“Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” Most know that famous line from the end of the movie Gone With the Wind. But it also seems to describe the way lots of young people in America, particularly minorities, feel today. Why do so many just not “give a damn?”
We really shouldn’t be all that surprised. Leftists and their allies in the media mob continually tell us that America is systemically racist. Consider that word “systemic.” That’s very different than acknowledging that a tiny fraction of the population harbors racist views. When the whole system is racist, there is no hope.
The Left tells us it’s the police. The courts. The economy. Corporations. Schools. Retail stores. Banks. Even roads are racist according to comments made numerous times by Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. When everything is viewed through a negative and despairing lens of race, pessimism and gloom result.
Imagine being told you cannot get a job, an education, or a loan or receive equitable treatment from practically any major institution in the United States? That sense of hopelessness does not inspire confidence, entrepreneurship, bettering oneself, hard work, or anything positive.
Instead, it fosters a “why bother trying” sentiment. Small wonder then that so many young people turn to drugs and crime. Retail theft is glorified now. Forget the days of criminals past who dared not even go near a place with a camera. Today’s youth brazenly film lootings and post them on social media.
The consequences? There aren’t many, as long as you keep your theft under certain dollar amounts which vary by locale. The result is more crime. It’s a revolving door. Nearly a third of all shoplifting arrests in New York City last year involved just 327 people, according to the police there. And don’t forget the inconvenience to society as a whole. Toothpaste, deodorant, razors, and scores of other items are now under lock and key. Some retailers have left urban environments altogether.
After crime there are the increases in youth anxiety and depression. Suicide rates are up four percent. Sure, Covid lockdowns hastened a great deal of this, but the pandemic is squarely in the rear view mirror.
If only The Left had taken Oscar-winning actor Morgan Freeman’s advice. Freeman, who is black and despises the term African-American, has been a civil rights crusader for several decades. Way back in 2005 he stated very clearly to Mike Wallace on 60 Minutes, “The only way to help stop racism is to stop talking about it.” In 2007 Chief Justice John Roberts wrote this in a case on racial set asides: “The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.”
The election of Barack Obama, this country’s first black president, followed one year later. Then he was handily reelected in 2012. One’s politics aside, it was a significant achievement in America. But it may have been the greatest of missed opportunities ever, as Obama failed to make the most of his immensely powerful platform to uplift and promote self-improvement. President Joe Biden continues a failure to instill hope and optimism with talk of “Jim Crow 2.0” and the like.
Just imagine how refreshing it would be if politicians and talking heads on The Left instilled confidence in our youth. While success is never guaranteed, research gives us more than a hint at what works: dressing properly, speaking grammatically correct English over colloquialisms, working hard, staying in school, saving your money, waiting to have children until financially stable, and having manners, are just a few suggestions.
Of course any talk of “work” or “individual responsibility” can easily smack of—you guessed it—racism. When Republicans last week suggested promoting some light work as a condition for the able-bodied to receive food stamps, Democrats pounced, quite predictably, with their favorite word—racism. It’s apparently better to encourage government dependence. After all, it makes Democrats relevant and thus all the more necessary. But if today’s lowest unemployment rate in American history is not the ripe time to promote work, when would be?
Here we are in 2023 still talking about race holding everyone back. Racial quotas are here again and have been in vogue for years. You better have the right racial makeup in your company’s workplace or on a Hollywood movie set, or else watch out! It’s all about “checking a box” (on race of course) rather than celebrating an accomplishment. Vice President Kamala Harris is proof of that. And then there’s the newest buzzword—DEI. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. In sum, we must resist talk of systemic racism, as it is holding our young people hostage from a better life. Let’s speak openly and forcefully about optimism, so that our youth will indeed “give a damn.”
Jeff Szymanski has a master’s degree in political science. He works in political communications for AMAC Action and previously taught high school economics, history, psychology, and sociology.