The crisis affecting black boys and men

The New York Times’ Bob Herbert had an op-ed out recently about the crisis affecting black males.  Herbert offers the litany of statistics that all of us are already too familiar with.  This is not necessarily a crisis of black men alone, but of black people in general.

The picture above is of two young children, a boy and a girl, age 14  and 17, respectively who killed an 87 year old World War II vet in Philly last week while robbing him.  The girl shot him  because he wasn’t “moving fast enough” to give up his money.  I had read of this account earlier today and was going to post about it as I was particularly moved by the picture of these children.  Their faces are so young and the girl has a tear rolling down her cheek almost as if she now realizes the terrible deed she’s done.  They’re about the age of my own kids and  kids with innocent faces like these don’t immediately engender fear so I can imagine that when faced with a child attempting to rob you, it might take a moment to understand what’s happening and put it in context.  The elderly vet probably didn’t show fear and because of that, I imagine these kids probably got afraid and shot the guy.  Unfortunately, an innocent face can still mean death with tragedy all of the way around as three lives were senselessly lost.

Herbert’s op-ed generated a lot of interesting commentary.   There was one in particular that stood out for me, which follows:

At my gym on the UCLA campus, television monitors face a row of elliptical trainers. One afternoon this week, they were turned to MTVU, which was broadcasting rap videos. The contrast between what I saw for an hour on the screen above me, and what was going on around me — kids working out, reading textbooks as they pumped and pedaled — could not have been more surreal. The images — I didn’t have electronics on me to pick up the soundtracks — were ghastly. One video after another showed gangsta rap visual cliches: strutting men in ermine and mink, bikini-clad women shaking their booty. Bling was abundant. Champagne was everywhere, frequently poured on the floor in defiant waste, as if this conveyed some profound sophistication. Crime lords draped in fur and women threw down wads of cash, waved pistols, and danced on the decks of luxury yachts. Angry rappers jabbed their fingers at the world as stretch limos blew up, drug lords parlayed, and gangbangers traded gunfire from automatic weapons. There were Rolls-Royces and Bentleys, speedboats, sportscars, helicopters and private jets. Interiors were lavish enough to shame a Saudi prince. Women mimicked the moves of sex in front of slack-faced men slouched on couches, each with his own bottle of bubbly. Rarely did anyone smile. The director’s Wikipedia entry told me much about his cinematic techniques, as if they rivaled the French New Wave. If I, a white man, made any one of those videos, I’d be welcomed into the Klan. One after another, the succession of images depicting the most appalling stereotypes — the black man as a dope dealing, promiscuous, woman-trashing low-rent lout — played on through the afternoon, as hundreds of students, only a handful of them black, worked out. I had to sigh. Until America’s African-American community — the fathers and mothers — embrace education from kindergarten through college and beyond, nothing will change. No social program can come close to doing what that would do for America’s young black people at risk of losing every opportunity to achieve and enjoy a meaningful life. School teachers and administrators cannot do for black children what their families will not do. Racism is real, but so is opportunity in this world, however meager and unfairly distributed. It’s there, but it takes adults to help children see it, value it, and grab it.

I agree with much of this commentary, but there’s short shrift given to the outsized influence of the media and the competition it poses for things like education.  Many of these kids’ lives are imitating this sort of “art”.  That’s not particularly unusual as most of us imitate some image that portrays what we’re “supposed” to be.   The problem is that imitating art like this is very destructive as the art itself represents nothing that’s morally uplifting, but is instead a perversion of life.    Having said that, my intent is not to offer an excuse as something can be done about this sort of “art”.

We’re frequently too  hesitant to slap the hands of the worst offenders in our communities which is why bad behavior rules with impunity.  It’s almost as if we don’t want to be seen going after the elements who are the source of many of the problems for fear of promoting disunity or ruining the livelihood of some hip hop artist because “enough things are against the black man and he doesn’t need his own people against him.”  That’s unacceptable because no one should be allowed to soil the nest that everyone lives in.  He doesn’t have the right to promote images that destroy lives and communities.  At some point, we have to say “hell no–what you’re doing is unacceptable.  Stop it now, or prepare to pay dearly”.  There’s been no limit set for our kids  and because few have said no, the implicit message is that whatever you want to do is fine—and that’s what they’re doing.    Their parents have not been around to say no and our collective voices have been silent in condemnation, but we’re too ready to march somewhere like Jena LA to snuff out and say no to perceived injustice.  Those sorts of marches require us to “march right past” the problems right under our noses. That too is unacceptable and the pictures of the two teens above are a reflection of that.

Herbert suggests that turning this crisis around is going to take nothing short of a new civil rights movement.   The problems we face are legion and can’t be solved overnight.  Ultimately, we’ll need a far more sophisticated infrastructure and set of  activities other than marching and protesting, but since our infrastructures can only accommodate those sorts of tactics currently, why not use them to begin a full frontal assault on the purveyors of these images?  And I’m not talking about the record companies, but the artists themselves.  If the artists are dealt with, then the record companies are addressed by default.  We don’t even need to attack all of the artists. One or two will do.  What needs to happen is a huge amount of coordinated negative publicity mounted against one or two targets with the goal of drying up their sales. We might even want to coordinate something with an Oprah or others like her to bring very strong pressure to bear on the artist.   The record companies will feel the heat at some point and pull the artist or others like him.   The message to the artists that weren’t targeted would be obvious—you’re next, so they would possibly begin to self police themselves and if they didn’t we’d go after them.  An action like this would have very broad based support not only within the black community, but across the nation mainly because it would be relevant to a concern that everyone has.   Besides, everyone is tired of this crap, but none more so than our people.  Would this totally resolve the issue of crime?  Of course not, but it might provide an incremental step towards the effort by eliminating the images that our kids are imitating when engaged in it, but more importantly this could begin the raise the all important voice of “hell no, this is unacceptable and will not be allowed”.    Clearly more would need to be done, but at least this is a start at a critical piece of the puzzle where gangsta life is glorified.  If these fools can mount a bunch of negative publicity around a mosque that’s not a threat, surely we can do something about mounting publicity around a situation that is a true threat.

Glenn Beck’s march this week is irrelevant as far as I’m concerned anyway, but can you imagine how irrelevant it could really be made if we pursued something like this that would positively affect our own conditions.  If we were more about working on issues that are of true concern to us rather than mounting counter marches in response to people like Beck, then he himself would feel his own irrelevancy as far as black folks are concerned.  Instead, we get diverted from handling our own matters by responding to an agenda that wholly benefits him.  We don’t need to respond to Beck or folks like him directly thereby granting relevancy and recognition where absolutely none should exist, especially when our house is ablaze.  We need to attend to putting out the fire and by doing so we reduce folks like Beck to irrelevancy while not even wasting time on him.

This is an urgent problem for two reasons.  The first and obvious problem is the impact crime has on the viability of our communities.  The less obvious one is the emerging mood of the country where xenophobia and various resentments rule the day owing to the economic conditions.  Diversionary scapegoats are needed and continued rampant criminality, particularly when it’s interracial, as in this case, can easily become a rallying cry for martial law —we seen the calls for this in Chicago, Chester PA, Harrisburg PA and other places or even worst, vigilante action.  We’ve all witnessed the frenzy the right wing media has whipped up on a host of issues and it wouldn’t  take much for the tinderbox to be set alight here.

  • culturalstrategist

    Brother Greg:

    You know I have brotherly love for you, right?

    You probably read my blog and are tired of me ranting.
    I retain my disposition for no other reason than the fact that:

    1) I am not blind to what is going on
    2) I have insight on the fact that the "end of the rope" for Black people is a definable point
    3) And that at present – We have our "secret spaces" within our consciousness INFESTED by operative who, regardless of their popularity DO NOT HAVE OUR PEOPLE'S BEST INTERESTS IN MIND.

    Brother Greg – you mention Glenn Beck in passing. I ask that you look out this weekend regarding the passion that will be displayed by these operatives against Glenn Beck.
    Then I want you to stack rank where Glenn Beck stands as a threat to the Black Community as compared to the "Dysfunctional State of Black Males".

    The point that should anger you is that these embedded operatives who know the passions of Black people are going to prioritize their IDEOLOGICAL AND POLITICAL agenda over this all important but neglected problems that are reaching forward and slaying our future.

    Keep in mind that these same forces:

    * Run the schools
    * Dominate the Political and Economy policies of the local communities
    * Control the Churches and Cultural Institutions

    yet they have an ALLIANCE with these 'Hip Hop Voice Of The Street Pirates" – figuring that the best way to transform them into productive use for the community is to get them into POLITICS – transforming their grievances about their community into votes for the Democrats for their loyal fans.

    when these threats are superior to that posed by Beck, Pailin, Limbaugh, Steele and O'Reilly – with PEOPLE LIKE YOU refusing to allow them to USE OUR PEOPLE – then things will slowly change for the better.

    • http://www.diasporablack.blogspot.com Black Diaspora

      Against my better instincts, I’m going to attempt with you a meeting of the minds, as farfetched a hope as that may be.

      “Then I want you to stack rank where Glenn Beck stands as a threat to the Black Community as compared to the ‘Dysfunctional State of Black Males’.”

      You identify the crisis in the black community as the “Dysfunctional State of Black Males.” I challenge you to go beyond a diagnosis and tell us the causes of this “dysfunction.” Most blacks can diagnose the problem, but few can, or is willing, to identify the problem, or, at the least, present solutions.

      So far, you’re in the majority camp.

      “The point that should anger you is that these embedded operatives who know the passions of Black people are going to prioritize their IDEOLOGICAL AND POLITICAL agenda over this all important but neglected problems that are reaching forward and slaying our future.”

      Should I take from this that the cause of the problem is both “ideological and political”? Or is it that it’s the “wrong” ideology and politics?

      Let me keep reading!

      “Keep in mind that these same forces:

      * Run the schools
      * Dominate the Political and Economy policies of the local communities
      * Control the Churches and Cultural Institutions”

      So the culprits happen to be the “same forces.” What same forces? You need to stop equivocating and speak plainly, pointedly. Do you mean “liberal forces”? Certainly, you don’t mean “conservative forces.”?

      And if you mean “conservative forces,” then the solution, as you see it, is rather simple: No more handouts. This will send a message, “If you don’t learn to swim, you’ll sink to the bottom of pool. And no lifeguard is on duty”

      So the solution as you see it: Get rid of those pervasive forces– whoever, or whatever they may be–and the black community will be on the mend. It’ll have more effective schools, turning out black scholars, all college bound, where they’ll be prepared to re-build, and build up, the black community that’s in a perpetual state of disrepair. Our communities will thrive because of these new “political and economic policies.” Our black churches and cultural institutions will undergo a neo-black Renaissance. We’ve had one, and we’re due for another–all we have to do is repudiate “forces” that you haven’t identified, and embrace yet other “forces” that you haven’t identified.

      What a pipe dream!

      I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but I’m realist: Changing local community policies is not going to suddenly transform the black community into an oasis of productivity, self-realization, and cultural awareness.

      “[Y]et they have an ALLIANCE with these ‘Hip Hop Voice Of The Street Pirates” – figuring that the best way to transform them into productive use for the community is to get them into POLITICS – transforming their grievances about their community into votes for the Democrats for their loyal fans.”

      Finally, is this your issue, you’re opposed to “votes for the Democrats,” and that the “Hip Hop Voice Of The Street Pirates,” will build a “loyal fan” base for Democrats–because we all know how persuasive this subset of the black community is among our youth?

      Is this your issue?

      Blacks will continue to vote for Democrats, and our black youth will be pied-piper into the Democrat political sea and drown in the swirling waters of their ideology, without having tasted their real hope for salvation, by wading into the waters of Conservatism or Republicanism.

      Don’t blame blacks if conservatives and Republicans haven’t sold blacks on their message, or messages. Don’t blame blacks if Democrats have done a better job articulating their values and their ideology.

      Don’t blame their supposed operatives, if their voices resonate more than yours, and your operatives.

      “[W]hen these threats are superior to that posed by Beck, Pailin, Limbaugh, Steele and O’Reilly – with PEOPLE LIKE YOU refusing to allow them to USE OUR PEOPLE – then things will slowly change for the better.”

      I’m going to be kind, because I’m really tempted to come out swinging, and swinging hard about now. But, dammit, man, don’t you get it? Can’t you see what’s happening?

      Why do you think that the people you name–Beck, Pailin, Limbaugh, Steele and O’Reilly, et al–thrive so well in this society? Why they have such high ratings?

      Because YOU’RE the THREAT! I’m the THREAT! All Black Folk are the THREAT!

      Now, Mexicans are the THREAT! MUSLIMS in this country are now also the THREAT!

      I heard Malcolm X say once, speaking to a black man that was interviewing him, seeking to embarrass him. Malcolm asked, “You know what white folk call you in private?”

      The interviewer bit, “What?” He asked

      Malcolm said, simply, “Nigger.”

      The interviewer sputtered, and became speechless.

      Now the THREAT has multiplied exponentially, from the perspective of some whites, with the election of Barack Obama.

      Don’t think that they’re going to sit idly by and watch that THREAT grow. “Hell No, they Won’t!”

      Knowing that they’re seen as a THREAT, blacks find political and economic shelter, safety, and comfort wherever they can. That bastion has been provided by those on the Left more than those on the Right.

      It’s about survival.

      Everything comes down to survival. A Keeping! A maintaining! A preserving!

      Whites ask the question: How to do we survive, how do we keep, maintain, and preserve our power, our control, and our dominance. The question is always before them?

      That’s why the words, BLACK POWER, scared the living daylight out of them!

      They’re only going to allow blacks so much security, so much survival, before they bring down their white wrath. You have the question all wrong. The question is: How long will the THREAT we pose to white survival be tolerated?

      Let history be your guide: When Indians got in their way, they decimated them. (“The only good Indian is a dead indian.”)

      When Mexicans got in their way, they killed them, and sent them south of the Rio Grande. Do you know that whites contemplated going into Mexico with their killing spree, and extending the borders of California?

      If blacks suddenly become a greater THREAT, they will find a way to eliminate us, or reduce our political and societal impact. We haven’t as yet reached that tipping point, but it’s close.

      This much I’ll agree with: the Hip Hop Voice and the Street Pirates serve their end, that of white survival. Do you really believe that this sub-group can’t be brought down, if whites really wished to bring them down?

      They serve a purpose, as do many others, farther up the food-chain, to keep blacks discouraged, and hatin’ on each other–eating their young, and devouring each other.

  • http://www.diasporablack.blogspot.com Black Diaspora

    "We’re frequently too hesitant to slap the hands of the worst offenders in our communities which is why bad behavior rules with impunity."

    Of course, take whatever steps necessary to end this social blight.

    I was in a store a few days ago. Two black youth, both boys, not quite adolescents, grabbed a couple of beverages off the shelf, and walked quickly toward the restrooms at the back of store, looking furtively my way, probably to imbibe and then hide the evidence.

    A loan officer, when asked if he felt quilt when people signed up for mortgages he knew they couldn't repay, said, "No. They were the ones who put their name on the dotted line."

    After it was run, a political ad was debunked. It cast the man's opponent as a tax-raising liberal, when she was nothing of the sort, but had taken steps that led to balanced budgets.

    What do all these examples have in common? The values of the principals–the kids stole, the loan officer withheld crucial information in order to close a loan, and the political candidate lied about his rival.

    We can attack behavior, but for a lasting solution, values must be changed. Behavior grows out of values. As long as certain values remain, so will the actions and behaviors that follow from them.

  • http://theafricanamericanclarioncall.com Greg L

    These comments will respond to both of you. From my perspective, both of your comments come from different directions but really arrive at the same point. Values come from standards and many of our problems come from the absence of those. The problem with the African-American politician is largely the flip side of that of the miscreant element. Since the voice of condemnation is silent, the kids take this to mean that whatever they choose to do is okay. The same applies to those in political office, Since, the community has largely not set a standard to hold them to account, they also think that whatever they do or don't do is just fine. Hence we have two groups who are largely unaccountable to the people who are doing things that aren't aligned with the long term interests of our people. When no one is accountable, the result is chaos and its clear that's what we see in many urban areas.

    Having said that, I don't fault the kids or the politicians alone, as they're a reflection of what the people are doing. If I were to lay blame, it would have to be at the feet of the people. It is us, the people, who have not done what we've needed to do. Moreover, we don't even own the political process in our own communities. For the most part, the same money that corrupts the political process generally has the same effect in the black community. In this I mean that most black politicians are funded by others, so when they get into office they're accountable to who ever gave them the financing. This means that they frequently can not take an independent position nor can they make decisions for the benefit of the community. In my view this has little to do with ideology, so it really doesn't matter whether the politico is a dem or republican. It has to do with accountability. Basically, we don't control the politicians nor the street corner miscreants. We really don't "control" anything and that's the entire problem and since we don't, no one really fears us. Sure, we can beat up on someone and raise a ruckus with a protest, but that far different that shaping an agenda with a projection of power. IMO, if our calculus doesn't include a consideration of how we can acquire and project power, then we're wasting time. So the litmus test is simple, does someone's proposed initiative result in the acquisition of power? If it doesn't, we need to leave it alone.

    Power gets people's attention. Even the miscreant element knows a thing or two about power. That's why they know who to rob and where to act out. In the immediate situation with the gangsta rap and misogynist videos that fill the airways, we need to exert some power and say "hell no" and it should be very telling that none of our so-called leaders have tried to organize anything around this. They haven't because that's not what they're paid to do and because we didn't "pay" them, we're not positioned to demand much. I tell you what though, if the people took off and did this on their own, you'd have a bunch of these "leaders" jumping out of the woodwork and scrambling to get aboard the train or to mount their own initiatives. The reason they'd be scrambling is because an effective action would put them on trial without someone bothering to even call them out.

  • http://diasporablack.blogspot.com Black Diaspora

    "Moreover, we don't even own the political process in our own communities. For the most part, the same money that corrupts the political process generally has the same effect in the black community. In this I mean that most black politicians are funded by others, so when they get into office they're accountable to who ever gave them the financing."

    We all have a different agenda, whites and blacks, but, in both instances, it's all about survival. The white agenda is to hold blacks back. That's why laws like the Civil Rights Act, and policies like Affirmative Action, rankled so many whites.

    They were stopgap measures, attempts to pacify black unrest. How many Watts did this country wish to suppress?

    Each step of the way, black agitation, of one sort or another, led to black advancement, and whites giving up something, although begrudgingly. Again, whites don't wish to give up more than they have to. When jobs weren't forthcoming, they gave us welfare. When schools didn't measure up, they gave us sports equipment, and gyms, and gridirons. When our youth threatened to break lose anyway, they gave us Hip Hop, and the promise of great wealth, and the good life, if only we could get that record contract, or make it in sports (consider the videos–all about material consumption, beautiful black and white women, and palatial mansions).

    For now, this is doing the trick. Many of our young black men (dropping out of school in record numbers, I might add), think that the good life is in reach, without the rigors of an education, or the building of a business. Music and sports (or the gangster life) are their ticket to fame and fortune.

    And to keep us down in the ghetto, they allowed the black, street thugs to pimp our women, and sell us drugs. Gang recruitment in the inner-city is greater than college recruitment, and has been for a long time. Black ganstas also do their part to maintain the white agenda.

    Whites don't wish to give up anything, and what little they do give up, they expect big returns on their money. Consider my response to Constructive Feedback, now culturalstrategist. We have to start telling it like it is.

  • http://theafricanamericanclarioncall.com Greg L

    "And to keep us down in the ghetto, they allowed the black, street thugs to pimp our women, and sell us drugs. Gang recruitment in the inner-city is greater than college recruitment, and has been for a long time. Black ganstas also do their part to maintain the white agenda…..Whites don't wish to give up anything, and what little they do give up, they expect big returns on their money."

    BD, there's no argument that anyone could legitimately present that couldn't trace at least some of the conditions we chafe under to our historical experience in America. No question about it, we were exploited for someone else's economic benefit and much of the problem in the world today can be attributed to the rapacious nature of the economic system that exists. Taking resources from others or creating today's wage slaves in many ways is the variation of the same system that brought our antecedents to these shores as slaves. This can not be argued.

    What is open to debate however is that which we can do to alter and control the conditions that exist today. On occasion, I'll hear the argument about reparations and that since we didn't get our 40 acres and a mule, that we really ought to receive the present day value of such for all of the uncompensated labor we gave America. I sometimes think about what would occur if every black family in America got $ 100,000 in reparations as compensation for the free labor our ancestors gave to build America. I believe the result of this would be massively stimulative for every community except the African-American community because everyone would start creating designs on what they could sell us to get at that money. I dare say within less than a year, the economic situation of others would be massively stimulated once again on our backs and that many of us would be in a situation not much different than we were before receipt of the reparations save for having more worthless bling.

    The point I'm arguing here is this: 1) The ability to maximize anything that one gets is contingent on one having the capacity (i.e. wisdom, strategic planning/thinking, basic infrastructure and etc) to use it effectively and 2) because we lack the capacity, there's really not much that the white power structure can give us that would actually benefit us.

    Given that, I believe that the only pragmatic choice available to our people is to actually develop our communities socially, politically and economically on our own. We have to fix what ails us and rightly or wrongly, no one is going to do it except that it be us. I also believe that after having done that, a level of confidence in our own competence would be such that we really wouldn't need to bother with seeking much from those who aren't inclined to give us anything anyway and if for some chance they did give us something, we would have developed the capacity to maximize the use of it.

    So in my mind, the central goal we need to pursue is power and the most direct path to getting it lies in political and economic control of our backyard. It's the last place that we generally look, but I'm convinced that any group of black people who were successful at executing on any initiative even making a small dent in some of our challenges would have power out of proportion to their numbers. I'm not suggesting this is easy nor will it be something that's even accomplished in your lifetime or mine, but it must be done if we are to survive and thrive.

  • http://www.diasporablack.blogspot.com Black Diaspora

    "So in my mind, the central goal we need to pursue is power and the most direct path to getting it lies in political and economic control of our backyard."

    Granted.

    If we exercise "economic control," then "political power" would follow as a concomitant of that. Yet, we must still be mindful of the crucible ("place, time, or situation characterized by the confluence of powerful intellectual, social, economic, or political forces") in which all this will take place. In this country, we won't be able to create a black economy, or develop one, in a vacuum. Negative forces within the black and white communities will almost certainly take affirmative steps to derail any efforts on our part to pursue an autonomous economic existence.

    I'm not pessimistic, just realistic.

    If we take these negative forces into account at the outset, even they can be overcome. I think we know the nature of these forces without my identifying them here. What's not prudent is to ignore them, or pretend that they don't exist, or to believe that they won't have to be reckon with (Something that you haven't done, by the way.).

    I've only formulated in my head the broad outline of what a black economic structure could look like, and the steps necessary for its realization. If I wait until it's perfectly fashioned, I'll never bring it forth.

    For the first time, a technology exists to make a broader black economy possible. We merely have to exploit it, and put it to our own special use.

    In the days ahead, I will present an overview, and a blueprint of such a structure. Ideas on how to implement such a structure should prove challenging, and will be welcomed.

  • culturalstrategist

    [quote] The white agenda is to hold blacks back[/quote]

    Brother Black Diaspora:

    WHICH "WHITE AGENDA" are you speaking of?
    I KNOW that you believe this as the case for the "Beck/Limbaugh/Palin WHITE AGENDA"

    I would love for you to articulate your viewpoint for the "Olberman/Maddow/Schultz WHITE AGENDA".

    Malcolm X had some broad insight as to the antics of bigoted White folks. Do you find it ironic that the Black guard who fought in the 1960s are quite sure that the CONSERVATIVE WHITES of the CCC are now in the Tea Party BUT they are also sure that the WHITE LIBERAL SNARLING FOXES that X told us about from the past ……are seriously SMILING AT US when he shows his teeth TO-DAMNED-DAY!!!!

    LOOK AT YOUR PEOPLE Black Diaspora as we have WON the victories in the Political Domain that we were told would lead to:

    * Quality Education
    * Economic Prosperity
    * Peace In Our Communities
    * Health for our people.

    Then tell me with this new HEALTH CARE that you are poised to get – WHAT about the SCHOOLS that favorable people now control will produce greater access to health care because MORE PHYSICIANS and other professional service agents for our community ARE STREAMING OUT FROM THEIR DOORS as testament to the CONSCIOUSNESS that has been disseminated as our young people gathered within.

    I am expecting to look at this CONTROL that we have over our communities as an ADVANCEMENT.
    Instead I look at the continuing results and the PURCHASED SILENCE that it brings and I am brought to the point of cursing.

    CLEARLY these operatives do not have our people's best interests in mind. Their success would be shown in our generally improved condition.

    • http://www.diasporablack.blogspot.com Black Diaspora

      I knew you'd run and hide behind your usual claptrap. You answered my questions with one of your own, not to advance the discussion, but to evade it.

      Why would whites, or a political party comprised mostly of whites, want to use white resources to improve black life, or black conditions, unless forced to do so–either to establish a political advantage, or to ward off potential violence?

      We both know that Republicans, were they installed locally in various elected positions, wouldn't deliver either. Frankly, they'd deliver less. Your insistence that the problem of the black community is who we elect, is disingenuous, and smacks of deceit.

      When you answer the several questions that I posed, or respond to the issues that I raised, then I'll provide more in the way of particulars. As it now stands, no matter how definitively I approach the topic, you respond with the same threadbare remarks I've heard hundreds of times.

      • http://functionalculture.blogspot.com Constructive_Feedback

        [quote]I knew you’d run and hide behind your usual claptrap. You answered my questions with one of your own, not to advance the discussion, but to evade it. [/quote]

        What YOU call “Evading”, BD – I call – “Making sure that the BRICKS in the FOUNDATION of one’s argument are PLUMB before proceeding to build up a 6 story mansion on top”, in order to show your ideological friends your “BLING”.

        Pleasure me a bit and tell me how my constant challenge for you and others to YIELD – along with me to our PERMANENT INTERESTS?

        * I REFUSE to “Unify” for the sake of going after a common enemy – so we can have “In The Fox Hole” War Stories to share from the battle

        * I REFUSE to look past the PROMISES that were made as I am asked to COMPLICITLY look at the new carrot dangling for the next journey ahead.

        [quote]Why would whites, or a political party comprised mostly of whites, want to use white resources to improve black life, or black conditions, unless forced to do so–either to establish a political advantage, or to ward off potential violence? [/quote]

        I will afford you the opportunity for an EDIT. Most assuredly the Democratic Party is a WHITE MAJORITY party.

        I think that the more salient question is: “WHAT evidence can we point to where the Black Political Operations have produced sufficient ORGANICALLY PRODUCED resources that will improve the condition of Black people?

        Have White folks always been this central in your life?

  • Bcat1544e

    Read your Malcolm X quote and attend the hearing for India Spellman Wednesday the 26 at 9 o’clock at the CJC at 13th and Filbert. She was at home sitting next to her grandfather when the crimes occurred. Her grandfather is a retired police officer and the household income is over 140,000 dollars a year and India was employed at the neighborhood Dunkin Dounuts.

    • http://theafricanamericanclarioncall.com Greg L

      Bcat, I won’t be at the hearing, but I’d love for you to post an update here in the comment section, particularly if you feel that India has been unfairly accused. I don’t exclude the possibility that the police might have arrested the wrong person as this seems to be a frequent occurrence and if that’s the case, I’ve no problems in posting and covering that as well. So if you either have information or can direct me to information that supports her innocence, please provide it.

  • Phyllis

    I agree with the call to hold our artists accountable. This may sound naive, but how do we “love” them into behaving responsibly. They’re doing what this country encourages – “every man for him self” They’re “raising themselves by their bootstraps – again a value encouraged by this country. So how do we support their interest in making a living while at the same time requiring standards. Clearly it is not about putting the artists out of business. So do we have to teach them something new? Do we have to do more than say “hell no!” Do we also have to teach/expose them to what’s true about Black people (not what’s true based on our distorted selves, but what’s true when we’re operating from a place of our true significance). So I think it’s bigger than, more challenging than, more work than saying “Stop the nonsense” we have to set the standard/raise the bar and teach them how to reach it. I do think we can tell the truth to the artists and to each other without shame or blame.

    • http://theafricanamericanclarioncall.com Greg L

      Phylis, thanks for this very thoughtful and reflective comment. I don’t disagree with anything you’ve said, but perhaps I do need to clarify my thinking when it comes to saying “hell no”. When it comes to matters of social justice, we don’t hesitate to say “hell no”, so we can easily march to someplace thousands of miles away like Jena and say hell no when it comes to perceived injustice that’s imposed from without. In the social justice context, loudly proclaiming what’s not acceptable dramatizes the issue at hand and can get people to rally around the cause. The tactic also puts folks on notice about what’s acceptable.

      The injustices rendered from within from the miscreant element are not met with the same vigor as those imposed from without. I believe that these injustices from within are far more impactful than those imposed from without as these affect the daily economic and social environment and present the greatest barrier to our self development. Yet, these injustices are mostly met with deafening silence and a sort of acceptance.

      Sometimes I wonder what exactly would occur if we were to pull a Jena and mount a march on an open air drug market and keep doing it until the element left. What would happen if we organized a boycott those artists who proffer misogynist and gangster rap lyrics that encourage this behavior in real life? What message would be sent? (And, let’s be clear here, the miscreant element aren’t the only ones who’d get the message or who would suffer the economic fallout. There are others hiding in the shadows that profit greatly from all of this).

      Don’t we discipline who we love?

      If anyone is making a living based on the destruction of a people or a community, they don’t deserve to be in business as they’re doing an injustice to the rest of us. Saying “hell no” in so many ways establishes the standard and the sanction and may be the path for gaining some control. Of course, revolution is never enough. Actually that’s the easy part, because once control is gained, you’ve still got to “govern”. Yes, you’re very correct, you can’t just say with “hell no”. That’s just an initial step.

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