One of my favorite actors of this century has always been Denzel Washington, a black man whose swag and cadence was omnipresent each time he walked onto a stage or graced the set of any film. He could make you love the enemy and curse the angels, depending on which character he chose to play. His works from a Preacher’s Wife, Malcolm X, Mo Better Blues, Glory, American Gangster, Flight and Fences are only a small sampling of the broad reaches of his talents and works.
I was excited to learn of Denzel’s most recent project, Roman J. Israel, Esq., where Denzel plays a no-nonsense lawyer in Los Angeles tackling the ‘real-life’horrific criminal justice system there and whose life is suddenly upended after his Civil Rights icon is killed.
This storyline alone makes Denzel’s recent interview blaming African Americans for the Criminal Justice System untenable. Denzel says that Black people can’t blame the prison industrial complex because it starts at home. Yet Denzel is the spokesperson for Boys & Girls Clubs of America, an organization that he states ‘saved his life’. Denzel says that the absence of a father, can lead to young black boys looking for father figures elsewhere…did he find his in the Boys & Girls Club of America?
What Denzel is purposely omitting is that systemic racism along with the horrific effects of the Crime Bill, has made sure to further disenfranchise and destroy the black family structure. Liberals and feminists have systematically and purposely destroyed black fatherhood. Black parents are not allowed to discipline their children, those that have been caught up in the vast vacuum of Prison Industrial Complex are not given a chance for rehabilitation once released. Most liberals and feminists claim that Black fathers are irrelevant and not needed, he clearly is suffering from the Bill Cosby syndrome that seems to erode the minds of Black people once they’ve reached a certain economic level.
Denzel was right that it does start at home, when there is a home to shelter them. He’s also correct that young black boys need their fathers to be in their lives as well, yet the Crime Bill has made that virtually impossible for those who are caught up in the system. Poor schools (pipelines to prison) and communities that have been virtually erased of livelihood and opportunities, are also the problem that Denzel has totally ignored while sitting atop his throne.
“It starts at the home,” he said at the New York premiere of the film Monday (Nov. 20). “It starts with how you raise your children. If a young man doesn’t have a father figure, he’ll go find a father figure.”
“So you know I can’t blame the system,” he continued. “It’s unfortunate that we make such easy work for them.” ~Denzel Washington
SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Young African American men are falling behind their peers in the classroom. PBS reports only 54% of African Americans graduate from high school, compared to more than 75% of their Caucasian and Asian American peers. Black male students in grades K-12 were “nearly 2.5 times more likely to be suspended from school in 2000 as white students,” and their twelfth-grade reading scores are currently lower than any other racial and ethnic group. Many young African Americans live in deep poverty, which can cripple their chances of education and, ultimately, upward mobility. According to a 2010 Census survey, the poverty rate for black children is the highest rate of any race group — 38.2% live below the US average. For them, obtaining and consistently holding a job is significantly more difficult. The State of Young America report (2011) revealed that one in three African American men age 18–24 is unemployed. Similarly, the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee reports unemployment for young black men is “roughly twice as high as the rate for all young men.”
The National Center for Victims of Crime gives troubling statistics about African American young males and crime, reporting “black youth are three times more likely to be victims of reported child abuse or neglect, three times more likely to be victims of robbery, and five times more likely to be victims of homicide. In fact, homicide is the leading cause of death among African American youth ages 15 to 24.”
While African American young males have lower rates of licit and illicit substance use compared to white men, they are at greater risk for drug-related issues. The Drug Policy Alliance reports that African Americans are also more likely to end up incarcerated for their drug-related activity, comprising only 14% of users but 37% of those arrested. And according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, African American drug users also “experience higher rates of drug-related health problems than do users from other ethnic groups” despite having lower rates of drug use overall.
What should not go unsaid is that California is a liberal stronghold so why are these troubling statistics even occurring….however that same question can be asked about every Black city across America, all controlled by liberals yet all have disproportionate levels of poverty & pipelines to prison for African Americans.
Michelle Alexander’s powerful book, The New Jim Crow lays out historical facts of racism and slavery…from Civil War, Reconstruction, KKK, Nixon, Reagan and Clinton. She left no stone unturned.
“When Clinton came into office things did not improve; in fact, he — more than any other president — created the racial undercaste. He ended welfare as we knew it and began a “three strikes” federal law. He pushed for federal housing to kick out anyone with a criminal history; this led to a surge of homelessness”.~ Michelle Alexander — The New Jim Crow
We’ve seen how hollywood has tried to shape public opinion for Neoliberal policies and agendas; I wonder if we will see Denzel standing in support of Kamala Harris in 2020, a woman who criminalized the poor and felonized poor black mothers as California’s AG. Perhaps this is why Denzel has chosen these disastrous words.
It’s unfortunate that someone whom I once lauded as a critical thinker and fighter for African America is now showing that he’s no better than the rest of Hollyweird, who will do and say anything to maintain white supremacy, the system that ultimately owns them.
From Russia With Love,
Charlie Peach’s tenacity proves unending. Though she was censored by Twitter, she keeps on speaking her mind. Check out her work on her Medium page by going to HER PAGE HERE. Charlie’s views are not necessarily the views of the Ghion Journal, we publish her work in our ongoing effort to enlist writers who can present news and analysis apart from the one dimensional and ideological prism that news is presented to us by corporate media.
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