I know someone who does crime statistics for a police district that includes part of downtown Chicago. Without fail, every Monday morning, that police officer has to look at the arrest reports. And time after time, if 100 arrests have been made over the prior weekend, 90-95% of the criminals arrested are black. This is a reality about which the black community has its head stuck in the ground and tries to pretend it’s not so. We are raising, maintaining, perpetuating, and even to a certain degree encouraging criminal activity among our own people. 

I grew up with a mother who did not permit stolen property to be brought into her house. And I raised my children the same way. Unfortunately, there are those who don’t have a problem with it. We can do all the finger-pointing we want, but when we look at our business district and our individual neighborhoods, what we see is the lack of a thriving economy. At the same time, we ignore all the reasons except for the ones where we do our best to try to blame others.

And some of the crimes black people are committing just boggles my mind. A 21-year-old man who was raised with another family, shoots a 12-year-old in the chest because the kid talked about the man’s girlfriend, saying she was ugly and laughed at her. Or the man who broke into a house and killed a woman and two children because a different woman from the same household had shared the police department’s post about his criminal activity. Or just this past week, a woman was killed over a bowling ball. Come on, folks, this just does not make sense!

I don’t know what our reset button will be, but we need one. For a group of people who came out of slavery with absolutely nothing, and built many of the institutions we did, what is the problem today? More than ever, we need the Black Caucus at every level of government to begin to formulate solutions that will be uncomfortable but needed.

Personally, I would like to first see an immediate overhaul of the Juvenile Justice system. If you come in under the age of 18, and you were in high school, you need a GED in order to get bonded out. If they haven’t graduated from grade school, mandatory schooling must be imposed.

Mentally, I have gone through every scenario of the kind of physical punishments I’d like to see criminals get. 

But the reality is we have to change mindsets first.