Prior to the "Millions More" event in Washington last weekend - led by the former calypso singer and current Nation of Islam leader, Louis Farrakhan - a group of participants gathered at Howard University. It looked like a meeting of the kook fringe as speaker after speaker engaged in the wildest of conspiracy theories about why blacks who are poor continue to be mired in misery.
According to some, Hurricane Katrina was a plot by the Bush Administration to eliminate their "black problem." Maybe Bush didn't create the hurricane, but he was responsible for blowing up the levees so that blacks in New Orleans would drown, thus easing welfare payments and reducing the number of black Democrat voters.
While the neo-Nazis planned to march in Toledo - sparking a "riot" among black gangs who, in the words of some locals were simply looking for an excuse to loot and destroy - their polar opposites were in Washington looting black dignity and destroying what remains of their "leaders' " credibility.
This latest exercise in "brotherhood" again shifted the focus from the real problems in black America, which have less to do with what white people think of blacks than how they regard themselves. It again overlooked those spokespeople who actually have something worth considering.
Where among the Jesse Jackson-Al Sharpton-Louis Farrakhan speakers at the Millions More march on the Mall were members of the growing black middle and upper classes? Where were the married black men with children they had fathered within wedlock and to whom they are responsible, loving father figures?
Is there anyone in doubt as to why poor blacks continue to suffer? Is it really the fault of racism and the stain of slavery? If so, how to explain those who have stopped singing about overcoming and have simply overcome? They have done so by staying in school and studying, getting and staying married, working hard and making right decisions.
Why do the "Millions More" people think another march on Washington will even begin to solve their problems? Neither the problems of black Americans, nor the solutions to them, are in Washington.
Washington doesn't teach people to commit crime; Washington doesn't encourage the indolent (except through too many programs that have subsidized indolence); Washington cannot begin to do for anyone what they can and should do for themselves.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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