By Edwin Crayton/Opinion
(Part 2 of 2)
In the last article I wrote about how statistics from the Natchitoches Police reveal that in 2016, African Americans led most categories in offenses—usually based on arrests or citations (For article see: . https://natchitochesparishjournal.com/?s=edwin+crayton).
The numbers are alarming when you look at percentages. For instance of 252 drug arrests, 215 of those arrested were black. Out of 41 burglaries, 38 were black. In the category of larceny/shoplifting, of 60 arrests, 43 were African Americans. That article was written to purposely interview only African Americans in order to get the unique perspective of the African American Community. As the point was made in that article, this information must be put in perspective so as not to stereotype African Americans.
Such a report, striking as it is, still doesn’t prove that black people commit more crimes than whites. Indeed, this is merely a yearly statistical report that changes yearly. Whites may lead this year, who knows? And in fact the report actually shows that most African Americans in Natchitoches, apparently must be law-abiding, since Natchitoches is around 60% black and the overall numbers of offenders don’t even get into the high tree figures.
This actually means most African Americans must have a very low chance of committing crime or even violating the law in a noncriminal way. That’s quite positive. And yet, the figures should be looked at soberly and the black participants in the last article agreed that it is an issue that needs attention and help from the African American Community and the broader local community. Which begs the question, what does the broader community think about this report? This article takes things a step further and goes and asked whites for their thoughts and any possible solutions. Here are those responses.
Gene Dacus : “Many of their homes don’t have dads and the moms–who are working hard—can’t keep always keep track of the children. So, these kids get into trouble and drugs because of hanging around with the wrong crowd. (Gene made clear this isn’t just true of all blacks, and said this is also true of many whites today.) The solution? They need positive things to do like clubs, recreational activities and going to church.”
Anonymous, retired university professor: “I think it’s the environment sometimes. When I drive through the African American Community I often see young people standing around idle. That leads to trouble often. The solution? I don’t know.”
Vade Gordon, former attorney: It’s not true of all blacks, but welfare is playing a role in this. When I was a teacher a kid told me, “I’m going to go and sell drugs.” When you promote welfare, you promote this kind of attitude. It promotes irresponsibility. Welfare promotes the use of children as paychecks. What’s the general solution? You’ve got to tighten up welfare. Make people accountable. Parents need to be accountable for their kids in school.”
Betty Ryder: “There’s nothing for the black race here. There’s drugs on every corner. The solution is better policing.”
Joe Matthison: “It’s hard for people in general to distinguish between right and wrong—not just blacks. They rationalize their actions. It’s a human thing and not a racial one. But culture does figure into it. Solution? The Bible. Don’t steal. Don’t cheat. But you can’t just say that to people. You must replace it with something. If you don’t want me to break the law, give me something .” (Implying giving alternatives or help).
Dianne: “The kids today, growing up. I don’t know what’s making them that way. The older people are like that too. But I don’t think it’s racial. People today are just thinking about doing crime. Only way you can make the change is to take the kids to church and maybe there would be a way to get them to continue going right.”
Pretty much all respondents suggested we all need to be willing to help. Made me think of one more quote: “It’s alright to tell a man to lift himself by his own bootstraps, but it’s cruel jest to say to a bootless man that he out to lift himself by his own bootstraps” –Martin Luther King Jr.
The Natchitoches Parish Journal received this submission. The views and opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the Natchitoches Parish Journal. If you have an article or story of interest for publishing consideration by the NPJ, please send it to NPJNatLa@gmail.com.
Photo Credit: Stefan Molyneux