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America on the Wrong Path on Race and Poverty

BlindConceit_smallerI’ve got a new book out which is not really so new.

It’s new because it has just been released as an eBook. But it is not so new because it is a collection of some of my columns from past 10 years with Scripps Howard News Service. And those columns reflect what I have been saying over the last 20 years – about race, about politics, about religion, about America’s problems and my sense of the answers to these problems.

It’s called “Blind Conceit – Policy, Politics, and Racial Polarization: Moving Forward to Save America.”

It’s a book about love and faith. Love of God, love of America, love of freedom, and faith that the answers to the many problems that trouble us so deeply today have answers in our traditional sources – our Bible, our Constitution – and that as more Americans turn to those sources we can get back on the path to the freedom and justice we seek.

It’s, of course, no accident, that I release this collection as we enter Black History Month 2015.

A recent survey from Gallup conveys a deeply troubling picture of race consciousness in America 2015. It’s impossible to look at this information and not conclude we need a new approach to thinking about race and poverty.

Only 48 percent of blacks, and 58 percent of whites, say they believe that racial problems in America will ever be worked out.

Only 40 percent of blacks say they believe a black has as good a chance as a white for a job for which they are qualified.

And only 29 percent of blacks say that black civil rights have greatly improved in their lifetime.

Why, half a century after the civil rights movement, are things still so bad? Are the prospects of ever realizing Dr. King’s dreams as dismal as the responses in the Gallup poll indicate?

A hint can be found by taking another look at exactly what King dreamed and said in his famous 1963 speech. If we check we can see that the ideals that he saw as the building blocks for racial justice were totally different from the path that the nation took.

Perhaps most important, King’s message was the message of a Christian pastor who saw meaning and justice as biblical truth. He quoted, in his speech, the prophet Isaiah, saying that “and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.”

One year before the I Have a Dream Speech, the U.S. Supreme Court banned prayer from America’s public schools – a first move among a long succession of decisions cleansing our schools and our public spaces of religion.

King quoted “My country ‘tis of thee, sweet land of liberty…let freedom ring.”

But government grew more powerful after King, much of it inspired by civil rights leaders. More laws, more spending, more politicians and bureaucrats telling people what to do and how to live. America became less free.

And perhaps the most famous line of King’s speech, his dream that his children would be judged “not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

But the laws that followed were driven by government policies defined and motivated not by content of character but by race, gender, and income.

King affirmed, in his speech, America’s unique greatness, and the greatness of its founding documents. His appeal was to let blacks participate equally.

What we got were generations that denigrated our founding values and documents.

Is it any wonder why we are where we are today? Can there be any doubt that if we continue as we are we will never join hands, as King dreamed, and sing “Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty, we are free at last.”

How to steer back on path?

I make some suggestions in “Blind Conceit.”

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One comment

  1. It is a great thing you have here Star, people able to voice and speak freely and I thank you for that. Just to start, I must let you know i am white and from the south. Please don’t delete me yet. I understand a lot of the issues we all face. Finding solutions to our problems through the Government is not always the best way to go, one must stand on their own to be completely free. one may do so with Gov help, but clearly they must take charge. I truly believe that we can go no further as a country until we heal the gap between the races. I listen to everyone’s story, but it seems the most important stories are not being told. i hear a lot of the disrespect of African- Americans from the government and i under stand the anger, but it seems the hate is taken out on the people and the wrong people at that. I always wonder when is the story to be told about love for all, if one has done you no wrong leave them be and find the one that did you wrong. it’s the only way to clear the air. When someone is done wrong and take it out on someone else does it not create another problem, is there ever gonna be a time when white, black, Asian or Mexican can actually walk along side each other without having to be concerned about being treated wrong for something someone else did. There’s lots of examples i could give, but don’t have room. most recently, i lost my job, because of racism; I am not mad but disappointed. The people in charge are African- Americans, and seem to steadily attacked me with false information about my work habits and would not conference me when i was on the wrong track like they do everybody, mind you most of the African- Americans I got along with great, but the ones in charge were obviously racist. I lost my apartment last winter, because of low income and about froze. I hear a lot complaining about low income housing when there were several times i lived onside on a hill, because i am not eligible for this kind of housing and may not even be welcomed. I do suppose they have churches on these sites, also work, no reason they can’t come up with some kind of small project they can sell.
    All i know is that elected officials wants everyone to be divided, why i think that is because there is no program tries to unite people. My Great Grand Father gave land to his help, that was African-American, after the Civil War and I still get punished from African Americans, because i am white. More importantly, when some one is done wrong in the black race, you guys go after anyone that is white instead of the ones responsible, and when relatives take action to defend them that was done wrong, they are called racist. I don’t think i ever heard Mr. Sharpton address the fact that not all people are bad and have respect for the one that respect you and healing will take place. Ms. Star Parker, I hope you understand what I try to say here is not to offend no one, but try to unite America and then we can set the Government and our people on the right path. One of the comments left by one of your reader’s said, “we can not judge or set things right, when we are not right,”