Tom Finneran: White America, Black America

Friday, July 19, 2013


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The Zimmerman/Martin case has once again made Americans take a good hard look at the issue of race relations.

So the Zimmerman/Martin case verdict is in and America, lead on by a commercially desperate media, retreats to its predictable corners. CNN and MSNBC have their tune and FOX has its tune. Go to your own comfort zone for the twain will never meet.

Of all that has been written and spoken about the case–its origins, the investigation, the charging decisions, the politics, the media circus, the evidence, and the verdict–it cannot be stated often enough that the jury was the only entity that heard all the evidence. Not Limbaugh. Not Maddow. Not Matthews. Not O’Reilly. Not Morgan, or any other talking head. And that jury, judging by the length of its deliberations, does not seem to have been paralyzed by any reasonable doubt. In fact, from a distance and through the sketchy lens of newspaper accounts, there seemed to be considerable doubt, much of it raised by the prosecution’s own witnesses.

So wither America in 2013? White America seems to tiptoe and tremble around the fear of race riots as a response to the verdict. Black America seems to seethe at yet another injustice. Pity the nation that bears such psychological wounds.

No excuses

Last week I wrote about some of the racial history of our country. It was not a soothing or comforting commentary about white America’s deeds. But black America cannot duck responsibility forever by merely pointing to the sins and crimes of the past as a justification for the suicidal lunacy of the present.

For example, a black “leadership” that embraces and defends “black English” as a legitimate form of scholastic expression is insane. Be my guest if you want to isolate yourself in a mental ghetto, but if you want to condemn young black students to a dead-end existence, I can think of no quicker route to that dead-end than to embrace such nonsense. We live in a country and a world that expects the proper use of proper language. Why would a “leader” consign his people to a very small and rapidly shrinking corner of that world? Beyond being completely appalled by the suicidal effects of such insanity, what would Frederick Douglass think?

Or, could some black leader explain the street’s condemnation of a black person’s academic achievements as “acting white”? Save some of your rage for those who would wound a student in such a way. In fact, how about a street party for the academic achievers as a way to spread the gospel of effort and achievement? Talk about having some street cred…now that would be a story, and a party, for every young child’s eyes and ears.

Family ties

Perhaps the most glaring of all the self-inflicted wounds of black America is the missing father in too many families. President Obama has spoken of this rampant ill. He should do so more often. Political lip service is one thing, leadership is quite another. In fact, the President should publicly challenge the Congressional Black Caucus, the NAACP, and other black organizations to place this topic at the very top of an urban agenda. No baby born to a single black or white mother has very good odds in this world. Families without fathers are now a pathology that will destroy America–black and white–from within. No radical Muslim ideology, no Communist China scheme, no Russian resurgence will ever threaten America as much as the explosion in out of wedlock births threatens the stability of our society. And intact families, headed by a mother and a father, need never apologize for their relative wellbeing. Academic achievement gaps and income inequality should never be blamed on parents who fulfill their responsibilities. Rather, might we acknowledge that reckless and irresponsible behavior begets every single social pathology we decry?

It has always been beyond my comprehension that a man could father a child and then walk away from that child. I am aghast at the practice. How then to understand such behavior as a growing fashion, not necessarily exclusive to the black community, but particularly deadly to the future of that community. While it may be beyond the ability of President Obama to reverse the degradation of the black family, his place in the history books would be more secure if he sincerely tried. His voice is the most important voice and the nation’s soul needs some serious help.


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