Sunday, July 29, 2007

Crisis Of Conscience

We in the Black community are at a crossroads. We are coming to the place where we are becoming irrelevant in America in any meaningful way. What has created this crisis and how did we get here? There are many factors that have led us to this place. Slavery, racism, complacency, institutionalized inferiority, self-hate, moral degradation, personal irresponsibility, are all contributing factors and I’m sure you can name more. For too long we have been looking backwards and not forwards. We have been too preoccupied with the past thanks to our so-called leaders and not the future. We have had a failure of leadership at the highest levels. Those who have been placed in positions of leadership should look at the state of affairs in Black America and feel ashamed, I know I would. Instead of positioning us to move forward through education, self-sacrifice, and hard work they have promised us a panacea of worthless dreams. However, for themselves and their families they have created a future full of promise. There are those who have achieved their modicum of success on the backs of their brothers and sisters.

Though we have more Black people with money than ever before, we are worst off as a people than we have ever been in our history. Why has achievement as a people eluded us even though we have more material wealth? There is a disconnection between those that have achieved material success and the average Black person on the street. There is a growing gap between those that have and the have-nots. The rising tide has not raised all boats.

While we spend tremendous amounts of time and energy annihilating the outsiders who dare to use the same words we use to describe ourselves and yet we do nothing against those in our community that dispense the vile vermin that poisons our minds and the minds of our children. Where are the protest marches outside of Sean Combs studio or any number of other hip-hop artists that poison the air waves with violence, sexism, and the worst attributes of our communities? We have no trouble picketing CBS over Don Imus, yet where is the outrage for those who we really should fear? Who should we be more afraid of a few washed up white media personalities that most of our children have never heard of or those who invade our homes and our air waves everyday with all manner of mental pollution?

There will be those who speak about artistic expression and the “language of the street”, but those arguments hold no weight. There is more going on in our communities than the “thug life” that these so called Black artists are portraying. When has our community been about nothing, but drug dealing, dope smoking, and killing other Black men? These so called Black men are more responsible for other young Black men being killed than any racist white men. The Klan no longer have anything to do, we are finishing the job ourselves. These men who profit from the misery of their brothers and sisters are worse than any racist. At least with an outsider you can see it coming, but these people they are doing from the inside what no outsider could do. It is a known fact that what you listen to is what you become. This isn’t about some musical expression; this is about the intentional internal genocide for the sake of fortune and fame. Is everyone in the Black community selling drugs, smoking dope, and killing? When did this become our only story? This is not my story. Is it yours?

Why have we allowed this “gang and prison mentality” to become our story? Why have we abdicated the responsibility of raising our children to these clowns? If these were whites saying these things there would be full scale riots, but because they are Black there is silence. It is this silence that is killing us. It is not just killing us physically, but spiritually and emotionally as well. We have allowed this to continue for too long. There should have been an outcry at the very beginning, yet we allowed this genre to define who we were and what we believed. We should all be ashamed. We may have lost a whole generation of children because of our inaction and complacency.

Instead of extolling the values of education and hard work we have allowed them to believe that if they live this thug life they can be successful. I work in the community and all the time I talk to young men and I ask them why they won’t take a starting job. They tell me that they should be earning 15.00 an hour, I ask what skills they possess worthy of earning this money and they say none or I can rap. They spend hours and hours listening to these lyrics, teaching them that education is for sell-outs and that women are just to be used and disposed of like yesterdays garbage. I remember when I was young there was a movie called, “Superfly” and it depicted the life of a drug dealer/pimp. To this day it still amazes me the number of people that tried to make this movie reality. You had men changing their hair to match the actor’s hair and the whole nine. This was just a two hour movie; imagine what listening to this garbage hour after hour is doing to the psyche of our children. You would think that the only things happening in our communities are these things depicted in these songs and videos. There is a concept known as “self-fulfilling prophesy” and it is a prediction that, in being made, actually causes itself to become true.

“The self-fulfilling prophecy is, in the beginning, a false definition of the situation evoking a new behaviour which makes the original false conception come 'true' This specious validity of the self-fulfilling prophecy perpetuates a reign of error. For the prophet will cite the actual course of events as proof that he was right from the very beginning.[1]

What we are witnessing is the fulfillment of this in our communities, these thugs would have you to believe that our neighborhoods are as they describe and our children in an effort to imitate these thugs bring about the very environment these thugs rap about and then they say, “See this is what is happening in my neighborhood.” Anyone who disagrees with their scenario is labeled a sell-out or out of touch with reality. I submit that these thugs are out of touch with reality. They will never define me with their stereotypical clown roles for the Black man. Their perception is not my reality and it never will be.

We have a rich heritage in the Black community of overcoming all types of obstacles, both internal and external. It is time we rid ourselves of this cancer, before it is too late and we lose another generation of Black kids.

[1] Robert K. Merton, Social Theory and Social Structure, Free Press, 1968, p. 477, ISBN 0-02-921130-1.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great article. Thank you.

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