- - Monday, September 28, 2015

Palm Beach, Fla. — I’ve come to realize over the years that the eras of slavery and civil rights were more than just suppression. Though those seasons were plagued with horrific travesties that we as a community will never forget, what that time did for our community was force us to depend upon one another. It forced us to be unified and on one accord. We’ve come to a point in time, that though bondage and suppression still gravely looms over our community, our freedoms and civil liberties have pushed the core values of our families further and further away, nearly bringing those values to extinction.

As we deal with the grave epidemic of black on black crime we also deal with “crab in a bucket” syndrome, where rather than focusing on how we can unite, serve one another and work to be on one accord, we’re obsessed with the notion that success and opportunity can only be derived from one person. As a community, we find ourselves demeaning and berating our very own neighbors, brothers and sisters. So one must ask, do black lives matter to blacks? It becomes a double standard when you attempt to hold those outside of your community to a higher standard than you hold yourself to. Absolutely, there are grave injustices that blacks continually face, some being on a daily basis. However I can’t possibly expect an outsider to take seriously my requests and demands for social justice, when the outsider is constantly observing division, friction, contention and oppression take place on the inside.

So again I ask the question, do black lives matter to blacks? Once upon a time, the seniors of our community would raise children according to two mantras: “It takes a village to raise a child” and “The mind is a terrible thing to waste.” But sadly, as those seniors continue to pass on, only a small gathering of community leaders are truly stepping up to bear the responsibility of upholding those mission statements and moving them into the 21st century.

Sadly, our young black boys and girls are being faced with the decision of wasting their minds. When television constantly depicts our community as gun fighting, prostitute soliciting, uneducated thieving savages in the news, on television shows, movies and on radio, these children now have to decipher amongst themselves whether to follow the path of righteousness (which at that moment may seem boring and unappealing due to their lack of spiritual maturity) or whether to follow the path of music, television and news portrayals. Again I ask, do black lives matter to blacks? I’m convinced, now more than ever, that YES! Black lives do matter to blacks, but not to all blacks. The most unfortunate circumstance of this realization is that to those who have the power of persuasion through music, song, dance, video production, etc. Those are the members of our community who seem to least understand the precedence of “The mind is a terrible thing to waste.” The epidemic of black on black crime, excessive gyrating and indecent exposure, drug use, little to no infusion of Christian values sadly is the result of a direct lack of self-preservation from our own community. We must begin to demand that our music moguls and entertainers change their message of hate, sex and violence to love, guidance and understanding. It’s a parent’s responsibility to lead and guide a child according to an understanding that with God, all things are possible if you just trust in Him. It’s our parents’ responsibility to feed, clothe, nurture and discipline said children in times of wrongdoing. It’s that very relationship between parent and child that mirrors itself after our relationship with God, our father. Sometimes I think about how hurt and sad it must make God to see His beloved children fighting and killing one another, especially after having sent His only son to die on the cross. But I’m quickly reminded that no matter how difficult the circumstance may seem, no matter how bad situations may portray themselves to be, God is still in control, thus why He reminds us that all things work together for the good of those who love the Lord.

I believe in the depths of my heart, that black America can be the greatest community in all the land. However we must come to an understanding that in order for black lives to matter to others, they must matter to blacks FIRST! Taking back our communities will require reaching and teaching one child at a time. That teaching must consist of self-respect, love for oneself, love for thy neighbor, compassion and understanding, guidance, patience, loyalty and above all, an acceptance of Christ Jesus. These are just some of the characteristics that we as a community must begin to indoctrinate within our boys and girls. It is impossible to rid of hate when we continue to practice and spread hate. Darkness plaguing the life of our brothers and sisters can’t possibly be removed when we don’t take time to shine the light in their direction. We can, however, turn hate into love just by loving. We can always move from the dark into the light. Black Lives truly do matter, but we must show the world that black lives matter to black America.

Sean P. Jackson serves as chairman of the Board for the Black Republican Caucus of South Florida. 

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