In The Antidote, Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson writes that:
· Hate of the white man in particular gave me a satisfying way to explain all my other failures.
However, Peterson is now arguing that Blacks must take responsibility for their own lives. In 1990, he founded BOND, the Black Organization of a New Destiny, to enable them to forgive and to rebuild their lives.
In her review of The Antidote, Terrell Clemmons writes:
· Peterson analyzes the deep ills of the black community. Fueled by white guilt, black rage has been stoked for fifty years or more by the “civil rights” movement, a field now dominated by hustlers…Peterson compares them to alchemists because they “scheme to create wealth without sweat.” Unearned benefits, such as welfare, food stamps, payouts from lawsuits, and maybe one day “reparations,” which they hold up as the black man’s due, require recipients “to sacrifice something of infinite value: the sanctity of the two-parent family. It’s the devil’s bargain.” (Salvo Magazine, #3; Winter 2016, 58)
Peterson has been widely criticized for not being Black enough. Consequently, he has had to counter this charge:
· For years, I drank deeply from a toxic spring of hatred. I consumed the poison. I wallowed in it. Thank God I lived long enough to find the antidote.
He claims that he is able to understand other Blacks and their acting-out in rage, because this had also been his own experience, having come from a broken family:
· Single black mothers often take their frustration out on the son who resembles the man who abandoned them. They turn the child against the father by saying the father is “no good,” or “He doesn’t love you.” This constant disparagement makes the child feel unloved, and it destroys him emotionally and spiritually. A mother might curse her son, smack him, tell him he will amount to no more good than his old man. The boy cannot help but absorb that message.
His own rage damned him, and he sought to blame others, as many of the Black community do:
· Later in life, these boys may tell the world how much they love their mothers, but many of them do not mean it. I certainly did not. When my mother separated me from my father, all I felt was anger; it was the sentiment I knew best. That anger was so consuming it took over my soul. I projected it everywhere, toward my mother and father, toward my teachers and friends, and especially toward white people. By having others to blame for the sorry state of my own life, I did not have to blame myself. Such was my life before I learned to forgive.
Peterson observes that many Whites also come from broken families, but the dynamic is different:
· In an age when fatherlessness is epidemic throughout the culture, many white young men enter the world no better prepared than Michael [Brown killed while assaulting a police officer in Ferguson, Mo.]. There is, however, a difference between those white teens and boys like Michael, a fatal difference. Michael had an excuse for his failings that they did not. Michael was black. From the time he was a little boy, the people around Michael were telling him that the white man kept the black man down. He heard this at home, among his friends, on television, at school, and maybe even at church. Barack Obama’s mentor, Jeremiah Wright, was far from the only preacher preaching hate. This hatred may have made Michael’s own failings seem less painful and less personal, but it was crippling him.
According to Peterson, this is now a radically different country with radically different police. Consequently, the Black community, along with their White liberal handlers, have taken a wrong turn. Instead of self-examination and character development, the focus has been on hatred and blame:
· Brown’s death, like Trayvon’s, could have been a teachable moment. The media might have said that when a child is shuttled between relatives all his life, when he is trapped in a series of failing government schools, when he is instructed in ways big and small about the evils of the white man, bad things happen.
Peterson blames the media for fanning the flames of racial hatred:
· But this was not a story the media wanted to tell any more in 2014 than they did in 2012. The reporters and editors preferred to tell a story that would make them feel better about themselves. In their version of events, a racist cop shot a poor young black boy, a “gentle giant” with dreams of college, despite his willingness to surrender. To tell this story, the media had to ignore Wilson’s account, Brown’s life history, the convenience-store video, the brave grand jury testimony of eyewitnesses on the scene, and all the forensic evidence. Still, by projecting racism onto white people –Officer Wilson or cops in general –the media could assert their own moral superiority.
Instead, the media has been inflammatory, denying that this country is now a very different one. Consequently, the media happily endorsed Eric Holder’s take on the shooting of Michael Brown:
· Said attorney general Eric Holder of Michael Brown’s death, “There is [an] enduring legacy that Emmett Till has left with us that we still have to confront as a nation.” The media played right into his hands.
The narrative that “This is still a racist nation” is ubiquitous, coming from our leaders and media, and the Black community is paying the highest price for this strategy of blame:
· This pattern is so obvious I am still shocked almost no one talks about it. It is this simple: children, black or white, when deprived of fathers, grow up angry at their parents. White children displace their anger in many different directions. Black children, for the most part, channel theirs in a single destructive direction –toward and against white people. The [race-baiters] encourage them to do this, enable them, and even reward them. This anger fuels the system and pays the [race baiters’] bills.
Peterson claims that even the race baiters are aware of their twisted agenda:
· In one of his rare honest moments, Jesse Jackson summed up the situation much too well. “There is nothing more painful for me at this stage in my life,” Jackson admitted in 1993, “than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start to think about robbery and then look around and see it’s somebody white and feel relieved.” I know exactly how Jackson feels. The difference is that I am not going to apologize for feeling that way. There is too much at stake, namely, the soul of the black community, which is dying, if not dead: ashes to ashes, dust to dust. A fire still burns in those few who cling to the values of old, but our days as a people of character, self-respect, and unshakable spirit appear to be over.
Nevertheless, Rev. Peterson has a clear answer – forgive and take responsibility for your lives, something that can be done with the help of God.