Tuesday, September 21, 2010

What Would Work?

Have you ever tried to solve a problem, and only after you had gotten knee deep in the situation did you truly grasp the heft of the endeavor?

Like trying to change the oil on your car and realizing that the entire engine is shot? Or repainting the trim on your home, and then realizing you have a serious termite infestation?
I had that feeling recently when considering the plight of black folks in America. Or, as it was once known, "The Negro Problem."

 Like DuBois, I hate that term, but in this case it fits. There remains a problem for black people in this country. We typically go to the worst schools, we live in the worst neighborhoods, we have bleak economic realities, and we have the most negative contact with law enforcement. Unlike some, I don't chalk this up to some innate genetic or cultural failure on the part of black folks. I've always known that we have faced challenges, but it's only recently that I was able to assess the true size of those issues.


Some of you may be tired of hearing about Douglas Blackmon's book "Slavery By Another Name" but honestly, this has been one of the most informative books I've every consumed, and I've read a lot of books over the years. Not only is the information about the de-facto slavery that was prevalent in this country eye-opening, but the details about exactly how the South operated in the period following Reconstruction has revolutionized how I view black folks' and our situation.

Simply put, the world we live in today didn't occur randomly. It wasn't that black folks couldn't or wouldn't put in the extra work to overcome some minor but manageable difficulties. Our oppression wasn't confined to lunch counters and railroad cars. Jim Crow shouldn't be called Jim Crow, it should should be called Jim Blue Freaking Whale!

This country, the South in particular, actively did everything in its power to prevent black folks from catching up with the rest of America following slavery. Laws were created, injustices were ignored and no effort was spared to establish and bolster white hegemony. This wasn't a loose collection of bigots and a large mass of ignorant  folks, this was the very government of the states with the largest concentrations of black citizens doing everything in their power to keep black people in poverty and abject misery.

There were laws preventing black people from changing employers without a white person's approval. There were laws criminalizing loud talk, failing to have a job and haggling over wages. In the land of free enterprise, there was even a law making it illegal for black folks to seek the best price for the cotton they grew on their own land. Enforcing these unjust laws was a collection of corrupt and brutal judges and sheriff's whose only qualification was a deep and abiding hatred of black folks. The "justice" system was so filled with corruption that for years a black man could die in prison simply for the crime of having the wrong color skin.

This was evil.

And I don't say all this to rehash the past, although I want all of you to learn more about this dark period in black life, I say this because until we understand the depths of the evil committed against black folks, we can't hope to figure out solutions. This isn't just about removing unfair obstacles and telling black folks to run their race. No, that is not enough.

Not when you consider the aggressive injustice that defined black life for a century after slavery. The minor fixes that have drawn the ire of so many white folks are not only pointless, but black people should be pissed at the reaction from our white peers.  It's like watching someone offer a cup of water to a man who is engulfed in flames, and then seeing bystanders roasting marshmallows and complaining about the damage to the cup.

Yet, for the life of me, I can't figure out what would work. How do we fix this problem? How do we address and correct the artificially created educational, economic and cultural realities of black life? How do we soothe the accumulated hurts that are completely real and justified? Can this country do enough? Will its people ever truly grasp what happened, and what must be done to make amends?

What do you think?

Share

9 comments:

CNu said...

The VERY first thing to realize and accept in the formulation and implementation of the solution is that - WE ARE ON OUR OWN

Can this country do enough?

This "country" and its systems have done everything it can get away with to crush us. This "country" is now doing all the little memetic things it needs to do in order to forget its collective, corporate misdeeds.

Will its people ever truly grasp what happened, and what must be done to make amends?

No.

And you will be demonized and ostracized for trying to make them grasp it and heaven forbid "make amends".

These devils have already granted themselves a complete Jubilee wrt the sins of their fathers and this will carry forward another 3 or 4 generations, at least.

{well, WW-III and or other peak oil driven dystopian events may lead to unforseen consequences - but the cardinal rule will continue to apply, i.e., WE ARE TOTALLY ON OUR OWN}

Big Man said...

Cnu
I so hope you're wrong, but I fear you are right.

So, given we are on our own behind what can charitably be called enemy lines, and outnumbered and outgunned, what do you see as the solution to the large scale problems facing our folks?

I know that black folks can do a lot to improve their lot from embracing constructive Christianity, strong families, high morals and economic independence, but I also wonder if that's enough when the system has been slanted so egregiously, and continues to be slanted.

In my mind, it feels like at a certain point their has to be a change in mindset by the dominant group, or the problems of the past will dominate the future just in different forms.

What say you?

CNu said...

what do you see as the solution to the large scale problems facing our folks?

A. Realize that a whole buncha folks are just goners jack! Any and all capt-save-a-ho notions are strictly for the birds - you know - like those seeds fallen in a bad place.

B. Next, partisan community building, association, cooperation and focus on tangible, productive, concrete projects in which folks contributions to the effort are measured and recognized must be priority number one.

black folks can do a lot to improve their lot from embracing constructive Christianity, strong families, high morals and economic independence

As much as I frown upon what I consider anti-Christian superstitions, I have no doubt that churches of such folk comprise accessible and potentially crucial collective security clubs or CSC's.

If one is active and effective in that context, revisit, instigate and nurture B. in that context.

C. "Churching" CANNOT simply be about shared belief in the years to come, it must be about shared effort, investment, practice, and community of the mormonistically tangible variety.

In my mind, it feels like at a certain point their has to be a change in mindset by the dominant group, or the problems of the past will dominate the future just in different forms.

Brah'man...,

How many civil wars jumped off and were assymetrically decided under the global umbrella of WW-II?

sheeeeeeeeeiiiiiiittttt........,

WW-III (the only way out of the economic collapse that will permit current elites to maintain their grip on power) is gonna make WW-II look like a walk in the park.

Moreover, the scope of WW-III, unlike WW-II is going to include and encompass significant regional swaths of the U.S.

Think "aftermath of Katrina" but on a far more massive scale. I know that you know a whole lot more about this than I do....,

What say you?

Justice58 said...

The VERY first thing to realize and accept in the formulation and implementation of the solution is that - WE ARE ON OUR OWN

Can this country do enough?

This "country" and its systems have done everything it can get away with to crush us. This "country" is now doing all the little memetic things it needs to do in order to forget its collective, corporate misdeeds.

Will its people ever truly grasp what happened, and what must be done to make amends?

No.

And you will be demonized and ostracized for trying to make them grasp it and heaven forbid "make amends".

These devils have already granted themselves a complete Jubilee wrt the sins of their fathers and this will carry forward another 3 or 4 generations, at least.




So sad! But so true!

Big Man said...

Cnu
I was watching the President talk this morning, and I honestly became more inclined to agree with you that WWW III is inevitable.

It's not that there aren't enough resources, it's that there aren't enough resources to sustain the current accepted levels of consumption. People who want to continue the current system of haves and have nots must make some drastic changes to protect certain haves.

I agree with your B. I'm shaky on your A in theory, although I already do it in practice, if that makes sense. Basically, I don't like saying "we have to forget and ignore some folks" but I do ignore folks in real life. I don't like saying it because of the possibility that unscrupulous folks will use those comments to cut off folks who are actually trying. It's kind of similar to the way I feel about tracking in schools. I think it's a good idea, but I don't trust most educators and policy makes to carry it out.

I agree with C, but the challenge is doing it the right way. It's way to easy to get caught up in the materialistic stuff, and end up like Mormons, who have often condoned and ignored spiritual abuses to protect the bottom line.

Deacon Blue said...

I think that there's about zero chance that any but a very small percentage of white Americans will even begin to accept (much less fully comprehend) the reach of their white privilege and depth and length of damage purposefully wrought on black Americans.

Where I do hold hope is that as non-white races continue to grow in size in this nation, that the stranglehold on wealth and power will finally no longer be an overwhelmingly white affair...and when that happens, I see the opportunity for the playing field to level out. But I cannot begin to imagine how many generations more that is going to require.

Justice58 said...

I think that there's about zero chance that any but a very small percentage of white Americans will even begin to accept (much less fully comprehend) the reach of their white privilege and depth and length of damage purposefully wrought on black Americans.


Your comment is spot on. This country will never change or own up to the sufferings inflicked upon black people. You should see some of the comments on the CNBC blog concerning President Obama. They really believe the country has been stolen from them. It's mind-blowing & so depressing.

Thordaddy said...

...The VERY first thing to realize and accept in the formulation and implementation of the solution is that - WE ARE ON OUR OWN...

CNu... A radical autonomist...

Yeah Craig... You finally relented.

Devona said...

Is there a "Negro Problem?" Sure there are bad schools, bad neighborhoods, some of us are not where we "want" to be economically, but we (black people) are not the only race that suffers from this? I'm not trying to make light of the discussion/conversation/question, but I am just wondering.
I think instead of asking what's wrong with "our community"; why not ask what's right about it. We get so bogged down the negative aspects that we rarely notice the positive.
IMHO, for there to be a Negro Problem, every black person would be failing in school, going to prison, living in poverty, having kids out-of-wedlock, etc...but we are not. In fact we are NOT the majority of people for which this is true.

Raving Black Lunatic