SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 05, 2015
BENEATH THE SPIN • ERIC L. WATTREE
This Is Gonna Sound Ugly, But Let's Keep It Real And Save Our Children, Black Folks
Let's keep it real. While the crimes being committed against Black people are unconscionable, in many cases we're allowing ourselves to be victimized. Of course, there are those who are going to accuse me of blaming the victim, but the fact is, sometimes the victim is partially to blame for his situation. The concept of placing oneself in harm's way is very real, and that's exactly what we're allowing to happen in the Black community.
Let us take an extreme example of that concept at work to make my point. If a person is told that the Klan is having a rally in an isolated location at midnight that night, the person getting that information would be perfectly within his rights if he decided to go home, comb out his Afro, put on his most colorful dashiki, and walk past the rally singing "I'm Black and I'm Proud." But if he ended up being shot or lynched and someone suggested that he had acted stupidly, it would be next to impossible for the man's family to claim that the critic was blaming the victim, because the critic would be right. Yes, the Klan definitely committed a heinous crime by killing the man, and the perpetrators should get exactly what the law prescribes for such an act. But we can't avoid the fact that the victim was, at the very least, partially responsible for his own death by failing to use the common sense to avoid placing himself in a position to be killed, and that is exactly the case in the Black community.
In order to protect our interest, we should be doing everything in our power to see to it that anyone who is abusive or takes any life is brought to justice. We should consider abusive behavior and the taking of life as unacceptable - period. But we're not doing that. While we go absolutely berserk (and we should) when a cop kills an unarmed Black person, we literally step over the bodies without a whimper when a home-grown criminal kills another Black person. In many cases he's made a hero of the community for being so tough. that's why so many youngsters try go for bad, and brag about their "Gats."
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That attitude not only makes our community less safe, but it lessens the chances that bad cops will be brought to justice - and there's a very clear-cut reason for that. When we allow criminals to operate with relative impunity in our community, it contributes to an environment that is so violent that potential jurors tend to give bad cops the benefit of the doubt because they see them as operating in a war zone. In addition, when we single out cops - and not EVERYONE who murders another human being - it makes us look disingenuous. It makes it look like we don't care about Black lives at all; we're just using the death of a Black person as a pretext to go after cops. As a result, jurors tend to close ranks to protect cops - even bad cops. But don't become confused over my position, I want to make it absolutely clear that I have absolutely no sympathy for either an abusive, or a murderous cop whatsoever, but with that said, I also want to make it absolutely clear that I'm equally hostile toward a murderous criminal as I am a bad cop. To me they're one and the same - they're both criminals. While one might say, "But a cop should be held to a higher standard," I disagree. EVERYBODY should be held to the SAME standard - YOU DON'T KILL PEOPLE!!!
Thus, the Black community must mount a concerted effort to correct the conditions that tend to make the community vulnerable to injustice and abuse, because the very first thing that any society does before it commits genocide against a people is to denigrate and demonize them. That serves to dehumanize them to the point where the larger population becomes comfortable with the fact that it's okay to exterminate them - it was done to the Native Americans (savages); it was done during slavery and Jim Crow to African Americans (niggers); and it was recently done to Muslims (terrorists). But now they've added an ingenious new wrinkle to this technique. Now they're paying Black people to demonize themselves, by producing and distributing ten minute commercials around the world, portraying Black people as gangsters, drug dealers, and worthless human beings.
Okay, now here comes the ugly part that I spoke of - If we placed as much energy into education, community affairs, voting, and supporting Black businesses as we do saggin', flo-showin', and making people like Dr. Dre billionaires by calling the very womb of our culture "bitches" and "hoes," we'd be the ones running the police dept. in the black community. But many of us are much too busy trying to make it look like we've attained the "American dream" as individuals, to be bothered with trying to create a better, and more wholesome, community for our children. Our minds (including my own when I was raising my children) was more fixated on getting out of the area. African Americans are the only group of people in the world, that I can think of, who measure our self-worth by how far we can get away from our own culture. Instead of loving and supporting our culture, it's about "look at me; I ain't like the rest of y'all!" That's Willie Lynch, hard at work.
I placed an early draft of this piece on Facebook and a well-meaning defender of the Black community by the name of Lynda said the following:
"Who's we? Maybe you don't or your associates don't. These kinds of statements don't not reflect 'all' Black people. Just speak for yourself! When you say stupid stuff like this, it reflects on everybody."
In response, I pointed out the following facts to Lynda:
"What I've said reflects on enough Black people where it keeps us at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder. It's also reflective enough where people can come here penniless from other countries and step right over us to become our bosses, landlords and the very people we're protesting to. So tell me one thing that I said above that's not true. The fact is, you can't. That's why you didn't do it in the first place. Instead, you just said my words were "stupid." But I beg to differ. What's stupid is SAYING my words are stupid without being able to show me HOW they're stupid; and what's stupid is sticking your head in the sand because you don't like what you see on the surface. Another thing that's stupid is trying to be so supportive of your people that you support helping them commit cultural suicide instead of simply facing the truth and addressing it. Now THOSE are things that are stupid.
"So I repeat - "If we placed as much energy into education, community affairs, voting, and supporting Black businesses as we do saggin', flo-showin' and making people like Dr. Dre billionaires, we'd be the ones running the police dept. in the black community. Now tell me, what's either stupid or untrue about that? Let me answer that for you - not a damn thing, so I won't take the time to wait around for your response.
"Wake up lady and face reality. The Black community is hurting because there's a cancer growing in our midst and people like yourself, keep insisting it's only a heat rash. You seem to feel that all we have to do is demand that the White man come and bring us a little ointment and everything will be alright. Well, let me tell you something, sister. The White establishment don't give a damn if our asses fall off - or, they have to blow 'em off. So what we need to recognize is, we can't out-scream him, because he controls the media, and we can't out fight him, because he controls the military and makes the guns; so all we can do is stop being "stupid," educate ourselves, and learn to out-think 'em.
"But people like yourself aren't about that. You're too worried about our image. You want to just keep sittin' around saying, "We shouldn't air our dirty laundry in public?" Well, I've got one question in that regard. Where the Hell ARE we suppose to air 'em, in secret!!!? If you'll pull your head out the sand you'll see that trying to hide our dirty laundry ain't been workin' for us. The only people in the world who don't seem to see right through us is ourselves, and all that hiding our dirty laundry philosophy has led to is our kids being shot down in the street like dogs while the rest of the community is walking around in dirty draws.
"I know it's unpleasant to face our shortcomings, but we can't correct our problems if we refuse to acknowledge them. And believe me, failing to acknowledge what's killing us is as stupid as it gets."
I BEAR WITNESS
I sit, I watch,
and I grow ever more obsolete
as I bear witness.
I bear witness
to a once vibrant people greedily gulping down society’s hemlock. Even as they claim to be "keeping it real," they continue to maim, kill, and despise their own in hot pursuit of the prime directive with the passion of a sheetless Klan.
I bear witness
to Black fists in the air in false solidarity promoted by self-serving poverty pimps as the world looks on and giggle at crooked fingers pointed elsewhere.
I bear witness
to the superficial attempt to ban the “N-word” while the new "un-niggas" stand around watching children killing children and fathers drugging sons, as they celebrate, lionize, and enrich those who denigrate the very womb of their culture with impunity.
I bear witness
to a generation of lost knowledge, cut off from its roots by Ronnie’s “Just say no” generation of crack, greed, death, and political corruption; A generation where the new N-word is pronounced “Responsibility” and the keepers of the flame completely ignore the destructive power of "bitch," "slut," "hoe," and "tramp."
I bear witness
to the reckless disregard of the words "uneducated," "irresponsible," and "classless." Should we not ban these words as well, or should we ban banning words altogether as we celebrate their meaning?
Yes, I do bear witness.
I bear witness to a new world -
a world where gross ignorance comes disguised as enlightenment, and funky sneakers look down with disdain upon the sweet smell of Florsheim; a world where saggin’ pants and gaudy glitter enable country bumpkins to masquerade as elegant, and the exquisite surrender of eloquence is the very essence of what it means to be hip.
Where's Langston? Where's Baldwin? Where's Oscar Brown, Jr.?
We need you stormin' this beach, because . . .
I now bear witness
to a world where motherhood stands alone, to be “dope” renders a smile, and posterity is forced to embrace the wind for paternal sustenance; A world where the walking dead strut about rapping the wisdom of idiocy, and we praise the illiteracy of vulgar nursery rhymes as profound; a world where the mother of salvation's final gasp is compared to the pigmentation of brown paper bags.
Malcolm, Martin, where are you?
I once stood with a crowd.
Now seemingly alone,
I'm forced to bear witness -
horrific witness . . .
to the imminent demise of our people,
And my heart bleeds.