“Violence in our communities shows [blacks] really do hate each other.”
Rush Limbaugh? Bill O’Reilly?
No, Kenny Gamble, famous co-architect of the Philadelphia Sound who’s invested his retirement and his fortune in saving his inner city community. This is what’s known as tough love, the only kind worth a damn.
Philadelphia, as I’ve written before, is struggling hard to stem the tide of violence there. Oddly, they’ve found that protesting racism is less productive than working to get 10,000 volunteers to stand guard over their community and try to reclaim their lost ones. They’ll never pull it off without a hard look in the mirror like Gamble’s because racism doesn’t make you shoot people or sell drugs or drop out of school; there has to be an intervening cause, like hopelessness, a criminal record which prevents employment, an unplanned pregnancy, or internalized oppression that makes you, too, subconsciously hate black people.
Outside of the academy, black interiority is a subject that even blacks have shown little interest in except as it directly implicates racism. It’s fair to go so far as to say that it’s a taboo subject when it exposes problematic patterns among blacks, e.g. the common black myths that ‘they’ don’t commit suicide or suffer from mental illness. That would be weak and only white people are weak; blacks don’t roll like that. Beat your wife? Fine, but see a therapist and see how quickly you lose your street cred. A good plan if stoicism and silence actually eliminated the problems, but til then, blacks should join in the on-going excavations of their own complexity and gird themselves to have some painful discussions. I’ve long believed that the black community’s main problem is widespread PTSD. What else explains ganster rap, the war between black men and black women, and the rage of the black middle class? Yes, I’m serious. And I’m not alone, though perhaps my fellow travelers aren’t putting it quite this way.
Another 10,000 Man activist noted, “More killings in Philadelphia are the result of common disputes than over drug-turf wars. …With the proliferation of guns and lack of training in managing anger, ordinary arguments become deadly. And why has anger not been controlled or properly channelled?”
A former Philadelphia gang member “speaks eloquently about the lack of love in his urban community and the effect this has on increasing crime, lowering employment opportunities and creating a sense of desperation so deep pre-teen black kids are essentially hopeless before hitting middle school.” (emphasis added)
How does racism keep minorities from loving their kids?
However oppressive and determinative racism remains in America – and boy does it – black complicity and inertia has allowed it to turn too many of them into the racist’s wet dream: a caricature of disfunction, underachievement and futility. The tired arguments against supplying ammo to the enemy are just that – tired; racists are never going to run out of dirty tricks so blacks should take a page from DuBois.
In The Souls of Black Folk, he wrote, “Between me and the other world there is ever an unasked question: How does it feel to be a problem? I answer seldom a word.”
Blacks today should also be too busy tending to their community to participate in racism’s mind games.