In recent weeks we have seen the stories of the deadly confrontations between young Black men and law enforcement all over this country. And in Baltimore we saw the anger and frustration of some of its residence manifest itself in the destruction of their own neighborhood. I have heard some commentators opine that these actions are the result of institutional failures of government and business to address the systemic problems Blacks, and in particular, young Black males, face everyday in their communities.
There is no doubt that the concerns are real and they have to be addressed, but it is also true that sometimes a thug is just a thug. You can try to deflect responsibility, but the reality is that some people make the conscious decision to be unlawful. So when some try to give these thugs a pass, what they do is divert attention from those young Black people who have chosen to do it the right way.
This is graduation season, and we have more Black men and women graduating from college than at any other time in history. They have chosen to be more. And it is hoped that them being more will allow of us all to be more. We need to congratulate these students who didn’t take the easy way out. Those who put in the effort to obtain an education. And while they may not quite understand the importance of their achievement today, it is certain that their educational achievement will have a positive impact on their communities.
So if you see someone who is graduating college, congratulate them for persevering. And thank them for choosing to affect change in a positive and constructive manner.