"Sometimes, I think it's
just genocide. Watching all of your people die."
"Closed Eyes"- Marcus
Cox, NC artist
I just peeped the new movie
called "The Final Destination" about this woe- is -me type
dude warning his homies about their impending demises and their frantic
attempts to beat the grim reaper. I'm not sure why I spent $6.25 to
see the flick when, as a Black man, I get that every night on the evening
news for free...
The gloom and doom forecast
for Black life started out in the 16th century with the misinterpretation
of scripture that condemned people of African descent to the curse of
being "hewers of wood and drawers of water." It's been pretty
much downhill every since.
It seems that any news dealing
with Black folks is, overwhelmingly, negative except for the occasional
story of some lucky kid who "made it out the ghetto despite the
million- to- one odds."
Whether it's stories about
unemployment or high drop out rates, Black on black violence or some
new disease that for some strange reason only attacks Black folks, news
from the 'hood is, definitely, not all good.
The sad thing about it is that
most of us have become so accustomed to our pitiful prognosis that we
have accepted the revelations, wholeheartedly, without even asking
And those of us who do try
to challenge the statistics are faced with the unenviable task of constantly
trying to decipher fact from fiction.
Is the Black community, inherently,
doomed to the pathologies that plague us or do our own actions determine
our fate? Do we have the ability to develop strategies to relieve our
burdens or will even our best made plans be sabotaged by those who have
a vested interest in "keepin' the Black man down?"
People like Bill Cosby have
argued that if only Black boys would pull up their pants and stop listening
to gangsta rap then all would be right with the world. This is not much
different than WEB Du Bois' argument in his 1897 essay, "The Conversation
of Races" that the greatest step to solving the "Negro problem
lies in the correction of the immortality, crime and laziness of the
Negroes themselves, which still remains an argument since slavery."
Others have argued, quite convincingly,
that the condition of African Americans is not the result of Divine
Providence nor an accidental universal catastrophe but is a well designed
attempt to remove people with high levels of melanin from the face of
While this may be dismissed
by some as paranoia, as the character from the 80's sitcom, WKRP in
Cincinnati, Dr. Johnny Fever, once said, "when everyone's out to
get you, being paranoid is just a smart way of thinking."
After all the evidence is there.
As Malcolm X said at a Harlem
rally in 1964, known as his 'By Any Means Necessary Speech," When
you let the Black man in America know where he once was and what he
once had, why, he only needs to look at himself now to realize something
criminal was done to him to bring him down to the low condition that
he's in today."
It is foolish to deny the fact
that segments in this country have offered ways to get rid of Black
undesirables over the years; whether it be lynchings, burnings, the
Tuskegee Experiment, COINTELPRO, crack and guns in the hood or the Hurricane
Katrina aftermath, the list goes on.
While many of these incidents
may be chalked up to urban legends, the affect of rumors was taken very
seriously by the government. In her book, "Heard it Through the
Grapevine," Professor Patricia Turner writes that the Feds set
up "rumor clinics" during WWII to "prevent potentially
adverse hearsay of all sorts from gaining credibility." Also, in
1968, the Kerner Report recorded the operation of "Rumor Central
" operations to combat urban racial disorders.
What is most troubling is that
many young African Americans have embraced their fate and adopted the
old Star Trek Borg mantra that "resistance is futile."
This is especially evident
in Hip Hop as rappers have developed a bizarre type of necrophilia.
There are hundreds of songs with the common theme of "just kill
me, already, and get it over with."
The posthumous success of rappers
Tupac Shakur and the Notorious BIG, both of whom seemed to predict their
deaths in their lyrics, are perhaps the best examples.
This is not to suggest that
the entertainment industry's exploitation of Black agony started with
Grandmaster Flash and the Furious 5's, "The Message." From
the blues to the the situation comedies /tragedies of 70's shows such
as Good Times, the industry has painted a less than rosy picture of Black life. However, with changing technological advances, Hip-Hop allowed Black suffering to be embraced, globally.
Regardless, of the cause of
our dilemma, our challenge is to find ways to restore the confidence
of this younger generation that they do not have to accept their prewritten
obituaries but they posses the innate ability to change their environment.
Maybe, we will find out that
Earth, Wind and Fire were right when they sang, "in our hearts
lie all the answers to the truth you can't run from."
Until then, just like in the
movie, being Black in America is a constant, everyday struggle to cheat
Paul Scott writes for No Warning
Shots Fired.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org