By Rahim Islam
Rahim Islam is a National Speaker and Writer, Convener of Philadelphia Community of Leaders, and President/CEO of Universal Companies, a community development and education management company headquartered in Philadelphia, PA. Follow Rahim Islam on FaceBook(Rahim Islam) & Twitter (@RahimIslamUC)
In Parts 1 & 2 I tried to describe the state of the Black community in peril (Black’s have lost significant ground with nearly every “positive” demographic decreasing and nearly every “negative” demographic increasing – creating alarming disparities and multiple “risk” factors) in addition to shrinking resources coupled with losing PUBLIC OPINION.
I talked about ACCOUNTABILITY and how Black people want to hold others accountable but rarely do we hold ourselves accountable.
A perfect example of this is the current public protest of the murder of Michael Brown, an unarmed Black male, by a White police officer.
I feel the pain of the community and am overwhelmed with emotions for the family. – These actions are valid (?) What troubles me is: Where is the same outcry for the thousands of Black males that are murdered annually by other Black males?
Are not the losses to those mothers and families equal? Are not those deaths, in many cases, equally tragic and unfair especially those murdered by just being in the wrong place at the wrong time?
Brothers and sisters, were are sending a very lethal message that ultimately supports the prevailing opinion held by many in and outside of the Black community that a Black Male has no value.
We discussed the concept of “Do for Self” with the understanding that we must DEFEND THE BLACK CULTURE.
I likened the immune system in the body to our culture.
The immune system (the ultimate defense mechanism) is a system that protects the body from disease.
The Black community’s immune system (Black Culture) is broken because we have allowed the disease of ignorance to invade our community, potentially threatening our very existence.
This can be seen clearly through generational failure; multiple manifestations of self hate; and the deterioration of the Black male/female relationships tied directly to the near complete erosion of the leadership capabilities of the Black Man via: Mass incarceration of Black Men Current disproportionate level of academic gains of Black Women over Black men Increased levels of violence and homicides Black men have the highest levels of stress than any other group If we examine the root cause to many of these issues, one must wonder how this is possible.
Even our staunchest defenders have themselves adopted language and attitudes that demean our people and reflect a significant level of discomfort and dislike for being Black.
There is no greater disease that threatens the Black community and ultimately impacts our culture and our ability to succeed, than the ramifications of self hate perpetuated by the media.
“The media’s the most powerful entity on earth.
They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses” (Malcolm X).
Brothers and sisters, we must Do For Self and wage war against those that wage war against us even if it means attacking another “unconscious” Black person.
I contend that in the area of Self Hate, the legacy of slavery is alive and thriving.
How else can we explain these deep rooted fears and behaviors of our people both externally and internally (if you have another reason, I’m all ears).
If we truly examine what we think about ourselves and what others think about us, it’s not good.
The American media has consistently portrayed Blacks as subhuman beasts, and/or animals that can never be civilized. Blacks are fundamentally just above animal and born as inferior.
This belief of bestiality and inferiority of Black people are held when: Reparations Not on the Table America has participated in addressing reparations for several groups/countries over the past 150 years (i.e. Jewish, Japanese, Indian, WW1, etc.), so the concept isn’t a foreign one.
In Congress a bill continues to languish which seeks to just acknowledge the fundamental injustice, cruelty, brutality and inhumanity of slavery and to study the impact of slavery on Black people today.
This is hypocritical when you understand that Congress creates legislation to study some of the most obscure things (i.e. ants, birds, sand, etc.).
In addition to contributing the blood of our fathers in every war waged by America to protect freedoms that we didn’t even have, Blacks were integral to building America’s multitrillion dollar economy and its multibillionaires making it the world leader it is today.
I will present information to support this fact in subsequent articles but EVERY BLACK POLITICIAN THAT GOES TO CONGRESS COULD DO NO MORE THAN GET THIS BILL PASSED – NUMBER ONE MANDATE); Legacy of Slavery and Post Traumatic Stress – With only 45 generations removed from chattel slavery and 12 generations removed from the grips of Jim Crow, our people continue to suffer from all types of extreme post traumatic stress and the psychological scars that has been inherit in many of our customs, beliefs, expectations, and culture.
Are Black people not supposed to be harmed by this experience, an experience that was supported by the laws, courts, government of America?
This was not some accident. Are we not human? For many, especially those who are in control, we’re not.
The general response to slavery is “get over it’ or “that was a long time ago. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple.
Blacks have never received treatment for, nor has public opinion recognized the need to treat the psychological scars left by slavery and negative portrayal of Blacks by the media.
Slavery has been more damaging to Black people and their offspring than anything we can point to.
The rub comes when experts rush to address the need for longterm psychological treatment to the victims of violent events.
The shootings at Columbine and the return of our veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan are recent examples. I asked you: What was more violent than the American institution of Slavery on the Black people?
Mass Incarceration of Black Men – Forget about perception and/or subjective hyperboles, this is a real structural war against Black men.
The United States leads the world in incarceration, with over 2.4 million people behind bars—a 500 percent increase over the past 30 years. The United States has 5 percent of the world population, yet approximately 25 percent of its prisoners.
Where else in the world can we point to one group’s population domination in a prison system?
Black men represent approximately 67% of the male population in America but occupying more than 53% of the prison population.
Some call this a “new slavery” because the outcomes are just as lethal to the Black community as was the American institution of slavery.
In fact, if we study the impact of wars and the loss of the men and the impact on society, we would have to go back thousands of years to see when this many of any one group of men have been removed from society.
This upside down statistic (we have more than 1.4 million Black men in prison) and nearly twothirds of Black men have been impacted by the prison system (incarceration, probation, parole, etc.) should warrant the highest level of inquiry and investigation – but nothing, the beat goes on. This is not some issue we can just brush over.
This is catastrophic, but domestically there is not a mention of this “school to prison” pipeline (America has been called on the carpet by several international human rights organizations but none domestically).
I would suggest that the general opinion is that Black men aren’t equal to White men.
Degradation of Black Women – No place on the planet does a group’s women receive so much coverage.
The attention is crippling. What is the need to define Black woman? Why are they singled out?
If everything was remotely equal, we would know about the woman of all groups. What do we know about the White woman, Asian woman, Irish woman, Italian woman? Not much.
Not only are Black woman highly described, they are consistently degraded throughout the majority of media mediums.
Our women are routinely called bitches, sluts, and hoes in all forms of media.
Images of our woman (sometimes in very raw visuals) are portrayed as welfare moms, overly sexed, unsophisticated and ignorant.
The current media trend is now promoting and encouraging single head of household by woman.
The “I don’t need a man” is a constant and continuous propaganda seen now everywhere.
In fact, when Black women are complimented as “strong”, it’s a back handed denigration of both:
Black woman she is now perceived void of emotion, tenderness, affection; and Black men – the Black woman must now be the mother and the father.
Other Issues that Support Inferiority Black men have been much maligned and have been relegated to “deadbeat” and “sperm donor” and when a Black man upholds the concept of “father” (protector and provider) he’s given an award and is celebrated.
This type of behavior further alienates our community and widens the perception that the Black man doing the right thing as an exception. This is not an exception for any other group.
Over the years, Blacks have been the guinea pigs for numerous medical experiments.
If I told you how the practices of the medical community evolved using Black men, women and children, you would throw up (it’s actually criminal).
Our people have suffered through secret and damaging health experiments that many of us just weren’t aware of.
In every American city where Blacks have been a large percentage of the population, the morgues are filled with Black male bodies (nearly 75% of the homicides victims are Black men). Where is the outcry?
America gives more attention to the treatment of animals than Black people (i.e. dogs, whales, birds, etc.).
Remember Michael Vick. I was listening to an interview the other day with a White woman who has been in porn for some time and how she stated that she could never do a movie with a Black man because it would lower her value!?!
She also stated that if she was to do a scene with a Black man, they would market her with a beast (these are her words).
I’m not making this stuff up. We must come to understand how we are viewed and how we view ourselves.
If you were a visitor from another planet and didn’t have any contextual history, but relied only on the current visuals and the media, you would conclude that Blacks are inferior that Whites.
If you were to do the math and a side by side comparison of neighborhoods and communities, housing and open spaces, education content and education facilities, economic and retail ownership, cultural and religious facilities and institutions, etc., what do you think you would you come up with?
To make matters worse, go to the movies, watch television, read the local and national newspapers, and then listen to what Black people say about themselves and one might fundamentally conclude Black inferiority and White superiority.
Now, brothers and sisters, replace the visitor from the another planet that doesn’t have access to history and the context to our plight with OUR CHILDREN.
This is how we are under siege and why our conditions won’t improve unless we mount a campaign to restore Black pride and begin to counter these multitudes of negative images.
How do you think others will stop portraying us in such negative terms, when we do it ourselves? We must do some house cleaning.
We will continue this discussion next week in Part 4. Peace Rahim