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The Destruction of Black America Part 2

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This is basically a response to some of the questions to the first part of the series.

As Brotha Troy asked: what is the answer? I sincerely feel that a part to the solution will come when we take control of our image. It is important that we regain our platform to control the images of us that is presented to the world. As Brotha Troy mentioned we are losing these platforms at an alarming rate and since we do not control our image, it is easy for the white media to paint us in a negative light. If you will recall when BET was sold, the first casualty was Ed Gordon and BET news. Once the news segment was destroyed, nothing remained other than the entertainment portion where rappers and video vixens enticed the youth into believing into an urban fairy-tale that only existed in the mind of the people who controlled the entertainment industry.

Back in the days, black neighborhoods survived because they were centered around :the teachings" from what I call "The 'Hood Trinity" which was the home, the church, and the school. From the combined teachings of the trinity, info was passed down from offspring to offspring for the sole purpose of self-preservation. But a terrible thing happened, especially in the south: Urban Renewal!

Okay, let me go back a little further just to show you the "Set-up!" But first,let me address a remark from Cynique about individualism. Across the whole range of history, individualism has never contributed to a people's collective ability to survive. As such, it merely transforms the individual,not the community. Strangely enough, individualism has the tendency to re-enforce the "crabs-in-a-bucket mentality", and thanks to this rugged individualist approach, we became conditioned as a people to compete with one another for what resources were available to us. Accordingly, the material prosperity of the whole was thwarted. But this was also a part of the plan, the set-up.

Why do you think we never got our forty acres and a mules? The white man was no fool. He was a personal witness to what the black man could do. He had seen for himself how we had come to this country and had compelled the bitter earth that had never before borne crops to produce crops without limit. We had somehow transformed the south, a barren wildness, into a lush garden of Eden. Can you imagine the awe of the white man as he became a daily witness to what we could do as a collective, albeit as slaves. He watched us perform a sort of black magic, an agricultural sleight-of-hand that would have been an impossible feat for anyone except us. What we did in the south rivaled what the Egyptians had done with the pyramids. It there was ever such a thing as the ninth wonder of the world, it would have been the American south. What we accomplished there was a miracle and this fact was not lost on the white man. Therefore, he knew that,once we were free, that we could not be allowed to act as a single unit. He knew that what we had did for him as slaves would be nothing compared to what we would do for ourselves as free men. Thus the set-up. In addition to not giving us the land and mules, he had to devise a way to get us out of our element. We understood the land, knew most of nature's secrets so he had to get us into a alien environment where we would be at his mercy. Since we didn't know a damn thing about city living, this is where the white man wanted us!

What came next was the Great Migration. The urban change was disorienting since we had a tradition of living in close proximity with the soil. The congestion of the city was indeed a novel experience. The truth of the black exodus is that it was a forced march into the welcomed embrace of white capitalism. The south had benefited from us, Now, it was the north's turn. In the south we had been slaves. In the north, we were to be consumers, a new type of slave.

Here's what went down. The United States Committee For Economic Development After WWII developed a plan that stated "that in order to keep the cost of labor low, it is necessary to entice or force country people to move into the cities." The Committee decided this was the method by which there would always be a pool of people who would be nothing but consumers. The Committee also declared that since these people would be poor and landless, they would also be susceptible to hire for paltry wages. You think the white man didn't see us coming. Well, he didn't have to see us coming since he was the one who sent for us!

In the north, we took to the idea of consumerism like a fish takes to water. We accepted consumerism like it was a new gospel, and hedged in by our first contact with the almighty dollar, we practiced spending with an almost spiritual zeal. We still do. Money, and the belief that to spend was divine, fostered on us, our self-perpetuating identity as consumers.

Let's take a look at what happened to the brothas who remained in the south. Was there not a set-up for him? Of course, there was. Ever heard of the Pig Law?. It was the crack law back in 1876. Now sooner had the slaves been emancipated than the white man was set to work to contain him. The idea of a free--to-roam black man was unappealing to the white masses so it was only natural that a new physical world be established for him: Prison! Once the white south lost the power to hold black men hostage on the plantation, they now had to rely on another method. Right after Emancipation, the law made stealing a pig or any other farm animal an offense punishable by five years in prison. Just the week before , stealing a pig would have, at best, gotten the brotha a whipping by the slavemaster. Now, it was five years in the slammer!

With no place to go and no food to eat, the newly-freed black man's arrest rate began to rise. And it ain't stopped rising yet.

Then started the quest to portray the black man as the biggest threat to national security and as a consequence, the assault on our image began in earnest. And guess what one of the very first attacks was? That he black man was lazy and shiftless. How could the white man get away with that? The black man had just finished building the south from nothing and now all of a sudden, the same black man was lazy. What audacity. Anyway, this was the first negative image of the post-slavery black man. After this lie went over so well,other racial epithets followed. Add to these, the fact that the black man would steal the stink out of sh** and had a thing for white women, he became Public Enemy # ! overnight.

We must take control of our image. That is a starting point. That is why I am so adamant about our images in books and in song. They are no less of a detriment than the ones on the evening news. Read the Root Of All Evil. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B007DBVVM0

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I am going to borrow a line from Cynique from Part 1 of this. She said "As long as we are deluded into thinking of things in terms of good and bad and justice and injustice, we will remain frustrated." I have to say FRUSTRATED is exactly how I would describe my mental state every single time I start mulling over the problems of the Black community. Every single time. What's worse is that I never end up feeling like there is anything that we can do that will bring about real change...not in this country or any in other for that matter. We (people in general) might be able to bring about change for other causes, like fighting back against the 1% wealth-hoarders, and like saving the environment, etc...but the Black cause? I just don't see it happening, and so I end up frustrated...

I don't like feeling frustrated. I like to be cool and clear headed and I love to meditate and be happy. I suppose that's why I like the idea of things just working themselves out by way of the survival of the fittest. I agree that most of where we as Black people are today was orchestrated to put another race ahead of the game. I get that. But I started having that awakening without really having to be told about it by someone else. And I can't help but wonder about the rest of the people in my age group and older and say to myself, "If I was able to figure this out, why haven't they?"

That question always leads to this statement: "Well if they haven't figured it out by now, then they probably never will." This is the thought process that keeps me from giving too much energy to "our" cause. It's kind of like when I have a friend who wants to keep asking me what she should do about her man problems. I could tell her a thousand times over what to do and what not to do, but at the end of the day, "if she hasn't figured it out by now..." what good is my little speech going to do? So I'll listen to her vent and I'll even throw my two cents in, but when it's all said and done, I'm not going to lose any sleep over her man problems...just like I'm not going to allow myself to lose sleep over the race issues in this country. All I can do is let my kids know what's up and make them aware of the trickery and tell them not to believe everything they see, hear, or even read for that matter. Keep an open mind and keep your wits up. It'll be tough out there...you've got to be strong...etc...etc...etc.

So anyway, I just wanted you to know a little bit of where I'm coming from when I ask this question: So do you have a plan for how to get this awareness out? I know that you're a writer and you're putting some of the warnings out there by way of telling the stories in a way that is probably entertaining and informative at the same time. Beyond that are you involved in anything else for promoting awareness? Or do you ever feel like I do...like it's just too much...too deep of a mess to immerse yourself in "the cause"?

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As you can well imagine, you are a part of a very elite club--The Frustrated Black People Group--of which I have been a charter member since I realized there was not going to be a revolution in this country. If you have read my bio, you will have learned that I was a bank robber in the 70s. What I didn't mention was that the reason I started robbing banks was to finance the black revolution. I was also using the money to support the cause of our people in Africa, that was until I became frustrated. Then I started robbing banks for personal reasons. In any event, I was convinced that change would come to this country via revolution and I was more than willing to be on the front lines. I will explain what happened in a later post.

When I found there would be no revolution, I became a Muslim. I saw how Islam had transformed the backward, disunited Arabs and had forged them into a power-house, I assumed Islam could do the same for black people in America. Wrong again. It wasn't Islam that was lacking. It was our people.

It frustrates me greatly when I see our youth acting as they do. People actually died so they could enjoy the freedoms they have and they treat them as jest. There are brothas and sistas in prison, who have been there since the 70s because they fought for our struggle. They gave of themselves is such a selfless manner---and for what? They rot in jail because they felt we, as a people, were worth killing and dying for.

Since I have been out of prison, I founded what was called The Giant Steps Foundation which was an organization to steer young brothas and sistas away from a life of crime and confinement where I taught a lot of the info you have seen in my posts. They featured me and the group on the nightly news and the backlash was unbelievable. One of the most vocal critics was a member of the Carolina Panthers, the football team here. Everyone said we were thugs. We didn't deny that. We weren't out to teach the youth how to rob and steal. Our mission was to save them. No one gave us a chance. That hurt. In addition to this program, I also developed a program for young at-risk sistas called GirlSmart. The program teaches sistas to use their brains rather than their bodies. I also have a program, Project Uplift, which deals with the issue of drug-dealer addiction. I haven't been able to get any of these programs off the ground. I intend to re-launch all of them again this spring.

In the meantime, I will keep writing. Right now,my own weapon is my pen. I am enclosing the link to the news segment here


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I checked out the above-referenced link as well as your bio page here on AALBC. As I suspected, you're pretty busy. No wonder you sound so passionate in your posts when you share all of the things that you've discovered are wrong...all of the set ups. So you are the perfect person for me to pose the questions: "How's that working out (your efforts to reach the people)?" and "Are you still frustrated?"

I suppose you already answered those questions in your post above by saying that you are a chartered member of "The Frustrated Black People Group," and by sharing the fact that you ran into certain roadblocks when trying to get your organizations off the ground.

So let me ask this, just out of curiosity: "When it comes to being involved in all of the different projects (outside of writing), what is it that keeps you from throwing your hands up and going with the survival-of-the-fittest proposal and letting evolution take care of this mess?"

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I don't throw up my hands because I am afraid to. It's not that I have answers. It's just that I don't know what else to do. I hold life sacred and it would be a travesty for me to allow the deaths of those who have gone before me to have died and suffered in vain. Yes, there are times when I may step back, but I always rejoin the fray. When I was small, my Moms always told me not to let anyone hit me without me hitting them back. The power-that-be have been hitting me so I keep on hitting back. That's just my nature. The outcome has not always been pretty. There was this one time in 1983 when I had come home from serving ten long years in prison for those bank robberies. I had a job at Pizza Hut, was ready to start life anew. Along comes a Regional Manager from Virginia who hates the fact that practically all of the local managers are black. He went on a rampage and starting firing all the black managers. I supported my manager and we initiated a lawsuit against Pizza Hut. All hell broke loose. Most of the others were intimidated into backing off the lawsuit. I didn't. I was fired and the very next week was arrested as the so-called "Pizza Hut Bandit." I was charged with robbing 6 Pizza Huts. All the employees knew this was a lie and rallied around me. The charges were eventually dismissed, but the day I was due to walk out of jail, three additional robbery charges were filed. This was no longer a case of David versus Goliath. It was a personal vendetta. As mentioned in my bio, I had been in a shootout with the police and they were not about to let me walk out of jail when they had gotten their hands on me again. In the end, I ended up going back to prison for another decade----for a crime I didn't commit or know anything about!

I am still haunted by that now. 10 years of my life were taken for nothing. That is why I want others to know of the traps and pitfalls.The thing I fear most about the survival of the fittest is that the ones best suited to survive may not be the strongest. It just may be that we end up with strong fools! Remember the saying that "practice makes perfect. It doesn't. Only "Perfect" practice makes perfect. No matter how much you practice a martial arts move, if your form is not correct, you won't be perfect in your execution. Chances are good that Shaq, when he played basketball, practiced his free-throw shooting constantly. Despite his practice, Shaq never could shoot a free throw. Therefore, practice, in and of itself, does not make perfect.

Of course, the strong will survive--but are they the ones best suited to carry on the evolution of our species? Sure , they will have developed these wonderful, muscular bodies, and can talk the talk. Can they walk the walk, though? That will be the question. What happens,I feel, in a lot of cases is that the strong operate mostly out of instinct. They remember what works. They don't think about how to make what works.work better. Prisons are prime examples of where the strong flourish. Let me share this with you. I recall one day while in prison, we were let out of our dorms to go to the commissary. It was cold that evening. Everyone rushed to be first in line so they could get out of the cold,but when we got to the bottom of the steps, the gate was closed. we all stood there in the freezing cold waiting on the guard to come and open the gate. The guard in the gun tower merely watched. When we started yelling at him to send for someone to come and open the gate for us, he laughed and said. "Open the gate yourself".You see, the gate was not locked. It was simply closed. We all felt like fools.No one had thought to try to open the gate. we assumed that because it was closed that it was locked! That is what sometimes happens when only the strong survive.

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Declaring that only the strong survive was not what I contended. My argument had to do with the survival of "fittest". Forget brawn, think about brains. Smart people figure out a way to circumvent obstacles and adapt to their environment.

Indeed practice doesn't make perfect. After all these years of trying, In the absence of a collective consciouness, black people as a group can't moblize.

Like you, I've been around a long time and I've heard all of the arguments and all the revelations and all the theories and the truth hasn't set us free. Maybe we can't find the answers because we are not asking the right questions.

I have read a lot of depressing things but none more depressing than your account of what you have gone through. You challenged the system, and you paid for it. But you can celebrate a personal victory because you are an individual who can be considered among the fittest.

Life is not fair. It is what it is.

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One of the things about my life that I find so depressing is that I have never known happiness. Maybe the lifestyle I have led prevented me from actually knowing just what happiness was or where to begin a search to find it. Anyway, I have stopped trying--almost. Right now, I would settle for just being content. I read somewhere a long time ago that some people were not suited for happiness, that they were meant to achieve. I tried to console myself with that, but what have I achieved?

In any event, yes,my life has been truly unconventional. I have spent 35 years of my life in prison. I imagine that is the reason I have not been happy. Prison is no picnic! See, you have helped me find out the reason for my discontent. When I was young, I felt like I was cursed. Bad things just seemed to happen to me. I know I had free-will to make my own choices, but it felt like I was being controlled, like I was a dog in one of Pavlov's experiment. Anyway, like you say, it is what it is. Yet I can't let go. I must find out what or who or why I just kept on making mistakes, especially when I knew what the consequences would be. It just didn't make sense. Throughout prison, there were guys I grew up with in the joint. One in particular was a brotha I first met at 14 in reform school. A few years later, we met again in prison. Years after that we met up in prison in Georgia. We have never met on the streets. He felt the same way as if he was being controlled. I know it sounds like a cop-out, but the feeling is real. A lot of brothas get that feeling.

But, thank God, I survived.

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Sometime people's brains are wired a certain way and they can't help the way they are. And they say there is such a thing as a "happy" gene, and that not everyone has it. There are dormant areas in our brains where our primitive instincts still exist and they are the origin of certain compulsions.

Everybody is a little crazy, a little neurotic. Our psyches are layered with eccentricities .

Happiness is very elusive, measured in minutes as far as I am concerned. We are all seeking contentment, trying to achieve that perfect nirvana state. Rather than being different from others maybe you're must just more cognizant.

Hang in there, and continue to share your essays with us. As you know, essay means "I try". And where your compositions are concerned, you succeed. :unsure:

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