The well-worn road of civil rights for black Americans has been long trodden, and there have been detours, potholes and setbacks on the journey. Every now and then some of our leaders lose their way, and a course correction is needed. Alas, it falls to journalists of color to attempt to effectuate those corrections since few within the race appreciate criticism from those outside the race — which is quite natural. So I’m duty-bound to step into the breach.
With that caveat firmly in place, I have to question the wisdom of the Southern Christian Leadership Council (SCLC) honoring Armond Budish with their “Humanitarian of the Year” award at their 18th Annual Scholarship Gala this year. This is as mindboggling as if a national woman’s organization were to give R. Kelly a “Gentleman of the Year” award, isn’t it?
One has to question if any of the leadership of the local SCLC read the news, log onto the Internet or watches the nightly newscasts on any of the local outlets. Assuming they did, one then has to question their skills of discernment since there appears to be serious cognitive dissonance operational in this situation.
Do these leaders realize the deaths occurred in the County Jail because county government, under the direction of Budish, attempted to save a few paltry dollars by cutting services to the most vulnerable of populations — those that are incarcerated? And who primarily comprises that population? You don’t have to answer that.
Who do they think is ultimately responsible for the eight deaths in the jail? The Devil, or some strange succubus that enters the facility via the air vents late at night? Don’t be so quick to laugh; county administration officials might try to use an excuse like this yet since there’s clearly some suckers in the black community that will buy into anything presented to them — as long as it comes with some kind of paycheck attached for some kind of bullshit social program.
Here’s the problem with the award: It clearly sends three negative messages to the county executive. One, that he has done no wrong; two, some supposedly upstanding members of the black community really don’t give a damn how the defenseless and less fortunate of society are treated as long as they get paid; and three, that the black community comprises individuals who collectively are as dumb as a box of rocks.
How can this organization have it both ways: Honoring the primary designer of a policy to save money by subjecting mostly black and brown people to misery and death, while supposedly advocating for those at the bottom rung of society at the same instant? It can’t be done.
While I’ve attempted to examine this dichotomy from a high level of discourse to this point, I have to admit that one of the first reactions I heard was: “Who’s sucking whose dick here?”
Now, of course, I would never ask that sort of question in print out of respect to the colluding partners, but inquiring minds are already asking if some kind of quid pro quo is at play with this award. Who got what, and for what? And, most importantly, at what cost to the integrity of the wider black community and the lives that have been consistently placed at risk?
From CoolCleveland correspondent Mansfield B. Frazier mansfieldfATgmail.com. Frazier’s From Behind The Wall: Commentary on Crime, Punishment, Race and the Underclass by a Prison Inmate is available in hardback. Snag your copy and have it signed by the author at http://NeighborhoodSolutionsInc.