Tuesday, March 13, 2012

We’ve a Long, Long Way to Go!

We’re civilized, indeed, in our own eyes, but in the Creator’s eyes we’ve got plenty far yet to go!
by Charlie Leck

Headline from Afghanistan!
It was a shocking and disturbing way to begin the week. An American soldier in Afghanistan went berserk and wandered, with his rifle, from his military base into a village and violently murdered men, women and children. It is not something the country needs at the moment – nor did the President. It shows how far we have to yet go to understand the workings of the human mind and what controls and affects it.

Questions faced by civilized people!
This morning, the New York Times confronted me with more of the puzzle in a disturbing discussion about “being young, black and male in America.” [Read the editorial here!]

The news for young black men is not good: they are disproportionately singled out for discipline in school, they are more likely to be stopped and frisked by New York City police officers, and according to Michelle Alexander in her book, “The New Jim Crow,” nearly one-third of black men are likely to spend time in prison at some point in their lives.
Would pulling back on draconian drug laws or legalizing marijuana be enough to fix this imbalance? What else needs to be done?

Eight people, of varying backgrounds, participated in this extraordinary discussion about what can be done. At first glance it looks as if dealing with this marvelous piece of journalism will take hours, but it is really quite brief and to the point. It’s one of those items called “discussion starters” and this is a conversation and/or debate that well needs to get going.

We are failing black America! We are! It is easy to blame it on the young black men in prison and the black kids who are dropping out of school in droves and the black adults who are out of work in numbers far disproportionate to the white population. The blame, however, lies with the nation that, as advanced and civilized as it is, hasn’t been able to answer some of the really big questions about human behavior.

We have so, so far to go!

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