|It's time to reject the Kerner Report|
A state-appointed review team unanimously agreed Wednesday that a "severe financial emergency" exists in Detroit and that some form of a consent agreement is necessary, but did not recommend a specific plan.
The Rev. David Murray, a former Detroit school board member, said he feels sorry for the state panel because they are being used.
"It's a racist attack. I don't care what color face they put in front of us," the Rev. Murray said. "We don't want a review team (or) a financial manager. We want our money. I'm asking if you will stand up against this tyranny and resign."
Throughout December 1960 and January 1961 both the Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News focused heavily on “black crime.” The News reported, for example, that although “blacks con- stituted 26 percent of the city’s population, they were responsible for almost 65 percent of serious crime.” The paper also blamed African American leaders and their communities for not doing enough to stop crime.
“This is our basic conclusion: Our nation is moving toward two societies, one black, one white – separate and unequal. Reaction to last summer’s disorders has quickened the movement and deepened the division. Discrimination and segregation have long permeated much of American life; they now threaten the future of every American.”
Despite the complexities, certain fundamental matters are clear. Of these, the most fundamental is the racial attitude and behavior of white Americans towards black Americans. Race prejudice has shaped our history decisively; it now threatens to affect our future.
White racism is essentially responsible for the explosive mixture which has been accumulating in our cities since the end of World War II. Among the ingredients of this mixture are:
1. Pervasive discrimination and segregation in employment, education, and housing, which has resulted in the continuing exclusion of great numbers of Negroes from the benefits of economic progress.
2. Black in-migration and white exodus, which have produced the massive and growing concentrations of impoverished Negroes in our major cities, creating a growing crisis of deteriorating facilities and services and unmet human needs.
3. The black ghettos where segregation and poverty converge on the young to destroy opportunity and enforce failure. Crime, drug addiction, dependency on welfare, and bitterness and resentment against society in general and white society in particular are the result.
The document offers the blueprint for which our entire society has been based upon, going so far as to blame undesirable nature of the jobs available to Black people as the cause of poverty (instead of their intellectual ability, when the current vocations with the highest rate of Black employment 43 years after affirmative action went into overdrive to promote Black people above their station include barber, postal worker, taxi driver, and bellhop); blaming slavery and long periods of unemployment for the “Negro” family structure to be more matriarchal; and the criminality found in Black areas completely on poverty.
|How many more cities must we lose?|
The National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, headed by Gov. Otto Kerner of Illinois, blamed ''white racism'' for the ''continued polarization'' of American society, and argued that only a ''compassionate, massive, and sustained'' Government effort could reverse the overall trend.
Cleveland and other American cities show the mixed record that has been compiled over the two decades. The worst-case prognosis of the Kerner report - the division of American into separate but unequal societies - has not come about, but the general direction predicted by the report and the stubborn persistence of the race problem in America have endured.
Black progress is a difficult thing to measure, particularly in the current paradoxical situation, where some succeed as entire communities descend deeper into failure. But among the ingredients of change most often noted by scholars is the extraordinary increase of black political power, in Congress and other parts of the Federal Government and especially in the major cities.About 300 cities, including many of the nation's biggest, have black mayors. The Rev. Jesse Jackson is a serious Presidential candidate. Mayor Andrew Young of Atlanta was the United States representative to the United Nations under President Carter. Representative William H. Gray 3d, a Pennsylvania Democrat, is chairman of the important Budget Committee.
One of the report's most famous and controversial findings was its conclusion that: "White racism is essentially responsible for the explosive mixture which has been accumulating in our cities since the end of World War II."
To some critics, the emphasis on racism, in both the report and the national civil rights debate, has obscured the degree to which the answers to the problems of the ghettos must come from within.
"The assumption was that white America was the problem and therefore white America was the solution," said Robert Woodson, a black who heads the National Center for Neighborhood Enterprise in Washington, which calls for conservative, self-help solutions to inner-city problems. "It set up the proposition that the destiny of black America rested with what white America did."
Representative Gary Franks of Connecticut, the only black Republican in Congress, said welfare dependency, crime and drugs are far more of a threat to the urban poor than white racism.