Ebonics, a 12 year old selling drugs, and the Moynihan Report


At the time, he was called everything but a Child of God, but occasionally I think about the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan.

45 years ago this summer, then an Assistant Secretary of Labor, Moynihan famously warned that the collapse of black family life would mean rising chaos and crime in the black community. Critics said he was blaming “the victim.”

There are many complex, compelling issues at play here on Race. For example:

Do problems African Americans face, go all the way back to Slavery?

Are some Whites correct in feeling African Americans use Slavery as an excuse?

My point of view. These are difficult conversations that are often unspoken.
Yes racism still exists, and yes, there will always be the need for an Al Sharpton.

Many African Americans were offended by Moynihan’s report, actually titled “The Negro Family: The Case for National Action” but here we are as an entire society in 2010, reaching new shocking lows and I question where are all of our elected officials today?

Of course, some African Americans are not the only people committing crimes or doing bad things. No one group of people should ever be demonized.

But many of our elected officials are failing miserably.

Here’s the backdrop of what has happened recently in our own backyard.

During a Queens raid in Far Rockaway, Police recently arrested a 12-year-old girl who was allegedly selling drugs. A "grade-schooler,” sold the drugs to an undercover. The silence from elected officials on this one is amazing.

Yes, there is the politically correct blame game of where are the social workers, the educators, the role models, but of course it all starts at home with the parents. (or in most cases like my own mother, a single-parent household)

Again, where are the elected officials, and what the hell are they doing?

We have become so complacent, no one is even providing lip service about this 12 year old, or raising public awareness. The public is not even up in arms.

Are we just accustomed to watching our kids ruin their lives, as they are sent messages from MTV and yes BET, telling them their outrageous behavior is cool, internalizing stereotypes with a wide range of harmful consequences.

Normally the kids are used as lookouts or to steer potential drug buyers, but it‘s a new day and I say this sadly, but apparently the drug dealers are down sizing just like fortune 500 companies.

So babies making babies, a 12 year old female on a street corner selling drugs, and young people dropping out of high school in record numbers. If that’s not enough. Get this one.

The Drug Enforcement Agency, the DEA, is recruiting nine linguists fluent in “Ebonics,” to translate wiretaps and other recordings of narcotics suspects.

Ebonics — also known as African-American vernacular English.

Far Rockaway, (the community of this 12 year old young lady) as I just learned from visiting there a few years ago is one extreme or the other. It’s very sad.

There are either new developments there, new construction and new community centers but specifically for use of new residents only.

Or housing projects, in a totally desolate area with absolutely no opportunity.

No jobs, few community centers, and barely a transportation system. The Youth services are a few basketball courts that have delivered some of the best ballplayers in the world. But then with so few options, we don’t understand why kids go the wrong way, stand on the corner selling drugs or turn to prostitution. Politicians are looking at large budget cuts and refuse to raise taxes, so the problem is pushed from one generation to the next. Then you add very little coming from such communities as far as a tax base to the city, and it’s the making of a disaster, and the check is quickly coming due.

If you want to turn around Far Rockaway, and communities like it across America, bring in people like Geoffrey Canada and the Harlem Children’s Zone.

We have got to teach our kids, illustrate it, and mean it. Education, education, and some more education.

We have got to teach them there are no short-cuts to success in life. Education has to become as popular, and cool as that pair of “hot shorts,” or those “jeans hanging off your rear end young man.”

I still remember this quote from 19 years ago, and is still true today.

"Do you realize that the leading killer of young black males is young black males?" asked Former Secretary of Health and Human Services Louis Sullivan. "As a black man and a father of three, this really shakes me to the core of my being."

It shakes me to my core too Mr. Secretary.

Canada and the Harlem Children’s Zone preach education.

The Harlem Children’s Zone is aimed at doing nothing less than breaking the cycle of “generational poverty.”

Isn’t generational poverty exactly what Daniel Patrick Moynihan was talking about 45 years ago?

Don’t we now have a African American president who has repeatedly expressed the same alarm over black family disintegration that Moynihan did.

Years ahead of his time, and called horrible names, but Moynihan saw troubled waters ahead.