Should Black Lives Matter Apply to Black On Black Crime?
Honestly, the ones following behind "black lives matter" live in all white neighborhoods or are criminals themselves. It's a shame we can't live among our own kind without worrying about being robbed, killed, raped, etc. The crazy part is most crimes committed by black people are targeted at OTHER black people! Now if the white man is the enemy, why do we not target them? This is an issue, especially in the city of Chicago, that I think needs to be addressed.
It would be different if our crime rate was equal that of everyone else's, but our crime is too much higher than everyone else. And even if other races commit such crimes, why do we only focus on our issues when it involves what other people are doing? We still should work to decrease black on black crime in black neighborhoods so it can be a safe place for our children and so we can increase business opportunities in our own neighborhood.
I agree with you that Black Lives Matter should include black on black crime in the things that it wants to address. First things first, is the way I see the issues they are currently focusing on. The movement was spawned due to the outrage at the way that young black males are approached by law enforcement, and by the way mainstream white people were quick to take the side of law enforcement.
I think that you are generalizing quite a bit by stating that black people don't care about their own lives. I think that the sense of hopelessness invades predominately black communities because of the way that they are portrayed in the media, and that the unique culture that dominates these communities is so misunderstood by the larger culture. The culture that I am speaking of is the perseverance of moms who are blamed for all of societies ills, when they are doing the best they can to raise loving children with good manners. Witness the way that children treat one another in these communities and you will see that black people care about themselves enough to instill in their children morals about sticking up for one another, sharing resources, and being emotionally supportive of one another. Someone is doing something right to have children with these qualities.
We must look at what happens when these kids hit puberty to understand why a spirit of hopelessness often prevails. I don't have that answer but I speculate it may be the way they see themselves in relation to the way their moms are portrayed by society at large, through how the media and movies portrays them. Many times young teens have witnessed their moms, who have been strong and kind and good natured, get sh! on so much, that they enter a life of crime in the hopes of giving their family more economic security. They don't realize the full extent of the consequences and end up in the criminal justice system rather than being a benefit to their family which was their intention for committing crime in the first place.
I don't think many successful black people leave black communities out of fear as much as knowing that the conditions of poverty in these communities are overwhelming and maybe they'd feel guilty enjoying the fruits of their labor among those who are struggling for daily survival.
You bring up an important topic that wears on my mind and tears at my heart. I don't think the black on black crime rate will decrease until the culture is recognized by society at large for their strength and perserverance in the face of adversity over centuries.
I believe that #blacklivesmatter had a good start in promoting police brutality, but there are many reasons that could be leading to the fact that so many black men are the target. The focus on police brutality ignores a major issue that possibly leads to how black men are treated versus other men who do not act as hostile towards law enforcement. Not all black people who deal with police "brutality" are innocent. Some of them are sometimes on the run from robbing from their own stores, from promoting inner violence in the city, etc. Black men are most likely to resist arrest even when they are guilty. I see it with my own eyes from living in both black and white communities. So again, I do believe police brutality is an issue, but I believe before we decide to point the fingers at the police (who btw in Chicago are mostly black) we need to understand the job that police officers have dealing with inner city violence and we need to address the BIGGEST issue that is affecting our lives. Black on black crime has taken more lives from black people than police brutality. We need to focus on the BIGGER issue. I think that #blacklivesmatter should be revised to focus on all issues involving black crimes toward black people, and that ESPECIALLY should include the crimes done to our innocent children through violence by violent groups such as what is found in the city of Chicago.
I've worked with children in various black communities, trying to encourage them to do something with their lives and to believe in themselves. But you know what? What I see is not enough of other black people care. This led me to believe that black people have put other things honestly over black lives, especially black youths. And yes, I can't say all black people don't care, but how many actually care enough to reach out? Even the black people who have money, there are not enough of them donating or reaching out to organizations on the weekends. Only the celebrities are doing it, and this is so they can look good. But they aren't out here speaking to the youths. And the ones that are speaking to youths are only encouraging the problem. What I see is so many black people, who get cash, are buying new Jordans and flat screen cinema televisions. But what I don't see is any of them reaching out to encourage black youths that there is more to life.
From working in an all black school (meaning 98% black), I disagree that black kids "stick up for one another", share resources, and support each other emotionally. In fact, in schools that have predominantly black students, fighting is a normal part of the school experience, especially in Chicago. This is from my experience in working in the last few predominantly black schools in various states. I don't know if you have ever worked with black children in the school system, but black children fight each other more than any other ethnic group of students I have ever encountered. They have a hard time respecting their teachers and following the rules. Their school environments are very hostile. This is not found in other schools like it is in black schools. Fighting is a way to become popular in these schools, especially among young black females. I don't think this is to blame it on the working "moms" in these communities. It takes a community to raise a child, but unfortunately only the bad people are actually paying attention to the youths. The problem is the good people in the community are turning a blind eye.
Aside from the parents that are trying though, there are many of the "parents" in these areas who are apart of violent groups and many of them are dealing drugs. What morals can come from these kinds of families? Despite this, there are good people in our communities....but the problem is not enough of the good are speaking out or getting involved. This is why my argument is what it is: That we should use #blacklivesmatter to encourage black people to help our children to see a brighter future by getting involved with them. Otherwise, without guidance this is what will lead children to get their answers from peers, hip hop media, and/or violent groups...because no one else is giving them answers, not even the successful black people. What I find ironic is that I have many African students. Despite the fact that their parents are just as poor and both parents working, the African children are respectful and ready to learn and be peaceable. However, this is not found among African American youths, from my experience. They are quick to fight and go off on someone rather than make amends and focus on education.
You stated: "I don't think many successful black people leave black communities out of fear as much as knowing that the conditions of poverty in these communities are overwhelming and maybe they'd feel guilty enjoying the fruits of their labor among those who are struggling for daily survival."
I beg to differ. When people get money they want to move in neighborhoods that are safe for their children to live in. They want to move into neighborhoods where their things won't be stolen and their cars won't be broken into. This is why they leave black neighborhoods. If it had anything to with guilt, that guilt would lead them to actually give some of that money back to their communities.
To add, it does bring up another issue. If there are some enjoying the fruits of their labor, and yet run to avoid the guilt of looking at underprivileged children...that is still an issue. And that is all the more reason why #blacklivesmatter should really be encouraging black people to pay attention to the youths that have daily pressures to take on a life of crime.
You also stated: " I don't think the black on black crime rate will decrease until the culture is recognized by society at large for their strength and perseverance in the face of adversity over centuries."
The world cannot recognize something that we do not display. Black parents themselves have to educate lack children about our strength and perseverance. And this does start at home. I know so many black children who don't even understand the importance of Martin Luther King Jr. They don't even know who Harriet Tubman is! This is ridiculous. The school system does not accommodate to minorities (which is not the fault of black people), but should we only rely on the white school system to teach black kids about their history? Is it the culture influences kids, or is the culture itself being molded by black people themselves? The culture began within the communities, not the other way around. The world can only recognize what we choose to give them. And there are very few of us giving the good. Those people seem to turn a blind eye. The other half is promoting this lifestyle. Even #blacklivesmatter in some ways gives criminals a way out of doing what they do. But if the # focused on the issue of crime, than we could focus on the largest issue that plagues our community.
Sorry if this is lengthy. I just want you to understand what I'm trying to say.
I’m glad to have an opportunity to have real dialog with someone who cares about the Black Community as much as I do. I will give you real life examples that I have both experienced and witnessed that lead me to believe that the Black Lives Matter’s focus on the way their communities are dealt with by police, is valid. Black on Black crime happens as a direct result of the fear of, or lack of faith in, systematic policing. Situations that would have been dealt with effectively within white communities, are not dealt with effectively by police in black communities.
An example would be the sexual assault of a vulnerable mother with small children. If a woman’s home was invaded, after simply opening the door to see what someone she knew wanted, in a white community, and resulted in a sexual assault, the woman would most likely feel at liberty to report the assault to authorities, and the authorities would attempt to locate the perpetrator and bring him to justice. In the inner city, where I lived for most of my life, this wouldn’t have been the case. The victim, most likely would have been treated like she was unworthy of protection, or somehow responsible for the assault and the police may have taken down a description or name (if she knew it) of the assailant, but that’s about it. Instead what often happens in these types of scenarios, is that a family member or friend of the victim, seeks to serve justice to the perpetrators, which sometimes results in the loss of lives of innocent bystanders.
The lack of effective policing in these communities in indirectly responsible for situations that escalate out of control. The reason that there isn’t more of an outcry from residents in these communities about acts of violence that result in black on black crime statistics rising, is because the residents of these communities realize that the incidences are many times a result of not having reliable protective resources in the first place. This leads to a sense of hopelessness, which breeds despair and distrust of the system at large. This is why the Black Lives Matter Movement is so inviting to residents of these communities. On a grass roots level the masses of people who march in the movement are fully aware of the devastating effect that ineffective policing has on the community at large. They feel powerless over the crime that occurs in their communities and are crying out for a solution. What may be upsetting is that the bullies who run the streets in these communities are at liberty to do as they wish, while young men who are socializing in a lively manner are often the victims of police brutality and the real criminals are seldom apprehended.
I have never worked in education, but I spent 4 to 6 hours per day at The Mary Ryan Boys and Girls Club, across the street from my home with kids between the ages of 5 and 12 for several summers. I listened to these kids, without judging their home situations and came to build a rapport with them, and what I found in them was a deep love of their families and communities. Yes, sometimes there were skirmishes, but usually as a result of the repeated bullying of one child that was never addressed. Like a heavy set boy who was 8 or 9 who spent much of his time floating in the pool that he learned to do by watching my 2 yr. old son go under the water and float on his back with a bit of my assistance. I think other boys were jealous that he got over his fear of putting his face in the water and could float and made mean remarks about his physique as they were leaving the pool, day after day. Finally one day in late August, the heavy set boy told them to shut up, and was surrounded by other kids provoking him to throw a punch. When he did, the skirmish was monitored by an male employee who instructed the skinny boys to beat his a$$ , until I spoke up and told him that he had snapped over how he was treated for the whole summer. The employee eyed me like I was out of order, but at least he stopped these boys from fighting.
I think that your heart is in the right place, but you’d have more of an effect on the kids that you want to help, if you would try to see them as individuals. Often times members of inner city communities get unfairly grouped, because of the commonality in expressiveness, that individuality gets overlooked. I’m not denying that the issues facing black inner city communities shouldn’t be acknowledged from within the community itself, but I am stating that stereotypical ideas permeate the consciousness of society at large to the degree that individuality is often lost.
I would disagree with you on another point you mentioned: HipHop Music, and it’s potential to heal rather than harm the community. I realize that Hip-Hop has been influential in negatively impacting some youth, but Real Hip-Hop is an expressive artform that could have liberating potential. I’ve often wondered why schools fail to utilize kids interest in hip-hop, and make it a subject in school or something. Give an assignment to find and analyse lyrics that don’t mention drugs, ho’s, gun’s, or cussing, like X-Clan, Public Enemy, KRS1, Arrested Development, that was popular in the 90’s. Let them have access to cubebase and compose music part of a writing assignment. Engage them in something that they love. Ko Thi Dance Company, In Milwaukee, has a kids group that is phenomenal. You mentioned that African children seem more prepared for learning than their African American counterparts, well I would imagine that subconsciously knowing that your ancestors were brought here in chains, and forbidden from continuing their language or culture would have some long term effects, as far as wanting to assimilate without regaining some of what may have been lost. I may have gone off topic, but it is my intent to inspire you to focus on what is good about the community that you seek to serve, and not to lose hope.
The one thing that infuriated me about the community that I was raised in, was that many black churches dismissed inner city violence and consoled grieving families by saying things such as, “It was God’s time,” or “He’s in a better place.” They never used incidences of seemingly senseless violence to address the deeper issues. One of the most prolific preachers I ever heard was Reverend Jeremiah Wright and the loving way he addressed his people. I didn’t vote for Obama after he threw Rev. Wright under the bus, because I thought the Rev. Wright's’ message could have had liberating effects on the black community, if it had been broadcast, but instead Wright’s message was silenced. Here is a link to the transcript of the “God Damn America” speech, that was misquoted by the mainstream media. It is actually a speech about “Confusing God and Government” and brings up many issues that are at the heart of black communities. http://www.sluggy.net...I apologize for the lengthy response, but I wanted to make known that the issues surrounding inner city violence are not cut and dry. I look forward to your response.
You stated: "Black on Black crime happens as a direct result of the fear of, or lack of faith in, systematic policing. Situations that would have been dealt with effectively within white communities, are not dealt with effectively by police in black communities."
This is a very good argument. But I will say that I do not think it is an excuse to kill innocent children just because the police are not doing their job. I don't believe police lead to violent groups in our communities. It was more like the system of white privilege led to violent groups as a result of not being able to find jobs to support themselves; trying to live up to a world that expects black people to perform the way other races of people do. Yet, black people have not been provided the adequate resources to be on the same level as white people. And so a life of crime seems like the only way to make a living.
To be honest, police officers are not only lax when it comes to black people. When it comes to Hispanics and ESPECIALLY Indigenous people, the police officers do not pull their weight. One of the reasons comes from the fact that the crimes happen too often in these communities. The police officers have more work to do in inner city places and Native American reservations than they do in white neighborhoods. In white neighborhoods it is easy to track down someone who has committed a crime because it rarely happens. I have a friend who I went to school with who is an officer herself in the city of Chicago. There are so many things people don't see or talk about that police officers have done for our communities. In the last few years, the number of violent groups have decreased since the 90s. Why? Because police officers have been revising their tactics to focus in on these matters. The number of these men in jail have increased. But police are still human. They can't be "God" in a city that is FILLED with crime on a daily basis. We as a community have to also help in stopping crime from getting out of control. How can we do this? By encouraging our children to beat the system that is telling them they are worthless, less successful, and unintelligent in comparison to white people. Black Lives Matter should be encouraging our black youths to make the best of their gifts, instead of using it for violence. Black Lives Matter as it is right now does not suggest solutions. It only focuses on the problems.
You mentioned that black lives matter is meant to point out how lax police officers are. But didn't the hashtag come from the fact that police officers handle black people too harshly? Let's say a woman was raped, just as you stated. What would she expect the police officer to do? Would she expect the police to catch him by any means necessary, even if it means the police should tackle him to the ground? Well what if the rapist is black? So, Let's say the police officer handles this man roughly. What if another black person sees this and states that the man was dealt with too harshly for his crime? The problem comes down to black people wanting two different things. They want issues to be dealt with aggressively by police, but then they don't.
Our hashtags should be encouraging our youths so that they can BE the police officers. So that they can BE the governors. So that they can BE the lawyers in their OWN communities. That is the best way to beat down a corrupt police system, by encouraging our own youths to become police officers in a way that is right. But leaving it up to the government to fix it as it is now....that may never happen. And rioting is only going to make it worse for our own communities. White people remain unfazed by it; untouched. So black lives matter is not doing anything except attacking an unfix-able issue. Again, it does not suggest solutions. Therefore, black lives matter should be focused on rising our own communities up so that we can run our own communities, delegating our own police officers. Otherwise, the white man will delegate it for us. And as you can see his choices will never be good ones for the black community.
You stated: "I think that your heart is in the right place, but you"d have more of an effect on the kids that you want to help, if you would try to see them as individuals. Often times members of inner city communities get unfairly grouped, because of the commonality in expressiveness, that individuality gets overlooked. I"m not denying that the issues facing black inner city communities shouldn"t be acknowledged from within the community itself, but I am stating that stereotypical ideas permeate the consciousness of society at large to the degree that individuality is often lost."
I think your heart is in the right place too, but you have no idea what it truly means to work in this environment. You have not experienced it, so you cannot understand or begin to understand. I advise you to volunteer to visit a school with predominantly black students. If you live in the Chicago areas, I suggest you especially visit CPS (Chicago Public Schools). Its not that I do not see each student as an individual. Yet, when behaviors are common place there becomes a pattern, that is very hard to miss when you examine their peer relations. Just like I could easily say that you are generalizing all police officers in Chicago right? But when there are common behavior patterns, usually it causes people to react. It is the same case with the students in these schools. When you walk into these schools, and you interview the students at least one of them will say they have been in a fight. It is not always because they were "bullied". In fact, the common thing among black students is to gain a fighting reputation. Some of them will pick fights with a person so that they can raise their "rep". They are proud of how many people they fought. They will walk the halls bragging about it. This is what I see every day. If you want to know what it is like, see it for yourself. Or better yet, ask any black educating that teaches in predominantly black schools. They will tell you the same thing I am telling you.
Its funny, because there was a parent that decided she would volunteer to work at the school. She told me that before working at the school, she thought just like you; until she started working there. You see, you're from the outside looking in. I'm in direct contact with them everyday of my life. This is why I believe that encouraging our youths to understand that the power is in their hands to change their situation is important. Sitting around feeling sorry for ourselves and blaming people will not help us. It never has. And as long as we keep doing it we're going to get the same results. "If you keep doing what you have always done, you're going to get what you've always gotten". That is the motto.
Its funny you mentioned Hip Hop. Incorporating hip hop in our lessons has been our way of getting them interested since the 90s. I'm a rapper myself, and I do love hip hop. In fact, recently we had D-Low, a popular rapper, visit our school to get the kids involved. He even put on a performance. What you don't understand is that we have been and are continuing to give these kids these things. However, their reaction? The rappers they like encourage violence. It does not matter what we do for them, because at home they are listening to hip hop that talks about drugs and guns. They don't care about the history of hip hop or what it is meant to do. They only care about how tough and bad the rapper portrays himself. The list you gave would be lame to them. PE is one of my favs, but to the kids its old news. Again, I advise you visit the schools. If I can pull up all the things black kids listen to on school tablets, you'd be shocked. These are 11 year olds, too. I also work with 13 year olds.
I loved the speech you linked. :) Thank you
You are correct, and I am out of touch. I forget sometimes how rapidly things change in the community I was raised in and lived the majority of my life. I spent 34 years of my life immersed in the culture in Sherman Park, Milwaukee, a lower and middle income community in Milwaukee that had a strong since of community.
I moved in 2004, with my mom after she retired (since me and my sons had always lived with her) to Northern WI, where her extended family is from. She bought a home with her IRA, and passed away in 2007. Being away from a community that I loved, makes me sometimes glamorize my experiences there. The white world is governed by ideology that is foreign to me, and I still haven't accepted the norms here, and never will. Externally it may appear more "wholistic" but it is because problems are hidden and laws are arbitrarily enforced. The suicide rate is nearly equal to the homicide rate of inner cities populations. Drug problems are prevalent but hidden. At least in the inner city you could inform your children which corners to avoid. Here all lawlessness takes place behind closed doors. Everything is "whitewashed " on the surface. I'm way off topic, but I just want you to know that I have truly lived in more than one environment, and have faced more personal hardships while living in Northern WI, than I did in Sherman Park. It has brought me to the realization that inner city communities are unfairly compared to mainstream communities. The only thing that keeps me sane sometimes, is the memories of people in the community I am from, who had it much worse than I currently do, who were kind, and confident despite having the odds stacked against them. When I moved here, before I knew how arbitrarily the rules are enforced here, I used to dream about Dr. Martin Luther King's "dream" coming alive. I used to wish that people from Sherman Park would move here and demonstrate to white people how to be more at ease with themselves.
My first cultural awakening to the community that I moved to was in a Dollar General store. A woman grabbed her 2 year old daughter's wrist, who took a toy off the shelf to look at it, and told her to, "put it back, or the police will take you to jail for stealing." I never saw a child dealt like this, in the community I am from. Momz would have simply told the child to hand the toy over before checking out at the cashier, and told the cashier they weren't going to purchase the toy. A common tactic here is to not take on parental authority and to instill fear of the system in small children. This was the first of many times I witnessed similar child rearing practices here. That's why they don't "step outta line" as often in many white communities in my opinion. They commit just as many "crimes" as they get older, they just don't get caught! Self honesty and being true to oneself isn't placed a high value on either here. What I'm saying is if you want black kids to respect authority like white kids seem to, they should have fear of the law instilled in them starting at 2 years old. At least when a teacher gains respect in the inner city, it is because it is warranted, not out of fear of what will happen if they don't "act" respectful.
It's not that I hate the community I moved to, I just see that they are in need of liberation from an arbitrary system as much as anyone is, but they don't confront systematic injustice when they are on the receiving end of it. I'm looked down on because I refuse to down the community that I came from, who taught me the value of "word is bond," and being "true to myself," and judging myself and others on content and not external factors like how much money they have acquired through legal means. I know the problems with inner city youth are complex, and so far everything we have had dialog about, does not address the "how" of reaching these troubled youth.
Black Lives Matter should expand it's message, I agree. Black Lives Matter should highlight the reasons that they don't conform to systematic ideas about the role of law enforcement, and reinforce in the youth that they should passively resist the way that they are portrayed in the media. Black Lives Matter could use a Leader, and I'd like to see Reverend Jeremiah step to the plate!
On another related topic , that is sad but that I experienced when I lived in the inner city, I noticed that many black youth valued my positive reinforcement, more so than the approval of one another, because of the texture of my hair and white mother (who is also part Native American). If I would tell someone that they were smart, or beautiful, or kind, they would act surprised and say, "you really think so?" And I'd respond, "of course, don't ever let anyone make you think you are less worthy of love, or not as smart."
Another thing that I'd like you to be aware of is that police are out of order in many communities. My oldest son's dad asked me what I thought of the Black Lives Matter movement, "Black Lives Matter?, or All Lives Matter? is how he phrased it." I responded, "what you fail to realize is that Black Lives Matter implies, too, so All Lives Matter, but Blacks lives are often neglected to matter." He argued that not just black people are treated unjustly by the system. Then I asked him, "Why then do you seem offended when someone lets their voices be heard about the injustices that are caused at the hands of law enforcement, just because they are black. Why don't other groups join them and bring awareness to how arbitrarily the law is enforced?" He had no response. My point is that the law is applied arbitrarily inside as well as outside of the black community. The fact that the Black Lives Matter movement has brought policing tactics into the limelight could be a good thing for all communities who are treated arbitrarily by law enforcement, if they would get over the differences in culture and complexion and join in the movement that raises awareness about injustice by law enforcement. I think the Black Lives Matter movement should keep it's focus on what it began in opposition to, and invite people of other communities to join.
I know my examples of hip hop are outdated, but it is because those artists represent a golden era of using hip-hop to enlighten and influence the community.
I'd like to see the Stop the Violence! movement revived. Maybe get some current entertainers to take up where KRS 1 left off, said in a modern style. Remake "Self Destruction," with current themes. Revive the Stop the Violence movement, and keep the Black Lives Matter focused on systematic injustice. If problems were addressed from both sides, both movements would have more chances at success.
Yes, I'm a dreamer, and so are you, I suspect. I hope you find methods that can touch the hearts of your students!