Harry R. Jackson, Jr.

I love taking my wife to dinners, parties, anniversaries, and formal outings of all kinds. I have found that a monochromic look - all gray, all blue or all brown can be stunning. High contrast color combinations work best: for example, a medium brown pair of trousers and a chocolate jacket teamed with a cream colored shirt. The monochromic look has just one problem: if you wear items that are very close in shade but not quite the same, you look mismatched or somehow poorly dressed.

In some parts of the nation, the media is trying to paint minority problems as essentially well-coordinated, monochromic cultural issues. Unfortunately this paradigm is producing an unsettling clash. Black and Latino problems are not the same! While a significant number of American minorities have similar problems and immigrants of all races face several common demons. One size does not fit all and white racism cannot be blamed for every root contention that extends from the white community to blacks, browns, and even Asian communities. Reverse racism from minorities to whites and inter-cultural racism from one group to another also muddy the waters of our American civil unity. Further, Dr. King’s goal of racial harmony is being challenged as economics enter the picture and segments of the black and the Hispanics in the labor market vie for their respective places in the sun - their share of jobs, contracts, political appointments, etc.

Unless you read the Los Angeles Times, you probably have not heard much about the Latino-on-black violence that has been plaguing southern California on and off for many years. Most recently, four Latino gang members jumped a black stranger in Compton and beat him with pipes. The man was visiting a black family that had just moved into the neighborhood; the men who beat him called him n*gger, informing him that blacks were no longer welcome in that neighborhood.

For several days after the beating, crowds gathered on the family’s lawn, shouting racial epithets and throwing beer bottles at the house. They disbanded each time the police arrived but returned as soon as they left. They achieved their goal; the mother sent her children to live with relatives and is packing up to move. According to federal authorities, this is not an isolated incident; Latino gangs have been forcing blacks out of particular neighborhoods all over southern California.

Harry R. Jackson, Jr.

Bishop Harry Jackson is chairman of the High Impact Leadership Coalition and senior pastor of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, MD, and co-authored, Personal Faith, Public Policy [FrontLine; March 2008] with Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council.