Baltimore is in crisis. Violent crime is surging. Police are afraid to chase crooks, because they fear for their jobs. And State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, who filed charges against six officers in the death of Freddie Gray, is partying with pop stars even as her case falls apart.
Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson calls it nothing less than a “betrayal” of the civil-rights movement and says the situation in Baltimore illustrates how African-Americans are worse off than they were 50 years ago.
And he’s not hesitant to pin the blame.
“Modern-day civil-rights leaders are the worst enemy of black Americans,” he charged. “These black ‘leaders’ are worse than the Ku Klux Klan and skinheads combined.”
More than 50 people have been shot in Baltimore since the city was gripped by riots and disorder following the death of Freddie Gray. Homicides are up from last year after last weekend’s wave of shootings. There are even safety concerns for the upcoming Preakness horse race in Baltimore Saturday.
And Mosby may be jeopardizing her case against the police officers by her political grandstanding, legal tactics and appearance with pop star Prince on stage during a tribute concert to Freddie Gray.
Some of the violence in the Baltimore area even has taken on racial overtones, notably in the case of an elderly white man savagely attacked by a mob of black youths. But most of the victims of crime and political incompetence in Baltimore are African-Americans.
Peterson, author of “Scam: How the Black Leadership Exploits Black America,” pins the blame for the Baltimore disaster firmly on those “civil rights leaders.”
He said the KKK comparison comes to mind, “because these people have deceived black Americans and enslaved them to programs.”
“They’ve also made them dependent on false leaders.”
Peterson believes the situation in Baltimore is an outgrowth of the culture of grievance adopted by too many African-Americans. He even charges that African-Americans are worse off now than they were before the civil rights movement.
“Blacks are less independent. The black family unit, for the most part, has been destroyed. Blacks today are more dependent on government programs and handouts,” he said.
Peterson also believes whites are enabling black dysfunction by refusing to tell the truth about race.
“If whites are not willing to be honest about race and blacks don’t drop their anger and stop blaming whites, we will continue to be divided for another 50 years,” he said.
Lawyer, talk-radio host and author of “Dear Father, Dear Son: Two Lives … Eight Hours,” Larry Elder sees the collapse of the black family as the root cause for feelings of disenfranchisement and dissatisfaction among African-Americans.
In an interview with WND, Elder observed that in 1965, 25 percent of black children were born out of wedlock, while today the figure is more than 70 percent.
“Even Obama said a kid growing up without a father is five times more likely to be poor, nine times more likely to drop out, 20 times more likely to end up in jail,” said Elder.
Elder points to decades of failed federal policy as one cause of rise in single-parent families.
“Lyndon Baines Johnson’s ‘war on poverty’ in the mid-60s and the explosion of single-parent families corresponds with the growth of federal spending on ‘anti-poverty’ programs,” he noted. “According to the Heritage Foundation, we’ve spent over $22 trillion – and poverty has flatlined.”
More ominously, Elder warned the same problems are now taking root among white Americans.
“Whites, too, have seen an explosion in out-of-wedlock births. In 1965, 3.1 percent of whites were born to a single parent. Now the number is over 25 percent. If anything, the rate of growth of white out-of-wedlock births is far more rapid that the black rate.”
Peterson also sees the “lack of love” and the “absence of good fathers” as two of the leading problems the black family faces today. Yet as Jack Cashill notes, the lack of fathers in the African-American community isn’t just an economic or social disadvantage for blacks but a powerful contributor to a culture of grievance.
Cashill, author of “If I Had a Son: Race, Guns, and the Railroading of George Zimmerman,” told WND that Jesse Lee Peterson “has made the powerful case that the root cause is the anger generated by growing up without fathers and sometimes without mothers.”
“For a half century, black leadership has channeled that flood of anger into a hatred of the white man and ‘white’ institutions. Yes, white families are also falling apart, but the resulting anger is much more diffuse, much less focused,” he said. “So the young people in question do not instinctively hate those who would help them.”
Cashill said the collapse of the black family is the inevitable result of liberal social policy. He identifies mistaken incentives provided by the government that have the effect of directly encouraging the father to leave the home.
“At the same time these destructive policies were implemented,” Cashill said, “liberal thought leaders were working on a number of fronts to diminish the value of family.
“A charismatic black Democrat political leader could have addressed this issue on both the policy and philosophy fronts. Obama’s refusal to do so stands as the greatest failure of his administration.”
In contrast to trying to help blacks with what Elder calls the “race card,” the “sage of South Central,” as he is known, says the best thing the federal government can do is get out of the way.
When asked how to repair the black family and cities like Baltimore, Elder responded quickly: “End welfare at the federal level. Allow the needs of the needy to be handled at the state level, ideally by nonprofits and community involvement. Leaders, like Obama, should keep the race card in their pocket rather than whipping it out over every new controversy.
“In cases like the encounter between professor Henry Gates and a Cambridge cop, Trayvon Martin, Ferguson, and now Baltimore, where we still don’t know how Freddie Gray died, Obama used each as an opportunity to discuss ‘root causes,’ which is code for spend more money. Of course, Baltimore schools are some of the best funded schools in the nation, spending almost $16,000 per year, per student, yet still have a high dropout rate and most graduates unable to read, write and compute at their grade level.”
Colin Flaherty, author of “White Girl Bleed a Lot: The Return of Racial Violence to America and How the Media Ignore It,” believes the country would have been better served by listening to the findings of the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, D-N.Y., who famously warned of the collapse of the black family in his 1965 report, “The Negro Family: The Case for National Action.”
Flaherty told WND: “Moynihan was a pioneer in his revolutionary observations that the black family was in shambles, getting worse, and everything the government did was probably creating and increasing the problem. Thus the ‘benign neglect’ recommendation. He was right about that.”
But Flaherty also believes the treatment of Moynihan paved the way for the national refusal to discuss race, leading to a permanent culture of grievance and conflict playing out in cities like Baltimore.
“Fifty years later, we must also acknowledge he was among the first targets of the politically correct crowd,” he said. “And everything they tried on him, they perfected over the remaining 49 years since. They would not engage him, just vilify. They did not refute, just scorn. They said he was ‘blaming the victim,’ by pointing out dangerously high levels of black pathology and black family disintegration. Any leader who could deliver us back to the days when Moynihan’s predictions were just about to hit the inflection point would be a national hero.”
“If blacks and the country at large had listened to Moynihan, instead of attacking him as a ‘racist,’ black families would still be intact, and they would be better off across the board. The country would be united based on truth, rather than divided by lies.”
He remains pessimistic about the situation of blacks in America.
“I cannot think of any notable positive developments taking place at this time,” he said.
Regarding the disintegration of public order in Baltimore, Peterson said nothing will change unless blacks stop trying to blame everyone else for their community’s problems.
“Blacks need to get over their ‘blackness’ and become Americans rather than ‘African-Americans,'” he said. “They must overcome their false sense of victimhood and stop blaming whites. They need to stop relying on the government and leaders so they can become independent and think for themselves.”