Last week, Forest Whittaker and Oprah Winfrey starred in the “documentary” movie: The Butler. The story begins with a 12 year old Cecil Gaines working on a cotton farm in the Deep South. He watched his father shot by a callous boss while his mother (Mariah Carey) looked on in hopeless despair.
Gaines runs away until a hotel “server” offers him a job somewhere in North Carolina. He quickly learns the ways of the white man and distinguishes himself as an outstanding server. Not enjoying the racism of the south, he moved to Washington DC where his talents quickly moved him to a job in the Dwight D. Eisenhower White House.
The key to his success as ordered by his black boss, “You ain’t political in any way are you?”
“No sir,” Gaines said.
“Never, ever speak your mind,” said the boss.
From there, Gaines served eight presidents with honor and distinction. During his time at the White House, black servers received 40 percent less pay than the white servers. Gaines suffered rebuffs when he brought it up to the white boss. In later years, he enjoyed the ear of one of the presidents who told the “boss” to give equal pay to the black servers.
My wife and I sat spellbound by the narrative and the plethora of stars from Robin Williams to Jane Fonda who recreated presidents and their wives moving through the White House. Lyndon Johnson proved a heartless man. John Cusack’s rendition of the surly and sulking Nixon brought back unpleasant memories for me because I lived in Georgia during those years. I witnessed firsthand the discrimination and racism entrenched in the South.
In Albany, Georgia, as soon as I stepped off the military base, I ran into “separate but equal” drinking fountains and bathrooms. Restaurants and hotels would not serve African-Americans. Segregated schools dominated. Racism and segregation stood as the norm in the South. Suddenly, a preacher named Dr. Martin Luther King marched into towns in Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia!
Obviously, King changed everything and a testament to his legacy stands as his statue overlooks the Washington Mall and we celebrate a national holiday in his name.
As I sat in my seat remembering my youth and my experiences in Albany, Georgia in the early 60s, I couldn’t help my deep chagrin as to the black-white dynamic in America in 2013. While African-Americans may eat, sleep, drink, work and share in total equality of the American Dream—a huge percentage, perhaps a third, suffer poverty, illiteracy, joblessness, aimlessness, ghettoes filled with drugs and violence, 7 out of 10 kids grow up fatherless—and a growing violence of “Black flash mobs” with black on black and black on white killings-crimes.
Black journalist Orville Lloyd Douglas said, “I'm convinced these black race films are created for a white, liberal film audience to engender white guilt and make them feel bad about themselves. Regardless of your race, these films are unlikely to teach you anything you don't already know. Frankly, why can't black people get over slavery? Or, at least, why doesn't anyone want to see more contemporary portrayals of black lives?
“The narrow range of films about the black life experience being produced by Hollywood is actually dangerous because it limits the imagination, it doesn't allow real progress to take place. Yet, sadly, these roles are some of the only ones open to black talent. People want us to cheer that black actors from The Butler and 12 Years a Slave are likely to be up for best actor and actress awards, yet it feels like a throwback, almost to the Gone with the Wind era.”
Because I taught school in the inner city for two years, I understand firsthand the impacts of fatherless children, entrenched poverty, illiteracy, joblessness and cultural displacement.
After Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society, welfare, food stamps, affirmative action, assisted housing, aid to dependent children, quotas and trillions of dollars—too much of Black America faces enormous failures and challenges.
At this point in our history, our African-American President Barack Obama, along with our African-American Attorney General Eric Holder and other prominent black senators and House members, which includes the Black Caucus, need to marshal their intellects, talents and ideas—to create jobs commensurate to mental-educational abilities of minorities, welfare to workfare jobs and decent housing rather than high rise projects that morph into ghettoes.
Unfortunately, Obama “waits” for “hope and change” when he sits at the most powerful desk in the world: office of the U.S. presidency. He must take action instead of talking about taking action. After nearly five years as the most powerful leader in the world, he fails his black-Latino and poor white constituents.
If our leaders fail, we may find intractable poverty, illiteracy, enormous welfare birth rates, and crime among poor whites, blacks and Latinos to such an extent that we cannot solve the problem.
Without solving these glitches, we will devolve into a third world country that continues to grow its population via endless and senseless immigration of 1.5 million third world immigrants annually. It’s already happening at the current 1.2 million legal immigrants annually. If the amnesty bill 744 passes, we most definitely seal our fate as an overwhelmed, overcrowded, over-immigrated, water depleted, energy exhausted, polluted and unsustainable civilization where everyone faces an uncertain life.
Even “The Butler” won’t be able to find a job in the years ahead.
1. Retract our bases and military personnel from over 700 bases around the world that costs us trillions of dollars with no benefit to America. We cannot remain the “policeman” of the world. We cannot maintain an empire and hope to survive as a civilization.
2. We cannot continue forever wars like Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and the looming Syrian debacle—that destroy our best and brightest, our resources and our financial wellbeing as a country.
3. We must create new educational models like all boy and all girl schools where academics become the key aspect of any youth’s life.
4. Stop importing 100,000 third world immigrants every 30 days into America. We cannot educate our citizens and the rest of the world at the same time. Reduce all immigration to less than 100,000 annually. We cannot possibly employ our own citizens with the current rates of immigration flooding the job markets especially with unskilled workers who displace our own unskilled citizens.
5. We must move welfare and food stamps to workfare and an eight hour day of workfare to get something done to improve our cities, housing and infrastructure. Use welfare for job training instead of allowing recipients no responsibility other than sitting home and watching TV while the rest of us work. We cannot continue to waste a “welfare” workforce.
6. We must teach and implement personal accountability and personal responsibility in our youth.