With “Black Lives Matter” being a major slogan chanted in America right now, maybe this is the perfect time for Black people to address the things that plague Black communities. Specifically, American inner city ghettos where large majority of Blacks are disproportionately secluded. Seemingly on the outskirts of mainstream America, their only advocates are the poverty pimps disguised as local and state legislatures, who mention the plight of Black inner ghetto’s as talking points but never offer any concrete solutions.
Black Lives Matter the slogan, came out of the frustration of Black people being killed by the police without even being armed. In addition, the cops who murdered these civilians were never prosecuted or had to answer for lives lost. Death after death, name after name, hashtag after hashtag, the same story.
Through social media, Black Lives Matter became popularized and gained momentum. Since the slogan became mainstream and has manifest itself as a social/political movement, often times people would try to dismiss Black Lives Matter by bringing up Black on Black crime. Those who are representatives of the Black Lives Matter movement would argue that Black on Black crime is not the issue, police killing unarmed Black men is.
I just want to say that yes, Black on Black crime is not the issue when we are trying to bring attention and justice to the problem of Blacks and people of color being murdered by police. In addition, people commit crimes to those that they are in close proximity to. However, it is foolish to say that Black on Black crime is not an issue because Black on Black crime ties directly into the ways in which the police view Black people. Specifically poor Black males within the confines of the inner city.
One of the main aspects that breeds Black on Black crime, is this heavy culture of gang violence that many Black males in the inner city find themselves engulfed in.
One of the major problems concerning Black men being murdered by police, is the perception that the police have of Black males. This perception is derived not only from a media dominated and controlled by mostly white males, but is maintained through negative rap music and inner city gang violence.
The police are carrying out their duties under a system built and maintained on racism but I do not believe that every cop rises in the morning with the intention to shoot and kill someone. Some or even most cops may be prejudiced against people of color but most are operating out of fear.
Media has done a good job in painting the poor, Black male as dangerous and unapproachable. And this negative portrayal is perpetuated & maintained through negative, obnoxious music such as “gangster rap” along with a seemingly never ending cycle of inner city gang violence.
As we protest police brutality we as Black people need to be honest with ourselves. Black lives matter but negative rap music and gang violence are the biggest threat to the BLM movement. So where is the outcry concerning this? Until we deal with these issues and no longer disregard them as secondary, these cycles with continue.
Addressing gang violence and negative rap music is important because it all ties into the perception of Black males as dangerous and allows for others to disregard the issues of poor Blacks in America.
After we take a breath from protesting about police brutality, we as Black people need to envision a movement for social transformation in our communities. Something like the Harlem Renaissance of the 1930’s; we need to envision ways to elevate the consciousness of a people. A people of whom so many are broken, that they blindly participate in self- destruction and in turn internalize their own oppression.
(Originally published in HSU’s campus newspaper The Lumberjack, under a weekly column I produced entitled Slauson Girl Speaks which won a regional award)