Wednesday, October 13, 2010

disintegration of america's black neighborhoods

eugene robinson on npr

we're slowly getting to the point where we can openly speak about the negative side-effects
of integration on the black community. eugene robinson touches on a few points of interests,
but i think he sidesteps acknowledging the main component plaguing the legitimacy of
empowerment for african americans - i'm talking about 'integration' itself.

not saying integration is bad; it's just that african americans were badly integrated.
we didnt step headlong into 'the great american project' hauling our culture with us; for the most
part, that culture was what we were wanting to get away from - slavery, jim crow, stereotype,
disenfranchisement, poverty, ridicule, self-hate, etc... the only thing is we also abandoned
the positives that go along with thriving within your own culture as it battles outside forces
to maintain its dignity, relevance and reverence to the world at large: community, pride-in-self,
accomplishment, solidarity, social inclusion.... all the things currently coming up short in
black communities across the american nation; the dwindled social aspects that caused
mr. jello (bill cosby) to launch into his tirade about the perception of social malfeasance
existing not only in our neighborhoods, but in how our images play out in the media and beyond.

400 years of second class (on a good day!) citizenship has intrinsically damaged our self-esteem
and yet 'post traumatic slavery syndrome' is a laughed at phenomenon. and yet we treat
children held hostage over night by irate family members, lovers, co-workers, etc... we treat
soldiers who spend any amount of time in active combat situations (whether weapons are fired
or not). and yet african americans have had to deal with the legacy of being the offspring of
those violently taken from their homes and loved ones, we have all come of age living with
this banner of supreme victimization and yet america expects us to shrug it off/get over it/accept
their somewhat-welcoming and not-all-together-immediate embrace...
we probably COULD get over it if our medical practitioners hadnt abandoned us in our mad rush
to join in with the mainstream - black communities where left with the void of business
professionals rushing out in attempts to earn gainful employment where financial reward was
more likely to equate to their experience, know-how and cognizant abilities. ask any black
person over 50 and they'll recount tales of neighborhoods thriving with black businesses -
bakeries, restaurants, dry-cleaners, lawyers, doctors, teachers, etc... black professionals who
worked within the borders of the communities in which they lived. this is called 'being invested'.

and in the mainstream of america, our white counterparts had already called dibs on the goods
and services we once provided. this is how a black doctor under segregation becomes a factory
worker at general electric. of black elders who believed the grass was always greener on
the other side, so they'd comment that 'white doctors are better than black doctors', exposing
the 400 year legacy of being victims in a harsh environment. not that we all individuals suffered,
but as a black collective, which is what mr. robinson's article addresses.

we'll get it straight one day; i know that about us. but it will take bolder language out in the open
than what currently exists at this time. eugene does an excellent job in adding this subject to
the national discussion...

it's time our artiststs and writers to back him up; for our work as individuals to reconnect us
to our cultural heritages existing before melting-pot-theories watered us down. its not america's
pollutants that have pulled us down, its the dilution of our cultural fabrics that have splintered
us the most.

(and where's the 'black newspaper app' for our smartphones? ...damn!)

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