Denzel Washington stance on black incarceration draws praise and fire

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His body of dramatic work has drawn the kind of accolades that lend Denzel Washington's personal views amplified attention and importance, particularly in the African American community.

This past week the star of "Roman J. Israel Esq." addressed the issue of mass black incarceration.

"If the father is not in the home, the boy will find a father in the streets. I saw it in my generation and every generation before me, and every one since," said Washington, adding, "I can't blame the system. It's unfortunate that we make such easy work for them."

They are tough words which have drawn disagreement.

"I think statements like this gives ammunition to those that are in favor of continuing this prison industrial complex that we have created, " said Marcus Davis, business owner, radio host and Fox 26 contributor.

Davis believes Washington misses the mark by shifting culpability away from a system of justice that remains deeply discriminatory.

"While I believe good parenting is incredibly important, good parenting doesn't change bad legislation. Good parenting does not change a culture of oppression of people of color in this nation," said Davis.

But Washington's words have drawn agreement from community activist Deric Muhammad.

"The first line of defense must be in the home. I agree with Denzel, it starts in the home. It starts in the home, but unfortunately when little black boys have to go before a judge they are judged differently than little white boys," said Muhammad.

That's why Muhammad believes a revival of active fatherhood and male mentoring have never been more critical in the African American community.

"We can't necessarily control the corruption in the criminal justice system, but what we can control is what goes on in our homes, what goes on in our communities and on our block," said Muhammad, who is hosting the Smart'n Up Black Male Summit Saturday at Lone Star College Victory Campus.

The free summit begins at 11 a.m. and will focus on "education, survival, success".