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A racist, no; race conscious, yes

By Bertram de Souza (Contact)

Published March 1, 2009

A caller to the Feb. 21 radio talk show "The Valley's Talkin' with Doc and Bert" on 1330 WGFT accused this writer of being a racist because of comments made during a discussion about juvenile delinquency with Mahoning County Juvenile Court Judge Theresa Dellick.

Such an accusation has the effect of silencing honest and open discussion of issues relating to race. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder had it right when he said that we are a nation of cowards when it comes to dealing with this highly emotional topic. But what Holder should have made clear is that the cowardice (or some less offensive word) is the result of  people not wanting to be labeled negatively.

But it is not racist to point out, for example, that black-on-black crime in the city of Youngstown is destroying the fabric of the community. Nor is it racist to note that the absence of a father and mother in many black homes in the Mahoning Valley is a major contributing factor to the juvenile delinquency problem and the failing school system.

There certainly is nothing wrong in observing that white flight from cities like Youngstown is the result of declining property values, growing black populations, crime, deteriorating neighborhoods and inadequate public education.

This writer has long advocated a boarding school for at-risk inner city children because the absence of family life in many homes is stunting the intellectual and social growth of black young people in Youngstown. Drastic measures are needed, which is why Judge Dellick's latest inititative deserves the full support of the community.

She is proposing to start a residential program for some of the children who are enrolled in a school that has been created by the court. These children were on the verge of being expelled from their regular schools and/or had been in trouble with the law.

Judge Dellick intends to start small, but knows that the demand is great. The fact that the young people in the school are already showing signs of turning their lives around is encouraging her to move forward boldly.

That is why an honest, open discussion about what is happening in the black community — and the reaction of many whites, both in the city and the suburbs — is essential.

It is not racist to speak the truth.




1aeparish(669 comments)posted 7 years, 4 months ago

Grump, you are very right.

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2ytownoptimist(86 comments)posted 7 years, 4 months ago

Wow, didn't know Grum & aeparish were sociologists with sub degrees in psychotherapy & education. Hmm, hoodies = anti-social behavior. Alert all high school parents that the fashions at American Eagle, Holister & Ambercrombie & Fitch are leading their young astray! Are the two of you willing to fund all the therapy, parenting skills classes, school training & tutoring that you think automatically = positive community involvement? It becomes annoying when preaching, judgemental people squelch an honest discussion with trite answers. The discussion & efforts to help children with damaged backgrounds needs to start somewhere. Forcing marriage upon individuals isn't always the answer & doesn't automatically mean an Ozzie & Harriet (or The Cosbys for that matter) family dynamic. I think both of you need to watch the CNN series Black in America & do some research on ways to help at risk children.

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3scrooge(563 comments)posted 7 years, 4 months ago

ytown - you are quick to berate ae and grump yet have no real solution yourself.
"Trash" has no color. You have white trash, black trash, just like hispanic and asian trash. The problem with society is that we have created a generation of "trash" who haven't known anything but the welfare role of their parent(s).
Until we can break the dependancy of the government we can't win the battle. Fact is: single parents get more federal dollars (welfare) than married. There is no incentive to find a job/get married when they collect more from the government. They find an opportunity to earn cash - usually thru illicit actions- and the "trash" is purpetuated.
Got to agree with Grump, but add all colors and not just black.

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4aeparish(669 comments)posted 7 years, 4 months ago

"The discussion & efforts to help children with damaged backgrounds needs to start somewhere."

It should have started with the parents long before they let their "damaged backgrounds" get in the way of their parenting skills (or lack thereof).

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5ytownoptimist(86 comments)posted 7 years, 4 months ago

There can be a non-stop cycle of lower income/lower education level individuals perpetuating a non-familial friendly lifestyle that isn't healthy for the adults or children. To make a blanket statement that marriage alone is an indicator of healthy childhood is not completely accurate. Parental education & income levels determine how well a child does in school & the child's propensity to become involved in crime. I cannot add a one statement solution to the problem because it would require a thesis that the comment section does not support. Judge Dellick is starting small & starting somewhere in a positive manner which is great (as Bertram stated). Bertram has pointed out some accurate observances & I tip my hat to him.

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6dolph(1 comment)posted 7 years, 3 months ago

Why use the word 'black' in this sentence? "Nor is it racist to note that the absence of a father and mother in many black homes in the Mahoning Valley is a major contributing factor to the juvenile delinquency problem and the failing school system." Is there a suggestion that the absence of a father and mother in a white home does not contribute to juvenile delinquency?

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7boardmanneedschange(364 comments)posted 7 years, 3 months ago

By todays standards you are only allowed to point out the shortcomings of your own race, otherwise you are considered a racist. Personally I think the race that needs the most help is the human race. we are a bunch of lazy non thinking idiots that let even the simplest of conclusions slip right by. Crime is rampant because the penalties are too light. Done.

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8gmann415(268 comments)posted 7 years, 3 months ago

i cant believe oldman grump said what he said. violance, broken homes,out of wedlock births,and under educated kids and adults know no color. and if it does then maby you need to look in your all white back yard in poland and see all of the goodid good whit boys and girls whearing their urban style cloting and driving around bummping around to the sound of rap music.

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9aeparish(669 comments)posted 7 years, 3 months ago

And those white people need a wake up call, too.

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10computer_rick(137 comments)posted 7 years, 3 months ago

darn it! I missed the discussion when it was at it's peak. And now I make my comments without an audience. Oh well... here goes!

Ahhh, why bother... We all know what the problem is. No jobs. Too much crime. A police force that for too many years pulled their head in like a turtle, You can arrest all the pople you want. you can pass any law you want. You can have all the rolling traffic stops you want. The truth is, Youngstown is too far down the tubes to ever recover. It is a nice springboard to higher government office. A great place to buy an inexpensive home to live (while at the same time keeping a mailing address somewhere else that doesn't charge 2.75% income tax). Good Italian food, and pierogies on Friday, and don't forget all the rib stands that open up in the Spring. If you are a lawyer, or a doctor, or a government employee, great place to be a big fish in a small pond.

To all of the critics, come on, stop it! Youngstown will never change. Even with all of the task forces etc... Corruption hasn't (and will never) gone away, the price has just gone up!

And to all the folks who throw racism at everything, lighten up. All you need to do is take a cab ride with an Independent cab driver some night at 2 a.m. Go on a few runs. Then come back and tell me who runs Youngstown. Would be a good idea for some brave young reporter for the Vindy. Don't worry, very few cab drivers get shot and robbed. But you will see what goes on that seemes to get swept under the rug/ignored by folks. Great fun really. I always enjoyed picking up the young entrepeneurs from the front of some boarded up home in Y-town, and driving them back to Mom and Dads, watching them count their cash. Well dressed, polite, lousy tippers. But never worried about getting robbed myself...

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