By H. Lewis Smith
In the aftermath of the Michael Brown shooting, concerned Black/African-Americans from all-over America converged on Ferguson, Missouri simultaneously presenting an intangible mirror reflecting Black consciousness in 21st century America. Whenever, there is a seemingly unjustified killing done by a white person to a black person, Black America historically since the 1960s will rise up in virtual rebellion. The sentiment being that Black America has low tolerance for police brutality towards blacks.
The reflection from the mirror however, presents an imbalanced and disconcerting image of Black America. It’s admirable of African-Americans to display unity in the face of what’s conceived as police brutally towards fellow Black Americans, but where is the same concern for the out of control killing of blacks by other blacks?
From Oakland to Chicago, Detroit, Kansas City, Philadelphia and Newark gun violence takes a heavy toll on the black community where young black men are routinely killed at the hands of other blacks. The grief shouldered by black women, black families, black churches and the black community is enormous, but yet where is the internal concern, the outrage?
In my book, Undressing the N-word: Revealing the Naked Truth About Lies, Deceit and Mind Games I present how the road towards freedom, equality and justice is a two-way street and how we as Black African-Americans must hold ourselves equally accountable and responsible in the same light as we do others to achieve racial harmony and equality; which can only be accomplished via a healthy, liberated mindset.
Contemporary Black/African-Americans are presently traveling on a path of self-destruction and need to wake up to this reality post haste. For the past 30 years, the prowess spirit of Black America have been replaced or diluted with messages of self-destruction, inferiority, and insignificance mostly due to the creation and acceptability of gangsta rap and its associated lifestyle.
Where is the outrage, the strong rhetoric denouncing the actions of these predators? To the contrary—financially successful black rappers and businessmen—are held in high esteem throughout the Black community. The products from which they have gained their wealth contribute to the corruption and pollution of the minds of many black youth, crippling the minds of the impoverished even further.
The building of character and the positive molding of young minds have taken a back seat to cultural genocide and menticide. The memories, sacrifices and struggles of African-American ancestors too have been urinated, defecated and trampled upon at the expense of bestowing high applause upon those who have financially benefited by selling out their race.
Fifty years removed from 1964, and the state of affairs throughout the Black community is on life support. Black-on-Black crime, gangs, rampant drug selling and addictions; a high volume of incarcerations, probations, paroles; and problems in schools such as suspensions, expulsions and poor performances are not just externally caused conditions. In fact, the primary causes of these concerns stem from internal influences within the Black community.
Such acceptance and promotion of the glorification of violence, sex, drugs, and profanity as a lifestyle leads to an unhealthy, broken and unproductive environment. This same acceptance and rationalizing with defiling behaviors and attitudes serves as a breeding ground for trouble, despair, discord, discontent and afflictions of grave consequences.
When Black/African-Americans support rappers and entertainers that humiliate and degrade their own race, those supporters are participating in cultural, mental genocide and the sanctioning of every whiplash and other atrocities felt by enslaved ancestors. These same fans are contributing to the emotional, psychological, spiritual, and cultural extermination of the Black race as the entire world watches in amazement at such abnormal behavior. Some rappers were present at Ferguson lending their support and kudos to them, but it doesn’t nullify the fact that they are part of the problem.
Rather than promoting positive images; encouraging black youth not to take the same violent or negative routes that they took to stardom; stressing the importance of education, self-awareness, and self-dignity (having some class and sophistication); and truly being accessible to youths to serve as impressionistic mentors, they only continue to suck the life from the Black community in terms of asking citizens to buy their immoral records and empty labels with no positive messaging.
Use and tolerance of the n-word is not indicative of a free liberated mind nor the desire or effort to achieve greatness. Rather, embracing the n-word, violence, denigration of women is reflective of a bonded mind or mental illness.
Blacks must begin to teach and show by example future generations a new way of thinking. African-Americans must also realize that with freedom, education and independence, comes the requirement to be accountable and responsible for one’s own acts; in other words there is a crying need for the Black community to hold one another accountable and responsible for the welfare and well-being of the community which isn’t presently being done in this 21st century.
H. Lewis Smith is the founder and president of UVCC, the United Voices for a Common Cause, Inc., http://www.theunitedvoices.com author of Bury that Sucka: A Scandalous Love Affair with the N-Word, and the recently released book Undressing the N-word: Revealing the Naked Truth, Lies, Deceit and Mind Games https://www.createspace.com/4655015.