Empathy And Support For All Challenged Americans

Americans must be more empathetic and open-minded in the face of horrific challenges. This post will discuss two situations that have and will continue to significantly impact our lives into the foreseeable future.

Scores of family members, friends and acquaintances have contracted coronavirus, and over 100,000 have died in America.

Simultaneously, in a seminal moment in history, the black community is enthusiastically and admirably protesting to increase awareness of pervasive social injustice, in particular as it relates to relations with the police and wide economic disparities between Americans.

The virus is a pandemic challenge that pits a rogue disease against mankind. The bug is an existential threat that has made so many of our neighbors ill. Medical practitioners have been trying to find the key to defuse the disease. It’s been a difficult and frustrating journey with slow progress.

The virus has turned the world upside down. Besides the wake of suffering it has cast upon us, the deadly flu has caused us to change the way we live and associate with other humans. At the same time, the impact of the disease has closed many businesses, perhaps permanently, and caused an economic catastrophe.

Millions of Americans are unemployed or doing their jobs remotely. The entire business community is struggling to stay alive and to protect its workers.

And finally, the disease has altered the way we interface with each other. Family get-togethers are happening online. Hugs and kisses are not permissible under any circumstances. And we must meet each other with masks on our faces. Humans are social beings, but the coronavirus has required us to de-socialize and limit contact.

My heart goes out to all those who are suffering through this pandemic threat and to all the first responders and health care workers, as the world fights back. Together we can defeat the bug and, hopefully, re-socialize again in the near future.

The protests taking place at the same time should not have surprised anyone. Racism is the underlying issue. Blacks are being treated without due respect and subjected to abominable and criminal actions by police officers, the very people who are supposed to protect them.

Our legal system is heavily weighted against people of color. As a result, the subsequent adjudication of offending officers has been too slow. Guilty police officers must be brought to justice more quickly. They should be incarcerated for serious offenses. Sanctions being meted out against offenses have been too soft, frustrating the black community.

It’s impossible for me to understand the feelings of despair in the black community as injustices mount up against it. Yet, I am committed to learning more and having an empathetic ear. Concerned individuals, business leaders and average citizens, should be reaching out to gain a better understanding of the things most important to the black community. It’s time to re-double efforts to find peaceful settlement of disagreements.

All Americans need to be more responsive to the black community. We should do everything possible to ensure that they are safe, have equal opportunities for a quality education and a job that enables them to pursue the American dream.

The current state of affairs and the injustices being perpetrated against people of color is not consistent with the ideals that our founding fathers envisioned many years ago.

Al Sharpton: Messiah Or Self-Promoter?

By Sal Bommarito

Recent incidents resulting in the deaths of young African American men are a reminder that police tactics need to be constantly reevaluated to ensure that the civil rights of suspects are respected. Additionally, these events have elevated racial issues to the highest level- consider the active involvement of President Obama and Attorney General Holder. We must change things to allay the concerns of the black community.

 

But African Americans have a responsibility, especially their leaders. For one thing, change is best made peacefully with a minimal amount of animosity. Poverty, unemployment, disenfranchisement and unhappiness in urban centers greatly influence the behavior of city dwellers, which are predominately black. The federal government should work diligently to rectify these conditions.

 

The death of one man is a dreadful tragedy. It has not been difficult to appreciate the extent to which this occurrence has affected the black community. We have been witnessing it non-stop for several weeks in the media, which has been prodded by the likes of the Reverend Al Sharpton. People like Sharpton are the religious versions of ambulance chasers. He hears of a white on black incident and rushes to the scene and to offer his services assuming the worst. Given his clout, the Reverend, and his people, would be better served spending more time addressing the issues mentioned above, which would help all blacks.

 

Sharpton is a self-promoter. He is often retained when an African American has been wronged by a white person or by the establishment. Click here to see a list of projects Sharpton has worked on over the years. Some of these situations were legitimate and some were not. In all of his adventures, he was able to embed himself into a tragedy and serve as the mouthpiece for the victims. But, are Sharpton’s actions empathetic, or just an opportunity to get in front of the media and build his reputation?

 

There are better alternatives for a troubled black family than retaining Sharpton. Some will say that the establishment abhors the man, so he must be doing a good job. Not necessarily. Sharpton certainly knows how to stir the pot, but are his black clients better off after he moves on to the next crisis? We know his celebrity is on the rise; he now has a program on MSNBC where he regularly interviews people he represents- a clear conflict in the minds of many journalists.

 

Sharpton is “working both sides of the street, and it’s paying off for him”- from the conservative Fox Network. In other words, “[you] can’t be a player and cover the game at the same time.”

 

To his credit, the Reverend lectured the black community about some of its social problems in his eulogy of Brown. But, he saved his most animated and inflammatory comments for the police and the establishment.

 

A lot of negotiation and soul-searching must take place before African Americans receive what they rightly deserve. But, these talks need to take place between men and women of peace and great wisdom, people like Dr. King and President Kennedy. It is understandable why the current negotiators have not been making progress in recent months.

 

Ferguson: In An Imperfect World

By Sal Bommarito

In a perfect world, there would be no racial tension and our police force would never use excess force. But, our world is far from perfect.

 

In recent days, two young black men died tragically while being arrested. These incidents unleashed a wave of protest from the African American community that is convinced that police treat them abusively. Social activists around the country have declared war on police departments, however, all of the facts in these situations have not yet been revealed.

 

A 2012 Department of Justice study of juvenile delinquency indicates that black youths commit more crimes per capita than white youths by a wide margin. This is not new information. Yet, activists turn away from the realities and duress of urban life and their impact on black behavior. Rather, they chose to focus on police abuses, not the societal issues that cause some black youths to misbehave. Whenever a tragedy involving a black child and a white cop occurs, the rebel-rousers are on the scene. They do not give equal time to the reasons for discontent and violence.

 

There is no excuse for aggressive police action unless violence is inevitable. Protests that include arson, looting and shooting by out of control crowds are not the type of responses that will help the African American community in their efforts to improve their lives.

 

High crime areas generally are rife with broken homes, poverty, unemployment, poor education and boredom. Perhaps, African American spokespeople should focus more on these social and economic realities rather than on one off incidents that involve the police, as sad as each one of them is.

 

Police departments make poor decisions that infuriate the African American community and should be taken to task. Stop and frisk decreases crime, but the civil liberties implications of this tactic are overwhelming, and so stop and frisk has been watered down or halted in most places, a major victory for African Americans in their minds.

 

Police departments should not be 90% white in cities and towns that are 90% black. And, every police officer should be trained in the use of appropriate force and the rights of suspects. When behavior is in violation of the rules, police officials should pay a price. Training has been increased in place like New York City, another victory for African Americans.

 

Unfortunately, provocateurs created a dangerous environment in Ferguson. Across the nation, a large number of citizens (African Americans) believe that they are at odds with a group (the police) that is supposed to protect them. Every day, honest cops risk their lives and do a great job all things considered. The least accusers should do is to give investigators a chance to collect all the facts before demanding someone’s head on a stick.

 

None of involved parties distinguished themselves in the Ferguson tragedy. The Governor of Missouri rushed to judgment, while the Lieutenant Governor criticized his boss (they belong to different political parties). The police suited up for an all out war and used tear gas and rubber bullets, reminiscent of 1960s overreaction by police. The media aired confrontations between the police and the rioting crowds regularly on TV and in the newspapers. Some protesters looted stores and set fires in their own neighborhood.

 

In a perfect world, local, state and federal investigators would collect information rapidly and inform the public of their findings soon after.

 

In a perfect world, the likes of Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson would stay away from Ferguson; their presence and rhetoric often times incite the disgruntled to act violently.

 

In a perfect world, the media would limit the coverage of violence and not make editorial comments, which inspire rioting.

 

In a perfect world, every American would be treated fairly including African Americans and police officers.

 

In a perfect world, we would no longer have racial tension in America.