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Commentary: The Uneasy Question - Why Are So Many Young Blacks So Quick to Kill and Die?

Date: Sunday, June 18, 2006
By: Deborah Mathis, BlackAmericaWeb.com


I don't know what they would have done in my community back in the day. One young person gunned down would have rendered the town apoplectic. When folks could walk again, it would have been with a slow, stunned shuffle. When they could talk again, the tones of their conversation would have been dulled by disbelief, fear and mourning. And they would have talked about it all the time for years.

In those good old days, you simply did not hear about young people being killed, save for the occasional traffic accident, drowning or the final measure of some dreadful disease. News of a child being shot to death -- especially rare and shocking -- came only when a kid had found a handgun stashed in the house and toyed with it most tragically. Never, but never, did we hear of a youngster shooting anyone intentionally.

The shooting deaths of five young people in the same place at the same time simply would have been unthinkable back then. I don't know that we would have ever recovered.

But recover they must once again in New Orleans, where, on Saturday, one 16-year-old, one 17-year-old and three 19-year-olds all went down in a hail of gunfire in broad daylight. Two of the victims were related.

Although they have seen plenty in their troubled city, New Orleans police are even reeling from the incident. One veteran police captain couldn't recall the last time so many were slain at once. Authorities are looking for the shooter or shooters, operating on the premise that the attack involved drugs or retaliation or both.

The motive could be helpful in nailing the villains, but it will not cut very deeply into what makes sense to us. There is no good, acceptable, justifiable reason to take out five young lives. Not out of anger, rivalry, vengeance or sport. Not for any reason. Not in a city that has ample constructive needs for healthy young men. Not anywhere. Not on a lazy summer weekend. Not ever.

Now, families who have already survived one of the greatest catastrophes to ever befall an American city will have to muster the strength to bury their young. They will have to learn anew how to go on and move ahead. They will have to endure the torment of wondering why and what they could have done to save the young men -- an inquiry that may or may not be overdue.

Potentially, someone else will lose their child to the prison cell, perhaps even to death row, and if they have any inkling of it today, they must be wrestling with misery too.

Considerable energy and resources have been poured into the analysis of what went wrong before, during and after Hurricane Katrina struck -- why the evacuation orders came so late; why school buses were not mobilized to move people out of endangered areas; why the Superdome and other makeshift shelters degenerated into swamps of suffering and danger; why the levees broke; why the Lower Ninth Ward still looks like it was leveled by a bomb.

Another pernicious problem is begging for solutions: Why are so many young people, especially young black and Latino men, so quick to kill and die?

Fellas always had gripes and grievances, always competed, often got out of hand. But, back then, they cared first and foremost about survival -- the other guy's as well as their own.

What caused the breach in the levee between then and now? What wrought this awful flood?
 
 BLACK by NATURE, PROUD by CHOICE.
Original Post
More so than Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome, I blame the blooming of Reaganite/Thatcherite mentality amongst Generation X. The "There is no society", "There is no alternative to cutthroat capitalism", "We're all selfish and greedy, every man and woman for themself" mindset trickled down the Black Community just as much as it did in the White Community.

Especially with waning of radical elements of the Civil Rights Movement and Black Liberation; we bought wholesale into the status quo.
quote:
Originally posted by Empty Purnata:
More so than Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome, I blame the blooming of Reaganite/Thatcherite mentality amongst Generation X. The "There is no society", "There is no alternative to cutthroat capitalism", "We're all selfish and greedy, every man and woman for themself" mindset trickled down the Black Community just as much as it did in the White Community.

Especially with waning of radical elements of the Civil Rights Movement and Black Liberation; we bought wholesale into the status quo.


I agree, on another thread I said there was the African community in Amerikkka community before crack(Reaganomics/Iran Contra drug push) and after.

I would add that the Black Power movement didn't 'wane', it was 'killed' quite literally by COINTELPRO.
What the occultists who run this country did to the "Black Power Movement" in the sixties and seventies was a shame before Oludumare. They used every evil means at their disposal to reduce Africans to a beast like, materialistic level. The shame is that the COINTELPRO is still going on today (can you say biggie and tupac?). That one was so obvious I thought the young ones would start killing oyinbos in the streets. But they gave them some eminem and it was all good. A little candy makes most kids behave.
quote:
Originally posted by Empty Purnata:
More so than Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome, I blame the blooming of Reaganite/Thatcherite mentality amongst Generation X. The "There is no society", "There is no alternative to cutthroat capitalism", "We're all selfish and greedy, every man and woman for themself" mindset trickled down the Black Community just as much as it did in the White Community.

Especially with waning of radical elements of the Civil Rights Movement and Black Liberation; we bought wholesale into the status quo.



Hasn't America always been like that???
quote:
Originally posted by Sweetwuzzy:
quote:
Originally posted by Empty Purnata:
More so than Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome, I blame the blooming of Reaganite/Thatcherite mentality amongst Generation X. The "There is no society", "There is no alternative to cutthroat capitalism", "We're all selfish and greedy, every man and woman for themself" mindset trickled down the Black Community just as much as it did in the White Community.

Especially with waning of radical elements of the Civil Rights Movement and Black Liberation; we bought wholesale into the status quo.



Hasn't America always been like that???


Mmm, to a large extent. I would argue that it's gotten worse in the past 30 years than opposed to say 60 years ago. It's going back to how it was in the Gilded Ages.
Kids nowadays have no rules and regulations. There's no reason young boys in their teens should be riding in Escalades (or whatever the name of cars are nowadays) at 4:00 in the damn morning. Back in the day mother didn't play that! Today's boys are tribal and insane. Their priorities are totally out of whack. They should know that if they play by the gun, they're going to die by the gun; either theirs or the cops'. There're traps everywhere just waiting for their African butts, the main ones being prisons or coffins. That's their choices. Probably 1 million or more "Jim Brown's" could hone in these crazy African sons. The European can't solve the problem.
quote:
Originally posted by Norland:
Kids nowadays have no rules and regulations. There's no reason young boys in their teens should be riding in Escalades (or whatever the name of cars are nowadays) at 4:00 in the damn morning. Back in the day mother didn't play that!


It Doesn't Have To Take A Village!

Then why didn't mother pass on these values to the children in her care??? When I see children acting out this way, I don't blame the children. Children don't ask to be born, and they certainly cannot live successfully without proper care and guidance. Therefore, I blame those parents and guardians who have taken on the responsibility, either planned or unplanned, to bring a life into the world. It is my opnion that older generations have truly, truly let us down. Apparently, the older generation of the 60's and 70's, became so preoccupied with "making it" themselves that they neglected to pass the values that made them so successful onto to the younger generations.
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Not that I entirely agree ... but here's another view:

Black-on-Black Violence
By Earl Ofari Hutchinson, AlterNet. Posted June 20, 2006.

The murder of five teens in New Orleans is a cue to question the violence plaguing our cities -- and the internalized racism fueling the carnage.



When the FBI released its latest annual crime report showing that violent crime is on the upswing in many big cities, a bevy of law enforcement, officials, and criminologists prayed that the report was just an aberrant blip on the crime chart.

There was good reason to hope that: murder rates have plunged in big cities during the past decade, and there was every expectation that things would stay that way.

The recent slaughter of five teens in New Orleans and a desperate plea from Mayor Ray Nagin to send in the National Guard to help patrol the streets shattered that hope. While the murder rate in big cities is still lower than it was a decade ago, the terrifying reality is that in New Orleans and other big cities, the victims and their killers are almost always young black males.

In the 25 years of homicide records from 1976 to 2002 by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, blacks are six times more likely to be murdered than whites, and seven times more likely to kill than whites. They are far more likely to be gunned down over gang or drug disputes. New Orleans police speculate that that was the reason the five teens were killed.

President Bush recognized that big city violence was a crisis problem. In his State of the Union Address in 2005, he pledged to shell out $150 million to youth education and violence prevention programs. It was well intentioned, but it was still a far cry from what was needed to stem the gunplay on urban streets. And as has been the case with other Bush initiatives, unveiled with much public fanfare, the attack on urban violence has fizzled out due to lack of money and lack of will to push it through. But even if the money and will were there, that would not get at the cause of why so many young blacks kill each other.

More police, prosecutors, "three strikes" and mandatory sentencing laws, the death penalty, and the nearly one million blacks behind bars have done little to curb this carnage. Despite the pet theories of liberals and conservatives, blacks aren't killing each other because they are violent or crime-prone by nature, because they are poor and oppressed, or even because they are acting out the obscene violence they see and hear on TV, films, and in gangster-rap lyrics.

The violence results from a combustible blend of cultural and racial baggage many blacks carry. In the past, crimes committed by blacks against other blacks were often ignored or lightly punished. The implicit message was that black lives were expendable. It would be no surprise if the killer or killers of the New Orleans teens had a long, violent rap sheet but continued to roam the streets.

Many studies have confirmed that the punishment violent blacks receive when their victim is white is far more severe than if the victim is black. This perceived devaluation of black lives by racism has provoked disrespect for the law, and has forced many blacks to internalize anger and misplace aggression onto other blacks -- especially those that are perceived as weak or defenseless.

Far too many young black males have become especially adept at acting out their frustrations at white society's denial of their "manhood" by adopting an exaggerated "tough guy" role. They swagger, boast, curse, fight and commit violent, self-destructive acts. When many black males indulge their murderous impulses on other black males, they are often taking out their pent-up frustrations on those whom they perceive as helpless and hapless. This is a warped response to racism and deprivation, blocked opportunities, powerlessness and alienation.

The Bureau of Justice Statistics noted that the other powerful ingredient in the deadly mix of black-on-black violence is the gang and drug plague. The resurgence of the drug trade in recent years and the flood of felons from prisons have made black gangs even bigger and more dangerous. Drug trafficking not only provided illicit profits, but also made gun play more widespread. Gang members used their arsenals to fend off attacks, protect their profits from predators, and settle scores with rivals. Broken homes, miserably failing inner city schools, and a chronic unemployment rate among young blacks -- which is double and triple that of white males in urban areas -- haven't helped matters.

Other than comedian Bill Cosby and some outraged local black leaders, mainstream civil rights figures haven't said or done much about the black carnage. The sight of the National Guard on New Orleans streets may be a temporary comfort to residents and city officials, but it's only that: temporary comfort.

An impassioned Mayor Nagin put it best: local residents and community groups must put their foot down, say enough is enough, and take back their streets. That's still the best way to stop the violence.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson is the author of The Crisis in Black and Black (Middle Passage Press). The Hutchinson Report Blog is now online at Earl Ofari Hutchinson.com.
quote:
Originally posted by HonestBrother:
President Bush recognized that big city violence was a crisis problem. In his State of the Union Address in 2005, he pledged to shell out $150 million to youth education and violence prevention programs.


Every ten years or so, I'm assuming, they offer the same programs for innercity youth, then as soon as the violence subsides, they take all of these programs away. I just don't get it. When are political leaders going to realize that in order get rid of the violence and KEEP the violence away, job recruiting programs, recreation centers, camp retreats, boys and girls clubs, and other youth-centered programs must be available to these children at all times, not just when there is a resurgence of violence?
quote:
Originally posted by Rowe:
Every ten years or so, I'm assuming, they offer the same programs for innercity youth, then as soon as the violence subsides, they take all of these programs away. I just don't get it. When are political leaders going to realize that in order get rid of the violence and KEEP the violence away, job recruiting programs, recreation centers, camp retreats, boys and girls clubs, and other youth-centered programs must be available to these children at all times, not just when there is a resurgence of violence?


As soon as this country stops electing Republican-run governments that dismantle every social program Democratic-run governments put in place. And now that Bush has spent government funds that we don't even have yet ... that our grandchildren's children will probably still be paying off, it will probably be a long time before we see the necessary programs that we need come back into play to help those that need help. sck
quote:
Originally posted by Rowe:
It Doesn't Have To Take A Village!

Then why didn't mother pass on these values to the children in her care??? When I see children acting out this way, I don't blame the children. Children don't ask to be born, and they certainly cannot live successfully without proper care and guidance. Therefore, I blame those parents and guardians who have taken on the responsibility, either planned or unplanned, to bring a life into the world. It is my opnion that older generations have truly, truly let us down. Apparently, the older generation of the 60's and 70's, became so preoccupied with "making it" themselves that they neglected to pass the values that made them so successful onto to the younger generations.


I see your point here, Rowe, and agree with you to a large extent. But also, I see part of the problem as what happened when some of the "older generation's" kids started having kids before they, themselves, had learned what they needed to know to start properly raising children!

Many, many grandparents have been raising their kid's kids for quite some time now ... simply because they know more than the child's mother does and though they may not have passed that knowledge down to their own kids, they still try to instill it into their grandchildren.

However, a lot of kids born to/raised by young mothers (and especially those where no father-figure is present) do not have grandparent guidance either to fall back on. And either way, no, it's not the children's fault. But you can't go past the mother to blame her mother when the real responsibility of bringing a child into this world and raising him/her should belong to the one who gave birth to that child.
One of my older sisters left her two kids with their fathers grandmother so she could run around doing what she pleased. She told me to my face that this woman was crazy.

If you are going to be fool enough to leave your children with someone you think is crazy, how can you be stupid enough to tell somebody?

The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.

But it can wreck the world too.

umbrarchist

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