Russell and Duenes

Do Nothing With Us

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Set a guard over my mouth, O Lordkeep watch over the door of my lips! (Psalm 141:3). It seems like such a small thing to be able to keep one’s mouth closed when one should, but as I continue to find my way as an attorney, I see more clearly now why the Psalmist prays this prayer. An attorney’s work for his or her client, as well as the attorney’s standing in the profession and in the community, is almost entirely predicated on being able to keep one’s mouth closed. The Scriptures know the tremendous damage that can be done by a person who cannot control his tongue. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. . . but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. (James 3:5-8). I’m seeing how greatly I need God’s grace to keep me back from sin, and to help me keep a door on my mouth. Everything depends on it. 

Frederick Douglass once said something that, in my view, should be heeded today as much as it was when he said it in 1865.

[I]n regard to the colored people, there is always more that is benevolent, I perceive, than just, manifested towards us. What I ask for the negro is not benevolence, not pity, not sympathy, but simply justice. The American people have always been anxious to know what they shall do with us…I have had but one answer from the beginning. Do nothing with us! Your doing with us has already played the mischief with us. Do nothing with us! . . . [I]f the negro cannot stand on his own legs, let him fall also. All I ask is, give him a chance to stand on his own legs! Let him alone!…[Y]our interference is doing him positive injury.

 This seems particularly true in the area of education. The government has done so much, spent so much money, enacted so many schemes in public education to try and help blacks, and we might even charitably grant that it has done so with benevolent intent. Yet it is blacks themselves (and other minorities) who have been forced to remain in public schools, and who have been very vocal in wanting out. As Jason Riley points out in Please Stop Helping Us: “These days it is mostly charter schools that are closing the achievement gap, which is one reason why they are so popular with black people. . . Polls have shown that charter supporters outnumber opponents by four to one.” Yet we are told that impoverished, urban minority children are doomed without traditional public schools. Of course the issues run deeper than simply giving blacks school choice, but the educational issue is indicative of the way many of the race issues are handled in this country, namely, by having the government step in and “do something” to help, rather than taking Douglass’ advice. There is no doubt in my mind that in education, this “interference is doing him positive injury.”

-D

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Written by Michael Duenes

March 6, 2015 at 7:52 pm

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