As a young man, I watched the civil rights movement unfold in the sixties. I couldn’t possibly find the reference anymore today, but I clearly remember that Rev. King’s most important and urgent goal for his people was equal economic opportunity. He recognized what is still (unfortunately) true today — the most serious problems of the black communities, from crime to education to broken families, all stem from poverty. He knew that once blacks stood equally in the middle class with whites, respect would naturally follow.
The truth I have learned over the years, and it’s not original with me by any means, is that no problem can be solved until its cause is correctly understood. Those who are telling America that the cause of black poverty is willful white racism have different goals than actually improving the lot of the black community.
White America is not racist for the most part, and is not willfully oppressing blacks in any part, but white America and black America are both necessary to any solutions to the real problems. Standing on my lawn and screaming that I’m a racist is just going to make me pull down the shades. Standing on the street corner and telling blacks the conditions in their neighborhoods are entirely someone else’s doing is just going to make blacks wait for a White Knight (pun intended) to come save them. Blacks need a better strategy.