Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Second and Third Generation

Who pays for the mistakes of the past?

The Bible talks about the sins of fathers dooming their children to the second and third generation. Yet, it also discussed God's willingness to judge all of us individually, and bless us according to our own relationships with him.

I've been wondering about the generational quality of sin, as I watch violence and mayhem engulf my hometown.

I was talking to some older gentlemen the other day, and I ran down to them my own personal beliefs on why things seem so bad these days. First and foremost, there is the existence of more media outlets which serve to inform us about crime that normally would have flown below the radar, or been confined to local newspapers. This serves to create a bunker mentality among Americans who feel like they are constantly under siege, even if they live in relatively quiet and crime-free communities.

However, there is no denying that violence is real in some places. I recently read a story that compared homicide rates around the world to the homicide rate in Iraq, and it was very troubling to see American cities with violence rates higher than some cities in "third world" countries. (I hate using that term, but I don't know a better one.) We like to think that America is "beyond" certain societal ills, but the violence seems to have a stubborn resiliency in this country.

Anyway, after I told these older gentlemen about how the media makes things appear worse than they are, I then talked about the cycle of violence and poverty that is the cornerstone of many black communities. I used the word "cornerstone" because that's how ingrained violence and poverty are in some areas. The school system sucks, the job market sucks, parenting sucks, housing sucks, in fact, everything sucks except for the dope game.

The almighty dope game.

Everybody knows it's fool's gold, but young cats keep jumping off into it. They know they are going to die young or end up locked up. They know once they start getting arrested, it will be damn near impossible for them to ever move into legitimate business. Yet, everyday hundreds of young black men decide that the dope game is their best option.

See, white men may be more likely to use illegal drugs, but it's black men who are most likely to sell it. That ain't just a popular stereotype, that's a fact. But, instead of chalking that up to some innate evilness, I'm of the mindset that something is deeply wrong with the world these young cats inhabit if slanging rocks still seems like a viable option.

In my experience, people are people. Most folks are the same, it's not like there is a plethora of sociopaths in the ghettos. Nah, these cats aren't dark-skinned Charles Mansons, they are more like young idiots who made a series of bad decisions, and now have few options and even less hope.

Here's where I get back to my blog title. See, what I finally told these old cats is that the current state of the world can be directly tied back to the past state of the world. What's going on now in the black community isn't the result of some massive racist plot or some core inadequacy in black people. It's neither that simple, nor that complicated.

Sure, racism helped cause the current problems since the inequities in housing, education and jobs, helped create the depressed economic communities where crime thrives. And sure, black people have some bad traits like drunkenness, sexual immorality and violent tendencies, just to name a few.

But, it's not like there is a cabal of racists making the world jerk and twist like Geppeto. Nor is it true that black people have a monopoly on all the traits I just mentioned. Last time I checked, those things are common in everybody.

Nah, what happened is that the regular old humanity of black folks combined with the inhumane actions of some white folks and the willful ignorance of others to create a toxic mix. That mix encouraged and glorified the worst human traits of black folks, and created a cycle of failure that is reaching its apex in the young adults of today's generation. Whether it be the rampant violence or the declining overall morality, the current state of the world didn't just spring forth fully formed like Aphrodite.

It's been a gradual process where the failures and mistakes of all of our ancestors contributed to the chaos we see today. That doesn't absolve us from our personal responsibility. We still have the power to live our own lives. However, for me, it made it clear that today's problems aren't color-coded and neither are the solutions. There are no white, black, Asian or Latino problems. There are no third world, second world, or first world problems. There are human problems, created thanks to the actions of all human beings, and therefore the responsibility of all of us.

Unless we want to doom some more second and third generations.



Deacon Blue said...

Well spoken. This is a topic I had almost posted on many, many months ago. Well, a similar topic anyway. And the point I had planned to get at was that the ills that so many people attribute to black communities can only be solved if two things happen:

White society (in fact, American society as a whole) must acknowledge that their/its past sins still affect present and future situations.

Blacks must fix a lot of their communities' problems on their own, or with minimal help, since true healing still has to come from inside.

But no matter how I tried to address the topic and tweak my post, I either came off as too left-wing or too right-wing sounding. Couldn't strike the right balance.

Again, well said, man...

Big Man said...

Thanks Deac.

I'm going to have something tomorrow talking about the root issue that makes talking about stuff like this so difficult. Folks are always looking to assign blame to somebody else, and absolve themselves of any responsibility. This is true on a macro and micro level.

Anyway, thanks for the comment.

Mr. Noface said...

I'm going to have to co-sign on your whole post there Big Man. Brilliantly broken down IMHO.

P.S. I chose you for a blog award.

myblackfriendsays said...

"third world" countries. (I hate using that term, but I don't know a better one.)

what about "Developing countries"?
HTH (:

Big Man said...

Black Friend

Developing is kind of condescending too. At least I felt like that when I considered using it.

Also, I changed my mind on the post for tomorrow and went in a different direction.

Deacon Blue said...

Maybe our designations should be:

Tech Naive Nation (TNN) (e.g. Amazon rainforest tribes?)

Tech Aware Nation(TAN)

Tech Saturated Nation (TSN)

Tech Obsessed Nation (TOS)

I'm not sure if I'm joking or not, to be honest...

Deacon Blue said...

Whoops, should have been TON on that last one.

Thordaddy said...

lil' man,

Are you saying that the sins of the white man's past are being paid by today's whites in terms being the victim of black pathology?

Or, are you saying that the black pathology of today is the price being paid for the sins of those black men of the past?

Big Man said...

I ain't saying nothing to you homie after your slip-up on the other post.

You revealed yourself there.

Thordaddy said...

Lol...! Just like I said... Give the black man a little unwanted attention and he says your "racist." And then give the black man no attention at all and he'll say the same.

lil' man, why choose a life of alienation from white people and then act shocked when they treat you in an alienated way?

The problem with a cat like you is that you're a public integrationist and a private segregationist.

Did Cleaver and the Zebra killers target whites for rape and murder?

Do we need to add another falsehood (blacks don't target whites for violent crime) to your list?

Big Man said...


Big Man said...

Is the KKK "traditional" or "liberal"?

And read Soul on Ice again. Eldridge never did get around to raping a white woman, but he practiced on plenty of sisters.


Thordaddy said...

lil' man,

Is it your contention that after 500 years of slavery and oppression, there aren't blacks that target whites for a vengeful death?

Is it not the truth that your ideology, which tells you that you live in a white supremacist environment and that black inequality is the result of whites exploiting blacks, is the "intellectual" ammunition that may give rise to such racial targeting?

The Ku Klux Klan...? Yeah, they real powerful... Lol!

You ever seen a klansman...? Yeah, me neither...

Big Man said...


Where did I mention slavery?

Again, your pathology is showing.

And, actually, I have seen Klansmen. Individually, they are sad little men.

But, operating under the cloak of secrecy plotting domestic terrorism, they can be dangerous.

But, then again, you wouldn't care about that. They'd probably only be hurting the "liberals" right?

Funny cat.

Thordaddy said...

lil' man,

Are you going to write a post that demands other people fess up when they're wrong and then stand here and never fess up?

Do blacks target whites for vengeful death...? Yes or no?

And do they target whites for vengeful death because of the meme that blacks have suffered 500 years of slavery and oppression under the white man...? Yes or no?

Big Man said...

Ummm, would that be traditional whites or liberal whites?

Cause when you just use the term "white" I can never be sure who you are talking about?

And which black people are we talking about, you never explained to me if they were all the same or not?

And, are you going to explain to me the biblical basis for your assertion that there is a hierarchy of sin? You know, the idea that different sins are "worse" than others?

And are you going to explain how you decided that abortion, but not fornication or divorce was an appropriate litmus test for determining someone's Christianity? You know, the biblical basis for that?

Raving Black Lunatic