Wednesday, September 26, 2007
I have not really touched on this topic because I have not devoted the kind of time to it that I probably should have. I was occupied with other concerns during the week of the protest.
I liked the fact that so many African Americans were able to mobilize to highlight what appears to be a miscarriage of Justice in Jena. I support the idea of a level playing field for the 6 young men involved in the altercation with the White student. Yes, they should be punished, but not with such harsh prison sentences. The White students should have been held accountable as well. The authorities could have dealt with the problem more effectively, but it appears as though they were either incompetent, or had no desire to do so.... or both.
With that being said.... the first thing that I thought when I saw so many people gathering that day was why in the hell can't Black Americans gather like this for so many other worthy causes that need attention? As bad as the Jena situation was and continues to be, there are much more urgent problems that Black Americans should be mobilizing against. Now I will probably get hate mail for stating that....but I have to write what I feel.
The so-called "Black Community" has a lot more to be concerned about than a group of White kids, and bigoted officials from a little Town in Louisiana. There are probably dozens of Jena's in this Country....but they are not the most pressing threat to Black Americans. The most urgent problems for the so-called "Black Community" today are intracultural. They don't come from "The White Man". Yet we have the good Reverend Al Sharpton stating recently that the Jena case "Marks the Beginning of a 21st Century Rights Movement". Oh Please Reverend Al!!... Save it for those Black folks who are willing to swallow that nonsense.
Obviously Reverend Al is more interested in maintaining a niche for himself, and making sure that Civil Rights remains a viable business for him. "Civil Rights Inc.".... that's what I often think about when I see Reverend Al and Jesse Jackson.... although I respect Jesse's early work. Neither man has adapted effectively to the times that we live in today. This is the same problem that the NAACP is facing.
I just hope that the "Black Community" puts the same amount of effort into mobilizing against the more urgent intracultural problems that it faces. 300 people have died in Philadelphia so far this year, and most have died as a result of Black on Black violence. White kids from Jena did not take all of these lives.... but I suspect that if they had... we would have seen riots in cities across the Country. But when it is Black on Black violence, it is somehow seen as not warranting any serious mobilization. I just don't see nearly the same level of urgency on that front. And this problem of Black on Black violence is plaguing cities around the Country.... New Orleans, Chicago, St. Louis, Newark, Washington DC, Baltimore, Detroit, Houston, Oakland, Atlanta, and so on..... Where is the urgency?
We also have the problem of a degenerate Rap Culture that is poisoning the minds of Black youth, who are internalizing the negative images that they are bombarded with on a daily basis. And the message from many of the Black adults in their lives is either we don't care...or the messages are somehow not all that bad. In addition, we have Black youth who are failing to graduate at a rate of nearly 50% in some urban areas.
And we have heard about the problem of crime... the level of out of wedlock births, the AIDS rate for African American young women, and other problems. Another blogger has recently mentioned some of the same ironies and problems with the protest. Now I don't often agree with African American bloggers in general when it comes to issues of race & politics, but I agreed with the overall gist of this bloggers message regarding this particular issue.
With that as a backdrop, the Jena 6 issue seems disjointed... not that it isn't important... it just seems problematic from the standpoint of proportionality relative to the bigger picture.
Why couldn't Black folks mobilize more against BET, or against the brutal Dunbar Village gang rape in Florida? Why can't Black folks mobilize in such large numbers to demand fair voting practices, and better political representation (perhaps joining with non-Black Americans to form new viable political Parties). Why can't Black Americans mobilize more to demand a change to the negative way that they are portrayed in the media? Why can't Black Americans mobilize in such large numbers to take back their own neighborhoods, clean up their streets, and to fight back against this degenerate "no snitching" culture? Why can't Black Americans mobilize in such large numbers to highlight the continuing aftermath of Hurricane Katrina... not just for New Orleans, but for the Gulf Coast as a whole... questioning a nations responsibility towards the well being of its citizens regardless of color? Why can't Black Americans mobilize in such large numbers to highlight the disparities in healthcare and demand solutions? Thousands of African Americans die each year unnecessarily, due to problems with this Country's healthcare system. The folks down in Jena are not to blame for that....although I suspect that the same kind of racism and indifference may be a common thread between the folks in Jena and the Healthcare policymakers in Washington DC. But my point is... So called "Black America" needs to get its priorities in order.
I'm all for protesting against racial injustice in Jena Louisiana.... but that injustice pales in comparison to some of the other evil and injustice that Blacks are unleashing against their own. The Black on Black violence, Black on Black misogyny, Black on Black negative media images are a much bigger threat to me than the incident in Jena.