The truth sometimes has a way of being annoying and unpleasant. The truth of the matter is that we in the African-American community are a community that is at war with itself. If we don't stop this war soon, there may not be enough of us left to bury the casualties.
We have to see this issue for what it is -- a matter of life and death. Ending this war should be the primary focus of any African-American organization or leader, because no other issue in our community is of such crucial importance.
As we rapidly approach the summer, there is a clamor by some in the African-American leadership to press the new administration in the White House for summer jobs and other make-work type remedies.
Now this has all too often been the remedy for urban ills in the past. Pouring millions of dollars into the African-American community will not solve the problem. If our leadership hasn't learned that after 30 years, I think it safe to assume that they will never "get it."
We have to recognize the sad fact that we in the black community live in a community without structure. Any federal aid given would not be of any great assistance to the masses of the people living in the community.
For those skeptics who would wish to doubt my point of us having a structure-less community, I would suggest they look at the crime rate in the African-American community. They should focus on the rate of violent crime and incarceration of young black men.
They should also ponder the fact that communities that have a sense of structure do not allow themselves to become economically impotent as is the case in our community.
The point is this -- what is the sense of a massive infusion of federal dollars into a community that has forgotten how to live with itself?
We of the African-American community have to understand that killing each other is not normal behavior, and it most certainly is not constructive behavior.
Federal dollars will not teach us how to respect and love ourselves as a group of people, it will not teach us to nurture and educate our children and it will not teach us how to invest in our community and determine our own economic destiny. Our leaders need to tell us that.
Massive infusion of federal dollars will do exactly what it has always done, which is to create a group of elites and leave the masses in the rear.
We keep allowing individuals to push the masses of our people to yell loudly for things that do not benefit us as a group. We have already gone through the phase of pouring money into the ghetto, with Pat Moynihan and Lyndon Johnson in 1965. All it managed to create was a pathology of dependency in black inner-city neighborhoods. A few blacks got positions in government and government related spin-offs, and were able to hone their networking skills and move up the ladder. However, the situation for the masses never substantially improved, not just in Baltimore, but in all the major cities.
Although there are few certainties in life, we may take certain propositions as a given, among them that Bill Clinton will not hold your family together, he will not educate nor nurture your children and give them a sense of pride and self-respect, he cannot teach you to love yourself and invest in your own community and he cannot stop the killing fields that our communities have become.
In short he cannot solve our problem -- only we can.
Robert C. Gumbs