Patt Morrison Asks

Jesse Lee Peterson, tea'd off in South L.A.

My mother was dating my father when she was 16 or 17. She got pregnant with me. He denied it: "Oh, that's not my child." She became very angry at him; she stayed mad at him for a long time. She ended up marrying my stepfather before I was born because it was an embarrassment to have a child out of wedlock. He was a good man, but I never accepted him. I had a yearning for my father — that's inside every child. I overcame my anger for my mother and encouraged her to forgive my father. Once I forgave my mother and God forgave me, I felt 100% better. I realized from that what was wrong with black Americans — most of them are filled with anger and it's holding them back.

Growing up you worked the same land where your ancestors were once enslaved. Didn't you experience racism there?

I did — colored-only signs, white-only signs. In the movie theater, blacks had to sit in the balcony. I was fine with that because we had a better view! I saw they were wrong, but we were taught not to hate. And we knew white people who weren't doing those things.

Now, not all but most black people are so racist toward white people. And white Americans are afraid if they say the wrong thing, they'll be accused of being racist.

The founding documents of this country didn't consider you or me to be fully legal beings.

At one point there was definitely racism from white America, but that started to change over the last 40 or 50 years. White people realized, yeah, this did exist, we're sorry, we're going to [institute] stuff to help blacks get themselves together. They passed laws against white racism, but the problem is they have not had an honest dialogue about black racism.

Wasn't the Civil Rights Act the right thing to do?

If they had just changed it so the same laws that protected white folks would protect black people and left us alone, things would be much better today. Change the law, then get out of the way of people coming together.

Daniel Patrick Moynihan wrote controversially about the tangle of pathologies in black America.

He was 100% right. Had [society] listened to him, we probably wouldn't be in this situation today. [Welfare] was a dumb idea; they believed it was better to get a government paycheck than have a man in the house — not all black families, but too many.

So-called civil rights leaders and the Democratic Party knew if they could get blacks to rely on government, they would hold them for generations, and that's exactly what happened.

Welfare makes a person lazy, and you pass it on to the next generation. It took away their self-esteem. It really has been devastating to the black community.

Do you think that welfare influenced the high imprisonment rate for black men?

[Welfare] took the authority figure out of the home. When the father is not there to discipline and guide the children, kids don't normally listen to mothers after a certain age. She tries to force her way on them and then they become angry. When fathers were there, fathers and mothers worked together. The family has been broken. The father is the spiritual head as well as the provider, and the mother and children respect that because it's from God

What programs do you advocate for black Americans?

I would teach them trades. We're starting a leadership academy for boys; when they finish high school, if they don't want to go to college, at least they can know how to work for themselves.

You endorse marriage. Gays have fought for marriage.

Same-sex marriage doesn't exist; there's no such thing in God's eyes. So-called same-sex marriage would destabilize society. Homosexuality is not about love or family or civil rights; it's about sex.

What do you say to gay people you counsel?

I tell them they were not born that way, that a spirit has made a home inside of them that came from some sort of trauma — maybe they were molested at an early age or had angry parents — and that if they were to forgive their parents, then God will forgive them and remove that identity from them and they will be free.

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