Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The End of Blackness, A Review Revisited

In her comments on yesterday's post, my dear Comrade-In-The-Struggle, SMID, asks some hard questions. Thanks for asking them, my friend. Here are my thoughts:

The effects of persistent racism cannot be ignored. They are real. They are present in most facets of life in America if you aren't white. They aren't going away soon. Having said that, there are effects of persistent racism that can be ameliorated by taking the bull by the horns and wrestling him to the ground.

The first thing to do, in minority communities, is to turn away from the cult of low expectations. One thing that I consistently hear from people, particularly black Americans is "it doesn't matter what you do, the white man (also known as "the man", or "whitey" isn't going to let you get ahead, so why try?" I get angry when I hear it, and routinely respond: "Yeah, well one thing is for sure, whitey doesn't have to worry about keeping YOU down... you are already doing it to yourself, and your family, for him". Look, as I said at the start of this post, I realize that racism is real, and it is tangible... but so what? When we tell our children that speaking clear, standard English is "talking white", we doom another generation to low income, underemployment, and subsistence wages. When we tell a child that reading, studying, and getting good grades is "acting white", we doom another generation to being laborers (not that there is anything WRONG with labor, mind you), or worse, criminals/convicts.

Low expectations are a societal killer.

The next thing to do is to embrace all of the bountiful educational possibilities in our communities. Even the crappiest of public schools beats learning to read surreptitiously, because it is illegal... Yes, schools in predominantly minority areas continue to lag, but I refuse to lay all of the blame at the feet of "whitey". Educational achievement is driven by parental participation and interest. If a kid's parent gives them the old line about "Whitey" the kid allows himself not to be bothered... after all, he hasn't got a chance anyway.

Further... the biggest reason that some schools get the best resources is because of low voter turnout... politicians don't really have to pay attention to people that don't vote, because those people won't turn them out of office. So VOTE. In. Every. Election.

The next thing to do is read. Yes, simply that. Read. Read everything. Read all of the time. Whatever you might not be getting in your crappy school, you can get in books. Go to your library. It's free. Whitey can't keep you from getting a library card.

***Special shout out to Mrs Jefferson, the librarian in the kids section of the Vauxhall Public Library, on Hilton Avenue!***

The next thing to do is to keep sports and entertainment in their proper places in your priorities. The NBA and the NFL are fine goals, but then again, so is becoming an astronaut... and your chances for the latter are just as good or bad as the former. We have to stop idolizing athletes and entertainers for the evil deeds that SOME of them commit.

Sure, be proud of the accomplished athlete, but understand that athletic prowess isn't a stand-in for having to obey the law. Criminal behavior is nothing to emulate.... even when that criminal is the President of The United States, the Vice President, or some lying sonofabitch from Texas who happens to be the Attorney General... but I digress.

The next thing is to show a little respect for your own body. KEEP YOUR DICK IN YOUR PANTS!/KEEP YOUR PANTIES ON! Having sex won't make you an adult. You can wait... so can she. Statistics abound on the poor high school graduation rates in minority communities for unwed mothers, and their subsequent effects. It's enough to make you cry... and whitey, again, can't be held responsible for it.

The most important thing to do in minority communities is to foster the belief in the two-parent household. No... a two-parent household doesn't guarantee success, but it sure as hell increases the odds for success. Whitey isn't controlling that, either.

No... "the man" is problematic, but we can't, or shouldn't do his work for him.

As I mentioned a few weeks ago at brother DJ Black Adam's blog, no rescue is coming, we are going to have to get off of the island on our own.

17 comments:

honeykbee said...

Couldn't agree with you more regarding the cult of low expectations but beg to differ on one point-- they are ever-present facets of America whether or not you are white.

Gunfighter said...

Not arguing that point, Bee, but I meant that in terms of racism.

ewe are here said...

Thanks for dropping by my blog.


This is a very good post. I agree that low expectations as a starting point alone, is a massive hurdle. Mindsets have to be changed from within. And 'heros' need to be everyday people who work hard, raise their kids, give back to their communities, etc. ... not people who just know how to kick.
/throw/catch a ball really well.

DangerDoll said...

Excellent post! Reminds me of Bill Cosby's "pound cake" speech a few years ago. Which (like this post) I totally agreed with and mentally applied to many other ethnic and socioeconomic groups in America...and then was somehow obligated by the media to feel guilty for agreeing with because I'm a middle-class white girl.

Terri@SteelMagnolia said...

"dangerdoll" pretty much said what I was thinking...

soccer mom in denial said...

I first of all, having "caused" this post, agree with the dangers of low expectations.

But, I wonder if race has become the proxy word for poverty. In America we assume that black = poor. However, rural poor whites also have similar lack of education, jobs and safe housing as urban areas.

And while I agree that so much of it needs to be owned by the individual, I don't think that let's our larger society off the hook for lack of jobs, poor health care and crap homes.

Gunfighter said...

Ewe,

Welcome!

DD,

Cosby was right then... and now.

SMID<

As usual, we agree

Melanie said...

Wow Great post!

Anonymous said...

"It doesn't matter what you do...the white man isn't going to let you get ahead?"

Black people who say that are fucking stupid.

As a whitey, I'm not hiring anyone who says 'ax' instead of 'ask'.

I won't hire anyone who can't speak proper English.

I read something not too long ago, can't remember the author's name, who encourages intelligent blacks just forget about stupid blacks - like whites do to hillbillies and dumbass white trash. It's hopeless. You can't expect stupid people to get smart. They're stupid. They'll always be stupid.

soccer mom in denial said...

Anon.

Wow. So you are prosing we treat our poor neighbors like the Untouchables in India? They are disposible?

DJ Black Adam said...

Well you know we are in full agreement. I have offended some in stating similar views. The fact is that folks tend to fall back on an outdated civil rights paradigm to deal with the current problems we face as individuals and as a community. Racism / Colorism will be around for a long time I'd wager, the scientific fiction has created a social reality that seems to continue to endure, that is something that we have little power over to change.

What we can change is what we have direct control over. Like I mentioned to you before, in Chicago, the majority is still African American, yet African American leaders in Chicago often package up the Black vote for democrats, and the African American community receives very little if anything in return. An example of this is the school system and the disparity between schools in low income African American (and even Latino) neighborhoods and that of the affluent White areas.

While "racism" may be part of the predicate on how this became to be the actuality, this actuality could easily be changed if the majority DEMANDED accountability from democrats like Mayor Daley and Arne Duncan regarding their school system.

But instead what do we see? Folks getting together to write a letter to the President of the United States to "pardon" Ron Isley. If we could get Black radio to attempt to similarly motivate the African American community to write letters to the politicians and leaders who get their votes regarding their children's education maybe we could see some change.

DJ Black Adam said...

Anon & Soccer Mom

Hello. (GF let me know if I overstep here in replying to both of your visitors in this)

SM, I know what Anon stated is harsh, it seems he or she may be speaking out of frustration not malice. The fact is, that you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him or her drink. I think we should work to save those who want to be saved, and not waste time on folks who don't, regardless of what color or income bracket they come from is what Anon was trying to communicate.

It's like having a crackhead in the family, you still love them, but you know that by entwining yourself too much in their problems you risk being sucked down with them. In that circumstance you give them the help you can, suggest they get rehab, but you don't allow them in your home around your children.

Just my take.

DJ Black Adam said...

My bad people, my previeous demographic information was off. Here is the statement in context with actually racial demographics of Chicago:

"What we can change is what we have direct control over. For example, in Chicago, the city has a significant Africa American portion of the population (36.77%), with Latinos (26.02%) they have the majority."

My bad :-)

Dawn said...

"Low expectations are a societal killer."

Preach brother!

I am not Star Jones said...

Low expectations are a societal killer... should be put on billboards throughout the country.

Kateastrophe said...

Hi, yeah . . . i am SO late to this party. But I just wanted to say that I appreciate so much of what you have to say in this post. I am the whitest white girl I know, so I don't have a lot of perspective on some of what you speak of, but I do share many of your sentiments and echo all of what you said. Thank you for being so candid.

Fourier Analyst said...

My Momma, born in Savannah, GA, in one of her last careers was a high-school English teacher in South Dallas. Middle-class urban neighborhood, but the school was what was termed "pre-dominanatly black". It was a bit of a culture shock to her when she first started teaching there as the year before there had been an on-campus shooting and metal detectors and off-duty policemen were at the entryway every morning.

Nonetheless, she "made a ripple" I feel, heading up a PSAT program that helped raise the SAT scores and the number of students from that school who took the SAT. She retired several years ago, after 30+ years of teaching.

I can't say that she has erased all the prejudices she was born with, and she herself says that dealing with some of the kids who had such a "the world owes me cuz I'm black"-attitude introduced a few prejudices she didn't have before. But she did some good and left a mark on the world in an area where such efforts were really needed. All the things you say here really resonate with what she has said through the years and taught me to believe.