Mind and Destiny

“I make no pretension to patriotism. So long as my voice can be heard ... I will hold up America to the lightning scorn of moral indignation. In doing this, I shall feel myself discharging the duty of a true patriot; for he is a lover of his country who rebukes and does not excuse its sins. It is righteousness that exalteth a nation while sin is a reproach to any people.”- Frederick Douglass

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Location: Delhi, N.Y., United States

The author and his webmaster, summer of 1965.

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Come Together


Our economy has recovered from the 2007-10 crisis stronger than almost every other country in the world.  There are people still hurting, because we still have a large racial gap when it comes to economic opportunity. 

Overall the unemployment rate is 4.9 percent, but the black unemployment rate is about nine.  There is still an achievement gap for black youth, who are graduating from high school and college at lower rates than white youth.  There is still a gender gap when a black women working full-time still earns 66 percent of what a white man gets paid.

There is still a justice gap when too many black youth pass from an education system that underfunds its schools to overcrowded jails.  Black men are about six times likelier to be in prison today, than white men.

Coming together will require that successful people not walk by a homeless man without asking why a society as wealthy as ours continues to allow homelessness to occur.  Low-level dealer shouldn’t be locked up without asking why that person, barely out of childhood, felt they had no other option.  That youth might be just as smart and talented as our child, but has been ground down by institutionalized incompetence that is terribly unfair and unjust.

Too often very successful adults don’t realize how lucky they’ve been.  When hearing the words of God Bless America, we should all allow our moral imagination to empathize with less fortunate people who are struggling.  That should include refugee, immigrant, both rural and city poor, transgender people, and also, the middle-aged white person who may have had all the advantages at one time, but over the last several decades has seen their world upended by economic, cultural and technological change, and feels powerless to stop it. 

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