Denzel Washington On Prison: Black Men “Can’t Blame The System”
Hollywood superstar Denzel Washington has a message about the disproportionate number of black people that are currently locked up, and it has nothing to do with the American prison system.
Washington told the New York Daily News that it starts at home,
“It starts with how you raise your children. If a young man doesn’t have a father figure, he’ll go find a father figure.”
The actor was being interviewed for his film, Roman J Israel, Esq, in which he plays an idealist lawyer in the heart of Los Angeles who takes on the cases of people of color.
In an earlier interview, with Reuters, Washington elaborated by saying that he had grown up with guys who ended up spending decades behind bars. He suggested that the road that led to their incarceration began with growing up in households without a father figure.
“By the time we got to 13, 14, different things happened. Now I was doing just as much as they were, but they went further … I just didn’t get caught, but they kept going down that road and then they were in the hands of the system.”
The actor’s message is somewhat refreshing during a time period in which one of the two major political parties in America, as well as their allies in the Main Stream Media, have been pushing the notion that the United States’ Department of Justice is guilty of widespread systemic racism.
Washington’s criticism of the rise of single-parent households among black communities is not original as, in 2008, then-Senator Barack Obama used a Father’s Day address to lament the rise of fatherless households.
Obama’s criticism of the values in the black community was heralded by the media as remarkable, brave, and profound. However, even Obama’s remarks were not the first to come from a prominent black national figure.
In 2004, comedian Bill Cosby spoke at the NAACP awards ceremony in Washington, D.C, and was highly critical of the upbringing of children in some black communities.
Cosby’s speech, which has become known as the Pound Cake Speech, criticized black communities for demonstrating a lack of proper English skills, a failure to clean up their own communities, and the growing problem of fatherless households.
Whereas Obama’s criticism of black communities was considered to be brave, bold, and exceptional, Bill Cosby received national condemnation and was called a sell-out, a traitor to the black community, and an Uncle Tom.
In any case, Politifact reported that, in 1960, 22% of black children lived in households with single parents.
That number more than doubled by 2006 with over 90% of these households being led by single mothers. Many others have pointed out the correlation between the rise of single parent, fatherless households with the incarceration rate of black males.
Denzil Washington explained that nobody is born a criminal, and that it is all about the formative years.
Let us know if you agree with Washington’s assessments, and you can take a listen to Bill Cosby’s 2004 Pound Cake Speech below:
Source: New York Daily News