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Let’s Build Solid Black Communities

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Black People, Homes and Communities

This is a discussion about the dangers that surround the homes of black people and their communities. The dangers are social, educational, economic, political, and legal manifestations of systems designed by white people to perpetuate disunity, drug addiction, alcoholism, crime, and mass imprisonment, which all contribute to high rates of dysfunctional black homes and communities. 

The writer invites readers to consider steps that can be taken to rid the black community of dysfunctionalism, and in doing so, dismantle the degradation and pathos of exclusionary systems designed by white Europeans, and replace them with systems designed for black families and communities, designed by black people.

Volatile Black Homes

Black people migrated from the South hoping to escape southern white mop rule, which was facilitated by the Ku Klux Klan. As blacks left the South, looking for places to live in the Western, Northern, and Eastern regions of the United States whites create codes and ordinances that prohibited Black people from settling in their communities. 

Consequently, whites designated areas wherein black migrants could settle, and isolated those areas from social, educational, political, and economic resources. They built projects, low-income apartments, and housing tracts in the designated areas and labeled them urban ghettos. Blacks living in the urban ghettos were hidden from sight so that whites would have little to no contact with blacks.

White people controlled and manipulated all the necessary resources needed for the ghettos to survive; resources that were used to foster the European strategy of divide and conquer. Job discrimination, minimal wages, segregated schools and squalled living conditions exacerbated the efforts of blacks to develop community cohesion.

Dr. Chancellor Williams says, ‘A not so invisible army of white men maintains a vigil over the black community. They are well-armed, and trained by  “Sportsmen” gun and target clubs;” nation-wide “task forces,” specially trained for inner-city operations.” And as for blacks who have integrated into white suburbs, they too are surrounded by white men who have automatic weapons, many of whom live in the suburbs to distance themselves from black people.

Medgar Evers was at home in Jackson, Mississippi when a Ku Klux Klan member, Byron De La Beckwith, drove into his community and shot Mr. Evers dead in his driveway.  The Ku Klux Klan sent black people a strong message when they killed Mr. Evers; the message being, you were bought here to be a subordinate race, and the white people of America will do whatever it takes to ensure your subordinate.

And so, white people made it no secret that the black community would be governed by oppression, marginalization, stagnation, and assignations. Movements for social, educational, political, and economic independence were quashed. Thus, early in the life of the black community blacks were discouraged from helping themselves.

According to the Economic Policy Institute, in 1963, the average black family was worth $2,457 dollars. Fifty-five years later, in 2018 the black family was worth $17,409  while the worth of the white family was $171,000. The wealth in the black family represents 10.2 percent of the average wealth of white families. Whites held blacks back, while they made progress in all areas of society.

In the United States, real estate has been a major contributor to wealth generation. Yet, since 1968 the number of black families that own their homes has remained unchanged (41.1 percent), and today (41.2 percent).  Over the same period, homeownership for white households increased 5.2 percentage points to 71.1 percent, about 30 percentage points higher than the ownership rate for black households.

It is apparent that black people have not invested in their homes and communities over the last fifty-five years. The inflation-adjusted annual income of the average black household increased by 42.8 between 1968 and 2016. In addition, the number of black people living in poverty declined over the same period of time. Over one-third (34.7) of blacks lived in poverty in 1968, and today just over one in five (21.4 percent).

White Europeans did not bring black people to America to build wealth, homes, and communities.  As a matter of fact, they bought them here to live in perpetual servitude. As blacks continue to dismantle the structures of perpetual servitude, they need to pour energy into economic independence, which must be measured by the development of community institutions i.e., safe neighborhoods, schools, churches, businesses, jobs, medical care, safe water, and food.

President Nixon Attacked Black People

The black are remarkably resilient; they have survived an unrelenting bashing from white people since day one of European domination. The black communities’ orientation to life in America began in shacks they built on plantations owned by white slavers. 

The overseer was in charge of the orientation, which included lessons on cursing, hollering, violence, torture, rape, child abuse, and murder. The orientation evolved into social norms, norms that were cultivated in the black community for over three hundred and sixty years (1612-1972).

In 1994, John Ehrlichman was interviewed and can be quoted saying: “You want to know  what this was really all about?” He continues, “The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be against the war or blacks, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about drugs? Of course we did.”

John Ehrlichman was assistant to the President for Domestic Affairs. In his own words, he disclosed plans that the President of the United States developed for black people living in America. 

President Nixon created the war on drugs to criminalize black people. In doing so, various aspects of slavery were re-introduced in the twentieth century. The presumption of guilt translated means; flogging, lynching, dismemberment, and being burned alive, are to be replaced with, chokeholds, racial profiling by police, police killing blacks with impunity, and long prison terms in the prison industrial complex.

Nixon had to vilify black people to facilitate criminalizing them. To vilify black people, Nixon used drugs, thus the “war on drugs.” News organizations created the phrase black-on-black crime; then reported on violence, drug addiction, and night after night on the evening news. They sensationalized crime and black people, and in doing so, Black people and crime became synonymous. 

Nixon’s war on drugs lasted for more than a decade, during which time black people, families, and their communities were devastated. 

Politicians pitched that gangs and drugs have taken over black neighborhoods. Children were unsafe playing in their front yards, and walking to school. Everyday drive-by shootings sent bullets flying in all directions killing indiscriminately.  

President Bill Clinton took office in 1994, and signed the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, allotting $12.5 billion dollars to states to increase incarceration. Clinton was the pawn used to imprison hundreds of thousands of Black people.

People

The war on drugs portrayed the black community as a homogenous environment; i.e., all black people are alike.  It was a criminal indictment, meaning that every black person in America was labeled a criminal.  

This was a delayed response to the desegregation of schools and communities. As black people slowly moved into urban cities and communities; white people moved to the suburbs. The neighbors and cities they abandoned were then labeled ghettos and left to deteriorate as economic resources were diverted to the suburbs.

The emerging middle class of Black people pursued integration, and followed whites into the suburbs, rather than putting in the work to rid the black community of the crime and poverty that was created by the white people with whom they wished to integrate with.

No, black people have not fought for their communities with the same intensity they put into forcing white people to accept them. Here in America, black people paralyzed their communities in their pursuit of integrating with the very people who don’t want them as neighbors, going to school with their children. White people wanted no part of integration. 

But, just to keep it real; the vast majority of black people disdain integration, and want nothing more than to see their communities grow, thrive, and flourish.

Facilitating the erroneous pursuit of integration was the ability of a small percentage of black people to amass wealth. Black people in America worked hundreds of years without being paid, but as they began to earn and accumulate wealth, it did not and has not improved the socio-economic plight of the black masses.

Oprah Winfrey and Barack Obama are examples of wealthy, and powerful Black people. But the reality of all but a select few black people reaching that level of success is discouraged by structural barriers set in place by centuries of racism.

Home is Life

There is a need for home building in the black community. And, as we build we should consider redefining the meaning of poverty in the way it is used to devalue black life and homes. The illusion of poverty-stricken black neighborhoods fosters false narratives and stereotypes that perpetuate resentment, isolation, and disdain. 

We are seldom told that the standard of living in the black community (labeled ghettos) is above that of the average citizen in Europe, and at or near the standard of the wealthy in developing nations like Kenya.  

In 2005, the average household in the black community (ghetto) had indoor plumbing and electricity, a car, air-conditioning, two or more color TVs, sound system, kitchen, refrigerator, oven, stove, microwave, washer and dryer, cordless phone, X box, and, or PlayStation. (Angela J. Hattery, Earl Smith: African American Families Today; Myths and Realities)

Black people struggle, but people very seldom go hungry, and they get medical care when needed.  Usually, there is enough money to pay for essential needs, so, they struggle to pay air-conditioning, cable TV bills, and support their habits.

There are a few issues in the black community that if put to bed will ensure progressive outcomes, not only for black communities in the US, but black communities throughout the world. 

One of the issues is unmarried black women having children, and raising them with no father in the household. In black communities, 75 percent of children are born to single mothers. 

And where you have single mothers with children, 38 percent of households are poor. And compounding the poverty is the absence of progressive male role models.

Even though the black community is isolated, segregated, and cordoned off from mainstream society with under-resourced schools, few fathers working with mothers to save money to buy a house, and no push for sending children to college; these issues can be resolved if the middle class organized and assumed responsibility for the black community.

Welcome Back Home

The black community needs to integrate with black people; it must be safe for people to live and work without fear for themselves and their children. Building blocks must be put in place; building blocks that lay the foundation for strong independent communities. 

Love must replace hate, courage must replace fear, self-control must replace violence, unity must replace disunity, legal systems must replace illegal systems, good diets and exercise must replace junk food and sedentary habits, spirituality must replace dependence on drugs and alcohol. 

Every day black men are being released from prison. And the black community must welcome them home, as their voices are critical in the development of an anti-crime body of thoughts, ideas, and mandates created by the black community for the black community. 

In order to rid our communities of crime, crime must be put on trial, found guilty, and banished. Crime in the black community has to go, primarily because just about all crimes committed by Blacks are against Blacks. 

The black community is set up to be a bastion of crime.  For example, if a black man kills a white man, he will get death row or life in prison. If a black man kills a black man, he gets a few years in prison and is back in the neighborhood to kill again. 

The racist justice system rewards blacks who commit crimes against blacks with lighter sentences. 

After decades of watching crime devastate, stagnate and destroy black lives and families it’s time for it to end. The very expression “ex-con or ex anything else should be banned” is a step toward solidarity and unity. 

We must teach a new way of acknowledging our black fathers, uncles, brothers, sons, and nephews. Black people are special people, the original people of the earth and the only non-immigrants in this country, with the exception of native Indians. 

American is home! Knowing that jobs require commitment, wages are low, and the cost of living exceeds wages in low-skilled vocations, we must develop an educational system that teaches a new way of life. A new way of life that not only educates and trains people but one that creates expertise in job placement and creation. 

It should be the goal of every man and woman to insist on the eradication of crime, and the creation of an environment that encourages young people to achieve their dreams through higher learning, skilled labor, and work commitment.

Note: action for improvement involves people-involved, self-help cooperative programs.  Neighborhood by neighborhood, city by city, block by block.  Each community should do its own planning and the government’s principal role is to provide advisors, training, technical assistance, and loans when and where these are needed.

To rebuild black communities there must be a focus on establishing an economic foundation. This in and of itself is the responsibility of the government and corporations who take in their consumer dollars and taxes.

Black people are realizing that they are one people with a common destiny. The destiny of every individual black person must be the destiny of all black people.

By, Stephen Small

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