The Dillard Doctrine

Urban Conservative Commentary on Politics & Life

Taking Care of Ourselves

One of the things I admire about President Obama is his unwillingness to address the “concerns” that he hasn’t done enough for the black community. Some influential African Americans (as well as some pseudo-influential ones) have wondered aloud if the president is doing all he should to take care of “his people.”

Well, apparently he’s done something right, because “the African American church” is coming to the White House today to encourage him to “stay the course:”

The preachers, who represent some of the largest African American churches in the country, have written an open letter to the president that praises the job Obama has done and encourages him to “stay the course.”

“President Obama has pursued policies that are crucial for our communities and the nation as a whole, and we cannot afford to lose courage and fortitude at this juncture,” reads the letter, which more than 30 ministers signed. “President Obama has fought for us — and we must fight for him. . . . We have been troubled by the trivial debates that have become more prominent in Washington and across the country, while at the same time our families are facing historic challenges.”

First off, there is no monolithic “African American church.” There is a religious experience that’s common to many blacks, but to loop us all into a single group shows a real disconnect to our community. There’s many detractors of the President in among black preachers and predominately black denominations.

There’s no doubt the black community’s hurting-that was the case long before Obama became president, and-realistically speaking-will continue long after he leaves office. It’s also true that we take on a disporportionate amount of the stings that come from high unemployment, economic problems, etc.

Problem is, though, that the cures for those ills aren’t found in “jobs” bills, “stimulus” programs and establishing a new massive entitlement program. And they’re not found in funnelling more jobs and money to any one specific demographic over another. Taking those actions only continues a cycle of dependence that, once entered, is hard as hell to leave. Not to mention that because we’re more adversely affected by economic downturns, we’re also more adversely affected when the tax bills come due.

I give Obama credit for realizing that he’s the president of all Americans, and that his policies have an effect on all of us-regardless of our skin color. Even as a detractor of his, that’s something I hope he keeps in the front of his mind.

In a way, it’s keeping in line with a fairly conservative viewpoint, as well as one of my own principles. I think by keeping out of this argument, the president’s saying that the black community is going to have to lift itself up-just like other communities across America have to lift themselves up. Taking responsibility for yourself and those around you, without expecting the government to provide more than the rights granted you by God, only enhances the worth of individual freedom.

As urban conservatives, we should have an agenda that’s centered on our communities; that focuses on the problems specific to where we live.  Here’s what we should focus on to align ourselves with the people we interact with:

  1. Entrepenuership and higher education. I have a good friend on Facebook who suggested that (and I’m paraphrasing a lot) we should encourage graduates of medical assisting programs (you know, the ones you see on TV all the time) to pursue the education that will make them doctors and nurses, or at the very least take their knowledge into business for themselves. Focusing on this example-since blacks are severly affected by health problems-those who complain that the black community needs more medical resources should take the time to encourage and groom those among them that can to do so.
  2. Reinvestment. As these entrepenuers begin to provide their services, we should encourage and support them with our dollars. This keeps money in our communities, and allows business builders to support others. With that, we create a cycle that’s dependent on what we give to ourselves, and not what the government can give us.

The “black agenda” is the American agenda. We’re all hurting today, and while things are looking up, we’re all going to continue to hurt for a while. To single out one group for a “disproportionate” federal response neglects the needs of others whose situations are no less important-and in many ways, no less dire.

If a disproportionate response is needed, we can provide it within our communities ourselves.

But only if we choose to.

HB2DF, Coby

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Written by Coby Dillard

April 6, 2010 at 9:47 am

One Response

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  1. “Problem is, though, that the cures for those ills aren’t found in “jobs” bills, “stimulus” programs and establishing a new massive entitlement program. And they’re not found in funnelling more jobs and money to any one specific demographic over another. Taking those actions only continues a cycle of dependence that, once entered, is hard as hell to leave. Not to mention that because we’re more adversely affected by economic downturns, we’re also more adversely affected when the tax bills come due.”

    None of these sentences follow from one another logically, and many are contradicted by research.

    What does follow is that economic parity is what will keep the black community from being “adversely affected” in the future. The only thing that has shown promise with respect to group-based solutions is, in fact, affirmative action–relying on groups of people to “pull themselves up by their bootstraps” is not only insulting (“you people just aren’t trying hard enough!” –Bill Cosby), it’s ineffective against entrenched racism.

    Two points:

    First, the open market has proven time and again to be perfectly capable of incorporating anti-black racism. A long term audit study by Devah Pager suggests that given exactly the same credentials, blacks WITHOUT a criminal record are as likely to be given a job interview as whites WITH a criminal record. Does this suggest to you that the “free market” will ultimately benefit black people or that the market is not only not free but actively biased against blacks?

    Second, education won’t save anybody either. Or, more accurately, education won’t save groups, although individuals will benefit. If everyone under the poverty line went out and got a law degree or a medical degree, we’d have a lot of unemployed lawyers and doctors. The American system of stratification isn’t elastic–unemployment and low wages are built into the system. Entitlements are EXACTLY what we need–once we raise the socioeconomic “floor”, then we can worry about restructuring the economy to allow everyone a chance to reach the “ceiling”.

    Stop reading Charles Murray, Richard Herrnstein, James Q Wilson, and Thomas Sowell. No one who seriously studies social issues takes them seriously, not because they’re “mavericks”, but because none of their conclusions actually hold up.

    Aaron

    April 6, 2010 at 11:36 am


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