Yes, Blacks do want to be successful

Published 8:03 pm Thursday, November 5, 2020

When wealth is passed off as merit, bad luck is seen as bad character. This is how ideologues justify punishing the sick and the poor. But poverty is neither a crime nor a character flaw. Stigmatize those who let people die, not those who struggle to live.

Just when you think the White House personnel has surprised Americans with their divisive, racist, and belittling comments, once again, here we are. Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior advisor, in an Oct. 26 Fox news interview, seemingly questioned whether Black Americans “want to be successful” and that Black Americans must want to help themselves for the president’s polices to help them. Perhaps he should take his silver spoon out of his mouth before inserting his foot with a racist trope about Black people and success.

Jared Kushner is the face of white privilege and nepotism and is a product of his family’s fortune. His lack of empathy, insensitivity, compounded by his condescending overtone and ego (easing God out) is just astonishing.

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His father-in-law gave him the position he is failing at miserably with deadly consequences.  He is someone who of course does not know or acknowledge the existence of racism and systemic racism as an obstacle to opportunity for Blacks. Nor would he want to change our racist broken system because he and other likeminded, thinking individuals benefit from it.

He speaks as if Black people are lazy complainers who do not want to be successful and reaffirm, he and others at the White House have no understanding of the Black community and its challenges that have spanned centuries. Black people in this country perhaps put in more work by noon than he puts in the whole day. He is the last person that should be lecturing the Black community on the value of “hard work.”

Kushner’s words appeared to blame Black Americans disproportionate lack of wealth and job opportunities, as well as health disparities and other inequalities, on a lack of drive. Suggesting that the problem is that Black Americans do not want success enough, is absurd. Just being Black itself is a hindrance in getting ahead on so many levels.

Perhaps he and others should take their knee off Black people’s necks so we can breathe and stop putting up so many obstacles to hold Blacks back. The notion that the president could want success for black people more than Black people is just consistent ignorance.

Although the Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlawed discrimination in employment and banned race-based segregation, as well as sporadic efforts by successive U.S. governments to tackle racial inequalities, racism still looms large in the 21st-century. Blacks must work twice as hard as whites to get ahead and Black women three times as much.

Racial discrimination and less access to good schools or jobs are major obstacles for blacks and make it harder in getting ahead. Blacks are also treated less fairly than whites by the police and justice system. Blacks are also twice as likely as whites to be treated less fairly when seeking medical treatment, applying for a loan or mortgage, voting in elections, in stores or restaurants, and in hiring, pay and promotions. Also, Blacks have a legacy of slavery that no matter how much education, money, etc., Blacks may have, in the mind of some people, Blacks will be still viewed as a nobodies.

If he wants to get at African American poverty, the income gap, wealth gap, achievement gap, the most important thing is to make sure that the society does right by people who are poor, our working class and those aspiring to have a better life for their children. Higher minimum wages, full employment programs, early childhood education. Those programs will help people who are in the worse economic situation. Jesus said the poor you will have with you always. I suggest he try looking beyond the outward appearance of Blacks and try seeing the human individual within.

We must call out acts of racism and bigotry. His words are also a reminder of how much further we must go as a society and how persistent we must be in the fight against racism.

Stephen Washington, is a Natchez resident, who is concerned about racism and bigotry.