“I don’t think it is systemic racism,” Steele said. “Maybe historically, back when there was actual discrimination in a systemic way, that may have contributed to the break down of family and so forth that we now live with today. The sad fact is the that today the problems really are not discrimination, they have to do with the break down of the black family almost entirely.”
“It is an extremely difficult problem,” Steele added. “One of the things I have argued for that I have always felt is important, and it is very controversial… is individual responsibility. My sense is there has to be much more emphasis put on that.”
Jackson, however is adamant that while blacks have been gaining more representation on the political side, the problem truly lies with “patterns of racial discrimination” in the economic realm.
“How blacks are treated in this country is a moral test of American commitment to justice,” he said. “….We are the canary in the mine and we are facing today is awesome patterns of racial discrimination.”
Like Jackson, Dr. Watkins explained that the black plight is a cry for help, but not one which many in the black community are willing to voice as they to not want to hurt the president that they love “like a family member.”
“The real concern for the president is that the black community may simply support him from the sidelines, as they’ve been politely asked to re-embrace the same disenfranchised hopelessness that plagued us before Obama made us believe the words ‘Yes we can,’ wrote Watkins. “When black Obama supporters ask suffering African American families to remain silent for the sake of preserving the presidency, they are asking them to accept the fact that President Obama is too busy with more important issues to address the challenges of racial inequality.”
The playing field is uneven and until the scales are balanced the problem will persist, Jackson added, whether or not there is a black man in office.
“Facing unequal opportunity, access to health care, jobs, public transportation, the unevenness results in uneven results and until one can document that unevenness in the nation, and support all citizens, whether they’re black or Latino of Native American or [of a differnt] sexual orientation we must all be afforded equal protection under the law and blacks are not being afforded that,” he said.
Steele reiterated that until the black community begins to put an emphasis on personal responsibility improving their plight will be near impossible.
“As black Americans we are – I think the fact that we have a black president makes the point – we are at a very different juncture in our history, where ironically racism is no longer our number one problem, probably 18th on the list. The idea of taking our own lives in our hands and competing as other Americans do [is how to solve the problem],” Steele concluded.