Allow me to paint the scene for you......I'm driving through the east side this afternoon, the community where our outreach ministry is focused, and I come upon a nasty two car collision. There's glass and smoke everywhere, most of which is coming from the front end of a Honda which is now smashed beyond repair. As I pull over to check things out, I notice that the second car has already fled the scene, and that two young black males, passengers in the Honda, are doing likewise. By the time the cops arrived, all that was left was the driver of the Honda; an intelligent young woman, dazed, bleeding , and abandoned. Call me jaded, but that scene would not have taken place in the suburbs. But in the mostly black east side neighborhood, not being around when the cops show up is nonnegotiable.
In my efforts to lay the groundwork for future ministry within this community, I've had to come to grips with an uncomfortable truth: There is an epidemic in black America. I realize that this may seem like a politically incorrect assessment coming from a non black, but this is no time to start being polite. I see the proof of the epidemic most every afternoon at the Boys and Girls Club, where the kids can't understand how my wife and I have the same last name. And where anger and hostility are always percolating just beneath the surface. The question is not whether there's a problem, because there clearly is. The question is, " who's to blame?"
Who's to blame for the rampant poverty, drug use, violence, and broken homes? Who's to blame for the pervasive sense of frustration, disillusionment, and lack of ambition? The answer, as far as I can tell is this: People. Black people, white people, all people. As resentful, fearful, and angry as the situation may make us, we must resist the temptation to label this a totally black problem. The projects didn't make themselves. It may infuriate you to drive through the projects and see a twenty year-old mom with more kids than she can handle, and nary-a-one of them fully clothed. But save a little anger for the white collar suburbanites who decided that it would be a good idea to provide monetary rewards for moms who stay single and procreate at break-neck speed. The ideals of welfare, affirmative action, and racial profiling were not birthed in the ghetto. They were birthed out of a corrupt, corporate system that would rather pacify than mobilize. Centuries of irresponsibility on the part of white America has left deep scars on the psyche of black and white alike. When one human views another as inferior, they are both gravely wounded.
I realize that whites are not alone in this. The black population has its share of the blame as well, and they gain nothing from our guilt-ridden pity. But the next time you're driving through the side of town your mama told you to stay away from, remember, you're not looking at the disease, you're looking at the symptom. Instead of cursing the symptom, why not focus more on curing the disease?