I feel more at peace with the happening in our nation since I now black people are speaking out against the riots taking place in Ferguson. I feel relieved to know some blacks can think sanely and are willing to say the hard things. Here are some of the comments from sane thinkers in the black community. I hope more of them speak up and tell black people – and everyone – to take personal responsibility for who they are and who they are becoming.
Fredrick Wilson II, just an ordinary black man, made a viral video about the race issue in America and told black people to take some personal responsibility for their lives.
“Black people, it is 2014. I hate to break this to you – if your life is messed, it ain’t because of slavery…. You … was never a slave, you probably ain’t know nobody that was a slave, you probably don’t know nobody that knew nobody that was a slave. Slavery ended a long time ago. Yes, it put us in a big hole in this county, but guess what? Dig your way out of it….
“So, in 2014, if your life is messed up, look in the mirror, figure out what you’re doing, what you’re not doing – take some personal response-damn-bility for yourselves , for your lives…. I understand, you know, sometimes you can’t help the hand you’re dealt…. But what you can do is do your best to get out of it.”
For those people who live in bad neighborhoods, Wilson had this advice: “Stop messing it up…. [there is no] rich man sneaking into the hood in the middle of the night spraying graffiti, peeing in hallways – George Bush ain’t out in the neighborhoods selling crack on the corner.”
Wilson then suggested that people in the black community “pull your camera phones out and record crime, give that to the police so that way people can be prosecuted and we can stop this cycle.” He also suggested that parents “teach your kids something” and focus on education. He continued by addressing the situation in Ferguson and even sounded like he criticized Michael Brown for his choice to “run up on” police officers” and said that the first step was to “stop doing crime.
“We need to stop being ignorant [and] take some responsibility for ourselves…. Change our perception, the way people see us in the world. You want cops to stop messing with you? Stop giving them a reason to. If you get pulled over for a DWB – for those who don’t know that’s `driving while black’ – don’t be made at the cop, be made at the brother who came before you.” His final message was “Have some pride in yourself, take some responsibility for your life. Everything is not somebody else’s fault. Sometimes it’s just you….”
Johnathan Gentry, a minister at the West Angeles Church of God in Christ, condemned the Ferguson rioters and even spoke harshly about Barack Obama, Al Sharpton, and the NAACP. When the riots started again in Ferguson, Gentry asked one question of the protesters: “Are you happy?
“I guarantee you, you’re going to look in the mirror and say, `No.” … You’re tearing up where you live! You’re tearing up your own community. Not no one else’s. You’re tearing up yours! So if you can examine yourself – calm down and examine yourself – you will see that you’re not in a place of happiness.” He added that many in the black community “specialize in showing our greatest weakness” rather than greatest strength.
“I’m in my early thirties, and that’s what we’ve specialized in…. then we wonder why we’re stereotyped. We wonder why people don’t see us the same. It’s because of our actions and how we respond to issues that take place in our lives!”
Gentry also told the rioters to take responsibility for their actions: “Stop blaming slavery and segregation for what is happening now…. It is you. It’s not them. It’s not this person. It is you standing in need of prayer.” He admonished the people holding signs saying “black lives matter” …. “Either put the sign down, or reflect it towards your own community…. You understand? Because that’s where we’re dying – in our own community.”
Gentry had some choice words to men like Al Sharpton about men not being able to serve two masters “If you’re not obeying what God wants you to do – and God is love – you’re serving someone else. You’re giving authority and you’re bowing down to another system. What is it? What’s causing you to react like this?”
NBA legend Charles Barkley addressed the death of Michael Brown and the current mess in Ferguson, Missouri. Barkley did not mince words either. He claimed the “true story came out of the grand jury investigation” when the grand jury chose not to indict Office Darren Wilson.
Barkley explained that he learned of key forensic evidence and the testimonies of several black witnesses supporting Officer Wilson’s story and this forced him to block out information he heard. “I know I’m black, but I’m always going to try to be honest and fair.” He defended police officers in general because “it wasn’t for the cops we would be living in the Wild, Wild West in our neighborhoods.
“We can’t pick out certain incidentals that don’t go our way and act like the cops are all bad…. Do you know how bad some of these neighborhoods would be if it wasn’t for the cops?”
Barkley also had some strong words about the media and how stories like the shooting in Ferguson are covered. He learned a lot of information from the grand jury report that was not covered by the media. “I can’t believe anything I hear on television anymore….”
Barkley defended remarks made in other interviews about “brainwashed” blacks holding up the progress of black people: “When you try to do well in school, they tell you you’re acting white. When you speak intelligent, they tell you you’re acting white. We should have more black kids speaking correctly, we should have more black kids going to college and getting great jobs.” The media should report on “good, hardworking back people” instead of “negative black people.” He concluded, “That’s what I said, and that’s what I meant…. I ain’t shutting up and I ain’t backing down.”
In another interview Barkley defended police over an officer-involved death in New York. Barkley stated that he did not think it was a homicide: “when the cops are trying to arrest you, if you fight back, things go wrong.” In discussing the grand jury decision in Ferguson, he stood by previous remarks that the protesters who looted local businesses are `scumbags.’ He declared that he thinks the grand jury came to the right decision when they chose not to indict Officer Wilson based on the evidence presented.
When asked to address his “scumbags” remarks, Barkley said, “When you’re looting people’s property, that’s what you are…. That’s against the law. It’s not our property. You wouldn’t want people to do it to your house. If you go back to the stepdad, he didn’t want people to burn down his house.” Even though he recognized the anguish of Michael Brown’s parents, he argued the “notion that white cops are out there just killing black people” is “flat-out ridiculous.”
“Cops are actually awesome…. They are the only thing in the ghetto between this place being the `Wild, Wild West.’”