It is essential to understand three things, before looking at the root cause of today's challenges:
First, having a reason...even a valid reason...for doing something does NOT eliminate the consequences for what is done. When civil disobedience was first used, the actions taken were against the law. Those who broke the law fully expected to be arrested and jailed; they understood (unlike so many today) that in order to bring attention to their position that the laws were unjust, they would be put into jail. They accepted that that would happen but were convinced that by so doing they would bring more publicity and more support to change laws they were convinced were unjust, unfair and just wrong. They understood and accepted the concept of "consequences."
The riots, looting, injuring and killing people in response to perceived injustice are wrong. While in varying degrees the response is understood, it is NOT excusable and those who so act should be arrested, prosecuted and jailed for their crimes...and they ARE crimes.
Second, those in the minority community who talk about hating whites are NOT racists. They have had experiences that have taught them that most whites with whom they have interacted are not nice people, that they disrespect and mistreat...and cheat...them. Their attitudes are the result of experience, not of un-supported assumptions.
Third, the majority community (usually white) that interact with the minority (usually black) community are NOT racists either. Their experience has been that they are disrespected, called names and have things thrown at them and are lied to by the minority community. Their attitude is experience-based, not the result of un-supported assumptions.
So...could we all stop with the accusations of Racism or being Racist? It is wrong and it is not productive.
With all that in mind, what is at the root of today's challenges?
I would suggest that there are two main causes: Failure of Education, and Failure of Government.
Education in this country is based on the Prussian model, designed to create good citizens. "Good" citizens was defined as those with sufficient educational skills (writing, math, spelling, ability to read, and an appreciation for a nation's "rightness" in history) and the training to obey basic laws and orders from the "powers that be." It was, as best I can estimate, about 50% education and 50% indoctrination. When established in America, initially the indoctrination part of the equation did not work; students went home to a family life that required hard work, independent thinking to survive, and parents that had no problem at all in dismissing anything they deemed "faulty" in the teaching...and in dismissing any teacher that didn't teach as the "families" (making up the school) wanted. So that period of education worked for as long as the family unit remained the prime trainer of children.
This all changed after the Great Depression and World War II. "Modern" parenting became permissive (and parents wanted to avoid their children suffering from the depredations that they suffered during the depression) and absent as the march to acquire "stuff" and the movement toward "women's equality" saw many mothers now working outside the family home. Children no longer experienced their parents checking not only their homework, but what they were being taught each day. Teachers' Unions came into existence and parents no longer controlled what their children were taught...of even if the were being taught. Today's parents who care about such things often find themselves banned from even entering their children's' schools, much less determining what they are taught.Today's schools seem to be 90% indoctrination, with failure to pass in the remaining teaching elements no obstacle to being given a High School Diploma.
This failure is clear throughout the United States, but is particularly disabling to young, poor, minority youth in our inner cities. Even those with a H.S.Diploma find it hard to find a job. And most are the product of broken homes where there is often only one parent, and that parent has to work multiple jobs to survive, even as they get some benefit from so-called "safety-net" social programs.
The first generation to suffer this kind of existence is embarrassed by it and want desperately to get out of the dependency. The second generation is less embarrassed and less motivated. By the advent of the third generation, the dependent life-style has become the norm and they know nothing else. However...all people who are "given" stuff, eventually come to hate and despise the givers because the very dependency on "unearned" anything is disrespectful. So they grow angry and simmer...until some action becomes the "hair that brakes the camel's back" and all of that resentment explodes in violence...violence that hurts themselves, their neighbors and friends more than it moves toward a correction or solution to the underlying causes.
Government, of course, serves those who contribute the money. That means that government want the peace kept. Instead of identifying the educational needs of the poor and the minority citizenry, the government simply works to wall-up the poor. Then, they give enough money to keep the poor from starving in an effort to keep them quiet. Even those who claim to want to improve the plight of the poor only do enough to secure the votes of the poor so those elected officials can stay in office, often speaking disrespectfully of those of their own race in the privacy of their offices.
So...what, if any, are the solutions? We'll look at that in my next (and last) entry.