Of all the crafted rationalizations that have been floated regarding the plight of poor blacks in America, crime is the most persistent, specifically, black on black crime. Frankly, I am weary of the triviality of connotations concerning why blacks kill and injure other blacks, the proliferation of such odiferous explanations and the onus being positioned squarely on the backs of black people, and poor blacks specifically.
As if it were not bad enough that black people are still considered subhuman by white social and cultural canons, black people are increasingly admonishing themselves, especially when the subject of our past is raised:
“What they need to do is get a job,” “That stuff ain’t got nothin’ to do with what’s goin’ on today,” or “What they need to do is pull them pants up and show some respect,” among others.
We continue to blame ourselves for our collective condition, and discount or even rule out anything other than the bootstrap myth, which only applied to white people then as now: “each person is responsible for his or her own fate," whether it is good or bad. We continue to attack music, dress and behavior as the root of our own evil, when each of those parts of our collective identity is controlled by an institutionalized racist and supreme white power elite. However, in their own undeniable and prolifically venomous way, the saggy pants, the gangster music and the thug behavior contributes to the problem, like the oily leaf of a poison oak contributes to an extremely painful and itchy rash. The thought is that if you don't touch the leaf you will be less likely to get poison oak even if you are walking in a forest reeking with it. All of you in the forest know that you are not immune to the poisonous oil, therefore, you must be aware at all times of its nature, its ability to hurt you and the fact that it surrounds you in that forest. All the while, the mighty oak doesn’t have to move, it doesn’t have to attack. It simply waits for you to touch it. Then you are scratching yourself until you bleed.
The fact is, overt Jim Crow racism and white supremacy and the more subtle, quiet and blind form of racism we have today keep black people itching until they bleed as a collective, but allowing a few crumbs of material gain for a limited group of blacks who appear to have gotten over the rash. These people are then given media attention and used as the determinant for success. Once these people have attained monetary gains, they decide for themselves that they can now “pass for white” in much the same way that black people with white skins did in the earlier decades. The primary exception today is the amount of green in the bank and the number of plastic cards in the pocket, compensating for the non-white skin of some.
We continue to wear our own yellow badge of identification to remind us of those old, stereotypical views of ourselves created by white people so many years ago in order to justify Jim Crow then, and our condition today.
Everyone has heard the stories of how black people kill each other. I am not going to belabor that point here, since statistics show that every so-called racial group experiences crime against themselves. I am not even going to indulge in any statistical white-washing which supposedly resolves the previously mentioned statistical analyses by interjecting percentages as imaginary proof. The focus of this essay is on the larger question, the one that is HARDLY EVER raised, if at all, or seriously discussed by regular black people to regular black people. By regular I am discussing the black people who live in concentrated pockets of poverty, not the black people who have attained a measure of material, economic success in this country and do not live in those pockets:
HOW CAN BLACK PEOPLE SIMPLY DISMISS OUR HISTORY IN AMERICA AND NOT BE AFFECTED SO THOROUGHLY BY IT VESTIGES?
FRUSTRATION IN PERPETUITY THROUGH MIND CONTROL 101
Within the brain of each and every black person at the unconscious level, there is frustration. Synonyms for this word are, hindrance, blocking, foiling, defeat, obstruction, thwarting. I could substitute any of these words and the meanings, feelings and expressions through those feelings are the same.
Why? Why would black people be frustrated, foiled, obstructed, thwarted, blocked, hindered and defeated deep within the unconscious level of our brains?
Our history. The history that is only spoken of as an aside, “oh yeah, black people were slaves once upon a time.”
Now I am going to ask you, dear reader, to put on your critical thinking cap and ponder, if black people have bought into the vestiges of Jim Crow believe that we as a group and as a race are the way we are because of who and what we are, as espoused by our oppressors, then why wouldn’t we have also bought into the ravages of slavery that gave birth to Jim Crow?
American history doesn’t teach the horror or slavery at its basest level. This we know already. Therefore, we are not allowed and I use this word allowed in such a manner as to invoke the magnitude of its meaning in the lives of black people living today, to attach ourselves to that part of history which dishonors our ancestors into obscurity, and at the same time, allows us to perpetuate the stereotypes hoisted on our descendants to the present time.
FACT: Slaves were separated from their families.
FACT: Slaves speaking the same language were separated from their similar language communities.
FACT: Slaves were brutalized on a regular, consistent basis.
FACT: Slaves were hunted and killed for sport and with impunity.
FACT: Slaves were pitted against each other for the slaveholder’s favor.
FACT: Both male and female slaves were raped.
FACT: Slave mothers would be separated from their newborns immediately after birth and turned into wet nurses for the benefit of the slave master’s wife if the wife had given birth.
FACT: Slave babies and children were used as bait for alligators and crocodiles.
FACT: Slaves would beat their own children senseless in front of the slave owner as sick form of “protection” for their children, who would then be spared the whip of the master in order to keep them "in line."
FACT: Slaves were regularly hung, burned, beheaded, whipped, beat, and punished in other inhuman ways, not because they were hostile, but because such treatment was considered essential by the slaveholders to keep their human chattel in a submissive state.
The atrocities go on and on. All one need do is locate and read the history not taught in classrooms. It’s out there.
Indoctrination means the act of indoctrinating, or teaching or inculcating a doctrine, principle, or ideology, especially one with a specific point of view (Source: dictionary.com). Indoctrination of black people into the culture of slavery and the inhumanity of being considered chattel, the destruction of black family life and subsequent subjugation of Jim Crow flowed into the psyche of black people, into the deepest caverns of our ancestors’ very existence.
“Many a sincere person will answer: ‘Our attitude towards Negroes is the result of unfavorable experiences which we have had by living side by side with Negroes in this country. They are not our equals in intelligence, sense of responsibility, reliability.’ I am firmly convinced that whoever believes this suffers from a fatal misconception. Your ancestors dragged these black people from their homes by force; and in the white man's quest for wealth and an easy life they have been ruthlessly suppressed and exploited, degraded into slavery. The modern prejudice against Negroes is the result of the desire to maintain this unworthy condition.
“A large part of our attitude toward things is ‘conditioned by opinions and emotions which we unconsciously absorb as children from our environment.’ In other words, it is tradition—besides inherited aptitudes and qualities—which makes us what we are. We but rarely reflect how relatively small as compared with the powerful influence of tradition is the influence of our conscious thought upon our conduct and convictions.”
-- Albert Einstein
We are shaped by the environment and “conditioned by opinions and emotions unconsciously absorbed as children by our environment.”
I always taught my children that they must only direct their anger to and for whom it is meant, because in that way, people who do not deserve the effects of that anger do not have to suffer from it unnecessarily. The utter hopelessness created through the maintenance of a system designed to keep the majority of blacks subjugated makes us angry, but not stupid. Angry because we know that one of the major fears of white people with regard to black people is retribution and have created major deterrents to effect the utter annihilation of black people on the planet should we attempt to dream we could direct our collective anger toward them. Therefore, we don’t seriously consider that alternative.
But that anger has to go somewhere, and studies have shown that people who have “bad days” generally take their frustration out on the closest people to them.
Black people have been having a bad day for over 300 years, and counting.