I just posted the following observations on the “Get Schooled” blog of the Atlanta Journal Constitution:
” ‘. . .Giving people something they haven’t earned just pisses them off in the long run, and doesn’t really help in the way it’s intended.’
Jim Arnold is a fine storyteller and, imho, he should write a book of his Southern recollections. He has captured that time in history that has ‘Gone with the Wind.’ Ah, but I remember it well. His mother was another of the Southern ‘steel magnolias’ who was wise, in so many ways.
But, I have to point out something, here, which I have been giving thought to all day which is an expansion of what his mother saw in ‘giving people something they haven’t earned. . . doesn’t really help in the way it’s intended.’
What Jim Arnold’s mother saw, in that concept, is only half true, to my way of thinking. In fact, it is only a surface reality, as I have come to understand, having lived on this planet for nearly 3/4s of a century, most of it in Georgia. My reflections, today, were generated from the AJC online article regarding the fact that young black men are being killed by gang members in South DeKalb County. One 20 year old, with a very young son, named Messiah, was shot to death near his home and given a funeral at Greenforest Baptist Church, where my child had attended pre-school when that building was called Mt. Carmel Christian Church, and when that neighborhood was still integrated among blacks and whites. I taught school in that area of DeKalb County for most of my teaching career, and my grandmother-type babysitter took my child to Mt. Carmel pre-k School and picked my child up each day while I taught nearby. I began my DeKalb County School System career in 1971 in that area of the county and I retired there in 2000. I loved all of the children I taught from grades 1 – 12 during those years. Race made no difference at all to me. Children are children and share common characteristics of each stage of development whatever their races might be, I learned.
Now that area of DeKalb County has rival gangs that kill one another with semi-automatic guns. You will not find me blaming the victims. I know that when one gives up on others and on oneself, despair leads to desperate acts. Our misguided nation gave up on continuing the noble cause of lifting black people in the 1970s and turned to self-interested greed and blaming victims for their own situations – cynicism like I never saw permeate this nation in the 1960s when people tried to help lift black people. Now it is a national consciousness of ‘everyman and woman for themselves.’ And, it is even worse in Georgia – that selfish consciousness – than in other places in this nation and this world because our leaders are too political, too uncaring not even to accept a minimum of Syrian refugees today. Forty-five years of selfish greed has taken its toll particularly hard in the black pockets of our cities and states for these young black men know that we do not care for them as we did when Mary Travers was performing in her prime. Even if these young men are too young to know this consciously, they know it intuitively, and they have given up on themselves, on America, and on us.
Shame on us all. We must find a way again to let these young black people, especially these young black men, know that we consider them worthy and that we will put our money, and our time, and our resources into helping them, not with a hand out but with a hand up, once again, because we care and because we know that, in America, all men and women are equal.”
Another poster’s comments to my words above, as I posted them on AJC columnist and blogger Jay Bookman’s blog:
Other poster: “Morality and integrity can not be taught with money. It takes a parent with character to do this. The failing of a community is not in the possession’s of another, but the failing of the people within the community.”
My comments in response to the words, above, of that other poster:
“I have observed a side to you that many may not have. You are capable of love, and of loving your neighbors, authentically. Please never deny the importance of demonstrated love for others to inspire those others with hope and positive action to improve their lives. As the law is the great leveler of mankind, love is the great healer of mankind.”
The other poster’s response: “God bless you MaryElizabethSings.”