I have a dream. OK, it’s a pipedream. Maybe we can call it a fantasy.
We have a total mess with race relations in this country. Something needs to be done about it, and I’d like to throw my two cents out there for everyone to criticize and ridicule.
I will undoubtedly offend some readers. My apologies in advance, but I don’t see any other way to do this. It’s time to be less politically correct and more common-sense practical.
I want to focus on the African-American community. Something has gone seriously sideways for a majority of black Americans, and we need to figure out some solutions.
While some may argue Latinos, Asians, Native Americans and other groups also face challenges, I think the plight of the black segment of our population warrants immediate and thorough action.
As a nation, it seems all of us have been sucked, each as an individual, into our own little iPhone-induced world where the only people and websites we look at are the ones that appeal to our own narrow views.
This is not healthy. I am guilty of this, too.
Here is what I’d like to do. Let’s start with a national conference on black America. We will invite a list of major groups to present their thoughts on the plight of this segment of society.
We’d invite Black Lives Matter, the NAACP, and other groups (both conservative and liberal) to present their views.
We’d also invite representatives from faith organizations, government and industry.
Let’s get numbers out on the table and come to some consensus as to what they mean. I think there are many aspects of this situation that we can describe rationally and calmly if we simply looked at good data.
This would remove much of the heat and anger that we currently experience.
After this, we would have breakout sessions where we talk about specific topics that need much more attention and focus. Things like inner city crime, police relations, university and college admissions, participation in the market economy, the breakdown of the nuclear family and primary education – to name a few.
I would ask that each breakout group produce a set of three visions or ideas that we could begin thinking about. We would not require any action at this point. The communication and visions need to sink in a bit.
Then we would begin to assemble a series of conferences all focused on action. Compromise would be key, but if we have increased understanding for all participants, maybe we can find common ground to move things forward.
We’d telecast the whole thing so all Americans have the opportunity to watch.
Who would we get to run the show? I would pick (are you ready?) Bill Clinton. For all of his many faults and failings, Clinton has shown a remarkable ability to reach out to the black community. Some have even called him our “first black president.”
Clinton also brings something else to the table. For all of our conservative bluster against him, he was truly a moderate president. He avoided extremes in thinking and could guide such an effort in a sensible and focused direction.
For a co-chair, I would select Condoleeza Rice. She would have unique perspectives as a black female but also provide a role model. She is also wicked-sick smart.
It would probably take several meetings to gain enough knowledge and build enough consensuses to start developing policy. Now what does “policy” mean?
I think “policy” could include government regulation, but I also think it would mean the building of private partnerships between organizations to start tackling problems.
For example, what would happen if we assigned SpaceX and Bank of America to work with Black Lives Matter, the city of Reno and the Lutheran church on black participation in the work force? We could come up with some very creative combinations to solve what seem to be intractable problems.
We would insist that a respectful tone be maintained. If anyone can’t comply, they get a timeout. Yep, just like a little kid.
But we should not kick anyone out. We need everyone’s voice. This conversation is going to be very uncomfortable and folks need to maintain composure.
Because, just maybe, we all might learn something new.
I know. My dream is just a fantasy. But I think it could work. What do you think?
Steve Lunetta is a resident of Santa Clarita and is an eternal optimist. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.