alcalloway.jpgMass passivity engenders powerlessness. I won’t use this space to ruminate about the historical precedence predating the Trans-Atlantic African Slave Trade that, arguably, is a precipitating factor of present-day black lethargy. No, I just want to deal with getting out of this mess!

For example, within the morass that black people endure is a fear that goes beyond that which they experienced during the slave trade. The fear that black people have of each other predominates black life globally. Think hard about where on planet Earth there is no black on black crime, tribal and ethnic strife, and government corruption that produce instability and even starvation? Unfortunately, we have not begun to eliminate this problem.

If one argues that ignorance of self, from a philosophical and historical prospective, presupposes a non-progressive life cycle, then clearly education is the antidote for such venomous poison.

Mistakenly, too many people of African descent view education as an entity external to the primary and/or extended familial situation. Education is farmed out. It is what schools and teachers do. Therefore, this sub-cultural context results in functional illiteracy and stunted talents. That’s the majority of what comes out of America’s educational systems — many as high school dropouts.

Negativity, and in some instances nihilism, easily fester and spread throughout black communities, creating myriad problems. Instability, particularly for black youth, probably has impacts not even thoroughly researched and evaluated. But just look at the increasing numbers of black youth who are fatherless, incarcerated, on drugs, are HIV/AIDS infected, male baby makers, girls with babies, and those who are being killed and maimed by other blacks?

Passivity of the black masses forms a clot of fear, ignorance and negativity. Out of mass passivity, powerlessness grows like weeds, choking whatever positives try to make a breakthrough.

Unfortunately, religious leaders of black neighborhoods (note that I specify of and not in black neighborhoods because so many of these “leaders” don’t live within the immediate area of their church) don’t all agree that the church should be the focal point of community development.

While liquor stores and bars collectively form a close second, churches proliferate within black neighborhoods. In fact, churches are the dominant institution in every black community. They are, literally, everywhere. There has to be some theological connection between mass passivity and the role of the church, don’t you think?

But, there again, since churches are part of black communities in crisis, they too are part of the pathologies that negatively affect these communities. So, it will probably take the second coming of Jesus Christ to extricate churches from the mire of community helplessness.

So, understanding all of this, why don’t we just go ahead and help J.C. out by acting on The Word: “God helps those who help themselves.” Remember?

The pastor, trustees, women leaders of the church and members should say, “Look,” we’ve got to do something. It just ain’t Christian like for us to stand by while our fellow mankind wallows in sin right before our very eyes. I mean, we’ve got all kinds of skills – yeah, we could even train each other across skill levels – that we could share with people in need, especially our young people. We could have tutoring classes for young and old. We could teach parenting skills, civic and personal responsibility. We could have exercise classes, health seminars and so many other things. All we’ve got to do is put it together, open these doors and invite the community into God’s house!”

If the church won’t help, then who will?

Photo: Al Calloway