The RandomSpotter hasn’t blogged for nearly 4 years. Life got in the way. But, life has also moved on. So much has changed. Politics is uglier, pettier, and more divisive than ever. The economy has tanked. Our planet is in dire jeopardy from our own disregard for what ails it. And, we are threatened with death from a virus we can’t yet control. But, what has not changed much at all? The Black Lives Matter messages and methods.
In my #BLM post of July 2016, I made a case for a greater and larger Black Lives Matter agenda. I don’t think that agenda has materialized. We are still fixated on the issue of police abuse against the African American community while nearly ignoring the other ills that plague so many in our nation. I’m glad we are prosecuting criminal cops. They have no place in our justice system. I’m glad so many have spoken up. I’m also glad that some corporations have looked at their products, services, and brands, and made attempts to remove any negativity associated with them. But, I know in my heart that we will not cure the hopelessness and despair that exists in the darkest places of the black community by tearing down a statue or rebranding a box of flour. These problems are bigger than the movement seems to recognize.
The culture of single parent families in the black community hurts the children raised in this environment. It is too difficult to raise a child as a single parent, and while grandparents and other father surrogates do help, they are a poor substitute for a two parent household with a father present. But to advance a two parent family ideal, we must break the present cycle in which black males are far more likely to end up in prison than in successful careers and family settings. Prison reform is urgently needed, and unjustly-skewed prosecutions and incarcerations of black defendants must end. We need black men to remain in the black community and to shoulder the burden of family so that their children will see a meaningful example of fatherly love and work ethic.
School children in black schools must have all the tools they need. We can’t keep denying that we have a sub-standard education system in most black communities. We must send the resources to these schools (yes, that means money) so that these students can grow their minds and educations as adeptly as students in other neighborhoods. This should be our biggest priority because hope and ambition begins in school.
I believe that we will do far more for every black citizen in America by achieving these goals than we will by protesting racist cops. We will build more dreams and create more opportunity for children who will otherwise perceive injustice that is out of proportion to the real issues of black-on-black crime and psychological poverty in the community. I get it; the message is profound and empowering. But real empowerment will come when black children can experience a safe home life, a stimulating education, and grow in an environment that reinforces the value of ambition and aspiration.
In the meantime, each of us can do so much more than carry a sign. In my opinion, commitment to Black Lives Matter must be to make them matter by speaking the bigger truths. They’re hard to hear, but they mean much more in the long run.