Well Peggy Hubbard was both moving and eloquent, and she certainly highlighted a number of too often ignored issues. Thank you for that layman.
I grew up in a very ethnically segmented area in Detroit in a generation in which if you identified yourself as American, you had to be tough. There were Poles, Italians, Jews, Slovenians, Czechs and Slovaks and Irish in abundance. The Americans were all either Black or Hill Billie’s, as we then called them. We all had ready epithets for each group and the various jokes told about each one were amazingly monotonous in their uniform content (I suspect all the Polack. Paddy, Kike, Dago and Nigger jokes started out two or more millennia ago as jokes told by Egyptians about Assyrians or Mesopotamians.)
For all of that, the American "system" (or lack thereof) for assimilating initially despised minorities is the most successful in the world. Each went through more or less the same pattern of involvement in manual labor, crime, sports, politics, entertainment, then business and the professions. After a few generations the emerging group had gained its self-respect, the (often grudging ) respect of others; added it's bit to the growing composite culture; and by then the differences mattered less and less to all involved.
Slavery and Jim Crow stopped the clock on much of that for African Americans, but despite that a strong family culture developed, often against high odds. The end of that coincided with rapid, large scale population migrations in WWII that likely had some lasting, dislocating effects. In my view progress since then has been slowed chiefly by pathologies associated, oddly, with a combination of White guilt and people of all colors willing to exploit it. This has revealed itself in a growing pattern of patronizing maltreatment of Blacks through programs ostensibly designed to "help" them overcome past difficulties and operated by people who really didn't want to be directly bothered with it. The results were perverse feedback loops in which self-destructive behaviors were rewarded and beneficial ones were ignored. Worse a generation of Blacks were told they would be led out of their situation by others (who rarely showed up), as opposed to having to do it themselves. (I can think of no more effective way of enervating any population than to tell them their situation isn't their fault or responsibility and that someone is coming to help - if they will only vote for him).
My impression is that despite all that, the situation is slowly and steadily improving. The evidence is in a growing Black middle class, which unfortunately is largely invisible to most of us. That evidence is right before our eyes, but one has to look for it to see it. I look, and what I see reminds me of the obvious truth that the difference between black and White folks is skin color - that's about it. Peggy Hubbard in the link layman posted above illustrates that very well. Despite the salty patois, she expressed utterly familiar ideas and wisdom. We do however need to quickly end the distorted feedback and the nutty, insincere politically correct nonsense and patronizing that corrupts and misdirects the energy of young Black people at a critical time in their lives.
Life isn’t fair and never will be. However we do live in a country that puts significant success within the grasp of nearly everyone if they will make the effort. Some starting points are better than others, but we have all learned that necessity is the mother not only of invention but of extraordinary effort and achievement.
Interestingly more and more voices within the African-American community are rising up with a similar message. I had the good fortune to spend some time with one of them, Jason Riley. He’s a member of the Wall Street Journal Editorial Board and appears regularly as a commentator on various news shows. I heard a talk he delivered on this subject entitled “Please Stop Helping Us.” I think the title explains the message.