Monday, July 29, 2013

In Defense of My People

Every since George Zimmerman killed Trayvon Martin, we have been demanding for justice. For us, the unjust verdict in the George Zimmerman case is not the end of the discussion. We are demanding that the Department of Justice bring federal charges against that killer. We are demanding an end to racial profiling. We are demanding the elimination of Stand Your Ground laws around the country. Such laws are a license to hunt and kill black people.

To avoid a real discussion about those issues, the right is desperately trying to change the subject from one about justice into one about black pathology. Instead of addressing our call for social justice, conservatives are demonizing black people. The right is not genuinely concerned about "black on black" violence and other problems plaguing the black community. They are only reinforcing negative stereotypes about black people. The right is simply blaming the victims.

Don Lemon is the latest negro to engage in victim blaming. Despite his claims to the contrary, Lemon is deflecting attention away the previously stated issues at hand. The other day, Lemon went on seven minute rant trashing his own people on national television before a largely white audience. According to his myopic viewpoint, all of our problems stem from sagging pants, using the N word, littering in our neighborhoods, dropping out of school and the high percentage out of wedlock births. Lemon's segment included video of Bill O'Reilly ranting about violence in the black community. Violence, high drop out rates and high out of wedlock birthrates are merely symptoms of systemic problems such as poverty, unemployment, inferior schools and war on drugs.

Ending poverty is not national top priority. We always hear politicians talk about protecting the middle class. Politicians rarely talk about waging a war of poverty. Poverty is a breeding ground for a multitude of problems. Many poor men are less likely to marry because they simply do not have the financial means to maintain and sustain a family. When one is poor and unemployed and living in an environment that saturated with drugs and guns, one is more likely to resort to selling drugs in order to survive.

As 2Pac says in his song Change, instead of waging a war on poverty, the government is waging a war on drugs. That war is essentially a war on black people. As Michelle Alexander notes in her book The New Jim Crow, African Americans do not use or sell more drugs than whites. More specifically, on page 4 of the introduction, Professor Alexander states, "Studies show that people of all colors use and sell illegal drugs at remarkably similar rates.10 If there are significant differences in the surveys to be found, they frequently suggest that whites, particularly white youth, are more likely to engage in drug crime than people of color.11" However, the police focus their efforts in the black community thereby exacerbating the problem of mass incarceration in our community. Mass incarceration contributes to the destruction of the black family. A man cannot be there for his family if he is in jail.

Moreover, America has not made improving poor inner city schools a top priority. Instead of treating the high African American dropout rate as a national disaster, it is viewed as a problem in "the black precincts". The federal, state and local governments must build an infrastructure to encourage young black students to finish high school. We must give our children the tools they need to attend college or trade schools. When people are educated and employed, they are less likely to engage in criminal activity.

If conservatives truly cared about black on black violence, they would do several things. They would support background checks for gun purchases. They would fight to close gun show loopholes that allow our streets to be flooded with guns. The easy availability of such weapons fuels the carnage in Chicago, Detroit, Baltimore and other urban centers. They would support Rep. Robert "Bobby" Scott's Youth Promise Act, a "long term, evidence based and locally based" plan to reduce violence by addressing the root causes of the problem. Finally, they would stop blocking job creation bills. How can you take care of your family when you do not have a job?

Until Don Lemon, Bill O'Reilly and other are willing to address the root causes of violence, they need to shut the hell up. Don Lemon, why didn't you rant on and on about poverty, unemployment, gun control, inferior schools and mass incarceration?


  1. "Violence, high drop out rates and high out of wedlock birthrates are merely symptoms of systemic problems such as poverty, unemployment, inferior schools and war on drugs."

    This is everything.

    But Blacks who "made it" refuse to acknowledge that. What I find even more pathetic about Don Lemon's comments is that he does't recognize that Whites often dress similarly to the supposed "sagging pants" trend (which I hardly see anymore) and at worst are seen as being nuisances. No one ever finds them threatening or fears for their lives when they are around.

    I just hate how simpletons like to make everything black and white. "If you didn't do this, then this wouldn't happen." They think with their LIMITED view on the world, they can solve all the world's problems. Yes, there is dysfunction in the Black American community, but don't presume that it's all their doing. Just because you've chosen to forego all vestiges of your Black heritage, and assume the image of "anti-threat" (i.e., soft-spoken and effeminate, so that Whites have the impression they could win in a fight against you), and that works for you, does't make it something we all should strive for.

    1. Thanks for sharing your insightful comments. I completely agree.