A tough conversation

Moderated by Rick Badie

Today, the president and CEO of a nonprofit organization writes about the plight of our city’s young black males and exhorts more people in the community to do what her group does – make these men a priority and help “raise the village.” Meanwhile, a local medical doctor admonishes what she calls “black slack.”

Thanks for starting tough conversation

By Rick Badie

Recently, a reader fired off a letter demanding to know why there was no “outrage” from us regarding the murder of an Australian baseball player, allegedly by three teens in Oklahoma. Even though The Atlanta Journal-Constitution carried the story, as did probably all newspapers and media outlets, he called my profession a sham because – in his opinion – the athlete’s death didn’t garner the attention of Trayvon Martin.

The missive arrived days after our Aug. 22 Atlanta Forward page launched the start of a tough conversation on race and crime, notably blacks killing blacks. Those inaugural essays, with their disparate views, were well-received by our audience. The package garnered more than 60 reader comments. Of that number, only two had to be removed for being distasteful. Most comments were heartfelt and showed concern.

Like this one from “Q”: “Here’s a great example of what this issue faces. I agree with everything Jerome Hudson wrote but, being a 45-year-old white male, publicly expressing the same thoughts would end up costing me everything I have. Until two people of different races can review facts and draw the same conclusions and not have one labeled as a ‘racist this’  or ’sell-out that,’ we simply cannot begin to have intelligent discussions that lead to positive changes. People will find self-preservation more important.”

These and other comments suggest that, perhaps, we, our community, stand ready to engage in a discussion that affects all of us, regardless of zip code. Moreover, if nudged, we may be ready to get off the sidelines in large numbers and address violence by youth regardless of color.

It’s a notion that’s taken root. Last Tuesday, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and Police Chief George Turner met with President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder at the White House to discuss strategies to reduce youth violence. President Obama, in a pledge to the 18 mayors in attendance, said he would do everything in his power to fight gun violence and press Congress to pass commonsense reforms.

The good of our children has become a platform for the Reed administration and the Atlanta Police Department.

“We have a responsibility to shape our children’s futures,” Reed said in a statement. “They need positive role models to guide and mentor them so they don’t make the wrong choices that lead to a criminal life.”

Added Turner: “We want our officers to reach children on the front end, through athletic and life skills programs, rather than reaching them later when we are forced to place them in handcuffs due to their poor choices.”

Today, we present the second installment of this critical ongoing discussion regarding crime. It’s a complex issue that burns and demands your attention. Please share your thoughts, ideas and potential solutions on myajc.com and on the ajc.com Atlanta Forward blog.

Help raise villages of young black men

By Norma Joy Barnes

From the schoolhouse to the courthouse, the odds seem to be pervasively stacked against the black male. Unemployment rates, school dropout rates, income levels and incarceration rates of black males, compared to white males and black females, are clear indicators of challenges they face. This is particularly true for young black males 18 to 28. Too many in this age bracket are caught in the gap between youth and full manhood, with no hands-on support to help them succeed in life.

A disproportionate number of these young black males are poor, uneducated, unskilled, unemployed or underemployed. They are faced with seemingly insurmountable odds. The unemployment rate for young black men is more than twice the rate for young white men; young black men are less likely to graduate from high school than young white men and are nine times more likely to die from homicides, seemingly “black-on-black” crimes.

Based on Georgia Department of Corrections data, black males represent 27 percent of Georgia’s population, but represent 68 percent of Georgia’s prison population. Incarceration rates are even higher in Fulton (87.1 percent) and DeKalb (87.3 percent) counties.

Although these statistics paint a bleak picture, the Community Council of Metropolitan Atlanta, Inc. (CCMA) believes the odds faced by young black males can be overcome with constructive strategies. To address these challenges, CCMA provides free “Overcoming the Odds” workshops; the Priority Male Institute, a 16-week job readiness institute; the 12-week DNA Young Fatherhood (Devotion, Nobility and Accountability) program; and a Man2Man mentoring program, all for black males 18-28 years of age.

Since its inception in 2008, CCMA has provided 40 free programs, serving over 1,000 black males. It has been extremely difficult obtaining funding for these programs due to the lack of priority. Many seem to feel young black males are to be blamed for their dismal state without understanding that many of them have not received the critical support needed to succeed in life. What they fail to understand is that far too many of these young men have grown up without fathers or male role models to help them navigate their journey toward responsible manhood. What people also fail to realize is that without outside support, these young men will perpetuate this legacy as they raise male children of their own. Further, without gainful employment and viable resources, they will be more likely to engage in unlawful activity. Young black men need our support.

I have always felt that it takes a village to raise a child, but now know that “a child of God” can help raise a village. There are villages of young black males who need help to raise the quality of their lives. Enough talk, let’s help raise the villages!

Norma Joy Barnes is CEO and president of the Community Council of Metropolitan Atlanta Inc.

Fixing black families

By Melody T. McCloud

Seventy-two percent of black babies are born to unwed mothers. High school and college graduation rates for black males are at an all-time low. Black-on-black crime appears to be soaring. Young males seemingly can’t go to a house party without someone getting shot or killed. It is disgraceful and inexcusable.

Some blame these current ills on slavery, and excuse the actions of uneducated and criminally-minded blacks as if they don’t have a choice in how they conduct their lives. It’s 2013. They do.

Whites also have ills: White males are angry. Some commit mass murders. Whites often use methamphetamines, commit suicide or die from anorexia or the “choking game.” While some blacks cry racism too often, whites don’t own or acknowledge it enough.

Too many blacks eagerly embrace what I call “Black Slack.” They take the path of least resistance. Proper attire has lost out to thug wear; biomedical engineering to basketball; romantic lyrics to vile hip-hop; civility to criminality. Learning proper English is trumped by “ebonics.”

A black person who encourages education and personal responsibility is often called a traitor. That is nonsensical, irresponsible and ignorant. The foolishness adopted by many black youth (and some parents) needs to stop. It’s inexcusable.

There are simply too many black children born out of wedlock and too many absentee fathers. There must be a restoration of black families that consist of married mothers and fathers.

Civil rights leaders fought, and some died, so blacks could have their rightful, fair chance at the American dream. Many honored those efforts and became dedicated company employees, professionals and entrepreneurs. But in recent decades, too many have squandered previous advances.

Today there’s no insistence on education, proper language skills, attire, morality, decency or respect for life – one’s own or anyone else’s. Black women need to respect themselves. Stop having babies without the benefit of marriage. There are too many (poorly-raised) children having children. Likewise, black girls need in-home, responsible fathers so they don’t seek “love” from sex-crazed boys, get pregnant, and continue the cycle of fatherless, undisciplined and poor-achieving offspring.

The black family needs men who know how to lead, read, respect and protect. The black community has self-inflicted internal bleeding. Hemorrhage. The prescription is one of tough love. But without remedying the above-mentioned ills, the patient, in this case the black community, will remain in grave condition.

Dr. Melody T. McCloud is an Atlanta-based OB-GYN.

67 comments Add your comment


September 4th, 2013
9:37 pm

Ms McCloud, NO ONE could have said it better. It’s past time for looking for every excuse under the sun by so called ” Black Leaders ” and race baiters it’s time to look inward and start being REAlL Leaders if they really want to ( which I doubt )

[...] A tough conversationAtlanta Journal Constitution (blog)Even though The Atlanta Journal-Constitution carried the story, as did probably all newspapers and media outlets, he called my profession a sham because – in his opinion – the athlete’s death didn’t garner the attention of Trayvon Martin. … To … [...]


September 5th, 2013
12:24 am

In the last several months we’ve seen stories celebrating the movement of jobs back into Atlanta. While these actions should be celebrated the organizations mentioned seldom bring jobs that low skilled workers might qualify for.

State and City leaders need to focus on ways to bring decent entry level jobs to many of the communities in Atlanta and South DeKalb. While much effort has been made to woo bio-medical, information technology and financial organization few of these businesses are going to relocate to The SWATS. However, the right deal might attract a distribution company, manufacturer or call center which could provide good entry level jobs with some opportunity for advancement. This might require innovative tax deals, low or no rent and other regulatory relief. At one time Atlanta had ample opportunities for blue collar workers, but high taxes, real-estate cost and a less than friendly regulatory environment have pushed them to the burbs or beyond.

While I’m not naive enough to think that a few jobs will solve all the underlying issues we’ve got to start somewhere.


September 5th, 2013
5:29 am

“Some blame these current ills on slavery, and excuse the actions of uneducated and criminally-minded blacks as if they don’t have a choice in how they conduct their lives. It’s 2013. They do.”

Hebrews were enslved alot longer than blacks but they seem to be over it. When is the last time you heard them complain that they were enslaved and therefore resort to crime????


September 5th, 2013
6:06 am

Lets also point out that we have never had a President get involved in local events. This White House occupier likes to stick his nose in everything racial, when he is not on vacationing around the world or playing basketball or partying. This is the example he is showing for the blacks of today. Live off the white man b/c he owes you for being oppressed by slavery for a hundred years. This poor example is the reason our country is in worse shape than under Jimmy Carter. The black moochers parading around as reverends are just emphasizing this behavior. Wish they would follow role models like Bill Cosby and not some rapper or Al or Jesse.


September 5th, 2013
6:16 am

This is a tough situation for all. Crime effects all, no matter who is killing who or committing a crime against who.

I found it terrible the Bush administration stopped most of the after school programs, and funding for the Boys and girls clubs of America, all while perusing War.

I think this did horrible damage to young children of lesser income for all, not just the black folks, allot of kids then were “running the streets “, and not getting any after school help. This has now become an issue with crime, as kids learned about crime, instead of valuable learning and play time.

The GOP would argue they don’t have to fund these poor kids activity, but the end action has young kids involved in much more crime.

I am amazed the GOP and even the Obama leadership would peruse War with Syria, yet continue to avoid dealing with the problems here at home. Seems as long as a buck could be made on War, then that is the bottom line as to what we should do.

I would be particularly upset to think my tax dollars are used for that, and not helping American’s.

This is Mrs. Norman Maine

September 5th, 2013
6:17 am

You indicated this would be a “tough conversation” about black-on-black crime presumably with the intention of identifying solutions. Instead it is two people reciting a litany of negative statistics and finishing with what amount to platitudes. Dr. McCloud’s missive was particularly offensive; she even went to the trouble of coming up with a new name for Black underachievement, “Black slack”, how offensive.

Next time, why don’t we talk about what about our young men are doing right and how we can possibly replicate that for other young men. First of all, 5% of all college students are Black males which is proportional to the percentage of the general population and higher proportionally than White males. They graduate at lower rates, but that number rises every decade. The Black high school dropout rate is too high but it is dropping.

So what should we focus on? How about the school to prison pipeline fueled by no-tolerance policies and a tendency to criminalize any behavior of Black youths? It’s no secret that prisons do not “correct” anyone, instead they become incubators for future criminals. What about disparities in drug sentencing which again lead to higher incarceration rates which in turn lead to fewer job opportunities and you guessed it: more crime. And finally despite the beloved unwed mother rate, the overall birth rate among single young Black women is dropping significantly.

Why don’t we talk about economic investment in our communities and improving the schools? How about treating our young people as individuals instead of statistics? Get over the pants thing already, it means nothing. Expand vocational skills training for all youths. It shouldn’t be college or nothing.


September 5th, 2013
6:21 am

Sixty years of the federal government raising the majority of the black community has epically failed.


September 5th, 2013
6:27 am

So what should we focus on? How about the school to prison pipeline fueled by no-tolerance policies and a tendency to criminalize any behavior of Black youths?


Explain how the white kids, who sit in the same government school class next to the black kids, don’t seem to be breaking these same zero tolerance rules and/or laws the blacks kids disproportionately are breaking? Could it be because they are more likely to come from an involved two parent family whether or not those two parents live under the same roof?


September 5th, 2013
6:43 am

I always tout of myself as open minded, I have volunteered for charities that help young, single mothers go to school and work by helping to pay for child care. Then, one day, by chance, I overheard two black “dudes” laughing about getting their money on “Mother’s Day”. Since it was winter, I expressed my confusion, then they informed me that on the day the Welfare money hits the accounts, they”collect” from their “Baby Mommas”. They both had multiple children from multiple young, dumb, stupid women who, first of all don’t value their own body enough to use birth control, and second of all are weak enough to put up with this kind of abuse. These single mothers, I have come to realize, seem to think that government subsidies pay for kids. After having two, three, four, five, six kids, and handing over the money to these disgusting cretins, they have nothing left. After trying to help one case where a young black woman in her early twenties with FOUR kids–all from different fathers–got pregnant with number FIVE, I just lost my stomach. This is a massive cultural failure which no one wants to discuss. First of all, we have to stop making it economically easier to get pregnant and stay on the dole, than it is to get up off their backs, off their butts and work. Then, the black community has to stop making excuses for these low lifes. They will suck up anything the government is willing to give to them. They feel it is okay to steal from people’s homesand cars. They mug people at gun point. What in God’s name happened to the moral fiber within the black community? When does the victim hood stop? I come from poor, Irish American stock. My father was one of thirteen children (all same mother and father). His father was a sharecropper that raised cotton, drove to FL to pick up watermelons to sell, moved houses, dowsed for wells…..anything he could to feed his family. My dad was an engineer at Lockheed. Never, ever in the equation was a government handout, divorce. You always were properly dressed, clean, neat. My grandfather never had running water, yet he was alway clean shaven, smell nice, and had clean clothes. My grandmother died before I was born, but I assume she put the fear of God in my aunts and uncles, since they have the same ethics and morals. Maybe instead of focusing on the black thug, athlete wannabe black guys, you should focus on the young black women. Make them value their bodies, value education. If their boyfriend wants sex, he needs to marry her, get a job and be a provider.After a generation or two, the black culture might right
itself. If it continues this way, they are lost.

This is Mrs. Norman Maine

September 5th, 2013
6:47 am

@Andy, so you actually think White kids don’t break the rules?

This is Mrs. Norman Maine

September 5th, 2013
6:50 am

Of course you do, you think the “majority” of the Black community was raised by the government, whatever that means. That tells me everything I need to know about you. And Deborahinathens thinks that based on a conversation she heard between TWO young men that the entire Black community does not have moral fiber. Good grief.


September 5th, 2013
6:54 am

Mrs. Norman Maine, how on earth do you extrapolate that the pathetic 5% of black college attendees is higher, proportionately than white males? Do the math. That is not true. But that is beside the point. You don’t have to go to college to marry your children’s mother. You don’t have to go to college to be in the trades. There is a sneering attitude among young black high school students towards academics. Why is it that black mothers don’t encourage academic achievement more than athletics or trying to “score” big with buying three hundred dollar sneakers to sell on EBay? You know why? Academics achievement is HARD and requires a lot of parent involvement. When you have three kids, no money it’s hard to be involved.


September 5th, 2013
7:06 am

No, Mrs. Norman Maine, my conclusions are after working for years with these black mothers. Hundreds of them. Clarke County has one of the highest poverty rates in the state, right here in the shadow of UGA. I drive down streets during the day and see young black men, pants hanging down, strutting around, sitting on front porches and stoops. No education, no jobs, no hope. If one of my sons had tried to walk out of the house dressed like a thug, I would have slapped ‘em up side the head. And I tried to instill honor, decency and respect for women. Both are married. Both have families. I hope the morals they were taught are the bedrock that will last their entire lives, and they teach the same values to their kids. By the way, my husband and I are not religious, don’t go to church. I look at the black religious “leaders” and shudder. The black community is certainly NOT getting guidance from most of them.


September 5th, 2013
7:11 am

@Andy, so you actually think White kids don’t break the rules?

I said disproportionately break zero tolerance rules/laws.

Just like the disproportionate number of black males who don’t graduate HS and are in prison compared to white males.


September 5th, 2013
7:14 am

Of course you do, you think the “majority” of the Black community was raised by the government, whatever that means. That tells me everything I need to know about you. And Deborahinathens thinks that based on a conversation she heard between TWO young men that the entire Black community does not have moral fiber. Good grief.


9 out of 10 black children under the age of 18 will eat from food stamps at some point in their life. This is just one of example of the government raising a majority of blacks.

Morris Devereaux

September 5th, 2013
7:15 am

The biggest single social problem facing America, for ALL races, is the huge increase in single, unwed mothers. Yes, this impacts black families the most, but the rates for these single, unwed mothers are rising across the board.

What happens in these households is typical and predictable, a young mother with no help and typically little higher education, has to work outside of the home to bring in minimal wages. She doesn’t have the money to pay the high costs of daycare, so her children are frequently left to their own devices, with little or no parental guidance. When these young boys reach puberty and become bigger and stronger than their mother, there is little she can do to control them. Because she was unable to give them the guidance they needed when young, they don’t listen to her now. Because she has limited education, she neither knows the value of higher education nor how to help them get that education and as young men with hormones raging, they seek out action, adventure and sex.

Go back fifty years and you find young women being ostracized for getting pregnant before marriage. Society now embraces those same young women. When you approve and reward behavior, you’re going to get more of it rather than less.

So we can talk about this all we want, but until you embrace some of the old-fashioned ideas that DID work without throwing in the silly race and slavery card, you’re going to get the “new-fashioned” result that you’ve engineered.

This is Mrs. Norman Maine

September 5th, 2013
7:17 am

Deborah, I thought you said you were open-minded? I recited a fact for you and your mind refused to accept it because it didn’t fit in with the narrative you have built up in your mind. Try to wrap your brain around this:

Blacks males are 5.5% of the US population. Black males are 5% of all college students. What is so pathetic about that? Sounds representative to me.

On the other hand, White males are 32% of the population but make up only 27% of the college population. Not representative.

As for you working with “hundreds” of girls over the years, you do realize that you didn’t work with ALL the Black girls, right? What about the ones you didn’t meet? Do you understand the difference? I doubt it.

Now I would love to discuss this with you further, but I have to go to the job that Andy and you think I don’t have.

Jeff Knapp

September 5th, 2013
7:21 am

We have a society in which a growing number of children are being born into single parent households. Unfortunately, history tell us that males born into this scenario do have the “cards stacked against them”. However, lets first place the blame where it belongs – on the “parents” on this child. It is irresponsible to have any child outside of marriage and to have one anyway because “I want a baby” is the height of selfishness. We get mad at people who by a puppy at Christmas and then it ends at the dog pound a short time later, then where is the anger when babies are often intentionally born out of wedlock when – especially for males – they now face a high probability of being in jail. A few years ago I read statistics where over 70% of prison inmates and 70% of Youth detainees were from single parent homes. With the growing number of “fatherless” males these numbers will only rise. Yet we continue to celebrate when another unmarried woman has a child. Personally, I cry for that child.


September 5th, 2013
7:25 am

Now I would love to discuss this with you further, but I have to go to the job that Andy and you think I don’t have.


I never said you didn’t have a job. Stop feeling sorry for yourself and making excuses.


September 5th, 2013
7:32 am

This kind of “dialogue” is a complete waste of time for a lot of reasons.
1- The people whose actions are causing the problems don’t give a crap about what everybody else thinks about their lifestyle. Wedges.
2-Tribalism. I want to think that the majority of black people are much like the majority of white people when it comes to seeking “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” through hard work and clean living. Yet when an incident like the Trayvon Martin / George Zimmerman case gets sensationalized by the race hucksters the vast majority of blacks join ranks behind the hucksters completely ignoring the facts on the ground [ i.e. the ONLY eye witness having the black guy on top MMA'ing the "white hispanic" ]. Wedges.
3-The media. Keeping race relations riled up generates $$$$$. Wedges for dollars !
4-The federal gooberment. There is no bigger foul up than our own government. Everything the gov does turns to crap. For every ‘hand up’ there are scores of slap downs. They take from the ‘rich’ [middle class] and give to the “poor”. Resentments soar. More wedges. …… They give ‘immigrants’ priority. Instantly, black people find themselves replaced by said ‘immigrants’ on jobsites across the country. Opportunities stolen. Hopelessness . Criminality. Who gets the blame ? Whitey. More resentments, more wedges. Yet the solution most called for by black ‘leaders’ is more gov intervention in our lives.
4-White apathy. Nothing will change. Why make any effort.


September 5th, 2013
7:42 am


Melody T. McCloud clearly stated that slavery was no excuse. But you were so determined to express your racial hatred for blacks that you refused to acknowledge it.

Incidentally, the Hebrews were enslaved 3500 years ago, not 150 years ago. Also, 40 years after slavery they received their own country where they were the overwhelming majority and controlled their economic, social, political and legal system for the next 900 years, and controlled most of those things for 700 years after that. Blacks by contrast went from slavery to Jim Crow and other forms of systematic discrimination, and it was not until the 1980s when the notion of equality was actually accepted by mainstream America, but even that equality came with minority status, where blacks are less than 15% of the population, control less than 2% of the wealth and have no real political power (beyond bloc-voting for Democrats, which has long yielded diminishing returns).

Now I am not using slavery as an excuse, especially when it comes to things like illegitimacy (because more than 80% of blacks were born in wedlock as recently as the 1950s, and the illegitimacy thing really began to spiral out of control in the mid-80s) but merely pointing out that the experiences of the Hebrews and that of blacks in America cannot be compared.

If you want a better comparison point: eastern Europeans. (The word “slave” came from “slav”, as in the eastern European Slavic peoples, who were frequently enslaved by western Europeans and other peoples.) Until the formation of the EU, the treatment of eastern Europeans by western Europeans was atrocious … indeed that was one of the major causes of World War I, which began when Serbs assassinated an Austrian dignitary and his pregnant wife. (The men who committed this murder and sparked that horrific war are considered heroes in Serbia to this day.) But strangely, folks who love to make these race-based arguments only compare blacks to American and western European whites. Eastern Europe – which was as dysfunctional, corrupt and poverty stricken as any African or Latin American nation before the formation of the EU allowed eastern Europeans to go to western Europe to be unskilled laborers and receive educations – well they pretend as if it doesn’t exist. An example: how everyone does their best to ignore that the Boston bombers, the Tsarnaevs, are Europeans (literally from the Caucasus region where the very term Caucasian derived to begin with) because they are from Eastern Europe not western Europe. Gee, I wonder why these black bashers never seem to acknowledge the existence of eastern Europeans. Can someone tell me?


September 5th, 2013
7:52 am

I hate how leftists appropriated the legitimate African proverb “it takes a village” and totally corrupted it to suit their socialist aims. Yes, African tribes have what can be called a form of socialist economics, but A) African society is not our society so we have to do in America what works over here in our modern, capitalist society and more important B) the form of African tribal socialism works because it is rooted in a strong family structure (which yes includes polygamy but that is besides the point). Without the family structure, African tribal socialism would descend into the same dysfunctional chaos that the black community in America experiences. Their social and economic structures wouldn’t work either with 75% illegitimacy rates (and over 90% in some areas). Basically, African tribal socialism is FAMILY ORIENTED SOCIALISM. (Tribe basically equals extended family.) So you can’t take what is rooted in and developed around family and use it to replace the absence of a family.

Workshops, institutes, organizations etc. are not going to replace having a father in the home. And the only reason why this is never admitted is because feminists are far more powerful on the left than civil rights leaders are. If Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton or Barack Obama were to start talking about the need for fathers and families (beyond Obama’s male-bashing on Father’s Day, totally ignoring that women are just as responsible for illegitimacy as men are, and when you consider that it is a relatively small number of men who father a large number of illegitimate children and many women have illegitimate children with multiple men perhaps women are more responsible) the feminists would freak out, which is why the issue is never discussed.


September 5th, 2013
7:54 am

Sadly, this whole thing isn’t a conversation at all. This is nothing more than the authors of the articles putting their bigotry into print.

I’m a white woman. Currently raising a daughter alone. But, not because I had her out of wedlock, but because her father died when she was 15 thanks to the medical system in this country. Another topic for a “conversation” not being had either – just more screeching by republicans.

Someone asked what has government ever done right. Well, I can tell you one thing – social security. It works for one reason – the authors had the good sense to keep social security locked away from the very republicans who “decry” government and then can’t wait to get a government job.

The simple reason our youth are in trouble is because the lone parent is too busy working 2 or 3 jobs just to pay the rent and buy food to be around. Our society gives them 2 choices – starve or parent.


September 5th, 2013
7:57 am

As a father of teenaged black girl, I am more fearful of her being harmed by a person of their own race. Living what some would say a very comfortable life, my daughter deals with the verbal abuse of other black girls at school because she gets good grades, works in the family business and have both parents present all PTA and teacher conferences. During the summer we took her “Friend” on vacation with the family. At the beginning of this school year the “Friend” opted to started calling her “White Girl” because her family did “White” things. REALLY… What are “White’ things? The problem is we as blacks are jealous and unhappy when others are doing well or have things others don’t. We tend to want to hurt or steal from each other instead embrace and lean. I have never (knowingly..) had anything stolen from me from a white guy. However, I have been victimized by a person of my own race. Racism is present but I find there’s more racism within my race against each other. I am not a member of the NAACP, GOP or consider my self a Democrat. I am independent… Even though I didn’t agree with everything he offered. I voted for President Obama not because he’s black but because I thought he offered a better plan.. I can’t say that for some of the people I know or work with me. I hate the “Obama” phones. I know a guy who has three of these phone… SHAME on HIM. He doesn’t use them to get jobs but to call his drinking girls. Why does he have three? Because someone (YOU AND ME) else pays for them. Why do we need “Black Leaders” Do “White Leaders” exist? I find most of the self titled “Black Leaders” ride in to save the day only when the cameras roll and the opportunity for financial gain is present. The issue of Black on Black crime, Black teen pregnancy, Sagging Pants, etc is internal. We have to fix ourselves instead of blaming others… A Rock is Hard, Water is Wet… Get Over It…..


September 5th, 2013
8:00 am

I think we’ve lost some context in these discussions when it comes to human nature. The majority of the conversations I hear regarding the problems with the black community in the US seem to imply that the root cause itself is being black. The contrast is always thrown up that you do not see the children of white, asian, indian, etc ethnicities committing x crime or having y educational statistic. The problems are not genetic, they are social. You could analyze specific places throughout history and find a similar context for every ethnicity; Romans vs the tribes of Europe, British vs India, Nazi Germany vs the Jews, Europeans vs Native Americans, Mongols vs Muslims, and on and on. Our peaceful and developed world is very a new and fragile thing. Humans have been raised as tribes stretching beyond recorded history. Human nature makes it easy to divide and therefore dehumanize anyone we perceive as dangerous to our tribe.
You can’t deny that black society was repressed in this country and you can’t use it to exonerate the actions of individuals. By making this a racial issue it becomes nothing more than a tit for tat exchange between perceived racial foes. Look at how out of control the discussions are between our two political parties to see the detrimental effects that prolonged social division have. We are all humans; forget the labels of race, country, wealth, education. The only way we can begin to solve the problems our society is facing is to stop dehumanizing and demonizing each other.
There is no magic bullet solution to the situation facing blacks in the US but I can guarantee what fixes it starts inside of you.


September 5th, 2013
8:03 am

My 35 year old step son is a white 35 year old , pants on the ground street punk. In and out of jail for 15 years blaming everyone but himself. When i go to work, my boss is a 63 year old black man who is a college graduate, while I am a high school graduate. He had parents who raised him to be a man and he raised his son to be a man who graduated from college too. It is family and choices.

NAACP = KKK + Greed

September 5th, 2013
8:12 am

Would the “Reverends” Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton be more vocal and serious about the issue of Black-on-Black crime if there were money, power and media coverage in it for THEM and their own $elf-$erving agendas?

[...] A tough conversationAtlanta Journal Constitution (blog)Even though The Atlanta Journal-Constitution carried the story, as did probably all newspapers and media outlets, he called my profession a sham because – in his opinion – the athlete’s death didn’t garner the attention of Trayvon Martin. … To …and more » [...]


September 5th, 2013
8:43 am

I have read all of these comments and have concluded that the issue of race and its impact on society will never, ever, be resolved. It makes me sad.

It’s also apparent that single, non-married parents generally cannot raise a child as well as a married, two parent family. When we embraced single mothers in an effort to support them, we created the unintended consequence of children who lack much. It makes me sad.


September 5th, 2013
8:43 am

Melody is correct on most of her points. The decay of the black family is the major issue here. The fathers simply are not around to raise their kids the right way. Thus, black male teens turn to the street for guidance and they are misled. For the overwhelming majority, basketball does not provide a way of life. Neither does rap or hip hop, and neither does dealing drugs.

But sadly, its seems those are just about the only avenues black teen males want to take. I see so many black kids dribbling their basketballs to the local parks, instead of carrying their backpacks to the library. Education is the only sure way to advance one’s self in today’s world. Sadly, until the black family makes a comeback, these problems are bound to continue, no matter what Obama or Reed try to do.


September 5th, 2013
8:46 am

You are right when you talk about the breakdown of the black family. That’s where everything starts. Think about it, there are no more yes maam or yes sir in the black family. No respect is being taught at home. I agree about a lot of the younger males and females need to have more pride in themselves to become decent humans and stop looking for handouts, start working for theirs. It does take a village to raise a family properly, and our communities need to stop turning the cheek, acting scared when we need to step up and take our communities back.


September 5th, 2013
8:52 am

@Tonyc, September 5th, 2013 7:57 am, very well said, and thank you.


September 5th, 2013
8:52 am

Dr. McCloud, to say that whites don’t “own” their racism enough is a pretty blanket statement to make. Blacks can be just as racist. And not everyone is.


September 5th, 2013
9:09 am

A point that seems to be missing is how much economics are a part if the issue. The stats I see stated above doesn’t break down to economic level. Single parent homes will be seen more frequent in homes with a lower poverty level. That would be true among all three races.


September 5th, 2013
9:28 am

Boy did this ‘conversation’ get off the rails in a hurry…

While one can try to blame the plight of Black America on slavery, you have to recognize this fact; the percentage of black children born in wedlock was well over 70% several generations after the Civil War. And in those generations, you didn’t see anywhere near the crime, drugs, and debauchery in most of the areas as you see today. You didn’t see scores of unemployable (not just unemployed; big difference) black folks draped in tattoos from head to toe and wearing pants down to their ankles as anyone can easily find today.

So what happenned? Black women were swayed by the women’s lib/feminist movement into being convinced that they were also being ‘oppressed’ by their black men even though there was/is clear evidence that it never took place. Hence, the welfare state was created, giving many of these women rent subsidies, Section 8, food stamps, WIC, EBT cards, free/reduced school lunch, etc. with the clause being in most cases that the black man had to go leave. Statistics clearly shows that the onset of single black mothers escalated around the same time as these laws were being implemented.

As time went on, many of these women became entitled to having their new husband, the government, to be there to bail them out of any and every predicament they came across. Meanwhile, the sons they had didn’t get to see a single male role model during their ‘tender years’; well, not one you’d want them to emulate. So without a moral compass to help steer them in the right direction, they found their pathway via street gangs, fast women (more on that in a minute), and the ‘thug life’ that gained mainstream popularity during the gangster rap era of the late ’80s/early ’90s. Suddenly, it became the cool thing to skip class, have sex in middle school, deal drugs, confront cops, smoke weed, and just act all out of place; the ones who didn’t were ridiculed in their own neighborhoods and schools to no end. They were accused of ‘acting white’ and were called ’sellouts’ when their families did the right thing and moved out of these areas once they were able to afford it (no small wonder why so few go back after leaving).

Meanwhile, the daughters that these ’single, independent’ black women raised were also taught to be just as entitled as their mothers to be given everything without the virtue of hard work. Many of them (NOT ALL) realized that all they had to do to get a place of their own was to have kids. And since the wayward, drug dealing, gun toting, uneducated guys looked so fascinating, they quickly attached themselves to those guys while ignoring those who wanted to improve their lives by going to college and persuing a viable career and/or business. They were also misguided into believing that the ‘thug life’ their men were living out was just a phase; that with a little help from her, he would soon transform into a loyal, responsible, church going, six-figure making man she envisioned herself being with since watching those Disney movies at age nine. When that doesn’t happen and they’re left with those 3+ kids to deal with on her own, she’s embittered into believing that ALL men are like that. So she calls herself now being a ’strong independent woman’ who is the mother and the ‘daddy’ to her kids; even though it was her poor decisions that got her there. And why not? She has Oprah and virtually every daytime talk show backing her up. She has the church, which spends Sunday service after Sunday service villifying men while absconding women of every past, present, and future transgression; yet they wonder why so few men want to go nowadays. And she has the government in her hip pocket, which becomes more aggressive by the passing day with VAWA, no-fault divorce, Title IV-D, and the like.

While women have become empowered over the last forty years by more programs and funds being shuttled their way, men (especially black men) were ignored. There is almost a 3:2 ratio of women graduating from college (even more pronounced when it comes to black women to black men); yet the White House is calling upon more programs to be created to get even MORE women (including black women) into school. As for the guys? Well, they’re told to just ‘man up’ and find a way to support the kids they fathered without having an education and/or training to get a job that pays. Yeah, they had a hand in creating those kids but the final decision was still the women who knew in advance that he was lacking, yet had unprotected sex with him anyway.

Perhaps, Bill Cosby was right after all. In fact, I know he was…

Jewell Powell

September 5th, 2013
9:33 am

Mr. Badie, I read with interest your column today,especially where President Obama said “he would do everything in his power to fight gun violence and press congress to pass common-sense reforms”.
I think Dr.Melody T. McCloud had it perfect in her column dated Sept.5, It doesn’t matter the color of our skin, what matters is what’s taught at home. Fathers in the home ,education stressed,respect for self and others. Guns will always be available to those that want them. We need to teach our children respect,and give plenty of LOVE to them.When we do this I believe they will respond likewise.


September 5th, 2013
9:51 am

I just have one question. Where were Jessie Jackson & Al Sharpton when that poor Austrailian was murdered and where were they when that baby was murdered in Brunswick? They are the absolute worst examples of justice and equality of anyone in modern media.


September 5th, 2013
9:59 am

As long as politicians buy black votes with free handouts as a reward for having kids black women will not marry period.The more kids the greater the welfare check and increases in the EBT cards.It is not just black women,whites and hispanics know how to play the game also.Reduce the benefits and increase the qualifications for same.Drug tests on a regular basis before you get free ANYTHING.


September 5th, 2013
10:05 am

OOH Thank God…………………..we’re talking about it……………………we as parents must come together and make ways to help our young people……..the struggle to get here,wasn’t easy..we have to stop talking and starting doing……..in New York,two died using the drug MOLLY which has taken over the our neighborhoods………….some of the rappers are making music glorifying it and the radio stations are giving them all the air play the love of money…….I go the the king march every the last 30 yrs…………..you can count the number of successful young people in the music industry who come just say thank you MLK and others for making a way………somebody please tell me how to help my young brothers and sister…..we need to address these drugs call…MOLLY….LEAN…ZANTAX


September 5th, 2013
10:13 am

Ok!!! Once & for all. The difference between the Trayvon situation & all other situations is quite simple. Zimmerman killed Trayvon & was never arrested even though they knew he did it. That’s what all the outrage was about.

Rafe Hollister

September 5th, 2013
10:23 am

Expectations is what it is all about. You pretty much get what you expect. If you raise your child with the expectations that he/she will go to college and get a good job, then that is what you will get. If your expectations are to raise a great NBA player, or a rap star, and that is all you emphasize, you get what you expect. How do you get parents to expect the best for their kids, that is the question.


September 5th, 2013
10:30 am

@Rafe Hollister
I’ve never agreed with anything you said before but I agree with your post.

True, plus the family CALLED Sharpton for help. That situation is very different than the other example of the Australian or Brunswick issue. It’s pretty obvious. Well it should be.


September 5th, 2013
10:52 am

No one should be surprised at what we all are witnessing. This is not a CRISIS that has just flared up. The issue of Crime and young African American Males of America has been right in front of us for the past (25) Twenty-five years or more. No one cared and there has been no real concern or care because they were African American.

When you have more members of any segment of our population going to PRISON than going to College. what can you really expect the outcome to be?

We are only at the beginning of Truly recognizing the seriousness of this growing Powder Keg. This problem will get FAR worse before it gets better. We now have a generation or two of Americans whose Life is an integral part of America’s Prison Culture. In No way will this be an easy fix and a quick resolution. Today, another (10) Ten Thousand or more young African Americans will be sentenced to Jails and Prisons all across America. Caged with the millions who are already await their joining of the burgeoning ranks. They will be greeted by those who are already there with Cheers and Shouts of acceptance in glee. Adding to the ranks of angry Young men who will someday released among us to vent their frustration and anger on all those whom they encounter.

America and its people are only reaping what we have sowed. We can yell,shout and blame the other as to who is responsible for this Crisis. Not until we act with conviction and with a serious intent on changing this growing culture of social misfits. We are all to blame and will suffer its consequences. Its good to Finally to see this issue get the attention that it needs and deserves. But we are not even close yet to solving its problem. This issue is a problem for America and All Americans. Putting our heads in the sand and blaming the other will not achieve any real and viable solutions. Such actions will only harden already long held emotions and prejudices. We are only at the beginning stage of truly understanding the Crisis before ALL of us. How we approach it and what we do about it, time will only tell.


September 5th, 2013
11:12 am

September 5th, 2013
6:16 am
“I found it terrible the Bush administration stopped most of the after school programs, and funding for the Boys and girls clubs of America, all while perusing War. I think this did horrible damage to young children of lesser income for all, not just the black folks, allot of kids then were “running the streets “, and not getting any after school help. This has now become an issue with crime, as kids learned about crime, instead of valuable learning and play time. The GOP would argue they don’t have to fund these poor kids activity, but the end action has young kids involved in much more crime.”

Wow, black on black crime is because of George Bush and this has now become an issue ? Really ?
So black on black crime was not an issue when Bill Clinton wanted to fund midnight basketball ? And you blame Bush for kids not getting after school help as if a parent is not responsible for that ? And do we blame Bush for the failing schools in our area run by liberals ? When APS wasted millions in the e scandal did people like azzpman blame Beverly Hall or was that Bush’s fault ? APS, Clayton and DeKalb schools have been run by democrats for some time but lets blame Bush for the fact that they graduate about 55 to 60% of it’s students. Lets blame Bush for the fact that many kids graduate with the reading skills of an 8th grader. And then we have this jewel from Azzpman.

“I am amazed the GOP and even the Obama leadership would peruse War with Syria, yet continue to avoid dealing with the problems here at home. Seems as long as a buck could be made on War, then that is the bottom line as to what we should do I would be particularly upset to think my tax dollars are used for that, and not helping American’s”.

Really, the GOP and even the Obama would peruse a war with Syria ? What does that mean, the gop and EVEN Obama ? It is Obama driving this issue and the majority against it are repubs.

If you want to help young blacks then quit telling then how bad America is and how they are getting screwed. It won’t help Sharpton’s bank account but it may help young blacks get a grip on reality.

Morris Devereaux

September 5th, 2013
11:18 am

Chris, I don’t really know how you feel that’s “simple”. In almost every case of self-defense, the person who defended himself is not arrested. How do you feel this is any different? Certainly, there were questions, but the injuries to Zimmerman clearly showed he was in an altercation of some type and I have to assume his answers satisfied the police investigating on the scene. So how is this different from any other case of self-defense?


September 5th, 2013
11:21 am


Morris Devereaux

September 5th, 2013
11:21 am

@Bernie, I don’t believe that you’re correct. It’s not that people had no concern, it’s that when they expressed concern by criticizing actions within the black community (for example, single unmarried mothers), they were called racists and bigots. White people quickly learned that their best efforts would be rejected and they’d be branded as racists…so they quit trying to help. That’s not unconcerned, that’s being slapped down and rejected.

Morris Devereaux

September 5th, 2013
11:22 am

In the name of Trayvon????

Oh please.


September 5th, 2013
11:40 am

Sad thing is we do have black role models for our children for example Dr. Ben Carson, Clarence Thomas, but look at the names they are called….sell out, Uncle Tom, House Negro…. When young black men hear these comments about these highly successful men, what kind of image does that give them. The media needs to stop degrading successful black men especially conservative ones.


September 5th, 2013
11:50 am

Morris Devereaux @11:21 am – White America has NEVER CARED! so this BS excuse that they did care should cease. Their only response has been MORE Policing and Build MORE Jails and Prisons. Their solution has been to LOCK them ALL UP! Guess what! we did just that and this is the result.Increased recidivism. A revolving door if you will.

Now we are dealing with the result! Many of US knew that building more Jails and Prisons was not the solution. Now the CHICKENS Have COME HOME TO ROOST! We can No longer build enough Jails and Prisons to hold we are sending to PRISON today. The cost of incarceration is climbing exponentially and we can no longer accept its cost and expense. The real problem all along has been what are we going to do once they are released. The Prisons of America have become Higher Institutions of Criminal learning for these Youths. Not until we come to terms with this awful fact, we can only expect more.


September 5th, 2013
12:04 pm

Anytime we want to commemorate a Black inventor or genius, you should re-think statements like “Whites don’t care” or “The US is not fair to us.” People like our ancestors HAD to deal with REAL encounters of bigotry to rise to the top. Stop looking at time during our ancestors as a symbol of what we can’t do. Look at what they gave up for us to do better. We are squandering it. I mean, if we still had to endure what our ancestors did, more than half of us wouldn’t survive. Heck, we couldn’t survive the March on Washington in dress clothes. ( I know I couldn’t.) You don’t like what’s going on; or how an industry treates you? Start a business. Go to school. Learn. Better yourself. The opportunity is there. If you’re smart, no one can take that from you, period. Find a way to succeed.


September 5th, 2013
12:18 pm

AtlEng @ 12:04 pm – Your point has NOTHING to do with the main discussion of this article. You my friend are in a Fantasy Land only people of your ILK continue reside. Try to pull your Head out of all that is DARK and look around you. Such statements are easy to spout and a seemly QUICK FIX! but it does nothing to address Prison overcrowding and the daily introduction of New Young Black Youths to a Prison Culture that is teaching them how to commit more crime to inflict upon ALL of us once they are released.

Today, 10,000 will got to Prison, tomorrow another 10,000 and the day after! for years to come. what are we to do about them? We cannot hold them behind Bars forever!

Just telling them to go to school,start a business and America will Love YOU is a CROCK and you know it!

We MUST Do More!


September 5th, 2013
1:00 pm

@BOT @ 8:00, I totally agree with you.

We have to look at this situation from a different angle. The race angle is just us continuing to circle the wagon. The blame game gets us nowhere and we don’t have much more time to waste.

There are definitely problems in the black community that have gone on far too long without being addressed – education, single-parenting, welfare abuse, crime. In my opinion, these ills stem from a lack of self-worth and that lack of worth has been perpetuated thru the media. All we see are negative portrayals of Blacks in today’s society. Our first Black president can’t even get the respect that he rightfully deserves. The results however, affect us all regardless of race. We are all suffering as a result and will continue to until we put some changes into action. My suggestions (not in any particular order):
1. Tighten government aid
2. Stop the idolization of celebrities and promote true icons and legends who are making/have made a positive impact on society
3. Provide training opportunities for blue-collar paying jobs
4. Provide manufacturing plants and other blue-collar opportunities
5. De-criminalize non-violent crimes such as marijuana use
6. Stop racial profiling, our police forces should have more important things to focus on
7. Introduce and enforce curfews and truency laws
8. De-glamorize becoming a ‘baby-momma’, ‘baby-daddy’
9. Hire teachers who truly want to teach and give them the necessary tools at ALL schools
10. Provide opportunities to re-train parents who are underskilled for today’s info tech world

Don't Tread

September 5th, 2013
1:06 pm

If you don’t want to do the time, don’t do the crime (regardless of what gender/race/ethnicity you belng to).

If you do the crime, you belong in prison, at a minimum. No “get out of jail free” cards.

D. Blake

September 5th, 2013
1:14 pm

I don’t buy it. Family structure is not a goal in and of itself. Saying it is little more than ideological hokum in my opinon. Family structure may be a symptom of social health but more likely it is a convention subject to change over time. By focusing on social structures we risk repeating the mistakes of the Victorian Era by having Middle-class do-gooders attempt to impose bourgeois pretension upon lower classes.

The only way to end the cycle of poverty is to reduce the unemployment rate in the black community. It doesn’t matter if a father is at home if he’s not working.

Families are romanticized and idealized. Jobs are much less sexy. Jobs that pay a decent income are the solution to upward mobility, breaking the cycle of poverty, causing greater investment in local communities and jump-starting the virtuous cycles which will transform black America. In order to get jobs then we have to talk about integration in a meaningful sense. That integration has to include education. That education needs to begin now in our self-segregated schools and needs to not only to be informative but also cultural in all schools. We need fact-based and real-world-grounded education which is not afraid to address uncomfortable realities about class. We need reality-based social skills lessons which will help low-class folks appear outwardly acceptable in the eyes of those who hold the privilege and teach upper-and-middle-class folks to see across that social divide with grace and the benefit of doubt.


September 5th, 2013
1:36 pm

Everything boils down to choice.

Choose to do things that keep you oppressed, poor, unaccomplished, or choose education and more to gain work, advance, succeed. Choose to have unprotected sex, or get condoms. Choose to have babies out of wedlock, or wait to get married and better your child’s life. Choose to speak poorly, or learn proper English. Choose to be equipped to fight racism with intellect and respect when it rears. Choose to let your health go unattended, or take advantage of even free health clinics. Choose to take meth, or remain drug free.

Choice. We all have it, regardless of race. Make better choices, get better outcomes.

Let’s leave Sharpton, Jesse, etc out of it. No one wants to hear what they have to say at this point. New voices come forth, as in this column.

But the issue I have with Ms.Barnes’ article is at what age do the kids start getting attention and raising from “the village” that’s raising these kids? Before that village-eligible age, they are in some family, somewhere, born to some mother, etc. and may have already gotten off to a bad start.

It all starts in the home.


September 5th, 2013
1:40 pm

To D Blake…how is someone going to get employed when they look like a thug, can’t speak properly, are rude, lack manners and have no basic training? first things first. You don’t just get a job; you need to be qualified for something, or at least appear willing to learn. Even if you flip burgers or greet shoppers, you need language skills, manners, proper attire, decency and most of all, a work ethic. These things are, or should be, taught in the home.

D. Blake

September 5th, 2013
1:57 pm

@insight — that’s what I’m saying. We need more grace & benefit of the doubt from one direction and more understanding of differences in cultural prioirities in the other. If a guy is going to rip you off he’s going to rip you off. If a guy is a hard worker he is a hard worker. If you base your undersanding of a person’s quality as an employee based on superficiality than you are a part of the problem.


September 5th, 2013
2:04 pm

With dozens of black elected officials under indictment, under investigation, or in prison for their crimes while in office, black youth in Atlanta certainly can’t look to the government to provide any role models. The rappers, the gang leaders, the race mongers, those who make a living off racially dividing us all, criminals in sports, criminals in church leadership, criminals in the police force and everywhere else and it is of little wonder black youth lack visible role models.

Not getting pregnant as an unwed female, not getting an unwed female pregnant, stepping up and marrying the other parent of your child, caring about your education, caring about doing a good job, teaching your children personal responsibility, teaching your child morals, reading to your child, teaching your child at home regardless of whether they attend school outside of the home or not and plenty of other responsible actions will all make a real difference and only require ADULTS to make the right choice and take the right actions.

Additionally, working to end the racist War on Drugs and working to end the welfare state and the welfare state mentality would really send the right message to kids regarding personal responsibility.


September 5th, 2013
3:00 pm

As an employer, I am NOT going to hire someone walking into my business looking like a thug and who can’t speak English. First impressions matter; work ethics matter.

These boys, and seemingly the non-profit lady, can’t say they ‘can’t get’ a job; maybe that’s because they don’t show up (at all), or when they do, they look a hot mess and can’t make sentences. You have to look and be respectable. Some things are just not acceptable and will hold you back.

Choose to succeed and dress the part, learn to speak and value the language–as in English. Stop spending money on ‘blinged-out teeth,’ etc.


September 5th, 2013
3:46 pm

Well, this is beyond me to solve.

But…. I hope all communities are supportive of their citizens. That all citizens are considered equal and all try to be equally good citizens.

That all children are loved, cared for and educated.

That we all love one another in every way, even those who are unlovable.

That we remember that every person is a human being with joys and problems. Everyone!. No one is exempt. Not a one.

All this may not be considered a solution to “problems.”. But it is a thought and a hope.

William Sadler

September 5th, 2013
6:25 pm

Dr. McCloud, I support the views that you expressed in you recent article, “Fixing black families” and commend you for bravely expressing your views. I had never heard the term “Black Slack” but find the concept to be accurate. Parents are responsible for raising their children and passing on their values to them. In the absence of responsible parents leads to the absence of proper role models for the children. This isn’t a racial issue but rather a cultural issue.


September 6th, 2013
8:23 am

One thing we can do, as an employer or in everyday contact with underclass kids is to give them a chance… remember the awful neighborhood they live in, all the negative influences that bombard them, the low expectations for them at inferior segregated schools and try to help them if they want to be helped.

What we shouldn’t do is listen to the Al Sharpton school of leadership, or tolerate incompetent, rude and unpleasant workers just because they’re black and might sue you or accuse you of being racist. Its not racist to require the same ability and attitude from everybody.

Peter Rhea Jones

September 6th, 2013
3:23 pm

I have some strong black students in the Christian ministry at McAfee School of Theology with a growing vision to reach and minister to more men. Dallas Wilson of the Center for Hope is focuses with his doctoral project on ministry to men. Gary Burge, one of our alumni, is leading a ministry to men imprisoned.The church has a considerable influence and presence in predominantly black communities and once their commitments are harnessed can and will make a lasting difference.


September 6th, 2013
5:48 pm

PRJ, Sadly the black church has been greatly ineffective over centuries, especially recent decades. Most black churches are 80-90% women; most of the men who are there are feminized, and that, too, affects the community.

We can all pray, believe, and ‘not claim’ stuff; but if we don’t stop only looking above, and actually look at what’s happening here on earth, and do something for ourselves, it’s all for naught. Folks will pack out a concert, but the church is empty for an educational program on money, health, marriage, sex, decency.

Yes, harness commitments to be family men and women and refocus the church’s efforts not on being megachurches where the pastor doesn’t even know his members, but on providing life lessons to help people grow as families and as a community will be good. Keep up the good work; maybe you can make a difference.

L. E. McHugh

September 6th, 2013
7:25 pm

The statistics and characteristics mentioned by your Guest Columnists are as undeniable a they are disturbing. Thankfully, the concerns are not universal. Most of the young black men that I know are educated professionals. Most of them were raised in stable homes. Those now with children of their own are caring, affectionate fathers. Then again, I don’t hang out around public housing.
Dr. McCloud paints a frightening picture and calls out for personal responsibility. Ms. Barnes runs an organization that is providing valuable resources for at-risk youth. But I think the problems start earlier. Any child born to a teenage, single mother who is a high school drop out is practically doomed. What kind of early-childhood development can we reasonably expect from household run by a poor, single, uneducated mother?? This almost invariably leads to a life of poverty and poor schools along with the problems they bring. Education and planned parenthood are the primary challenges. Let’s start there.