Black History Month ignores the real issues - Must Read Alaska
Connect with:
Tuesday, November 19, 2019
HomeColumnsBlack History Month ignores the real issues

Black History Month ignores the real issues

LET’S STOP PATRONIZING WITH HOLLOW LEGISLATION

By REP. SHARON JACKSON
GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

This week, after thoughtful consideration, I have withdrawn my support for House Bill 72, a bill that would make Black History Month permanent in Alaska. As the only African-American in the Alaska House of Representatives, I want you to understand why I felt compelled to do this.

February is Black History Month in the U.S. Since 1976, every U.S. president has acknowledged the contributions of African-Americans to the fabric of our nation. Yet, despite the shiny facade of cultural awareness, the black community remains as impoverished, divided and oppressed as ever. Our problems are almost never addressed head-on, yet we continue pledging our loyalty to any politician who happens to say a few nice words about us.

We cannot continue to be blinded by the fact that a legislative body celebrating the existence of black people doesn’t solve any of our problems.

Those who know me best know that I always tell it like it is, so here it goes: I’m not going to support any more empty efforts aimed at appeasing the black community. I don’t want platitudes. I want real policy solutions.

I’m tired of watching politicians – usually of other ethnicities – act like they care about the black community by passing feel-good bills, and then avoid answering the tough, painful, uncomfortable questions that challenge the black community. That isn’t empowerment.

I’m tired of watching programs like affirmative action in schools or businesses that allow in only enough black people to meet a quota and throw away the rest. That isn’t empowerment.

I’m tired of being told that “Black Lives Matter,” only to watch governments spend millions of Medicaid dollars each year to pay for the termination of black lives in the womb. That isn’t empowerment.

Having Black History Month doesn’t change any of these things. In fact, I would argue that it condones them. Our country does need to have a conversation about race, but not the one the mainstream media is force-feeding us.

Let’s answer these questions instead: How can we expect black children to grow up and be successful or empowered when only 45 percent of them have a father in the home to help teach them right from wrong? How can we talk about the disproportionate numbers of black men in prison before we acknowledge that they’ve been left to a life of addiction through drugs and alcohol? Society isn’t corrupted for imprisoning high numbers of black men and women – it’s corrupted for enabling so many disadvantaged people with welfare checks to remain addicted and hopeless for their entire life preceding arrest.

These are real questions that need real answers – not redundant recognitions of black existence. Rather than spending resources to keep people down, we should be investing to lift them up.

I’m not going to stand here and allow anyone else to patronize African-Americans and promote the terrible idea we are all victims. Good intentions pave the way to nowhere. The underlying issues must be addressed, and we, the Legislature, must have the courage and fortitude to face them.

Sharon Jackson is a U.S. armed forces veteran and serves District 13 in the Alaska House of Representatives.

Donations Welcome

Share

Written by

Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • Well said.

  • Again, it seems that all the problems of the black community are being laid at the feet of everyone that isn’t black. Blacks have the same opportunities as any other color for self betterment. In fact, they have numerous advantages over white people, in particular. That they choose to ignore that, in favor of “government help”, is no one’s fault but their own. The most glaring reason so many blacks are in jail is that they commit the crimes that put them there. Where is the “diversity” for whites? Why are blacks and other minorities given preferential treatment, in every walk of life, over whites? A “feel good” policy, so elites can claim anti-racism?
    “Diversity” is a coded word for discrimination. Against white people, whose only “crime” was being born white. America, as a whole, and yes Alaska is suffering from discrimination. Discrimination against anyone that doesn’t belong to a public employee/teacher union, lib organization, or has white skin, or any skin color that’s not black, for that matter. Money is being “appropriated” nation wide from American citizens, to prop up the unions at other citizens’ expense. It’s definitely a prominent form of racism. Oh, I’m white. Is it wrong for me to say the truth?

  • I am standing and applauding at my computer!

  • I am curious what the good Representative thinks needs to be done. That was a pretty lengthy diatribe on what she doesn’t want. What does she want? Does she feel demeaned somehow, mad that there’s only herself as the only person of color currently serving?
    I have long felt, although no one really cares, that we all make our own way. There are black, brown, white, yellow and all mix of races trying to survive. Why does one get more preference than another?
    All lives matter. Parent your children. Get an education and a job. Stay off drugs and set up housekeeping somewhere. I don’t really care where you come from or the hellish things your great grandparents went through. I do care how you behave today and although this Representative seems to be a bit righteous, she appears to have done well. Kudos to you. But what was your point?

    • The same point you just made. No one needs a Bill to do better, we must be who we choose to be without the Goverment needing recognize who you. If the Government givith, they can take away. Our PFD was in the Statutes and they took it away. Black History Month is already recognized Nationally and by our state, we don’t need a bill to prove that. We need to stop dividing and start uniting. I’m not trying be righteous, and just as I have done well for myself everyone can. I worked hard to be where I am and proud to be here and I am no different then anyone else regardless of the color of my skin. My color don’t define me, my character and actions do.

      • two hands clapping

      • Well said, ma’am. You have my vote. But beyond that, my gratitude for putting into words something I have believed all my life. Well said. And may we all walk together building that into reality.

      • Many thanks for the reply. I agree and applaud you for your article.

  • “Let’s answer these questions instead: How can we expect black children to grow up and be successful or empowered when only 45 percent of them have a father in the home to help teach them right from wrong? How can we talk about the disproportionate numbers of black men in prison before we acknowledge that they’ve been left to a life of addiction through drugs and alcohol? Society isn’t corrupted for imprisoning high numbers of black men and women – it’s corrupted for enabling so many disadvantaged people with welfare checks to remain addicted and hopeless for their entire life preceding arrest.
    These are real questions that need real answers – not redundant recognitions of black existence. Rather than spending resources to keep people down, we should be investing to lift them up.”

    I’m listening; what do you propose?

  • Identifying problems whether they are real or perceived is only half of the equation. The author sets out what she believes are problems that need to be solved. In her opinion! Which might not be shared by others. Ok, that is her prerogative, right or wrong. What she fails to do is suggest, recommend, argue for, or in any way whatsoever, list solutions. None! In my way of thinking that is more of a political speech rather than trying for a solution. It is a cop out! You complain about affirmative action and quotas. Really! Do you want to eliminate them? I doubt it. Then you complain about Public money spent aborting Black children in the womb. Do you want to stop abortions? I don’t think so. You rant about 45% of Black children not having fathers as role models to teach right from wrong and then immediately segue to complaining that two many blacks are in prison. Have you considered that there might be a link there someplace.
    Rep Jackson, olease complete the equation. Provide some examples of solutions to both your perceived and real issues. This is not like complaining about the weather. There are solutions somewhere. Tell
    us what they are.

  • My old poli sci professor once observed, citing Plato, that people should stop insisting that people have a solution before they point out a problem. Problem spotting and problem solving are different skill sets and few people have both. The person who identifies the cause of a disease, for example, doesn’t get the credit that goes to the person finding the cure, but knowing the cause is a huge help in the search for a cure. Defining the problem doesn’t solve the problem, but it’s the right way to start on finding a solution.

  • Eylce: yep, I agree. You have to have a problem before you can come up
    with a solution. But in Rep Jackson’s case the problems she identified are nothing new. They have been raised countless times. So, perhaps it is time for her to identify a solution. She has not said anything new. What was her point other than to get some notoriety with her piece. What she said was no more than a toned down version of what Black leaders have been saying for a long time. When will we hear some ideas on how to solve the real racial problems. Could it be that some in the minority do not want solutions? Wonder why that might be?

  • In a perfect world, Representative Jackson would represent my district, maybe we could work out some kind of gerrymandering?
    .
    Sharon Jackson seems “real”, someone worthy of instinctive respect, regardless of one’s ideology.
    .
    On this subject at least, Representative Jackson talks -to- us, not -down-, not -at-, not something that needs a law and a tax to fix… just one human being to another.
    .
    Don’t know you, Sharon Jackson, but surely appreciate you being there…
    .
    ..and thanks for putting on the uniform.

  • The only thing we know for sure is that it’s whitey’s fault

    • Huh? I can’t tell in a written comment forum if your intent is facetious or if you are serious. I’ve determined that regardless, it’s ridiculous.

  • This is one of the things I adore about Rep. Jackson; she says what she means and means what she says. She doesn’t care what the backlash might be. Everything is true to herself. Nothing fake, nothing slimy.
    .
    In February she was one of several sponsors of HB 72. By the end of March she removed herself. A month of reflection and thought occurred during that time. Discussions were held with her cohorts. I’m sure she listened intently and at some point it was clear this is yet another empty, toothless bill aimed at nothing really of value. She’s spot on that Black History Month is already well established nationally and a bill in the Alaska Legislature isn’t going to make it any more historical. Would recognizing December 25th as Christmas Day by the legislature via a bill make it any more special?
    .
    She also took the opportunity to reflect on a few of the negative issues plaguing the black community. Of course she’s taking a hit here as she offered no solutions. These are generational problems that are multi-faceted and some quite frankly may never be solved. I believe they were displayed here to generate thought and discussion and to draw attention to the BS platitudes that surround us.
    .
    It isn’t just in the black community. It’s in the villages too. A perpetual montage of welfare-laced candy to keep people in their place – keep them as victims. I like the way she’s pointed this out. Many legislators are wanting a massive budget to continue this practice. She is also a veteran and I’m sure she sees and feels the constant chant that all veterans are somehow “broken” “suffering” “angry” “damaged”. Well, they aren’t.
    .
    Thank you, Sharon for standing up and saying it like you see it, feel it and live it.

  • You have earned your title: The Honorable Mrs. Sharon Jackson, Alaska House of Representatives.
    May you have the intestinal fortitude to withstand the attack you will receive from all quarters for exhibiting both your honesty and skill. Truth makes everyone nervous, even the folks whose “side” you are on. Be sure to read Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals” so that you will be prepared for the depths of slander, deception, and hatred that will be coming your direction. Then trust that you have been equipped to overcome all of that!
    Thanks and blessing to you!

  • I previously wrote about attending the tail end of the Bettye Davis African American Summit on February 16. I went there primarily to see Walt Furnace and Cal Williams, neither of whom I had spoken with in many years. Furnace was respectful of the fact that he was in a community which elected him to partisan office as a Republican, though he made it abundantly clear that he’s not a Trump guy. Most everyone I saw either speaking or working the room was pretty far off to the left. They were handing out literature extolling the socalism of A. Philip Randolph. In all, it was perfectly understandable why there was a seeming desperation to avoid acknowledging Rep. Jackson and her accomplishments. Despite that, I remember one quote: “Of course they want you in their photo op”, implying that all “they” want from African Americans is the photo op, not their input. I would call this statement right in line with what Rep. Jackson wrote in this piece.

  • LBJ’s Great Society initiative destroyed the black community, particularly in the inner cities of our largest metropolitan areas. Star Parker’s ‘Uncle Sam’s Plantation’ should be required reading for anyone who really wants to understand how government is the problem, not the solution for personal empowerment.

%d bloggers like this: