Social Ills & Racism: The Anatomy of a Vicious Cycle

The previous article covered the social ills facing the black community. It also examined many of the reasons that the majority of people feel that blacks are fully responsible for the obstacles they face and their current conditions, the subtle and not so subtle implications of genetic inferiority regarding blacks, and how easily accepted the social ills that plague blacks are.

This article delves deeper into those issues by examining a common yet paradoxical problem. This problem involves the tendency of the majority to complain about the violence, high rates of imprisonment, and other social ills that are rife within the black community, all while doing very little to aid in their prevention. Sadly, this lack of interest in prevention is a direct result of racism.

More specifically, many who hold racist sentiments towards blacks base their feelings upon the issues that are prevalent within the black community. These issues include high rates of poverty, violence, and unemployment, as well as the fact that blacks make up the majority of the prison system despite comprising only 13% of America’s population. Unsurprisingly, many see these problems as good cause to look down upon blacks, view them as a societal menace, or even hate them.

As a result of these sentiments, many people from poor whites to members of the ruling class complain about these social ills. Yet they put their efforts towards accommodating these problems as if they are inevitable. Most people seem more than content with the building of more jails and the doling out of harsher prison sentences. They are fine with the creation of harsher laws and feel government benefits should be good enough. They overlook the fact that government assistance is often ineffective and tends to fuel dependency rather than self-sufficiency. Naturally, there is far less interest in formulating and implementing preventative actions that address the root causes of the violence, poverty, and crime that is so frequently decried.

As illogical as this is, it makes sense when one considers that it is fueled by racism. After all, what is the point of taking preventative action against the inevitable? Why should anyone help an inferior group of people who are naturally prone to certain problems? Their nature will not change, so preventative action is a waste of time.

This attitude is disturbingly common, but it disregards some very important factors. The social ills that many view as inevitable are not caused by an inherent deficiency in blacks themselves. Granted, there are people of all races who are disinterested in making an honest living, have violent natures, or possess criminal tendencies. Yet by and large the socioeconomic problems prevalent in the black community are linked to hundreds of years of systematic, legalized racism. While personal responsibility is important, it is logical that many descendants of slaves would need help overcoming cyclical social problems before they can achieve complete self-sufficiency.

Concerted efforts to successfully address and eradicate the social issues that plague the black community are long overdue. We as a nation must accept the fact that these social ills spill into other communities, thus leaving all of us with a responsibility to end them. Americans must also realize the consequences of slavery and acknowledge the legalized racism that followed it. Last but not least, our country must develop a willingness to let go of the biased, racist attitudes that allow our nation to view the socioeconomic problems within the black community as inevitable and unpreventable.

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