AFRICANGLOBE – Before I state my observations, I’d like to warn you that this piece may irritate the hell out of you. First, I’d also like to express that I am not any kind of social or political ideologue; readers to my own blog (Beyond The Political Spectrum) know that I tend reject religious-, ideological-, emotional-, or any kind of dogmatic-based thinking when it comes to analyzing social and political policies.
I tend to favor reason and pragmatism alone when taking note of observations. Do I have biases? Of course, as do we all. However, I’d like to think that I’m biased in favor of clear-thinking when it comes to asserting my observations. Lastly, I don’t see myself as an apologist for White Americans in their historical mistreatment of African-Americans by their ancestors. The mistreatment is a statement of fact alone, nothing more or less.
However, in a not-so-strange sense, I think I know how conservative (i.e., “angry Whites”) feel when it comes to the negative attitudes many have toward Black people. For centuries in this country, Whites have enjoyed the social, economic, and political benefits of their combination race-gender identity…to the social, economic, and political detriment of women (to a slightly lesser degree) and ethnic minorities. During these earlier times in our history, when Blacks were socially and politically emasculated, Black men were only micrometers ahead Black women in terms of our influences within these social and political institutions in America.
But over the last couple generations, women and racial minorities have made such headway into balancing the scales of the socioeconomic inequities wrought by the last couple of centuries of White (male) privilege that many Whites now feel disenfranchised. Between affirmative action policies, shifting social dynamics, the rhetorical and political pushback against ideological conservatism, and the growing attempts to curtail open gun ownership—a historical symbol of White male independence and power—Whites have complained that they are now the ones who are socially discriminated against. Formerly disenfranchised minority groups have grown in recent times to assert their socioeconomic and political clout—sometimes seemingly at the expense of Whites. In fact, many White males believe that the positive gains that Black and other minorities have made in these areas have morphed into a level of social dominance…that the expectations of African-Americans have rendered them somewhat out of control. As a Black male, I think I can identify with this feeling among Whites—White men in particular—that African-American are indeed out of control.
This is not a piece that I write lightly. However, one of the lasting lessons I learned from my father growing up is that sunlight is the bet disinfectant. Sometimes, you simply have to embarrass and shock people into doing the right thing. In defiance of the unspoken Black dictum that we as Black people “shouldn’t air our dirty laundry,” I feel one of two things will happen as a result; either the most negative elements within and among the African-American community will either continue to engage in self-destructive behaviors—thus proving me right—or try to prove me wrong. In the latter possibility, our collective communities will be better off for my efforts.
When I say that we are “out of control,” I speak of how the most negative aspects of Black life in America seems to live in the forefront of the daily spotlight. Immediately, my hometown of Chicago comes to mind. As of the end of January this year, the Windy City recorded some 43 murders, including the senseless murders of 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton, who performed at one of the events surrounding President Barack Obama’s inauguration and Ronnie Chambers, the fourth and final child of Shirley Chambers—who had already lost three children previously to gun violence. When I am forced to take note of such violence-based insanity infecting our neighborhoods, it becomes damn hard to defend African-Americans from accusations from the most conservative and racist elements within the White community who assert that “they live (and act) like animals!”
Yes, I could respond with the predictable, “But what about White people when they…,” but such non-substantive retorts do nothing to address such problems within our communities. Yes, we can point out the fact that the mass killings in Aurora, Colorado and Newtown, Connecticut were perpetrated by deranged White males, but what does that say about Black males, the chief perpetrators whose combined violent actions within our Black communities equals—in the words of President Obama—a Newtown every four months? Where are the Al Sharptons and Jesse Jacksons to organize marches in our communities against such Black-on-Black violence?
Black women are equally out of control. And when I think of Black women being out of control, I think of a couple You Tube videos that have gone viral within the Black community. I’m sure most of you have seen these videos, one of which was referenced recently (“You Might Walk Over, But You Limpin’ Back!”) in an article I read asserting the same thesis. In one of these videos, two Black women were recorded verbally harassing and disrespecting a Black security guard in the worst way in front of their own children…whom they were encouraging to enjoin them in acting in the same manner. In the second of the popular videos, a young Black woman is recorded on a Cleveland city bus projecting the same verbal disrespect and browbeating toward another Black male, a city older bus driver.
In both videos, the antagonism provoked by these women eventually led to an escalation of these situations where both men were forced to get physical with these women. The lack of self-respect exemplified in these instances is indicative of the general lack of self-respect and self-control that Black women have for themselves, which translates into a lack of respect toward Black males…and the wheels on the bus go ‘round and ‘round.
This lack of self-respect and self-control is why it’s so easy for so many Black women to objectify themselves as sexual objects in our raunchy music video culture. And the funny thing is that most Black women want to be respected as something other than sex objects…go figure. In fact, Black women have become anesthetized to the self-degradation of their image in most of today’s Southern-originating rap “music” (for want of a better term) that many are quick to overlook the misogynistic and self-degrading lyrics they dance to by asserting that “they’re not taking about me…I know I ain’t no ‘ho!’” The problem with such a weak dissonance is that many of the same Black women who are forgiving of Black rappers for degrading them are suddenly offended when the Don Imuses of the world toss around the label of “nappy-headed ‘hos.” We can’t expect others to respect us if we don’t respect ourselves. I don’t believe is giving out free passes for disrespect just because a fellow Black engages in it.