Introducing a Black conservative perspective, a series of letters to a young Black man trying to turn his life around offers an optimistic view of American life
The statistics are familiar - young black men are being murdered in the streets by the thousands and being jailed by the tens of thousands; millions more will father children and then abandon them. While pundits and political leaders publicly wring their hands about these alarming trends, most retire at the end of the day to their comfortable suburban homes, secure in the belief that it will never happen to their children.Armstrong Williams, a nationally-syndicated radio and television host, sets a higher standard for himself. Through his shows, and in his personal life as well, Armstrong lives his own rhetoric of individual empowerment, hard work, faith, and social responsibility. This book, Beyond Blame, is the direct result of a hard-headed dialogue with a young man he calls "Brad Howard," a twenty-seven-year-old drug dealer, murderer, and father of three small daughters who, in his desperation to leave the streets behind, sought Armstrong's help.Armstrong, raised on a farm and more accustomed to Washington's corridors of power than to the urban ghetto culture, must first bridge the gap between his own world and Brad's - where women are mere playthings for the amusement of pimps and hustlers, where drug money pays for Caribbean vacations or the assassination of rivals, and where individual responsibility takes a back seat to hedonism.It's not enough, Armstrong exhorts Brad, simply to "give up" hustling. Instead, Brad must exorcise the world-view that allowed him to fall into degradation in the first place. The ethic of entitlement and false pride, hammered into young men and women by our educational institutions, popular culture, and political leaders, is only partially to blame for Brad's plight. For in the end, it was Brad's own decisions that led to his degenerate life - quite literally, Brad's finger was on the trigger.In order to do right, Armstrong maintains, you must learn to think right. Drawing on his own unapologetic Christianity, he provides lessons in faith - a faith that will give Brad the strength to take responsibility for his actions, for the future of his children, and for his community.Beyond Blame's greatest lesson is that America's urban crime problem cannot be solved by social scientists, politicians, or platitudes. Armstrong provides a powerful reminder that each of us has the duty to get his hands dirty, to actively and aggressively take up the cause of the Brad Howards of the world - not as a social experiment, but because we are, indeed, our brother's keeper.