An im­por­tant ques­tion: Would those who sac­ri­ficed for civil rights be proud to­day?

The Covington News - - OPINION -

One can’t imag­ine the fear in the hearts of the par­ents of those nine black stu­dents who walked past shout­ing plac­ard-car­ry­ing mobs as they en­tered Lit­tle Rock Cen­tral High School in 1957.

Each day, they were greeted with an­gry shouts of, “Two, four, six, eight, we don’t want to in­te­grate.” In some ru­ral and ur­ban ar­eas, dur­ing the school de­seg­re­ga­tion era, par­ents es­corted their 5- and 6-year-old chil­dren past crowds shout­ing threats and scream­ing racial ep­i­thets. Of­ten there were Ku Klux Klan marches and cross burn­ings.

Much of this protest was in the South, but North­ern cities were by no means ex­empt from the tur­moil and vi­o­lence of school de­seg­re­ga­tion.

Most of the par­ents and civil rights lead­ers whose sac­ri­fices and courage made to­day’s ed­u­ca­tional op­por­tu­ni­ties pos­si­ble are no longer with us.

My ques­tion is: If they could know what many of to­day’s black young­sters have done with the fruits of their sac­ri­fice, would they be proud?

Most schools iden­ti­fied as “per­sis­tently danger­ous” are pre­dom­i­nantly black schools.

To have a mod­icum of safety, many schools are equipped with walk­through me­tal de­tec­tors, se­cu­rity cam­eras and con­veyor belt X-ray ma­chines that scan book bags and purses. Na­tion­ally, the black fouryear high-school grad­u­a­tion rate is 52 per­cent.

In some cities, such as Detroit and Philadel­phia, it’s con­sid­er­ably lower -20 per­cent and 24 per­cent, re­spec­tively. In Rochester, N.Y., it’s 9 per­cent.

What black politi­cians, par­ents, teach­ers and stu­dents have cre­ated is noth­ing less than a gross be­trayal and squan­der­ing of the strug­gle paid in blood, sweat and tears by pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tions to make pos­si­ble the ed­u­ca­tional op­por­tu­ni­ties that were de­nied to blacks for so long.

Born in 1936, I’ve lived dur­ing some of our racially dis­crim­i­na­tory his­tory.

I re­call be­ing chased out of Fish­town and Grays Ferry, two pre­dom­i­nantly Ir­ish Philadel­phia neigh­bor­hoods, with my cousin in the 1940s and not stop­ping un­til we reached a pre­dom­i­nantly black North Philly or South Philly neigh­bor­hood.

To­day that might be dif­fer­ent.

A black per­son seek­ing safety might run from a black neigh­bor­hood to a white neigh­bor­hood.

On top of that, to­day whites are likely to be vic­tims of blacks.

Ac­cord­ing to the Bureau of Jus­tice Statis­tics’ 2008 National Crime Vic­tim­iza­tion Sur­vey, in in­stances of in­ter­ra­cial crimes of vi­o­lence, 83 per­cent of the time, a black per­son was the per­pe­tra­tor and a white per­son was the vic­tim.

Most in­ter­ra­cial as­saults are com­mit­ted by blacks.

What’s worse is that there are blacks still alive, such as older mem­bers of the Con­gres­sional Black Cau­cus, NAACP and National Ur­ban League, who lived through the times of lynch­ing, Jim Crow and open racism and who re­main silent in the face of the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion.

Af­ter the Ge­orge Zim­mer­man trial, in cities such as Bal­ti­more, Los An­ge­les, Mil­wau­kee, Chicago and New York, there have been a num­ber of bru­tal re­venge at­tacks on whites in the name of “jus­tice for Trayvon.”

Over the past few years, there have been many episodes of un­pro­voked at­tacks by black gangs against white peo­ple at beaches, in shop­ping malls, on pub­lic con­veyances and in other pub­lic places in cities such as Den­ver, Chicago, Philadel­phia, New York, Wash­ing­ton and Los An­ge­les.

There’s no wide­spread con­dem­na­tion, plus most of the time, the race of the at­tack­ers was not re­ported, even though me­dia left­ists and their al­lies are ex­perts in re­port­ing racial dif­fer­ences in ev­ery­thing else.

Would those black Amer­i­cans who fought tooth and nail against Jim Crow, seg­re­ga­tion, lynch­ing and racism be proud of the find­ings of a re­cent Ras­mussen poll in which 31 per­cent of blacks think that most blacks are racists and 24 per­cent of blacks think that most whites are racists?

Among whites, in the same Ras­mussen poll, 38 per­cent con­sider most blacks racist, and 10 per­cent con­sider most whites racist.

Black peo­ple don’t need to have a con­ver­sa­tion with white peo­ple on mat­ters of race.

One first step would be to de­velop a zero tol­er­ance for crim­i­nal and dis­rup­tive school be­hav­ior, as well as a zero tol­er­ance for crim­i­nal be­hav­ior in neigh­bor­hoods.

If city au­thor­i­ties can­not or will not pro­vide pro­tec­tion, then law-abid­ing black peo­ple should find a way to pro­vide that pro­tec­tion them­selves.

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