Addressing the reality of black crime in America


Those of you who’ve been reading here for a while know that I’m very far from being a racist – quite the opposite, in fact.  Nevertheless, I know that much of the critical race theory-driven drivel being spouted by progressive and left-wing administrations – local, state and national – is a tissue of lies from start to finish, particularly when it comes to blaming crime in black communities on racism.  The reality is much more complex, and much more fundamental.

As a pastor and prison chaplain, I’ve long seen the dysfunction in black families, particularly the lack of father figures to bring up young black men in the way they should walk.  The influence of a father is fundamental.  It can’t be substituted by maternal care, no matter how good.  Its roots go deep into the human psyche, and are beyond rationalization.  I saw the effects of dysfunctional family life (or the lack thereof) in black communities in the prison populations where I served.  It’s not politically correct to talk about it, but it’s nevertheless real.

One pastor in Chicago appears to understand that very well – and he’s doing something about it.

Blaming black crime on slavery and Jim Crow completely ignores the elephant in the room.

. . .

Corey Brooks, pastor of New Beginnings Church of Chicago, has spent the past few years getting his hands dirty with an “alternative explanation” that is slowly transforming one of the most violent neighborhoods in Chicago. Rather than blaming cops, he’s laser-focused on tackling urban crime at its root: broken families.

In the new documentary “What Killed Michael Brown?” Shelby Steele and his son, Eli, spoke with Pastor Brooks, who set up his church in 2000 in the heart of Woodlawn, Illinois. It’s now a congregation of 2,500.

“I believe the church is the hope of the world,” said Brooks.  “What greater place that needs that hope than a place that’s experiencing high levels of crime [and] broken families? We’ve seen a lot of young guys in the neighborhood who don’t value their lives.  A lot of it is a result of not having someone to encourage them that ‘You can do better,’ … But if you don’t have those messages going forward, it’s hard for you to value life when everybody is shooting and killing.”

That was true for ex-Black Disciples gang leader Varney Voker who, as a child, watched his mother smoke weed and deal drugs. He wanted to be like her. But he did better. Voker grew up to build a crack-heroin business that brought in $60,000 a day.

Legendary in Chicago as one of “The Bentley Twins” (he and his twin brother drove Bentleys), Voker told Steele about how he returned from an 11-year prison sentence to find his old neighborhood under new leadership. While looking for old connections to rebuild his empire, Voker’s friend told him he had to go to the church.

“I’m like, who am I meeting?” he said, recounting the story.  “Guy (said), ‘You meeting the pastor.’  I said, ‘I don’t want to talk to no pastor, bro, I just came home.  He goes, ‘No, you have to talk to him because he runs the neighborhood now.’ ”

When they finally met, the pastor said to the ex-gang leader: “OK, um, I know who you are; I heard a lot about you – glad to see you home, but I’m the new sheriff in town.”

By making himself the “biggest elephant in the room,” Brooks established a new hierarchy in Woodlawn where young blacks saw him as a father figure.  Over the years, Brooks has created an environment where young people can learn a trade, become self-sufficient, and be role models for others.  It is this painstaking cycle of creating and reproducing role models that Brooks believes will transform the neighborhood.  In fact, he wants Woodlawn to be the petri dish that will offer proof that urban areas nationwide can grow themselves out of dysfunction and close crippling disparities.

“It’s easy to say, ‘the white man, the white man’ when in reality we need to take a closer look at ourselves,” he told Steele. “We’re telling them educationally – you’ve got to get it together.  Economically, you’ve got to get it together.  Family and spiritually, you have to get it together.   And you have to take responsibility.”

It is the Corey Brooks of the world – not the Cory Bookers – who will do for troubled urban cities what trillions of government dollars, angry protesters, and pampered TV pundits have failed to do.  They ignore the elephant in the room, then make books and monuments to themselves about the problems they created and pretended to solve.

But men like Pastor Brooks stare the elephant in the eye, hammer stakes in the ground, and commit to the dirty, back-breaking labor of changing the destiny of generations of broken human beings.

If America is lucky, Brooks and people like him, just may be replicating an army of men and women in their own images.

There’s more at the link.

I’m heartened and encouraged to read about such efforts to address the root of the problem.  It’s long overdue.  However, it’s also not happening nearly widely enough.  The apostles of racial extremism and conflict don’t want to see programs like this, because they’ll undermine their constituency of disaffected black youth – so they’ll do their best to block and discredit them at every turn.  I applaud Pastor Brooks’ efforts, but I fear for his safety, and the safety of those serving alongside him.  They’re likely to be targeted by those without principles or compassion.

In my earlier article this morning, I warned that America was close to a tipping point.  People like Pastor Brooks might be the key to holding us back from tipping . . . if, and only if, their message can penetrate beyond their local communities into regional and national politics.  So far, that’s not happening.  If any of us can help them accomplish that, we need to get behind their efforts – because the consequences of failure will be devastating for us all.



  1. So, apart from contributing financially, what can someone who looks like me do without drawing fire on me and someone like the pastor for “white savior” syndrome? Seems to me that I’d be creating more problems than I was solving.

  2. RustyGunner, I believe the problem will be solved – if it is to be solved – by the Black community, not the White. However, if you are sincere then do what you can locally and don't worry about drawing fire. God uses people who are dedicated no matter how illogical the fit would seem to be.

  3. "but I fear for his safety, and the safety of those serving alongside him"

    — funny, what does it say about me/us/the current world, when my first thought, when about half way done with the snippet, was "someone will just kill him."

    I wish him well. Jaime Escalante and others would probably testify, it isn't going to be enough.


  4. Working in the foster care system, something I rarely saw were the children of intact households coming into care. An excellent formula to keeping your kids out of foster care is wait till you are an adult to reproduce and be married to and live with the person you are reproducing with. Occasionally when both parents had significant drug or mental health issues their kids would end up in care. The same was true in the juvenile justice system. I worked in Wayne county Michigan, home of Detroit and other seriously impoverished communities. The formula: “be a married, sober adult before you reproduce” works well for all ethnicities. My mother gave me practical advice, “ don't date someone you wouldn't marry, and don’t sleep with someone you wouldn’t want to raise kids with”. Many of my peers considered that a rather antiquated view. My ideas were not popular in the social work community, most of my contemporaries were single moms, some divorced but many never having been married to their babies daddy.

  5. Hey Peter;

    In my sons first Boy Scout troop I was talking with some of the parents, and one of them was a black guy, and he had a british accent, he apparently was educated in one of their colonies or former colonies,(For the moment, the name escapes me). he had commented that he teaches at the local high school and he teaches the AP classes, now the AP classes are the Advanced placement or "Honors" classes for kids going to college so they are much more difficult because they double as college credit. Well we got to talking about race relations and I had commented "you can throw all the money you want, but it ain't ain't going to solve the problem of poor education in the inner city schools, or for any schools for that matter, I uad used the example the Washington D.C schools where they spend like $ 24,000 per kid and have some of the crappiest results in the nation. its is more than money. This guy agreed with me to the shock of the other parents, and he said in this British accent "Let me explain, I teach AP classes, I have only a few black kids in my classes, only a few and I had noticed something over the years..the kids that are black have anglican names, Michael, Steve, Phillip, Ashley, and so forth…none of the made up names that a lot of black people like to use to show that they are different than the rest of America. I believe that when you name your kid and you put one of those imaginary names on your kids, you are condemning your kid to a certain stereotype and the kids start fulfilling that stereotype over time. I can only tell you this from what I have noticed at my high school. the problems have to be solved by the community itself, and as long as they have people there that find it advantageous to ride the victim train, they will not solve its own problems, but blame everyone else.." We talked a bit more about the subject then we kinda moved to different subjects, but I never forgot what he said, because I never thought if it that way.

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