Monday, January 21, 2013
This is a conflicting day. One would like to celebrate the advancement of African-Americans but reality slaps one in the face. Our little town is integrated, as is the community next to us. Racial incidents are rare. African-Americans are solid middle-class citizens holding good jobs, mostly in Manhattan like everyone else. But, two towns border our community, both solidly black, both poor and both riddled with drugs and violence. Why? One can trot out the usual explanations -- gangs, broken homes, poor education. However, it is more than that. If 30 percent of our community has been able to escape the ghetto, what went right for them and did not go well for the others? I've got private thoughts, and there they will remain because I have no standing, nor should I. What one can hope is that parents will see the African Americans struggling up in my town as proof that it can be done, that there is a future, that Martin Luther King's dream is at last reality and not just words.