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A new ‘dreamer’ needed



Published: Sun, September 1, 2013 @ 12:00 a.m.

By Bertram de Souza (Contact)


If the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. were alive today — he undoubtedly would be a spry 84-year-old — and visited Youngstown, what would he say about the state of the black community?

It’s a question worth pondering given that blacks now make up 60 percent of the declining population in a city that’s struggling to overcome such deeply entrenched problems as crime, high unemployment among young blacks and an even higher number of black males behind bars.

Last Wednesday, America’s first mixed race (black father, white mother) president, Barack Obama, participated in the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and waxed eloquent about Dr. King’s iconic “I Have a Dream” speech delivered on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

On Aug. 28, 1963, more than 250,000 people jammed the National Mall to hear the civil rights leader and Baptist minister use Scripture and prose to describe an America free of the shackles of racism and segregation.

It was a defining moment in the history of the nation. It ignited the passions of blacks throughout the country and tugged at the heartstrings of fair-minded white Americans, including decision-makers in Washington.

President Obama, whose election is the manifestation of the struggle for civil and political rights for all Americans, noted the progress that has been made over the years in fulfilling Dr. King’s dream “… that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but the content of their character.”

Desperate plight

But while giant steps have been taken in tearing down the barriers that were the cause of so much pain and suffering for blacks, the plight of many today could best be described as desperate.

Therefore, it’s time for an updated version of “I Have a Dream,” one that addresses some of the seemingly intractable problems plaguing the black community. Youngstown serves as the ideal social laboratory.

But who would deliver the new version of the speech?

There is an individual with the popularity and credibility of Dr. King and who already has shown a willingness to tell the truth about the problems within his community.

Bill Cosby, a world renowned entertainer and long-time social commentator, has angered some black leaders for his public criticism of old and young.

In one of his widely publicized critiques, Cosby blasted black parents whose priorities are skewed. For instance, they buy their children expensive sneakers but fail to ensure they have proper communication skills, he said.

In reference to the civil rights movement in which blacks demanded education equality, Cosby said: “These people marched and were hit in the face with rocks to get an education and now we’ve got these knuckleheads walking around. I can’t even talk the way these people talk: ‘Why you ain’t,’ Where you is’ …” He said he blamed the child until he heard the mother and father talk.

“Everyone knows it’s important to speak English except these knuckleheads,” the well-respected entertainer said. “You can’t be a doctor with that kind of crap coming out of your mouth.”

Not surprisingly, Cosby’s comments ignited a firestorm within the community, but they brought out many defenders. The issue was debated in newspapers, on radio, on the Internet and around the water cooler.

Bell ringer

But, Cosby refused to back down, telling the British newspaper, the Daily Mail, “I feel that I can no longer remain silent. If I have to make a choice between keeping quiet so that conservative media does not speak negatively or ringing the bell to galvanize those who want to change in the lower economic community, then I choose to be a bell ringer.”

And that’s exactly what Youngstown needs, someone to ring the bell to draw attention to the state of emergency.

Of particular concern is the culture of dependence on government, which has given rise to a generation of non-productive individuals.

That was not what the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. had in mind when he delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech 50 years ago.

What would he say about the black youth in cities like Youngstown? Exactly what Bill Cosby said.


Comments

1Knightcap(605 comments)posted 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Part of my work takes me into Y-town southside, East Cleveland and the Hill District in Pittsburgh. From what I witness the black youth look up to rappers who rap about disrespect to the law, women and just about anything you and me would consider right. They blast this type of music with the foulest of words from the N word to MFer. And you might get five cars together screaming this music trying to outdo one and other. I don't think some these youth know who Bill Cosby is. These people turn into low information voters and vote for candidates like Jesse Jackson and Barak Obama.

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2Silence_Dogood(1214 comments)posted 7 months, 2 weeks ago

The only way to find out why a patient has a self inflicted wound is to get that patient in therapy, that will never happen as long as you have people like Sharpton and Jackson telling them they were wounded by the white man.

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3RustOnMyBelt(106 comments)posted 7 months, 2 weeks ago

People actually need to stop dreaming and WAKE UP. Reality has arrived.We have a black (half-black) President,Supreme Court Justice, ex-Secretary of State, General,Pilots, Neurosurgeons,Comedians,Artists,Musicians,Educators,Janitors,BusDRIVERS....wake up and make the changes yourself...help your children to achieve their own level of success however it is measured. Teach the generation that follows to abhor violence,earn an honest living ,help one another ,lifting themselves up and to always give thanks and credit to our Maker. The dream is over,live it.

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4kurtw(758 comments)posted 7 months, 1 week ago

Success is much easier in this country than failure- to succeed (barring catastrophic illness or disabling accident) is fairly simple- play by the rules, get an education, dress decently, learn how to use an alarm clock, don't have kids out of wedlock- make an effort- and odds are you'll be fine- because the system was set up to reward those kinds of behaviors- regardless of skin color.

Failure, on the other hand, is tough- you really, really, have to try hard in this country to fail and to fail miserably is hardest of all- because you're bucking the system. The system is geared to making people successful- and certain kinds of people can't accept that- they need to fail and they work hard at it.

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5kurtw(758 comments)posted 7 months, 1 week ago

I like 2nd comment: "self-inflicted wound," that about says it.

The way I see it Black Americans no longer need white people to screw their lives up- they're doing a pretty good job on their own. They've become their their own worst enemies- especially the welfare-supported single mother scourge.

It's a sad state of affairs for the race hustlers- Jackson and Sharpton, people like that- white society by bending over backwards to accommodate black people is depriving them of their livelihood. I'll bet (secretly) they miss the good old days of the unregenerate racists- Governor Wallace, Strom Thurmond, people like that- so easy to hate- so convenient for the aggrandizing of their own power. Ah, Yes, Those were the Good old Days!

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