Lansing, Michigan Issues of Vice is Proof of What Gil was Saying to Sarge Willie Pete

By:  H.T., Website:  Rogue Black Nerd

In light of the ongoing debate about the black community between Gil and the ever spirited SargeWP about the black community, I think it’s time someone gave an example of what Gil means in his constant point that black people should fix themselves before trying to fix the whole black community and the debate on if most of the black community WANTS to fix itself.  And I can think of a decent example of this in my hometown of Lansing, Michigan.

Lansing, made the states’ capitol in 1847 in an effort to develop the western end of it and to better defend the capitol from attacks by British troops stationed in Windsor; is a somewhat interesting place.  We gave the world Magic Johnson, Matthew Lillard, Denzel Valentine, John Hughes, Burt Reynolds and Steven Seagal.  I won’t lie and say that Lansing is the sprawling jungle of vice, but I will point out that Lansing is a case study socially of regression.  Regression in that while I can’t go and say the place is full of gunfights and drugs, I can say it’s full of theft, out of wedlock children, glorification of the negative and constant.  As I said on my own blog, Lansing is a place where one can grow, but it requires being dragged kicking and screaming out of one’s comfort zone.  As I said in the statistics I listed on my post, Lansing is a place where likely the biggest reason crime hasn’t gotten as bad as it could in other parts of the state is because frankly law enforcement here is shockingly well coordinated.  I say shockingly as I once dated the daughter of an ATF agent that explained how the bureau manages to stamp out huge vices, yet the state has decided to ask the federal government to better police it but ignores that the largest city in Genesee County is without clean water and has been for nearly 40% of this decade.

Lansing ties to this as it is a simultaneous example of what Gil said about black men and our lack of drive to link up and fix our communities, but also SargeWP’s ideas about the failings of the black community as far as things like priorities and how its men are socialized.  For one, the average income here among black people isn’t hugely low, but on average county wise is still low in Lansing, and Ingham alone falls well below the state’s average.  This is not to say that black people here are destitute, but of the ones that manage to make a stable home for their kids, a lot of the time this requires completely moving away from the other black people that can’t or won’t at least try to fix themselves.  I know this first hand as this is what my mother did with me and continued to do by having my younger brother be raised entirely in East Lansing, a suburb of Lansing and home to Michigan State University. I t’s not that black people here REFUSE to be better, it’s that for many, Lansing is a town where you see what becomes of socio-economic lethargy and a town that culturally is progressive but has issues that even I could call out but it would not matter as there are parts of it that you just can’t put a gun to the head of and force it to change.  Force it in that culturally, Lansing is a town where there are two sides to how people try to raise their kids for the future.  On one, there are parents who do raise their kids for the future, my mother included.  If I had to explain my shortcomings, I can simply say she tried but I ignored her.  The difference between me and other youth from my generation that some took to the years of sports, music and activities that likely gave them a leg up into college and then there were some who frankly just learned that in a place like Lansing, concepts like marriage or even simply having kids by people that could actually better a child’s life and not run off is somewhat foreign.  Truth is, for as much as Sarge complains about black parents raising kids outside the black community in predominantly white ones, the fact is that black women in ones here, especially the most beautiful ones, are left to pursue the worst kind of men, which in turn leaves many men disenfranchised socially or convinced to be the most toxic men they can be just to attract any woman.  Say what you will about the white suburbs, but at least black children born in them don’t learn to normalize dysfunction.

Within the span of 20 years, this is what I’ve seen first hand:

  1. There are good black men who want dark skinned black women, but many are very much out of shape, socially awkward or are going for the kind of women that expect black men to both have the will and means to provide for a family but also a street edge.  Look at every black woman that gets into corporate America and says, “I don’t see the kind of black men I’m attracted to at work.”
  2. The schools in Lansing are failing on a level that doesn’t like to be admitted but can’t be ignored.  Everett is the lone survivor but it’s been that way since the 70s.  It’s a known fact in town that Magic Johnson’s parents sent him there because Sexton was even then a cesspool of delinquency.  Eastern, which is in the process of being shut down, had it’s problems, but people who shit on it often forget that Sexton’s history of gang violence and clear as day academic failings is why the LSD had to consolidate itself so swiftly in the last decade and had to introduce armed police into the schools.
  3. Yes, many black people leave Lansing for the sake of their kids.  Not because of danger, but many that grow up here are in many ways tempted to get involved with criminal activities.  Please note that murder doesn’t happen much in Lansing, but there is A LOT of b&e, theft, drug dealing and addiction, pimping and prostitution, robbery and sadly rape.

I bring all this up because this is why Sarge’s idea about fixing the black community feels like a lost cause to people like me.  I know so many people, family included, that left despite I myself knowing people actively attempting to fix the problems of Lansing’s black communities.  People often forget that we used to have countermeasures to the vices that gripped the culture for young people here but the powers that be got rid of many of them.  Almost no after school programs, sports programs cut, the local hip-hop radio station 96.5 completely losing any and all standards in what kind of music it plays and simply the fact that while many parents like my own and many others prepared their kids for a better life, many others of their same generation did not and are the reason so many people my age either as parents or on their own have shitty priorities.  I am by no means perfect or even close to where I am supposed to be, but the reason I have such a disdain for concepts like swag is because while I admit I need to fix myself, on a macro level, one can’t help that there’s a lot of men in Lansing that have managed to start entire lineages there that don’t even have a job.  Sure, no one owes anyone sex or affection, but simply from what I’ve seen of people my parents’ age (my parents are 20 years older than me, I turn 27 in September), there seems to be no real motivation among many men to financially better themselves AND try to attract women in their 20s when for many here find themselves even with average to below average looking women, let alone the top 20% having to compete with men who are charming but either are underemployed or unemployed entirely.  For all the talk about “jumping the fence” and leaving the black community, nothing has driven out more black men from it when being an eligible bachelor seems to at best attract a white girl from Holt who still has a brown sugar fetish.  Say what you will about married black men not fixing the black community, but in a place like Lansing, the reason the men who get their shit together and get married but never come back to help don’t come back because we know first hand why certain aspects of the black community is failing.  We don’t go back because we KNOW the guy hitting licks, or selling drugs, or scamming and make being a low level criminal seem cool.  The married men don’t go back because entire communities in some way rely on the black market element of said communities and many refuse to turn on them.  For married men, going back often means possibly putting their children in an environment where the criminal male is a role model and girls start down the bad boy fascination.

The reason so few black men here have been willing to come back and fix the problem of Lansing’s black communities is because many of it don’t wish to effectively fix it, meaning in ways that would truly make them suffer for any and all bad decisions.  The educated lames of Lansing don’t go back to help mainly because by the time kids can speak, they’ve been socialized to believe that it’s detrimental to act intellectual, and their home life reinforces this.  All the men they see are criminal or posture like they are one and all the women they see only seem to respect men who have no act right.  Again, I’ve seen this for more than 25 years.  No one really wants to fix the schools because that can be used to blame the academic failings of their kids, no one wants to bring in serious programs to teach kids trades because they know it will eliminate the excuse every shitty Soundcloud rapper has ever made about why they rap.  The churches don’t like the idea of teaching women contraception and being responsible sexually as many black churches in Lansing are FULL of single mothers that fill their coffers and only leave them with hope and no real answers to how to better prepare their kids for life.  Who among us my age and older can remember when Life Changers Ministries came into South Lansing preaching prosperity and sporting a fancy new building that by the end was evacuated and rumors of embezzlement and tax issues followed them out?  The schools within Lansing are likely the biggest failures of my generation as almost nothing was done in them to prepare many kids for an academic future and seemingly normalized delinquency by believing that the answer to the serious problems of rape, gang activity and drugs was simply to remove kids from school, call the cops and put in more cameras.  Funding for teachers were cut, sports programs in some schools were eliminated, and due to many parents not being held accountable for their delinquent kids not even eliminating open campus lunch (which still exists over in East Lansing High) was enough to stem the tide of young people acting a fool.  Nothing is done to fix said issues in places like Lansing because in the end, there is no incentive in many parts to better things and really no loss for complacency.  Honestly, Magic Johnson for DECADES has tried to use his wealth to fix his hometown, but the main thing people want from him is a movie theater.

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