences with the white man, I think. It is incumbent upon the disenfranchised, the hated of our race, to find and make peace with him. It is to our benefit to do so and redirect what few resources we have to creating employment for the millions of us who are out of work. Right now, who else in the private sector makes it possible for us to have jobs? The white man.

BY THE WAY, openly announcing to buy black is a ridiculous strategy. We cannot advocate what we fight against. This is about as racist as it gets. Yet we say it without a thought – and expect the white man to give us a pass. What if he starts telling his people to buy white, and does it openly? We would call him racist. We can’t have it both ways. If the tactics he uses against us are wrong, then we are wrong using the same tactics against him.

I guess by now whites are cheering me on and blacks are calling me familiar phrases. You know them. My intent is not to give whites things to cheer about on this sensitive subject, nor to make black people angry. What I am trying to do is tell the truth, as I see it. Many others are afraid of being labeled sellouts.

My people have been jerked around by just about everybody, including our own selves. The only thing that is going to set us free from this abuse is the truth. Raising an uproar and drawing the nation’s attention to every time a white man kills or shoots a black – but disregarding our killing and shooting of one another on a daily basis – is hypocritical to say the least. And we shouldn’t get a pass on it.

Those of us in the black community who call ourselves leaders ought to lead with integrity and stop using race as a support mechanism. Black leaders can start off by telling us that we are our own worst enemy in many cases. Any black leader who is out there not blaming the white man won’t be popular in the black community, for sure. But he is contributing to uplifting his race more than those who are leading them nowhere. They, our so-called leaders, in reality, are followers. If black people love them, you can bet your bottom dollar that these leaders are ineffective in making positive life changes for their people.

A GREAT LEADER takes people into unfamiliar territory – many times against their will. We have been circling this mountain too long. It’s time to move forward with a new vision and a new strategy – maybe the kind that the prophet Nehemiah used while rebuilding the destroyed walls in Jerusalem. He fought with one hand and held a trowel in the other. He was building and fighting off the enemy at the same time. The enemy, which in many cases was his own people, mocked him as he labored to do his calling.

We spend too much time fighting and not enough time building.

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

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soapy_725
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soapy_725 02/23/14 - 09:10 am
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Black & white citizens have a common enemy. Government.
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Focus on the common enemy. Learn his tactics.

soapy_725
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soapy_725 02/23/14 - 09:11 am
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The federal government took the slaves from thw white owners
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and made them slaves of the federal government. Just as they did with Native Americans.

jimbob
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jimbob 02/23/14 - 09:11 am
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Want to be equals?

How about acting equal. You know drop the African-American title, Miss Black America, NAACP and other groups and events that make you all look like racist to most white Americans, just be Americans, treat all people the same ( don't call someone a racist if they use words that you also use in the same way) Do you really want white people to treat black people equally? How about recommending that all people work for the betterment of all people regardless of their color instead of having as you say (YOUR PEOPLE excluding all others) have the inclusive All Of Us! The real problem is black people have been taught at home and in Church and on the street for over 100 years that they are a different people instead of teaching that they are the same American people who need to look out for everyone not just black people, so that all people will consider them equal. Sure there will be racist both black and white for another 100 or more years, but only when black people begin to stop looking out for black people only will the majority of white people embrace them as equals.

soapy_725
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soapy_725 02/23/14 - 09:12 am
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Federal Public Education is enemy of black & whites.
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Federal Public Education is enemy of black & whites.

seenitB4
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seenitB4 02/23/14 - 09:12 am
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OMG

What insight & I'm amazed you dared write this letter....the truth in a nutshell......it is about time to try something new.

We don't blame the Germans for what happened to the Jews....that horse was beaten to death...it is time to move on.

soapy_725
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soapy_725 02/23/14 - 09:13 am
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Federal entitlements are the enemy of blacks & whites
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Federal entitlements are the enemy of blacks & whites

soapy_725
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soapy_725 02/23/14 - 09:16 am
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Government uses and drains the resources of its people.
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Government uses and drains the resources of its people.

soapy_725
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soapy_725 02/23/14 - 09:17 am
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All the "reverends" need to preach I Sam 8:11. The truth.
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All the "reverends" need to preach I Sam 8:11. The truth.

soapy_725
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soapy_725 02/23/14 - 09:17 am
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Human government is the beast that enslaves ALL.
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Human government is the beast that enslaves ALL.

bigj706
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bigj706 02/23/14 - 09:47 am
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I agree with the letter also.

I agree with the letter also. By the way seenit hello, but Germans don't have any leadership hear in America so what would be the point talking about them. It was one man there who controlled that when he died it was mostly over and it didn't have anything to do with Jewish people in America to keep talking about. this has been a cycle that has been going on for years I myself talk to young blacks who take a me against them attitude but its passed down not only blacks but whites its a country problem that we all need to work on and not just when something racial when everyone is [filtered word]. It needs to happen with calm and open minds. Jimbob I seen your statement its true but your talking like you have hurt feeling with an attitude again wrong answer nobody is trying to hear they way your putting it no matter how much you say it looks like black people are looking out for themselves it easy for you to go in any store or business and not get funny looks. Not everyone I'm saying is doing that but it just take one bad apple to put a bad taste in your mouth yeah a black person might say something messed up to but what do you care you can go back to your neighborhood or community and forget about it, you don't have to go into a black store later or a black owed business to ask for a job, but a black person does again I agree with the letter but it takes everyone not just one group of people and another judging behind their windows and computer screens.

seenitB4
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seenitB4 02/23/14 - 10:13 am
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Hi bigj

And thank you for your honest reply....The Germans fell for the hate & meaness their leaders exhibited...that is what I'm getting at.

We all are brainwashed to some extent & it continues on with our young even today. We only know what has happened in our personal life & that determines our actions....the world is changing & slowly it seems....but keep in mind....there has to be give/take on both sides.

My main wish is to have MORE good quality jobs in the USA..I think that would solve many problems in our world today...We need FACTORY jobs because not all will get a college degree & not all even need to go to college...we NEVER EVER should have lost them in the 1st place....imho.

deestafford
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deestafford 02/23/14 - 12:15 pm
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Mr Abrams is right on target.

Mr. Abrams right on target.

I hope what I'm about to write is not misunderstood. The black culture was better when Jim Crow laws were in effect. I'm not saying Jim Crow laws were right because they were not. What I'm saying is the black family was more solid and stronger than it is today. To better understand what I'm trying to say, please read Doctors Thomas Sowell and Walter Williams---two blacks who came of age in the Jim Crow era.

There was a greater percentage of blacks married as a family than there was white.

Out of wedlock births were very low compared to today and blacks were much more literate than they are today.

In some cases there were black schools out performing white schools. That does not mean there were some black schools being short changed because they were.

Blacks were trying to assimilate and get the American Dream by working hard and believing in individual responsibility.

What changed? It's very simple---along came LBJ and he knew if he could make the blacks feel like victims he would have them in the Democratic fold for generations. One key was to destroy the black family by making the husband/bread winner no longer necessary. The federal government would become the provider for the family. Along with this lost of the family head was a loss of morals upon which the black culture was based as guided by their churches.

Today the blacks feel they are not responsible for their current condition because they are victims of the white man and the racist system. This idea is crammed into the head of the black youth everywhere they turn. It is extremely strong in college academics and there are even classes that teach this to the students.

There is even a new term "micro-aggression" which says a white person can be a racist by just thinking something negative about a different culture. I would like to see the ACES do an indepth editorial on how the college culture is corrupting the minds of our young people as it pertains to the clashing of races.

The liberals encourage people to fail so they can be classified as victims. Then the liberals can come along and make them feel better by saying they can make the victims feel better by making the people who caused the victimhood pay in some way. Failure is always someone else's fault--never the individual's. This gives the liberals a way to control people who would never have freely chose liberalism on their own.

The happy successful blacks are the ones who believe in independence, self reliance and see the government as an obstacle rather than a sugar daddy. They believe, as do all conservatives, in a person being all they can be rather than being all the government will allow them to be.

gaflyboy
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gaflyboy 02/23/14 - 11:52 am
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Dee, it's Abrams

Honest mistake, but this letter is too good to get the authors name wrong.

localguy55
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localguy55 02/23/14 - 11:54 am
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Our politicians have driven

Our politicians have driven us apart. They are aided by the power of a willing main stream media to feed the flames of hatred of economic class and race without regard to the consequences.

I can remember the 70s and 80s when there was a lot of healing going on within the black and white communities. Sure there were pockets of strife but race relations back then, as a whole, were far better and healing after the MLK assassination days, than they are now.

Then came the politicians, the democrats mostly, because they were out of the white house and their power was reduced due to Jimmie Carter. Along with their cohorts, the so-called civil rights leaders, together they began to stir the pot of economic inequality, race hatred, and the promise of goodies taken from "the man".

They began to beat the drums harder during the Reagan years and continued until they were able to drive a big enough wedge in the electorate to affect elections and destabilize race relations.

We are at a crossroads now where the nation is polarized one ideology against another. They can never co-exist based upon their broad differences. One must prevail over the other and the deck is stacked unevenly.

The main stream media is firmly in the pockets of the liberal democrats and that is the difference.

Conservatives must overcome the dogma of old and embrace a more libertarian platform. Moderates and some liberals will be more receptive to a moderated libertarian platform and come aboard.

stuaby
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stuaby 02/23/14 - 12:00 pm
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Excellent piece, Mr. Abrams.

"Black leaders can start off by telling us that we are our own worst enemy in many cases."

I hope that you're not holding your breath while waiting on this to happen, Mr. Abrams.

For every white on black murder, even if as heinous as some would point out, there are 1000's of black on black murders of equal heinousness, as well as black on white murders. Yet there is deafening silence about this.

And this is just one area of concern.

But, getting back to Mr. Abrams point about reconciliation. I believe that the window of opportunity is closing somewhat. The resentment that is being stoked-ENDLESSLY-in the minds of black people is being matched by a growing and festering resentment on the part of many whites who feel as if their overtures over the past 40+ years, or so, are being rebuffed.

Fiat_Lux
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Fiat_Lux 02/23/14 - 12:09 pm
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LBJ and the "Great Society" legislation were part of it.

but don't forget about the total unraveling of social moral standards brought about by the culture of "sex, drugs and rock-and-roll". That was probably a far bigger influence on the demise of traditional family values in the US than even LBJ and his cadre of bleeding heart libs.

It's the ones who wholeheartedly embraced that transformation of the 60s and never grew up who are controlling the media, public education and the political smothering of individual freedoms 40 years later.

The current crop of black leaders simply drank the kool aid themselves, which doesn't absolve them in the least.

stuaby
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stuaby 02/23/14 - 12:18 pm
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Absolutely

"don't forget about the total unraveling of social moral standards brought about by the culture of "sex, drugs and rock-and-roll". That was probably a far bigger influence on the demise of traditional family values in the US"

I said this before here some weeks ago-liberal social policy is akin to a flammable liquid poured on the already-burning fire of secularism and other ills related to it in the black subculture. Unfortunately for blacks, our general mix of problems has just made the results of embracing secularism show up in some particularly bad ways.

deestafford
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deestafford 02/23/14 - 12:18 pm
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I apologize on the name...

I apologize on the name mistake...the fingers were engaged and the brain was not. THAT was the only part of my comment where the brain was not engaged:).

dichotomy
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dichotomy 02/23/14 - 12:49 pm
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I am sure it will not help

I am sure it will not help your credibility by my agreeing with you.....but.....excellent letter Mr. Abrams.

shrimp for breakfast
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shrimp for breakfast 02/23/14 - 01:15 pm
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sounds great!!!

To bad it will never happen!

Steve62351
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Steve62351 02/23/14 - 01:30 pm
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Wow! Intelligent comments, I thank each of you

Grady Abrams opinion piece was very good, and in my mind exactly on target. I thank him for having the courage to write it. He is black and I'm white, but I've witnessed here in Augusta that negative reaction he mentions from black people when I've tried to say what he said. Also, I want to thank all the commentators (so far) for their thoughtful, honest responses. Very refreshing. Many times I read comments of Chronicle opinion columns or letters-to-the-editor and have to just back away from my computer in disgust because they are filled with ranting, blind hate. But not this time. I'm hoping there are lots of "Grady Abrams" in Augusta, Georgia, "The South", and the whole Country so we can start to climb-out of this whole we've dug ourselves into. One organization I suggest everyone look into is C.U.R.E. (Center for Urban Renewal and Education), created by Star Parker. CURE is trying to help spread much the same ideas as Grady expressed. Thanks again to all the commentators who took the time to thoughtfully read Grady's words and then write their thoughts on what he said.

Bizkit
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Bizkit 02/23/14 - 02:14 pm
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The Democratic party won't

The Democratic party won't allow reconciliation because that would mean a possible loss of votes-it ain't gonna happen because they have a vested interest to keep the divide. I quit seeing black and white as little toddler-we are all just people-Homo homo sapiens.

burninater
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burninater 02/23/14 - 02:55 pm
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Individual responsibility

Biz, Republicans have built a platform on racial politics just as much as Democrats have. It's a major part of our political reality -- to think only one party takes it into account when devising strategy accuses the other party of total political ignorance.

But for the rest of us that aren't professional politicians, I have to agree -- the roots of the reasons for self-segregation are entirely understandable, but probably not a productive long-term approach to improving society, and our place within it.

That being said, the onus of correcting this situation is not solely on "the black community". Each and every one of us -- regardless of what our few millimeters of skin looks like -- has the duty of confronting individual racism on the personal level, no matter how hard it may be. This means coworkers, family members, friends, and ourselves. We all need to be reminded that even the most casual racism is rooted in ignorance, mistrust, and fear, any and every time we engage in it. NO level of racism -- even the "harmless" joke -- is rooted in anything but childish ignorance, and we all need to be reminded of that, each and every time we slip to that level.

The post-racial society can only occur on the personal level. It is the responsibility of each and every one of us to create.

corgimom
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corgimom 02/23/14 - 02:39 pm
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deestafford, please learn

deestafford, please learn your American history.

The fracturing of the black family occurred during the Great Migration of the 20's, 30's, and 40's. Prior to 1920, most black families consisted of two-parent married families. Once the Great Migration started, and people left their families and didn't have that family structure to fall back on, black marriages dropped and out of wedlock births rose.

But then, that couldn't be blamed on Democrats, could it?

corgimom
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corgimom 02/23/14 - 02:42 pm
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And welfare, in the 30's, was

And welfare, in the 30's, was originally designed for white mothers with children, so that if they were widowed, they could stay home and care for their children.

But after the Great Migration, it was found that in many places, particularly big Northern cities, that black women were more in need than white women.

By the time LBJ came along, the single-parent black family, headed by a female, was a given, it had been developed over the last 40 years. LBJ didn't cause it.

You can see it in the censes from 1900-1940, it's very plain.

teaparty
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teaparty 02/23/14 - 02:55 pm
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'By the time LBJ came along,
Unpublished

'By the time LBJ came along, the single-parent black family, headed by a female, was a given, it had been developed over the last 40 years. LBJ didn't cause it."
corgi, LBJ said"I'll have those n-word voting Democratic for the next 200 years". LBJ started it and the Great Society, liberals, democrats have carried it forward for the last 40 yrs.

KSL
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KSL 02/23/14 - 03:19 pm
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I have not yet read the

I have not yet read the letter Just scanned the comments. I know that the author is held in high respect by someone I hold in high respect and who holds Mr Abrams there. I look forward to reading in detail.

Bizkit
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Bizkit 02/23/14 - 03:37 pm
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Burn I well aware of Nixon's

Burn I well aware of Nixon's Southern Strategy, but I don't see Rep actively seek votes by appealing to racism in the South as this strategy anymore (remember in 2005 they apologized to the NAACP)-if anything that stigma still haunts them, however lots of racists still gravitate to the Rep party. It's just bad if a Rep like Nixon or Dem like Obama or Hillary will let politics drive them to such desperate acts for political gain. It's just awful in either party. Our youth will fix this "race" problem as every generation race or ethnicity becomes less of an issue. It's not oil and water anymore-but mixing and soon we will be blended such no one notices or cares. Just think how much we have desensitized ourselves to all sorts of things just in my lifetime. Mixing races and homosexuality were once "taboo" but that mentality is few and far between especially in younger than 30 and is seen most in the over 50 crowd. But I don't know too there are those who propagate hate and violence just like teaching a pit bull to be a killer. It's legacy issue=like the abused becomes abusers. We can break this old conforming molds even after 50.

Bizkit
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Bizkit 02/23/14 - 03:43 pm
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"NO level of racism -- even

"NO level of racism -- even the "harmless" joke -- is rooted in anything but childish ignorance, and we all need to be reminded of that, each and every time we slip to that level." That is so true-a friend of mine lost his job over a mindless joke that I know he didn't mean as insulting-but it sure was and he would call himself an "idiot" and not ignorant. But we all do idiotic things-like asking a woman when she is due and she tells you she isn't pregnant. Sometimes breaking the mold hurts.

jimmymac
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jimmymac 02/23/14 - 03:42 pm
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ABRAMS
Unpublished

Sir your letter is factual and totally correct. The many problems facing poor blacks is a lack of education and out of wedlock child births. That starts the cycle of poverty that is a step hole to climb out of. Children of all races need to be taught that their success rest on their shoulders. The government will not keep you out of poverty. Once you become dependent on the government you're just about assured a life of being poor. Black leaders and churches need to stop promoting the victim card and start pushing blacks and whites to start being responsible for their own life!

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