“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”
― Frederick Douglass
Last week the entire City of Detroit was on lock down. An Africa American male had escaped from the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice in the City of Detroit after overpowering a Wayne County Sheriff and stabbing him repeatedly in the neck with a homemade weapon.
Prior to being caught, the twenty-five year old assailant carjacked an African American female and threatened her life if she did not comply with his demands. Nowhere in recent history can this Examiner recall the inhumane treatment of African Americans upon one another.
“The disproportionate number of African-American males incarcerated within the United States is a difficult social dilemma that needs to be more fully understood and addressed…Specifically, [one needs to] find what factors have created such high levels of criminal justice control for African-American males…” http://www.studymode.com/essays/The-Disproportionate-Number-Of-African-American-Males-1041700.html July 2012
“A gentleman will not insult me, and no man not a gentleman can insult me.”
― Frederick Douglass
Over the past several decades too many black males have resolved that black on black crime is an actuality that governs survival in the “hood”. Whether killing a brother over turf wars about drugs or gangs, the upshot is still the same.
Gang tattoos that validate a violent affiliation are a reason to kill. Respect is the trigger word for many fights or killings also. Yet, respect is something to be earned; not to kill for—the dead do not show respect.
Music glorifies the killer mentality and the baser and more violent the lyrics the more glamorized the artists. The music industry has found that black on black crime is an effective marketing strategy for blood money (literally).
Nevertheless, the killing of blacks on blacks is far more intricate than the music that is being promoted. This destroyer has been decades in the making.
The thing worse than rebellion is the thing that causes rebellion.
- Frederick Douglass
Often, Black women have had to be the backbone of the family. During times of slavery, families were split apart, husbands and wives were sold, and children were generally left with only a mother to fend for the entire family.
Still today among African American males with high at-risk factors, fathers are absent members in the household. During my years of service with juveniles who were on intensive probation with Wayne County, 95% did not have a father in the home and two out of every five juvenile offenders were already fathers.
Black men were degraded after being sold into slavery with very little means to speak up or support their families. They were castrated literally and figuratively. The black men who dared to speak up were silenced or went down in history as heroes or fanatics.
Cutting off the genitalia of black men was the most inhumane and cruel method of taking away his dignity. Racism has always harbored several methods to keep the black man in a state of uncertainty. However, there were decades of great revitalization and self-actualization where African Americans’ obtained a renewed sense of consciousness.
“Knowledge makes a man unfit to be a slave.”
― Frederick Douglass
Frederick Douglas understood that a black man who could read and write was a great threat to the slave owner. A person who can speak up with authority and knowledge is a force to be reckoned with.
Douglas advocated that where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress them, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe. The latter is a very prophetic revelation that carries an omen for American’s past, present, and future.
Once slavery in America was not seen as radical it became, instead, a revolutionary idea that slaves should be freed. When persons have lived under a pernicious power long enough, no matter how oppressive, they grow so accustomed to the yoke that its removal seems frightening, even wrong (Spence).
A courtroom observer in New York, Detroit, Atlanta, Los Angeles or any other major city will witness a sea of black and brown faces sitting at the defense table or shackled together on the bus transporting prisoners from the jail for court hearings (Mauer). http://www.sentencingproject.org/doc/publications/rd_crisisoftheyoung.pdf
Dr. Ed Bell maintains that the experience of African American males in America is unlike any other experience faced by other immigrants. After arriving to America Africans were dehumanized and treated as inferior based solely on skin color.
Dr. Bell’s research concludes that African American males may be experiencing the residual effects of slavery and their behaviors may be linked inextricably to the ruling classes’ biases and/or the cultural dispositions of other. http://dredbell.com/images/educatingblacksmales.pdf
Slavery built years of segregation between the races, that time alone will never heal (Gardner, 2009).
…to make a contented slave, it is necessary to make a thoughtless one…darken his moral and mental vision, and, as far as possible, annihilate the power of reason…
-Frederick Douglass Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
So then, why have too many African Americans negated their history and embraced self-hatred for their own race and disavowed the very sacrifices of their forefathers?
One can argue that those responsible for annihilating their own race are unintelligent when it comes to their history. Still, one may resign to the institution of slavery as the culprit.
Yet, only so much can be said about an individual’s accountability factor and his or her interconnectivity with governments and ruling classes. As familial, social, historical, and economic factors contribute in various ways to ones’ worldview. The case may be that all of the above contribute to black on black crime.
Indeed the long arm of governments affects almost every phase of ones’ life. Yet, individualism and personal accountability is a school of thought all in itself. Accountability is a personal factor. Our society expects adults to be accountable for their actions.
To this end, if we as a people cannot dispel the myths and stereotypes that lead us astray and constrain us to behave accordingly, then the Courts will continue to make of us accountable for our actions.
"Without vision..." (Proverbs 29:18)
Last year one of the public broadcasting stations interviewed the current Grand Dragon of the Klu Klux Klan (KKK). He stated that the KKK does not have to study too hard on the destruction of the black man. At one time the KKK had to kill, hang, discourage, and boycott colored people. The Grand Dragon maintained that blacks are doing the killings on one another now. They are raping their own women, abandoning their own children, and murdering one another at an “all time high” in their own ghettos.
It is not what a person knows about you that can be harmful—but rather what you do not know about yourself.
Marc, Mauer. The Sentencing Project.
Gardner, Eden. (March 24, 2009) What impact did slavery have on our society today?
Spence, Gerry, L. From Freedom to Slavery.