It is certainly no mystery why black-on-black crime has become a terrifying issue of concern. Reagan-era cutbacks in job and social-service programs have literally dumped thousands of young blacks on the streets with nowhere to go. Alienated, angry and frustrated, these youth turn to drug dealing or gangs in a desperate attempt to survive.
Although Jackson does not say it, black-on-black crime has another dangerous side effect. It has instilled fear in many whites and increased their clamor for more prisons, police and tougher laws. Public officials accommodate their demands by approving bigger budgets for law enforcement while shrinking the budget for social service, job training and drug rehabilitation programs.
This of course is no consolation to the mostly black victims of inner-city crime and violence. That is why Jackson is incorrect when he says blacks have "almost become silent" on crime. Quite the contrary, many blacks have mobilized in their neighborhoods to combat drug dealing and gang violence.
There are hundreds of neighborhood watches in black communities. "Take Back the Street" campaigns by black organizations have recently been credited with helping to sharply reduce crime and gang violence in a large section of South-Central Los Angeles.
But despite their best efforts, African-Americans will continue to be plagued by the blood-letting and mayhem in their communities unless policy-makers commit massive resources to job and social programs in the inner cities.
EARL OFARI HUTCHINSON