The media is really bugging me lately. It seems to have returned to some 1960s mode, to a country that no longer exists. Al Sharpton is more than a little irritating. This left over fossil from the last century also seems to be stuck in a 1960s America. To massage his own ego, he called for 100 cities to have protests over the George Zimmerman verdict. First off, we all agree that Trayvon Martin should not have been killed. We will never know exactly what transpired leading to his tragic death. We do know the guy who did it wasn’t white, which the media erroneously reported from the start and many of my white liberal friends hoped for so they too could pretend it’s still the 1960s. That’s not what this essay is about. It is a bit about race though since that’s we’re being asked ridiculous questions like, “Is it time for a conversation about race in your workplace?”
Many may not have been around when the demographics of this country consisted mostly of caucasians and slightly over 15% African Americans. Yes there were smaller populations of those of Asian and Hispanic decent, but they were very seldom acknowledged during the civil right struggles of the 1960s. An email from Al Sharpton’s organization Friday brought back those memories. It was entitled Justice for Trayvon National Day of Action Vigils. Or should they be called Al Sharpton strokes his own ego day. “No justice, No peace!” screamed the headline straight out of the 1960s. Did this get lost in a time machine?
It seems that the media in general is clueless that the demographics of this country have changed dramatically. Walking around my neighborhood on any given day, I encounter people who have moved here from India, Mexico and China. I know here in Oregon we don’t have the larger non-white populations of California, Texas or New York. It sure doesn’t look like the white men held them back or they feel that the white population owes them something. Yes, they struggled to come here, educate themselves and contribute much to the economy. This doesn’t look like a white against black country to me. In the interconnected multinational capitalist economy we are a part of, it’s no longer true that the white man is always running the show anymore.
Here comes the part that will make my liberal friends run for cover: Some reasons why many (not just white people) still have concerns about their safety around African Americans. I do know from working in news that the media vilified white man helps the African American community on a daily basis here in our own community putting their lives at risk. This essay is about to become uncomfortable. The Portland Police Bureau tries to save black men from killing each other daily, racing to the scene of drive by shootings repeated at an alarming frequency. The Police Bureau also tries to make black funerals peaceful, working with funeral directors to insure there’s no further gang violence during funerals between black males again trying to kill each other. They also do community outreach because during the hot summer months they seem to want to kill each other even more. Very uncomfortable stuff here.
Then, there’s the cycle of crime for younger members of the African American community: Hardly does an afternoon go by when I don’t hear of shoplifting incidents at the Lloyd Center on the police scanner. The suspects are almost exclusively African American youths often in groups. Police again spend a lot of time responding to these crimes and attempting to recover merchandise. Nobody is discussing any of this openly. If a white person does, they are shouted down as being racist, their lives and careers must be ruined for having the audacity for making these points known, usually using social media. Or is it anti social media. Since it’s time to close this out, here’s a disclaimer: These are my personal observations, not opinions as someone whose job it is to follow police activities. I do not have any solutions. There are those who will say that generations of welfare, public housing and affirmative action all with good intentions beginning with the Great Society programs of the 1960s have contributed to this crisis in the black community instead of improving it. Others will simply contend that the lack of family structure; one parent households and lack of supervision are the starting point of shoplifting at the Lloyd Center that eventually escalate into drive-by shootings followed by armed funerals. No doubt these will be seen as racist statements to some since white people are no longer allowed to criticize anti social activities by those who are not. This discussion about race has no conclusion.