Sunday, September 04, 2005

Katrina and Culture

A chorus of “racial discrimination” charges flows from the mouths of black racists such as Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson regarding the situation created by hurricane Katrina. Don’t believe you’ll hear complaints from black leaders like Bill Cosby or Ward Connerly. Bill and Ward and thousands of other black leaders understand the differences in cultures among all peoples of any race. I’ve blogged on the definition of culture before and what happened in New Orleans has little to do with race but a whole lot to do with culture. I’ll define “culture” from my Thesaurus. It reads “the arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively (a city lacking in culture), the customs, civilization, and achievements of a particular time or people.”

Oversensitive people think that when the term culture is mentioned people are talking of race. Totally wrong! Yesterday, a tennis player by the name of James Blake upset the #2 seed at the U.S.Open. Blake, a well-mannered person of skin darker than mine, was cheered on by most of the crowd of 20,000 people, and by applause it sounded and looked like most enjoyed the highly comptetive match on television and were happy to see Blake win. I enjoyed the competition and was proud to see an American play so well and win. James Blake is a gentleman, he is an American and he has learned how to win and lose not only in sports, but in life. His mother is quoted “This time last year he was half –paralyzed and watching this on TV wondering if he would ever play tennis again.” Only 16 months ago, he fractured his neck vertebrae when he crashed into a net post during practice in Rome. Blake considered this accident a positive in life because it allowed him to spend more time with his father who was dying of cancer. Later, Blake contracted shingles, which temporarily paralyzed his face causing vision and hearing problems.

Blake is an American who has overcome many obstacles, worked and studied hard, made it into Harvard and found a positive use for his talents and should be a role model for all Americans. Unfortunately, many young black and white youths pick their role models from Hollywood or MTV.

My advice to any racists, black, white, yellow, green, pink or blue; start developing “culture” in those young (and older) people you feel are disadvantaged. Then they will not be subjected to what my Thesaurus describes as “Culture Shock-the feeling of disorientation experienced by a person suddenly subjected to an unfamiliar culture or way of life.” Color is NOT the problem. Lack of culture is the problem. What you saw and are seeing in New Orleans are a few people lacking a culture acceptable to most descendents of the human species.

Some may say that Blake was privileged; there is no doubt that many are born into more desirable circumstances than other. But circumstances are a poor excuse for failure. Life is not fair as Bill Gates said; “get used to it.”

All citizens of Peoria are privileged to play tennis; there are over 44 FREE tennis courts, (property owners support them with their tax dollars), with four free practice hitting walls. The PPD gives some FREE lessons in the summer thru a program I started in 1994. All FREE to the user!! I seldom see a young person “of color” using these free courts. I don’t even see very many of them on the high school tennis teams, where participants are seldom “cut” as they are in basketball. I see many people of color and culture using these courts such as Bobby Humbles; Bobby who worked with me 10 years before starting his own business (He is a State Farm Insurance Agent), David Graham, David Watkins, Charles Ellis. Joe Montgomery, Larry Verner, Dr. Jim Stafford, the Dismuke Brother, David Graham and numerous others but these are all older players with the youngest being probably 40. Where are the young black kids?

Used tennis racquets abound, try Carver Center, The Children’s Home on Knoxville, Common Place or contact me. Friends have donated more than a hundred tennis racquets to me and I in turn have donated them to the above mentioned places including the Peoria Park District. Used balls are available at the Racquet club and if a tennis player has the DRIVE, ENERGY and talent, someone will help them develop a game.

It is way past time to accept the failure of many of our black (and many white) youth thru a litany of excuses. Too many so called “leaders” have pushed themselves or took advantage of vacuums and assumed leadership by default; these leaders tell young people (and some now grown older) that they are not responsible for their actions and keep telling them how they are “put upon” by others more fortunate. Some schools and school systems fail by not counseling kids to be community minded, fail to offer curriculum aimed to help non-college material kids to get a job of any kind, and to promote participation in extra-curricular activities and teach them that there are many activities other than basketball. I asked kids I mentored what they wanted to be when they grew up. Almost all boys say they want to play basketball and play in the NBA. When I asked who from Peoria ever played in the NBA, they couldn’t name one player. (Actually, there are several NBA players who played for Peoria High Schools out of dozens of thousands who never even made the squad. Kids frequently mention Hersey Hawkins as a local high school player; they are surprised to learn he didn’t grow up in Peoria.)

At one time, I was not a great believer in the theory “it takes a community to raise a child.” I now realize that a family, church, schools and social agencies are not enough. Many families are not capable of raising kids. They find it easy to produce them. After that, reality sets in. So it takes all of us watching and helping all kids make it thru the obstacles we adults have created. It is our responsibility to keep them in school and our responsibility to insist on curriculums geared to all of their interests and abilities.

We fail to offer and counsel kids how to use their mind and hands such as offering training for vocations that do not require a college degree. Immigrants, many illegal, are eager to take jobs that could be filled by black youths and black adults. These immigrants usually come with a work ethic not being learned in too much of the black community. Many black and white able bodied, mentally capable people live off the handouts of those who feel responsible for their well being. Why work when we can live as we please and free load live wherever someone will take us in? I once was in the apartment business. A lady signed a contract that she was the only one who would live in this apartment. When she was eventually evicted, seven people where living in this apartment and the place was in a shambles.

I believe in almost all entities that relieve human suffering. I don’t care much for those who take advantage of the system and for those who propagate lifetime dependence on the system. The fish story from the Bible is not a “fish” story.

Back to Katrina and culture. What you are seeing in some parts of the gulf tragedy, is largely the result of a too permissive society, a lack of personal responsibility and respect of others, a lack of respect for their own property and the property of others, a lack of respect for authority and an attitude of “I want everything everyone else has.”

A certain amount of bad luck and bad timing does sometimes enter into any equation. However; these are not valid excuses for irresponsible behavior. We are seeing a lack of strong and persuasive leadership in the black, as well as white communities.

As the Katrina disaster facts continue to unfold, I’ll voice my opinion on why more preventative actions were not taken, why requests for federal aid did not come sooner from officials responsible for the areas devastated and why there appeared to have been no centralized authority to delegate and enforce and why local and statewide communications seem to have failed.

This catastrophe is another opening for racists to vent their ineptitude and ignorance on the now getting old and overused “racist theory” of blaming everybody but themselves.


Anonymous said...

This article gives insight into the downfall of America. The mantra of "I'm not responsible, it's not my fault, and someone else is to blame" prevelant across race, gender, socioeconomic status. One is not "owed" anything, one must work to achieve a home, a family, a car, and freedom to excel. Too many community leaders tell their "followers" that they are down-trodden, opressed and what not. Guess what, when people hear that from their leaders, they believe and fulfill THAT destiny. At a recent council meeting, two minority councilmen noted that it was unfair to hold poor minority parents accountable for not sending their children to school. These men should be the poster children for going to school. They are black, educated, successfull and on the city council. Someone made them go to school, someone built them up to believe they could succeed. Yet they buy into the same malarky that the leadership preaches.

pollypeoria said...

I'm so sick of the "but I was abused" excuse so commonly used these days. You grew up poor, your parents were drug addicts, you went hungy, you were beaten, you were oppressed. you were molested. So what? I'm sorry for your pain, but that doesn't being abused does not give one carte blanch to continue the abuse chain. If anything, the abused should be held to a higher standard because they KNOW better.

Merle Widmer said...

We all at many points in our life, blame others when something goes wrong. Most of us "get over it" but when the "you are not responsible because of what happened to you, your color, your environment, your parents, your poverty, and so forth" give us an easy way out, many do take the easy way out and give up. We know that most people do get over it, overcome obstacles and get on with their lives.

Thanks, readers!!

Anonymous said...

Both of these sources regarding New Orleans are professionally employed middle aged black men who formerly lived in New Orleans:

1. The reason the people still there are so crazy is that they are without their liquor and illegal drugs, so now that they are in a real crisis, they are breaking into the hospitals and pharmacies, looking for narcotics to take the edge off their stress;

2. the problem in New Orleans was all of the corrupt politicians that received all kinds of federal money supposed to go to the levies, but the local officials stole it and the work was never done.