Step Up 3: Taking Action

I will admit racism does still exist.  I have been a victim of it and have bore witness to it.  While I don’t agree with either one, I will say that doing that to “Them” because they do that to “Us” is not the right answer (saw that in S.C.).  I would say taking the moral high ground and showing them how much of a fool they really are would go a lot farther and have a much stronger impact.  Having grown up bi-racial, I have an understanding of both sides and I think the lack of understanding between one another  is the problem.  What I see also, is how we, as black people end up supporting the racist stereotypes through our actions.  I think we hold on to Ebonics as if it is a part of our culture which is not true at all. However, it was created more from poor speech and a lack of education.  The fact that we allow these negative characteristics to be identified as black culture is what will hold us back.

The negative stereotypes that we are supporting based on our actions is what ends up enduring and/or supporting what is called afrophobia.  In many cases, this fear is unjust but it can be seen literally throughout the world.  I have seen it in Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Belgium, the Philippines, Mongolia, Korea and Japan.  In all the places that I have been in I have seen this afrophobia in the form of an apprehension they have based on what they know of black people (main stream media).  No matter how well you speak, how well you dress or what kind of car you drive.  It doesn’t matter because we have this one characteristic that will insight apprehension and/or fear before you even begin to say anything.  I have seen in some cases where people will begin speaking slang to me, assuming that is how I would speak.  I find that very offensive. Not only am I suppose to speak a certain way because I am black, but you are going to pretend to speak that way so that we can get along.  Stop the madness.

I think part of what allows the negative perception to prevail is what goes on in the community.  The teachers don’t receive the support of the parents which makes things worse.  For some reason everyone seems to be too busy to sit down with their children and make sure they are doing their homework and/or going to parent teacher conferences to see what their child needs work on.  You know as well as I do, at that point if we aren’t going to be involved in our children’s lives then we really aren’t going to be active in the community.  That’s why the “duffle bag boy” on the corner and gangs are taking over the neighborhood.  They will be the ones talking to the kids when you are too busy.  We don’t bother with them though because they are “too dangerous”, with the guns they hardly know how to use.  It’s funny, in a white neighborhood I once lived in, a kid was talking trash. He showed the butt of a pistol to a middle aged adult.  That middle aged man pulled out his .45 and put the barrel to the kids forehead.  Another neighbor drove by and asked what was going on.  The middle aged man said, “We are just showing each other our guns.  Show him what you carry.”  The neighbor pulled out a .357.  The first man told the kid he didn’t want to see him on his street anymore and that kid never did.  I remember a time growing up in a black neighborhood where that issue would never have happened.  Back then you better not disrespect an adult.  If you were told to go home or go somewhere else and play that’s what you did.  We have lost that and with that our neighborhoods declined as well.

I know there are white communities that are pretty bad but they aren’t part of a major metropolitan area.  Instead they are stand alone cities/ towns in parts of the country where it is almost expected that you marry your cousin, mainly because everyone is related (Buckley, IL; honestly, the one family that wasn’t related married in).  Conversely, you look at most black ghettos and you find the South side of Chicago.  “Chiraq” is the most current nickname in reference to the 650 people killed in 2012.  Then there is Fifth ward Houston, Third ward New Orleans. Compton and Watts which are suburbs that get lumped into L.A., just to name a few.  It’s because of that our ghettos end up in the spot light as opposed to the white ghettos which themselves are full of crack houses, meth labs, and moon shining stills.  It is by proximity that the finger can be pointed at the black community.  No one is going over the river and through the woods to see what the ghetto white folks are doing.

We as a people, need to become more functional and positive members of our communities.  I know there are more like minded people out there and better representatives than our current (reactive) civil rights leaders.  I know there are various community forums addressing outstanding issues but, action needs to be taken.  As a group with one common goal, we can do a lot more than an individual trying to get something done.  Once it is SEEN that we are actually about the community and about our young people, others will start to have vested interest in the community just the same.  So let’s pass the message, be and/or continue to be the role model to our children and one day we will, WE WILL, be the equals that we deserve to be.

Onyx Contributor:  R.L. Knight
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