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Editor’s note: Below is a video version of this commentary:
“I have come to assert my right to think for myself, to refuse to have my ideas assigned to me as though I was an intellectual slave.”
– U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas
Today we hear much talk about victimization. Among some African-Americans, it has become almost a badge of honor.
“Back in the day,” in our small Southern community, black children were not taught that we were “victims,” “objects of pity,” “disadvantaged” or underprivileged. Yes, we knew about slavery, learned perhaps from “the old folks” and family histories. My great-grandfather, Ben Kinchlow, was born a slave. However, we were not taught – because it was not believed – that blacks were “the gov’ment’s responsibility.”
Black pride was not about the afros, dashikis or boys wearing dreads. It was about the girl who did not get pregnant out of wedlock but finished school, and the boy who went to college or got a steady job and supported the girl he married – not getting her pregnant and abandoning her. As a general rule in our community, slavery was not used as an excuse or justification for failure. Black folks’ version of affirmative action in those days was “Root hog, or die.”
Let me be clear: The mental capacities of blacks are not diminished by something that happened to our forebears more than 200 years ago, and blacks are not destined to be “the gov’ment’s responsibility.”
Civil-rights leaders assert incessantly that “It’s the government’s fault,” “White racism is the cause” and “Entitlements are your civil right.” They tell blacks who to vote for to ensure the continuation of this “victim-hood.”
Tragically, many in “da hood” have been victimized by ignoring an ancient biblical warning: “Beware … they are blind guides, and if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into a pit.”
During the early 1900s, millions of blacks changed neighborhoods, secured new addresses and moved from the South to the North.
Maybe it’s time to reconsider the address in “da hood” again.