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[rant]
I was born in Compton and moved to Watts when I was a small child, where I have lived sinced. There is much beauty here, but also a lot of stuff no one wants to deal with: gang violence, failing schools, high unemployment and crime rates, filthy neighborhoods. From a fairly young age, I promised myself that I would do well in school and get a high-paying job so that I could afford to leave South Central and live in a better area. So far I'm getting close--one more semester and I'll have my BA degree. But for the last few years, a question has been nagging me: can I do more good just staying put?

I used to get very angry at the people who always told me to "remember my roots and help my community". Remeber my roots!?! Oh, I'll remember being mercilessly picked on and assaulted for daring to do well in school and be a decent person, I thought. I also wondered why I had to help my "community"; if I could help myself, why couln't anyone else? If they can't-- or won't--how is that my problem?

In the last few years I've become something of a Black nationalists and separatist (can't believe I was actually a Bush supporter in High school! What the hell was I smoking??? God, I'm gonna get some bad karma for that!). I spend much time thinking on how I can help improve the Black American community. Which does more good for a community--staying put with your affluence and trying to invest, or moving away but donating money and time to help?

Staying seems to have so many inherent dangers. I want to live where I won't be afraid to walk down the street in broad daylight, where police helicopters aren't flying around every single night, where people aren't harrassed at train stations by teenagers (who should be in school) hustling for money, where my property won't be vandalized b/c some jackasses with their pants around their knees think its fun. I want my children to not have to be afraid when they go to school, or stuck in an overcrowded class with incompetent teachers. When I look at areas like Watts, I sometimes wonder how I could possibly make any difference.

At the same time, I can't see how moving to the suburbs will actually help. I'm tired of passing store after store owned by jews, Koreans, and Arabs,and having them treat their Black clientel like crap. Sometimes I have this burning urge to create my own neighborhood stores--which won't sell alcohol--get a seat on the city council, invest in community outreach programs, heck, maybe even parter up with a likeminded individual to create clean, gated middle-class areas within the midst of Watts as a form of revitalization.

I don't know, I'm really confused on the issue. What do you guys think?
[/rant]
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...Indeed Black people need to stay and try to rebuild our own communities, and if this is not in the mix, the Black community will be facing extinction, sooner than realized.

Such a task must start with our own church community, professional community, men, women, and those with the most assets, and/or our own elected representatives. If our own elected representatives truly served the Black community, the constructive influence used would make the inner-city our own "Heaven on Earth". By and large these individual have the resources and influence that a lone individual of lesser means would not have.

.......for this course of action to work though, Black people must be more honest with each other, and stop all this back door cut throat self destructive back stabbing, sleazy, evil, truly selfish, and/or treasonous activity. This counter-productive activity more than anything else is making it exceedingly difficult for Black people to trust each other, have faith in each other, and is a very poor signal to send out to the many young people out there, who cry out for just one opportunity in a chance and constructive direction to make something of themselves.

...no other ethnic group is going to fill the void that Black people should be filling, and/or must be promoting for each other. Generally speaking, those who bear the cross, by and large, wear the crown.

In the event the Hispanics, Koreans, etc., take risks to invest in the "inner-city" it is to move their own people forward, and not Black people. Should you doubt this, which it is certain from what you have shared, Hispanics, Koreans, Arabs, Caucasians, Chinese, Filipinos, etc., etc., tend to look out for their own interests, first and foremost.

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I can't tell you what is right for you, but I can share an experience I shared with the board long ago.

http://africanamerica.org/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/791602...196060451#3196060451

quote:
was born and raised in the Central area of Cleveland, OH. It was then and continues to be one of the poorest sections of the city and had all the problems that you have mentioned, crime, absentee landlords, absentee parents ...

At the age of 15, my parents purchased a home in a "better" section of town. I was encouraged to go to school and then college so that I could escape the ghetto. Upon my graduation, I returned to the Central area. I purchased and rehabbed home about four blocks from where I was raised. All of my childhood and college friends were convinved that I had lost my mind. Here was a young Black college educated and gainfully employed man that chose to live on a street that was surrounded on three sides by projects and/or vacant lots, in a community that had the lowest per capita income of anywhere in the state ...


Actually, the link is below my post.
I think as soon as you use the word flee you have put leaving in a negative light.

It is your life. Helping others is good but if many of them are doing their best to drag you down, you have to decide how you want to live your life. I say forget the guilt trip.

I thought telling people about good books on the internet would be so easy and theoretically could be so productive. In almost 7 years I have had ONE person come back and say he had checked out a book I recommended and told other people on Black Voices they should read it.

I don't know exactly what your situation is but fighting uphill battles is one thing and being stabbed in the back while you try to do it is another.

umbrarchist
uppity...that's a great question and a really tough question.

Perhaps ask yourself what can you achieve if you stay?

Even if it is only one small thing. Perhaps set a time frame to achieve it.

And consider HOW can you fix what you feel needs attention - do you have the skills and experience?

Ask the people in the area what it is they want fixed - and then consider if you are the person to do it - sometimes we think we know what needs fixing, and that isn't always at the top of others' agenda.

I imagine you are finding it hard to know whether if you choose to leave (even if only to short-term to gain some distance and perspective), whether you will indeed return (life is like that)? Noone knows that.

I wish you well in your decision-making.

I don't think the nagging feeling is guilt... I think it is a sign of maturity and willingness to make a positive difference in people's lives with the knowledge you've gained. That is fantastic.

Sometimes people find a way to achieve great things before they even realise it.

umbrarchist said something about people not responding to his recommendations on books... it's worth reflecting that one book may have had a profound effect on that one person, or perhaps someone they in turn told.... The fact is, the wind scatters these positive 'seeds' and 'we' never know quite where they will end up, if they bear fruit, and who will be nourished by them. But somewhere, someone is.
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Leaving that community does not mean you are abandoning the need to 'give back'. There are other communities in other places.

Feed yourself first, then you can 'give back'.

I never occurred to me to stay where I was raised. For my time, the town I lived in was considered the worst in the county, and possibly leading the list for all of Western Pennsylvania.

My goal was a paycheck. I was willing to leave wherever that was happening.

After living in two locations, my wife insisted, and agreed, we would actively seek to get involved in community volunteerism in our next location.

We did, and we are still here.

You do what you can when you can.

Nothing says you have to diminish yourself to help others.

PEACE

Jim Chester
UppityNegress,

I grappled with the same thing years ago sort of, and after coming to the conclustion that too many of our people DO NOT WANT help, advice, concern from other Blacks (but will suck it up like kool-aid) if it is coming from some other (usually white) race/group of people; and after accepting the fact that the same community that I was living in had changed drastically from the time we first moved their to the time I had a family of my own. Although, it had not yet become a matter of being dangerous, it was weighed down with some of the most ignorant, uninformed, unambitiously satisfied negroes you could imagine.

After I came to the conclusion that the major problem with the poor black communities is not that they are poor, but that in reality, like any other community, children are influced as much by their environment as they are their parents, i.e., two parents (or one parent) inside their homes influence + 300+ people outside their homes directly and/or indirectly influencing young minds, well the parents or parent is grossly out numbered; (and after watching documentaries, news, movies, etc., about the most horrible places that Black people lived in America, and saying to myself, why don't they just leave?/ if it were me, I would get on a bus, train, plane and go to the smallest, safest little town in America to get away from all that, etc.) I decided that if I wanted my children to be influenced primarily by me and a predominately positive greater community environment and direct as well as indirect influences, then my choice had to be to move.

I chose to move for the sake of my children's well being, otherwise, had I chose to not have children, I think I would have stayed. After coming to the above conclusion, I did decide that my career would be primarily social service, legal and volunteering; my way of not completely turning my back on the community, yet not force the negative influences of the community down the throats of my children while trying to live my ideology as if it would only have and impact on my life alone.

So, it would be great if Black people did not abandon the Black community, but at what price? The way I see it, you don't have to live in the belly of the beast to not forget that you came from it, or to give something back to those still there, or to have an impact on it.
Hummm. The truth comes out when it's "Just Us Chickens".

As I said yesterday - the Black community is in the middle of a CULTURAL WAR. The Sambos have won the first battle. What you are really saying Uppity is that the environment that the SAMBOS have created have made you fear your once safe and peaceful community. There are thousands and thousands of Black mothers who do not allow their young children to play outside in front of their house for fear of being hit by a stray bullet.

It is time that we MANAGE our communities, block by block and make sure that each of the residents live according to some type of standard. I have advocated the need for a "Community Covenance" for all such communities. In the subdivision that I live in we are required to sign on to these rules for living as a condition of living here. It is for the shared interests of the community for everyone to maintain their property.


Those who are in REBELLION have taken over. They have struggled for so long AGAINST the system that when it comes time for them to build their own system their "rebellion training" has not prepared them adequately to do so.

I may be disagreeable to many of the PERSPECTIVES that you all have BUT I AM NOT BLIND NOR CRAZY. By attacking me you are not doing one thing to address the critical issues that impact far more Black people than you want to acknowledge.

We need a FUNCTIONAL CULTURE to be implemented in these communities.
Ideally we need CONSCIOUS Black people to move in and have the SAMBOS to change their ways or be shunned. Right now you all use too much energy to SHUN those disagree with you ideologically BUT SAY NOTHING TO THOSE SAMBOS WHO ARE PROVING TO BE THE MOST HARMFUL TO YOU.

The reason why you see so many Asians, Indians and Jews peddling their wares to Black folks in urban shopping centers is because they are merchants and they have been watching you and "your people" and how Blacks tick. This is not a "conspiracy". Black folks buy right into it. Black people's consumer behavior in the context of Asians living in America is a microcosim to America's consumer behavior with respect to China.

Black America will have to decide to relinquish some of their AMERICAN STANDARD OF LIVING in order to draw back and walk upon a path that builds up the community for the community's interest.

I personally live in an integrated community. We moved from a majority Black community. The only way that I would consider moving back is if EVERYONE in the community was bound to a convenance that was enforced.

So often folks focus on DEMANDING upon the "non-SAMBO Blacks". We need to start asking that the "SAMBO BLACKS" live up to some standards.

Absent any standards for them to live up to THEY WILL NOT DISAPPOINT YOU as they live DOWN to your low expectations that you have assigned to them.
quote:
Originally posted by Nmaginate:
quote:
We need a FUNCTIONAL CULTURE to be implemented in these communities.
Make up your mind, CONvoluted Feedback.

You said African American CULTURE is INTACT. By definition, that suggests FUNCTIONALITY.


Little Fella:

Why must you make things so different.

When I say "functional" I am speaking of FUNCTIONING to BRING THE PEOPLE CLOSER TO THEIR COMMON SOCIETAL GOALS.

It is true that the SAMBO culture has a "function" but it fails to make use of all of the productive capacity of the people who are beholden to it.
quote:
Originally posted by sunnubian:
UppityNegress,

I grappled with the same thing years ago sort of, and after coming to the conclustion that too many of our people DO NOT WANT help, advice, concern from other Blacks (but will suck it up like kool-aid) if it is coming from some other (usually white) race/group of people; and after accepting the fact that the same community that I was living in had changed drastically from the time we first moved their to the time I had a family of my own. Although, it had not yet become a matter of being dangerous, it was weighed down with some of the most ignorant, uninformed, unambitiously satisfied negroes you could imagine.

After I came to the conclusion that the major problem with the poor black communities is not that they are poor, but that in reality, like any other community, children are influced as much by their environment as they are their parents, i.e., two parents (or one parent) inside their homes influence + 300+ people outside their homes directly and/or indirectly influencing young minds, well the parents or parent is grossly out numbered; (and after watching documentaries, news, movies, etc., about the most horrible places that Black people lived in America, and saying to myself, why don't they just leave?/ if it were me, I would get on a bus, train, plane and go to the smallest, safest little town in America to get away from all that, etc.) I decided that if I wanted my children to be influenced primarily by me and a predominately positive greater community environment and direct as well as indirect influences, then my choice had to be to move.

I chose to move for the sake of my children's well being, otherwise, had I chose to not have children, I think I would have stayed. After coming to the above conclusion, I did decide that my career would be primarily social service, legal and volunteering; my way of not completely turning my back on the community, yet not force the negative influences of the community down the throats of my children while trying to live my ideology as if it would only have and impact on my life alone.

So, it would be great if Black people did not abandon the Black community, but at what price? The way I see it, you don't have to live in the belly of the beast to not forget that you came from it, or to give something back to those still there, or to have an impact on it.


I agree.

I also have to add:

1) We should create change and reform in economics to provide more federal aid and create more better-paying jobs to people in impovershed neighborhoods. There should be more scholarships awarded to good students in these neighborhoods to encourage higher college enrollment. There should also be more school education in these places the encourages professional careers.

2) Those of us who have "moved out" and "made it" should send aid to our relatives still in those places to help them have a chance at bettering their living standard, and possibly helping others out in the Community.
quote:
Originally posted by UppityNegress:

I don't know, I'm really confused on the issue. What do you guys think?


I grew up in the hood, and I live right next to it, in what I guess I can describe as "hood lite." It's not a beautiful place, but it's not Jamrock either. Jamrock is a few blocks away.

When I have the opportunity to, I will move to a more affluent area near here. The question in my mind is settled, and it's been so for a long time.

The problem is, no matter how heavily society at-large impacts the state of things for African-Americans, the real problems that we have to deal with in these neighborhoods consists of the chosen acts committed by people who live there. No matter how much evidence there is that flight, white racism & so on are the root reasons for things, no amount of retrenchment on your part is going to benefit somebody who willfully chooses to do things that he/she shouldn't do. Unless you're a multi-billionaire, who can buy up blocks and build schools and community centers, your presence there is not going to make the kind of difference that will make it worth it for you to live there dealing with the risks of being there. That's because, as you know, the problems you'll be faced with are not some amorphous "condition" as much as it is, stated simply, people who don't know how to act doing F'ed up things to you and yours (and to them and theirs, really).

Staying in the hood, you will only make a difference to those people who already are struggling to improve their condition. The ones out there banging will not respond favorably to you. Move out, and maintain some sort of volunteer or business presence in the hood. Living there is not the move unless u're gonna have some major resources to make huge changes.
This is the "head" Dr. Claud Anderson refers to in his new dialogue of rebuilding the black community....!

Fleeing is an updated word for integration. It weakens the community left behind and splinters the individuals leaving into a smaller...

Personally, I prefer the ole days when doctors and lawyers lived in the neighbor hood and provided strong mentorship...
quote:
Originally posted by Blacksanction:
Perhaps its time to abandon "the community" and to create a new healthy community/ collective where everyone has the same goal safety, good education and prosperity.

There is a time when its best to let go of the drowner who is more intent on pulling you under than in saving themselves.

Perhaps this is why the doctors left (triage)


Where do you suggest that this "new community" be created?

I'm sorry, but your solution sounds like a quick-fix akin to "White Flight". This "Black Flight" is just another form of "brain drain". All the successful, educated people who could help uplift the community flee away to start some idealistic "new community" and leave the poor and uneducated to rot.

That sounds like "out of sight, out of mind". That's one of the main problems of Africa today. Brain drain, all the educated, successful Africans emigrate to the West and leave Africa to rot and don't try to help reform and improve it.


I have to say, I don't think this "Get out of Dodge" attitude will help. It only benefits a few, and leaves the many to the wayside. That's gentrification.
quote:
Originally posted by Constructive Feedback:

I personally live in an integrated community. We moved from a majority Black community. The only way that I would consider moving back is if EVERYONE in the community was bound to a convenance that was enforced.


Why did you choose to not move into Cascade or Guilford Forest or any of the middle class African American communities? You act as if you had no choice.
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Well Fine, (I really enjoy reading all of the interesting information that you post here),

While I totally understand this premis, where does Dr. Claud Anderson live? Also, I agree, in a way that 'fleeing is an updated word for integration' - at least an updated way it is achieved.

Also, I too, "Personally, I prefer the ole days when doctors and lawyers lived in the neighbor hood and provided strong mentorship...", but another thing that I think should make or break flight is, property ownership and property ownership percentage, which is what we had before integration, lots of it, but in our quest to squeeze up into the white man's world, the majority of it has been sold and we are no longer the primary property owners in these same predominately Black, and now, poverty and crime infested communities, and property ownership makes a big difference in whether or not to 'flee.'
Empty Purnata
quote:
Where do you suggest that this "new community" be created?


Anywhere that the crackheads can't follow.

The cold reality is you can't save everyone and if folks are not interested in helping themselves then too bad, time to move on. I had posted previously that in order to change behaviour you sometimes have to create an urgency perhaps abandonment will motivate the drowners to kick their feet and save themselves.

Its time to make serious hard choices not continue to feed the blood sucking vermin that live off the good people in the cummunity.
I haven't read all of this thread (I will), but I wanted to mention that from a strictly financial standpoint, the answer to this is pretty clear. There are many traditionally black communities that are currently the focus of tremendous investment and growth (i.e. gentrification). The more we can hang in there in these communities, or be a part of the reinvestment plans, the more we will obtain both financial and community benefits.

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