When Shelby Steele recently wrote about “The Decline of the Civil Rights Leadership,” he put his finger on a serious problem for our country. Professor Steele noted that there has been a corruption of moral authority at the top of the media-selected Civil Rights elite. He wrote this powerful paragraph:
Put bluntly, this leadership rather easily tolerates black kids killing other black kids. But it cannot abide a white person (and Mr. Zimmerman, with his Hispanic background, was pushed into a white identity by the media over his objections) getting away with killing a black person without undermining the leadership's very reason for being.
As if to underscore Dr. Steele’s points, we have the appalling understatement of Jesse Jackson in response to the random killing of a young Australian jogger in Oklahoma. Jackson tweeted: Such actions are “frowned upon.”
Frowned upon? It’s as if the killers forgot to send a thank-you note after a dinner party.
We shouldn't dwell upon the race of the killers. Or the race of the Australian victim. Let us ask instead: Where were the fathers of those killers? Are these young men like so many directionless, bored, and increasingly violent young adults growing up without the love and discipline of their dads?
Jesse Jackson might have been a voice for fathers in this country. In his Chicago hometown, his was once seen as the First Family of Black America. He could have been a powerful figure standing firm for the integrity of black families and white families, Hispanic and Asian families.
Once, Jesse Jackson was bold enough to speak the truth about abortion in the black community. “Abortion is black genocide,” he said then. He was right. But soon he became entangled in Democratic Party politics. Now, he doesn’t frown on abortion--even when 61% of pregnancies in Harlem result in the deaths of unborn children.
Perhaps the decline of our Civil Rights leadership was predictable. We are observing the fiftieth anniversary of the historic March on Washington. From the beginning of the Civil Rights movement in the South, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wanted everyone to know the truth about his Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
I want it to be known throughout Montgomery [Alabama] and throughout the nation that we are –a Christian people…And we are determined here in Montgomery to work and fight, until justice runs down like water and righteousness as a mighty stream!