I want to take the time to thank Don Lemon of CNN for his recent list of 5 things that need to be looked at and fixed in the black community.

The Trayvon Martin murder case got just about everybody talking about race, and not just specifically how it related to the case.  It got some, many on the political right, wondering why the so-called liberal media wasn’t talking about other problems in the black community.

Last week, Bill O’Reilly was harshly criticized by members of the black community because of statements he made about issues in the black community.  A clip of what O’Reilly said is, “The reason there is so much violence and chaos in the black precincts is the disintegration of the African American family…Raised without much structure, young black men often reject education and gravitate towards the street culture, drugs, hustling, gangs.  Nobody forces them to do that.  Again, it is a personal decision.”

Don Lemon came to the defense of Bill O’Reilly and stated, “Bill’s got a point,” Lemon said. “In fact, he’s got more than a point…In my estimation, he doesn’t go far enough.”

“Here’s just five things that you should think about doing.”

Number five.  Pull up your pants.

“If you’re sagging, it means I think your self-esteem is sagging and who you are as a person it’s sagging.  Our young people need to be taught respect and there are rules.”

“Sagging pants, whether it’s Justin Bieber or no-name Derek around the way, walking around with your ass and your underwear showing is not okay.  In fact, it comes from prison when they take away belts from the prisoners so that they can’t make a weapon. And then it evolved into which role a prisoner would have during male-on-male prison sex. The one with the really low pants is the submissive one. You get my point?”

This is absolutely, the truth.  It was a means by which certain prison inmates “advertised “ that they were available for sexual activity and to also show off the “merchandise.”  I can attest to this because of 30 years in Corrections.  He is right, at no time do I want to see someone’s butt crack.  It’s also easier to run from the cops when your pants are not down around your ankles.

“Number four now is the N-word.”

“I understand poetic license, but consider this: I hosted a special on the N-word, suggesting that black people stop using it and that entertainers stop deluding yourselves or themselves and others that you’re somehow taking the word back.”

“By promoting the use of that word when it’s not germane to the conversation, have you ever considered that you may be just perpetuating the stereotype the massa intended acting like a nigger?”

The N-word is offensive and like other offensive words, they should not be part of our language.  This behavior is not acceptable to anyone and should not be tolerated.  Regardless of what “rappers or black comedians” say; bad language diminishes you to other people.  It is the same with white youth who continually   use the F-word.

“Number three: respect where you live.”

“Start small by not dropping trash, littering in your own communities.  I’ve lived in several predominantly white neighborhoods in my life.  I rarely, if ever, witnessed people littering.  I live in Harlem now, it’s an historically black neighborhood.  Every single day I see adults and children dropping their trash on the ground when a garbage can is just feet away.”

Again, he is correct.  Every community regardless of ethnicity, should set an example to the youth of their neighborhood to attempt to improve the appearance of your community and do what you can to enhance and improve where they live.  Recent pictures of inner-city Detroit begs the question of why anyone would want to live there.  It’s a question of pride in yourself and your neighborhood.

“Number two: finish school.”

“You want to break the cycle of poverty? Stop telling kids they’re acting white because they go to school or they speak proper English. A high school dropout makes on average $19,000 a year. A high school graduate makes $28,000 a year. A college graduate makes $51,000 a year. Over the course of a career, a college grad will make nearly $1 million more than a high school graduate. That’s a lot of money.”

I can personally attest to the accuracy of this statement.  I have a high school degree, but never finished college and my wife has a Master’s degree and has made substantially more money than I, in our lifetime.  Stay in school because education creates opportunities, while jobs only create income.

“And number one, and probably the most important: just because you can have a baby, it doesn’t mean you should.  Especially without planning for one or getting married first. More than 72 percent of children in the African-American community are born out of wedlock.  That means absent fathers.  And the studies show that lack of a male role model is an express train right to prison and the cycle continues.”

Regardless of the accuracy of the percentage, the fact is that for the most part, this is an accurate statement that children are being born out of wedlock, there is an abundance of absent fathers, and young men having multiple children with many different women.  I once had to help a young man fill out a report for social services.  He  had “fathered” 10 different children with six different women, bad never paid any child support, and had never been involved with the responsibility of raising any of his children.  This became very apparent to me when I had to ask him to list the names of his children and their respective ages; and he could not do it.  So much for being a responsible parent.

“Pay attention to and think about what has been presented in recent history as acceptable behavior.  Pay close attention to the hip-hop and rap culture that many of you embrace, a culture that glorifies everything I just mentioned, thug and reprehensible behavior.  A culture that is making a lot of people rich, just not you. And it’s not going to. That said, though, the political right is not off the hook.”

He’s to be commended for having the guts as a left-leaning black anchor to come out and not only make some very inconvenient remarks that he’s guaranteed to take heat for, but also to agree with a Fox News anchor likely reviled by most of his viewers.

Again, a job well done…

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