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|The New Normal --- A Point of No Return?|
|Written by Roger Madison Jr.|
|Friday, 08 June 2012|
Recently, I have been reflecting on the news about the plight of the Black community. From the news that I read, the direction of our social and economic progress seems mostly backward.
I have learned not to over-react to anecdotal accounts of alarm or joy. I have learned not to believe the hype. However, the noise levels of bad news continue to rise and drown out the good news.
Here are some examples of bad news:
And here is some good news:
No matter how hard I look, the aggregate news about the Black condition is overwhelmingly negative. What is alarming is that the news has always been worse for Blacks than wihites. Howver, during the latter half of the 20th century, the gains of the Civil Rights movement gave us hope that conditions were improving -- in education, employment, politics, and business. What happened?
Here are important questions we must address going forward:
I have more questions than answers.
I am in search of indicators that we can turn around the declines of the past 10 years. The declines have been so precipitous that it appears that future generatoins will be worse off than their parents and grandparents. I fear that it is increasingly less likely that a resurgence of Black solidarity, or even collaboration is possible.
I see a trend of individual assimilation into the general population by those with the best opportunities. There is less identification with the clarion call of the 70's "Say it loud. I'm Black and I'm proud."
Studies suggest that there is an incresing identification with class as opposed to race. The result is a few highly visible Blacks at every class level within our society that suggests progress. But those who are not upwardly mobile are actually decliing at an increasing rate.
The recent recession has been like a dagger in the heart of the Black middle class. The resulting gaps in wealth, income, education, and employment are actually widening.
This new normal is starting to settle in.
I see more dysfunctional families, chronic unemployment, disproportionate exposure to the criminal justice system. The result is a permanent underclass.
While I am concerned about this new reality, I feel powerless to reverse the decline for all but a few. I feel empowered when I am spending time with a my 14 year-old mentee. But I feel helpless when talking with my ex-felon relative.
I still hold out hope for a more positive trend. But I fear that the new normal has reached a point of no return. What do you think?
Please share your comments below.
Roger Madison, CEO
written by Cam , June 13, 2012