Letter to the Editor: There are aspects of life weighted against Blacks

Kudos go out to Francis A. Bethel III for his intelligent rendering of the facts (“America is wide-awake,” July 8) giving a wake-up call to Hylton Phillips-Page’s misperceptions (“Wake up, America,” July 6) of antifa and Black Lives Matter protesters.

Antifa, as Mr. Bethel pointed out, are political protest groups organized to fight, most often peacefully, against fascist authoritarian rulers and extreme right-wing ideology groups. They believe in the ideal goal of what the United States and its leaders elected to political office were supposed to legislate: “freedom, equality and justice for all.” Similarly, the Black Lives Matter movement has been seeking respect and equal opportunity to level the playing field.

My experience with injustice toward African Americans was observed after working in the field as a social worker/juvenile probation officer. Most of my one-parent clients in South Philly lived bunched together in the ghetto in single homes or in the high-rises and received welfare if the father was not an income-earner present in the home. This policy was as bad as separating children from their parents seeking asylum at the border. Big grocery stores in the ghetto and access to doctors and medical care were all too often nonexistent. These deficiencies often led to poor nutrition, obesity and high rates of diabetes. My clients, predictably, due to these poor environmental and family deficiencies, were extremely lacking in motivation in school. Looking back, it is evident to me that many were clinically depressed and lacking in hope for a better future.

Why? Children ideally need both of their parents and/or positive role models for their social and emotional well-being during developmental stages. In their absence, the alternative was joining a gang and looking up to the gang leader or leaders to gain a sense of belonging and an income selling drugs. Why not join a gang and sell drugs to earn an income, since the fact was that African Americans were “barred” from obtaining a job in the construction trades or other profitable jobs they found themselves being on the “low end of the totem pole” for? Enacting the “three strikes and you are out law” to combat crime was heavily weighted against African Americans, who found themselves sentenced behind bars for an exceedingly long time. It was what it was then, and it is what it often is now: Unjust!

In closing, the pendulum of justice and equality has not swung in the direction the Constitution and Declaration of Independence was designed for it to do. “Wake up, America” is what we truly need to do to gain a mature perspective of what has gone on before and what we need to do now. Ridding ourselves of prejudice and unjust discrimination toward our fellow human beings on planet Earth, who were, unfortunately, born on the “wrong side of the street,” can begin to pave the way to create a more just world for ourselves and future generations.

Bill Clemens