Monday, July 18, 2016

Attitude Makes All the Difference

Many believe that relations between whites and blacks have seriously deteriorated over the past few years.  This has reached an ugly peak with the ambush and assassinations of police in Dallas and Baton Rouge in the last few days.  

I can't claim to fully understand what black people experience in their lives and their relationship to the police and other authority figures.  Is there racism in our society?  Of course there is and the harsh reality is that there will always be racists, bigots, and other assorted idiots in the human race.  Racism will never be completely eradicated due to the imperfection of human beings.  What's a person to do?

Change starts with each individual.  President Obama lectures us on how the police need to acknowledge their racism and mend their ways.  This, however, is a two way street.  What responsibility do blacks have in this?  The fact of the matter is that blacks commit violent crimes at a higher rate than whites, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.  Black-on-black crime is rampant in some cities, yet the President doesn't seem to want to address this issue.  Police behavior is often in response to black criminal behavior; according to the FBI, the rate at which cops are killed by blacks is 2.5 times higher than the rate at which blacks are killed by the police.  

So where does attitude enter into all this?  Did you know that a black man by the name of Charlie Brown spent half his life in slavery and couldn't read, yet when he was freed he built a business domain in Brazoria County, Texas?  He eventually bought the plantation where he had been a slave, married his wife, who was also a former slave, and when he died in 1920, he was a millionaire. Where might Mr. Brown have ended up had he spent his life lamenting the injustice of slavery?  I doubt he would have achieved much success had he chosen to wallow in victimhood.

The first self-made female millionaire in this country was a black woman, Sarah Breedlove, a.k.a. Madam C.J. Walker.  Early in her life, she faced odds that were heavily stacked against her.  She was orphaned at 7, married at 14, and widowed at 20.  After she began losing her hair, she developed a line of hair care products, successfully fighting racism and sexism along the way and making a place for herself alongside America's elite entrepreneurs.  

The point I'm trying to make is that these black people achieved fantastic success long before affirmative action or the Civil Rights Act.  How could that be?  Racism, and in the case of Madam C.J. Walker, sexism, were much more common and blatant in those days, yet they triumphed in spite of it.  I suspect that attitude, determination, and personal discipline played a role in their success.  These are personal traits that are seriously lacking in many individuals of all colors these days.  

I'd like to see our so-called leaders quit talking about eradicating racism; it's impossible.  It will always be with us, so how about talking about achieving excellence and success in spite of it?  It can be done!