What ever happened to fighting poverty? I don’t mean the “War on Poverty” where illegal drugs and alcohol were pumped into poor communities, and resulted in addiction, crime, and economic collapse. I mean, what happened to the foundations and philanthropists that once cared about the poor? What happened to the black church, and successful African American men who took action to protect our neighborhoods and families? Have we all abandoned the poor, for the safety of living in up-scale neighborhoods? Or are we busy transforming our minds, so that we can be the change we seek?
We are living in a time where poverty, and the misery index are on the rise, and where killing black males is no longer news. In Washington DC, over 40 people have been murdered so far this year. That number represents a 75% increase in homicides over this time last year. The spike in murders, drug use, and poor education in our communities should outrage us. Are we not free to promote traditional family values, form our own associations, and have our view of the world accepted by the dominant culture?
When I was growing up, my mother taught me that finding a wife was a good thing. To prove it to me, she opened her Bible to Proverbs 31:10, which read: “Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies.” I read the following 21 verses, and it was hard to argue with her. However, Proverbs 31 doesn’t begin with verse 10. The first 9 verses were also instructive. Verse 9 states: “Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.” Should we not be more concerned about the lives of the poor who cannot escape poverty, than we are with the opportunity for one gay football player to secure a high profile job?
She went on to teach me the value of a two-parent household, education, and hard work. She assured me, if I had those three family values, together with a measure of faith, I could escape the sure grip of poverty, and live a prosperous life. As Black men, we need to get beyond emotional sensationalism, and turn our individual successes, into a well-oiled movement, to solve chronic dangers in our communities.
On May 19, 2014, Jonathan Weisman published an article in The New York Times where he presented data on President Obama’s economic recovery. By his analysis, the Obama economic recovery has left behind young women and blacks. Perhaps there is a lesson here for young women and black men.
The time has come for Black men to rethink how we go about making positives changes in our communities, and in our lives. We need to redefine how we learn, and determine for ourselves, if the dominant society values our contributions to society. We need to ask ourselves if its O.K., to delay our efforts to save our women and children, because the media wants to celebrate one man’s chance to compete for a job in the National Football League. When you consider the source of your outrage, remember this, dead men can’t vote.
Dr. David Caruth, founder and President of God’s Perfect Timing Ministries is man of God and author of the book, God’s Perfect Timing: Breaking the Cycle of Poverty with Education and Faith. Dr. Caruth is a career educator, with more than twenty years of higher education experience. Prior to moving to Washington, DC to help provide education to the poor and under privileged residents of the District of Columbia, Dr. Caruth served as the Executive Director and Vice President for Academic Affairs of the National Center for Professional Development Solutions, in Denver Colorado, where he oversaw Center operations, hired and supervised faculty and staff, developed and gained approval for all academic courses.