by Louis ‘Hop’ Kendrick, For New Pittsburgh Courier
A couple of weeks ago I wrote a column that asked the question, “Why do certain Blacks and White friends remain so silent when critical situations arise?” The city of Pittsburgh just hired 75 police officers and only three were Black. Why did our White friends or elected Black officials not question why only three Blacks? What is the process to apply, who decides whose applications are accepted, are you denied because of a physiological profile or a written test?
I have worked within the system and have witnessed political employees, Black and White, who could care less about creating positive change. They overuse the phrase, “it’s always been like it is.” Often I would challenge persons to do what I considered the right things to do and they would respond, “I can’t afford to get fired,” and my answer would be then to do the best you can, and silence generally followed.
I often wonder how many persons truly understand why the need exists for special laws and programs to ensure that Black persons are provided the opportunities to receive contracts. Once they realize why, what they do, or say. There have been White persons who said to me that their ancestors had no special laws to help them, just hard work when provided with the opportunities, and the tragedy is they believe that. They forget that their sons and daughters dated and married the sons and daughters of the politicians, judges, bankers. Some don’t remember when Blacks were denied access to special trade schools like Connelley Trade, unions, universities such as Pitt, Duquesne, Carnegie Mellon, etc. Those of my generation born up South in Pittsburgh were denied the same accommodations listed in the movie “Green Book.”
The revolution took place in the 1960s and there were those who really believed that we were free at last, but it was just a mirage. The need exists more than ever before for affordable housing, decent employment, business opportunities, SELF-RESPECT, RESPONSIBLE BLACK LEADERSHIP, REBIRTH OF THE BLACK CHURCH, and maybe, just maybe we can turn our backs to the drugs and guns that threaten our families.
We must begin to judge persons, Black and White, not just by what they say but what they REFUSE to say.
(Louis “Hop” Kendrick is a contributor to the New Pittsburgh Courier.)
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