Black Millennials, Suburbia & The Myth of the Social Utopia

Onyx Contributor:  H.T. (@517NightHawk), Podcast:  Lansing Anti-Hero

After reading Gil’s article about black people and how we respond to racism these days, I got to thinking.  Speaking for myself, I’m very much anti-recording or doxing racists, let alone talking about it on social media as it’s been proven in my own life that it’s frankly pointless.  I’m of the belief that, yes, black people should come together to defend against racists in effective yet pragmatic ways.

How?  Well, start by having more black lawyers who will take cases of black people defending themselves on a pro bono situation.  Talk all the shit you want about Cochran helping OJ, but the man died a hero in the eyes of many black people as he was willing to stand up for black people as a whole.  Hell, have charities to fund black peoples’ legal defenses for those who can’t afford it.  Beyond that, black people should train in some form of martial arts for unarmed defense.  Boxing, kickboxing, karate, Ju Jitsu, Krav Maga, hell even Silat if you can find a master in it who will teach it.  As for guns, yes, black people should arm themselves.  Get a concealed carry permit, hell open carry if you have to.  But I think there’s a way.

The thing that got me to thinking aside from that was how black people today are.  In all the talks of millennial black people and “we are not our grandparents” and “carefree black boys”, I got to wondering what the fuck happened.  Then it hit me:  this is what happens when black people grow up too comfortable and are flung head first into the reality of racism.

Keep in mind, millennials between the ages of 21 to 30 grew up when society kind of needed to push an all lives matter narrative about race in America as from 2001 onward.  Americans were (seemingly) okay with each other…if you didn’t look Arab/muslim.  The media and many other groups, including the government itself, kind of stepped in to combat Islamophobia with earnest but ultimately empty PSAs and whatnot to teach people to not be dicks to people who happen to share a religion with the hijackers but probably hated them too.

Meanwhile, black culture was basically normalized to white America in likely the most effective way which was that a lot of artists came out that were pretty tame, thus why 50 Cent’s premiere was such a shocker.  Honestly, looking back, the early 2000s were quite literally the closest America came to being a post-racial society.  And this was the society this generation was raised in:  the grand illusion that being black wasn’t too big a deal in America.  Never mind that the Bush administration essentially left much of New Orleans to suffer while Kanye West was demonized for saying what many thought.

Truth is, the millennial generation by majority grew up not fully aware of the dangers of blackness till around the time that Obama came into office, which was supposed to be a great kumbaya moment for America but inevitably grew to show that America only loved us during the last few years because we made them laugh, kept them dancing and gave them new stuff to add to the pop culture lexicon.  Like always.

Barack Obama’s election for a generation that essentially grew up naive marked reality’s cold embrace on race relations for many, but was also the beginning of many still believing that there was hope we could go back to the way things were and then some.  This is where the illusion of a social utopia comes in.

The thing many black millennials fail to understand is that the reason things were so happy back then was because of a few factors:  1) we were all minors, 2) because we were all minors, there were overarching forms of authority that kept things as they were, & 3) our parents only allowed us to live in an almost laissez-faire way because the real world that they knew was far more scary than any and all forms of edginess that any company could sell us, so we were allowed to live in the matrix for these years.

Black millennials today are so naively militant because most of us wound up finding out about social justice from very esoteric, and in many cases, equally clueless sources for what being socially aware means.  To us, we’ve learned so much about the injustices that face one another but not the hard truths that lie beneath these facts.

Fact is, to truly live in a world where people are truly equal and no one is the butt of jokes or any oppression, perceived or otherwise would literally require putting a gun to people’s heads in a way.  This generation doesn’t understand that the reason bullying was such a problem in schools is because the lawful neutral that is the school administration realized they were faced with either creating a ruleset that was so restrictive that eventually they’d be running a prison more than a school, not to mention the loads of lawsuits they’d face in how far they’d have to go to assure complete security.

The reason many millennials, including black millennials are so incredibly naive and clueless to how naive they are is because by filming and constantly blogging amongst each other about the world’s injustices, they create a generation wide echo chamber that keeps them from having to face that eventually the time for words will end and soon we’ll have to fight.  People talk about how women, gay people and trans people are victims, but when does someone start preparing them to stop being victims?

I know many like to hold onto the nice idea that maybe we should focus on eradicating the mentalities that lead to such violence, but even as we fight against it, I still believe said marginalized groups have a right, nay, a responsibility to protect themselves by any means necessary.  Sure, the sentiment of “don’t teach women to protect against rape, teach men not to rape” sounds good in a meme, but unless you have some way within a reasonable amount of time to undo this problem, there is a reason I still see many young women carrying pepper spray, tasers or even guns.

The inconvenient truth is that for millennials to achieve the bordering on statist utopia where no one gets to be oppressed in any way imaginable, they would have to become that which they hate in order to achieve said goal.  In the end, the fight against tyranny is a war of attrition really, but I fear that this is a bad war for this generation to be fighting as many have been spoiled by a feast of convenience.

In the end, if more of us were willing to punch a racist in the face, face fascists armed as they are and work to legally defend ourselves and bring in proper legislation to fight back against these people, I believe we could gain ground.  I won’t say all is lost, but I pray I was wrong in my faith of us.

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