TAMING THE “BRUTE”: WHICH IS MOST CRIMINAL A MAN CORRUPTED BY HIS ENVIRONMENT OR THE COMMUNITY THAT CORRUPTED HIM?
The issue then and now remains the same because Black Americans so easily turn a blind-eye to the truth. On many levels the perpetuation of racism in America comes directly from the black community where it grows like a cancer, its resilience continues to confound the efforts of freethinkers and civil rights leaders of all races who join in a unified front to reverse the effects of this disease. While this dilemma does not leave other exterior factions and communities blameless it certainly serves to put the entire picture of racism into a realistic perspective thereby forcing the black community to assume accountability for its own part in this unfortunate social drama. In essence, the criticism that the Black American community has not taken seriously the issue of racism within itself because it is overly defensive against racism inflicted upon it from other entities has to be more closely examined. The realness of it all is that black men in America face a great deal of external bias from all fronts simultaneously including from within themselves. Given the odds stacked against them, that black men are able to accomplish anything at all in this country besides falling into the myriad stereotypes they are assumed to represent is a testament to their true strength of will, character and intelligence. The million dollar question is how to convince the rest of the world? There are many reasons why Black Americans choose not to challenge biased treatment of black men but two of them stand out amid the rest. The larger of the two key problems is that acknowledging racism requires them to step out of a dysfunctional comfort zone they have created as a buffer for the certainty of a biased assault. Secondly, giving notice to racism challenges them to process its unpleasant content forcing them to shape an objective and informed opinion from which to take positive action. Racism is not a threat when it has been pushed out of sight and out of mind but as these 300 some years since the beginning of the enslavement of Africans has proven it is a resilient threat that appears not to be going away! The truth of the matter is that Black Americans really do have a sound and factual basis for their fears about racism. In the past and present black people could be severely punished for supporting a black man or advocating a cause sympathetic with a black man. Black American’s are victims of racial operant conditioning, a process of slow brainwashing used to train animals to perform certain tasks over and over and over again until it becomes second nature. Over nearly 300 years of oppression has conditioned black people to resent the history of unjust punishment of black men and they fight back by assuming all black men are being unjustly treated by the law, for this behavior I have coined the term “Reparation Justice”, it is a feeling of entitlement for innocence based on a past history of injustice whether the man is innocent or not. “This is why black people are hesitant to get involved when they see a black man being pulled over on the roadside or incarcerated on the sidewalk, this is why black people are afraid to speak up when they witness or have knowledge of a crime committed by a black man. Racism must be intelligently and humanely dealt with but due to the thoroughness of operant conditioning it may never completely disappear in our lifetime. Black Americans do not speak up readily whether it is to rid its communities of criminal vermin, to protest police violence, to vote for credible elected officials or to strike back against bias directed against them in the workplace or over the retail counters because of the history of operant conditioning that has taught them to shut up or face certain repercussions against themselves and loved ones. It is a messy and ugly affair which is why it has been ignored and pushed to the back by those most affected by its violence; our black men!
The primary challenge for the Black American community is to develop and establish effective and resilient think-tanks to galvanize and empower itself in spite of racism in a manner that does not regurgitate the same biases it seeks to overcome. What good is a think-tank designed to empower the black community that uses the same corrosive and inhumane policies as those factions it seeks to overcome? The objective of Black American empowerment cannot be to exact revenge on past injustices, it must be forward and positive thinking with the goal of healing and strengthening itself through the mutual healing of all moving towards a common goal of social, economic and political reform. It is a difficult task because these think tanks must be highly introspective, i.e. focused on the condition of Black American culture and yet responsive to those humans and cultures who share and/or do not share their struggle. Accomplishing this task requires a highly specialized and diversified way of thinking. The Black community has floundered overlong because of a critical disparity between its techniques for thinking these problems through. In a truly Machiavellian diorama the black intelligentsia has fought and effectively lost its power struggle to the more brutish and barbaric faction that gets it power credibility from the street! Today the black intelligentsia watches in anesthetic horror from the stained windows of their ivory towers as the decayed remnants of a once brilliant black community fail and become gentrified. They bemoan the rich ethnic history they failed to capture there that has been replaced with the brutish history of the latest homicide, gang debacle or drug overdose. On the fringes of these dwindling communities drug dealers continue to stand guard over territories for which they have no legal claim, the dynamics of whose ownership exceeds their ability to comprehend until the cold notice to vacate arrives forwarded through the attorneys of proprietors in another country. Nothing could be more depressing…
The black men standing on the streets feel as if they own them and as if they have gone through some ancient warriors rites of passage to earn the right to stand there guard their ancestral territory to the death. But the absurdity of this premise only becomes gruesomely evident when the coroners truck carts away their corpse. Who knows what trials they endured to earn the right to stand in the place where they were ultimately killed, who knows what level of street knowledge they achieved what standard of street credibility they earned in order to stand up and be cut down where they stood? The legendary skills of the streetwise have been passed on generation to generation from the plantation to the city from the ex-con to the eager ring of unfocused and unparented youths foolish enough to listen and they have withstood the slavemaster’s whip and the gangsters bullet, they are weapons and tools forged for use in a deadly and viscous cycle human suffering and depravity. The streetwise method of thinking can in fact be qualified as a comprehensive philosophy driven by the notion of an over-romanticized ghetto culture that is highly survivalist and desperate in nature. Street sense relies on raw, spontaneous instinct, it is adrenaline based and therefore highly effective in dangerous situations but can be virtually worthless when a more cerebral and phased out solution is required. Many people believe that the man who invests his existence only in street sense does so because he visualizes his life as a transient phenomenon with the expectation of little accomplishment beyond the stolen pleasures he might wrest from the incessant conflicts threatening his freedom and his life. He knows these pleasures are not legitimately earned but rationalizes them by citing the corruption of humanity in general as justification for seizing the material objectives without regard their morality. He may believe that because all men covet money, possessions and power his methodology is no more immoral or unethical as the next villain. Street sense can never solve the problems of racism because it is focused on securing a basic level survival lasting only for the moment; a state of existence that will be in desperate chaos almost as soon as it becomes gratified due to its lack of long-term planning. Recidivism and many other social dysfunctions that case people to become locked into addictions, economic hardship, over-dependency on social welfare, and other debilitating syndrome are some typical corrosive hallmarks of street-wisdom. Street wisdom and philosophy is not sustainable as the foundation for a culture or community outside of an esoteric ring of gangsters, outlaws or thieves… It cannot support the critical inter-cultural relationships that diverse, twenty-first century American culture demands. The world has radically changed around the street corners of American ghettos, it is a far different world than the one that created it. The social experiments of the twentieth century that placed black people close to jobs and vital resources hoping it would take advantage is pulling back its short-term offerings of reparation. There are many reasons why the social projects of the 1950's through the 1980's failed in our inner cities and none of them leaves the black community blameless! Neighborhoods where the streets became mortuaries are now gentrified but overall far happier places than before. Moreover the people who once violently lived and died there gave no reason for anyone to justify their perpetuation. When did just being poor mean that one had to be depraved? On closer observation you might even say that the black community got poverty all messed up! That they misconstrued the unique brand of poverty in which they were immersed. It was a forgiving poverty that said, "You will be given free housing, healthcare, food and education, social services including job training and with these essential tools you will pull yourselves up from poverty"! I know nothing is ever that simple but I also know that many but not nearly enough people did utilize the gifts available to them to uplift themselves. The burning question for our black communities and think-tanks moving forward into the twenty-first century is what went wrong and I do mean specifically and how can we turn this unfortunate flow of events around to get a favorable outcome? Well we all know the tough answers to this question are all linked to unpopular topics such as welfare, prison and child support law reform just to name a few... but these are topics for another discussion which had to be mentioned here because they are key ingredients of the soup that got us here with such distaste upon our palettes. Like Spike Lee says at the terminus of every one of his landmark films I want to run outside and scream, "WAKE UP"!