By Gloria Dulan-Wilson
This is my response to Mr. John Bennett of WND Weekly, who wrote an article in defense of a piece written by Robert Huber, who wrote a piece entitled "Being White In Philadelphia" -- supposedly a discussion about "race" issues faced by whites in Philadelphia. I remember reading the article; didn't think much of it. Yet another white guy griping about Black people.
However, Mayor Michael Nutter, of Philadelphia, read the comments, and made some remarks that obviously set Mr. Bennett off; causing him to accuse the Mayor of reversing himself on asking for a conversation on race. Bennnett forwarded a copy of his article to me, stating: "Good morning, I noticed that you write on issues of society and race, and thought you might be interested in my latest piece on the controversial article, "Being White in Philly". Mayor Nutter called for a "conversation about race" because crime "affects every member of every community." But then Nutter said it was a "sin" to publish "Being White in Philly." This is confusing to many people."
How Machiavellian of you, Mr. Bennett, to try to paint Mayor Nutter's commentaries as somehow misguided or defensive in the face of Huber's treatise on Blacks. Machiavelli would perpetrate a hoax, then act as though he was completely innocent, and ignorant of any reason why anyone would be upset by the incident.
There are, of course, enough half truths in Huber's over all "discussion" to substantiate the internal crime rate perpertrated by some Blacks against other Blacks. So, I'm not in the least bit saying it doesn't exist. Nor am I saying that we don't bear responsibility for resolving these problems among our selves. Nor, by the way, do I dispute anything that Bill Cosby has said, or tried to do, to ameliorate these issues.
What I do say, however, is, as Carter G. Woodson so amply demonstrated in the Mis (read "Dis") - Education of the Negro (read "Black People"), nearly 90 years ago, when the oppressor (white people) who have been the transducers (detractors) of Black people for over 400 years, and are largely responsible for privation, brainwashing, mental, moral, physical and spiritual genocide -starting with slavery, jim-crowism, to defacto and dejure segregation, on down through everything from the current problems of substandard living conditions to less than adequate educational systems - all the way over to taking Religion (which was/is our spiritual mainstay) out of the schools, to making it illegal - even criminal - for parents to physically discipline their children; while making it okay for cops to shoot them in the back - it kind of seems grossly disingenuous to set around jaw-jacking about something of which you only have a peripheral understanding - at best.
There was once a great book entitled "How to Lie with Statistics" which is obviously at work here, in the fact that you are just showing numbers and percentages, but not really showing cause/effect data that undergirds some of these findings.
The article, by Huber, by the way, was not really a conversation - it was really more of a diatribe. A litany of complaints - form with no substance, based on a fallacious premise.
I find it amazing that whites in the City of Brotherly Love are talking about white flight as if it's the fault of Black People that they're leaving. By the way, where are they going?
I also find it amazing, that, if these problems are as stated, why are 30+ schools being closed down in Philadelphia? It can't all be about the money - or can it? Wouldn't the closing of these schools actually lead to more "crime?"
Don't get it twisted, I definitely deplore violence -- especially fratricide, which is what Black on Black crime represents to me. But I also deplore the ones who originally started the crimes, who benefit either vicariously or directly from the criminal (inner hatred) behaviors, now standing back and pointing fingers at those who are perpetrating the problem, without realizing that at least 4 of those fingers point back at them.
The progenitors of these problems, their heirs, and their heirs' progeny, are and continue to be the benefactors of the misguided behaviors of young Black men and women, who come into a system already marked; who come from families already crippled by poverty and ignorance; who come from environments where environmental genocide has already been the rule and not the exception.
I think Mayor Nutter's point is well taken. It's a sin to sit there and speak as if the rest of the ingredients were not part of the catalyst that make this a bitter pill already.
Not only do I deplore the closing of these 30+ schools, and the privatization of education into even more bastions of psychobable, coupled with self hatred, laced with technological futuristic stuff that may be both efficient and dehumanizing at the same time; but I think that until and unless you white guys stop passing the buck and accept the responsibility for the fact that our Black kids, their parents, their parent's parents, and the rest of us who are Black - no matter how we got to these shores - are in a lingering state of subconscious, debilitating shock - also known as POST TRAUMATIC SLAVE SYNDROME - and do the work that is needed to ameliorate the problem - both locally in Philadelphia (New York, New Jersey, DC, Virginia, West Virginia - damn - the whole USA!!!) - Africa, the Caribbean, South America - and anywhere else you stomped up and down our spines - your stats don't amount to a hill of beans.
It's not enough to say "get over it." It's not going to go away. It's about reparations, and so much more. There may need to be some really intensive psycho social intervention on their behalves - by SKILLED BLACK PSYCHOTHERAPISTS - the people who caused the problem will most not likely be the ones who can solve it via direct intervention. There are feelings that you'll just never understand that go to the very heart of these problems.
Like you, Mr. Bennett, I would definitely like to be able to have an open, honest conversation about Race. But I just don't think you can handle it. And I know that Mr. Huber wouldn't. As we say in the Black community, "Denial is not just a river in Africa." And you are in deep denial if you think this is a numbers' game.
And, by the way, we Black people are in denial as well. We are the walking wounded trying to pretend that we're okay; that we're cool. And we are, until one of our brothers and sisters says or does something to set us off - doesn't have to be anything really serious - just something that brings up the pent up anger about being powerless; about not being able to pay the rent because the job we have doesn't pay enough for us to do both; for not being able to keep a decent home, or provide decent meals or medication. Then we go off. And someone gets hurt - maybe even dies because of it. It's that subconscious feeling of powerless that permeates certain communities.
Or because, as an adolescent (boy or girl) there are no creative safe places to be after school or on the week end - so things get out of hand. With the closing of 30+ Philly schools!! - a disaster waiting to happen - who was the dummy that thought that one up? - make sure you have them there during hall duty this fall).
As you stated in the end of your commentary "But such comments recall the Bill Cosby remarks about certain segments of the black community. Cosby said that in part of the black community, “parenting is not going on,” they “can’t speak English” and are having “five or six different children – same woman, eight, 10 different husbands or whatever.” ... “These people are fighting hard to be ignorant,” Cosby said. “We cannot blame white people."
But you can't end the statement there, as though that's all Bill said. William H. Cosby, PhD is an educator. He spent his whole life trying to bring about programs and shows that were educational, and that would uplift, inspire and educate Black people. He used comedy, animations, rhymes, music, celebrities, everything within his resources to illustrate that we can, and should and in many cases, are doing better. What he was saying was, despite whites, and because of whites, we still have to be our own self salvation. We can't let you (whites) defeat us with all that you've done over the centuries to Blacks.
His message to Black parents is that we have to pull ourselves out of this and not be so hypnotized by the trappings of mainstream (I call it mean stream) society and media that we continue to suffer peacefully (per Malcolm X), and settle in to the swill of mediocrity or inferiority.In point of fact, he was saying, before we pay our hard earned money to Nike for a pair of sneakers costing $150.00, use that money for purchasing books, or something edcational to help them learn something that was going to last a lifetime. But the god of conspicuous consumption (which translates to ersatz power in the Black community) was louder than he was and more compelling.
That was and is his message. He of course has been trying to combat the stereotypes that white media has tried to brainwash us with for decades; and has done a pretty good job. These are now deeply engrained - hard to uproot. Remember, too, Cosby comes from Philadelphia. He has an emotional heart string tied to the city. So his concern, more than most, is that Black men and women in Philly, as well as where ever else they may be, become the great people they really are. The problem is not criminal, it's psychosocial - and it's being perpetrated daily via radio, TV, movies, media, and the lack of positive images in school, and else where.
There are, of course, as many of us Black people who don't fit the negative stereotype; who have tried and managed to make it real compared to the reality of the situation around us. We have "escaped" the sludge of racism - well almost. We speak English beautifully, our children look good, smell good, comport themselves appropriately; they are upstanding figures in the community, and do well in school. Heck, some of them have become heads of corporations, professors, PhD's; we even have a few millionaires, and at least one billionairess - but at what price? God forbid they should take a wrong breath, step out of line; or make a mistake - you're on them like white on rice. So, while we appear to have "made it" we know that the Sword of Damocles hangs over us, never the less. And it is just as easy for us to become one of those negative statistics as it is for the kid who never made it out of high school; or who had a parent on drugs; or was born out of wedlock. We're just one stat away from the numbers you quoted in your article. That's Racism.
The original crime against Blacks started back in 1619 when we were dragged to these shores from Africa in chains to live a life of unpaid labor, rape, castration, lynching and unspeakable indignities, and inhumane treatment- and the perpetrators have never been brought to justice. And most likely never will be. You actually have some people on this planet who blame us for the slavery itself. Who have those among you - especially in the South, those who think it still okay to lynch Black people just because they're Black. Who escape justice by pinning a crime they committed on a Black person, who will every believe a Black person over a white one; because we have been so characterized in the perjorative in order to further dehumanize us, that our guilt is automatically assumed true until proven otherwise. That, too is Racism.
Not all whites are bad - there are many who definitely "get it" - there have always been. However, like the numbers of Blacks who perpetrate Black on Black crime - they're in the minority. And unfortunately, they don't have the clout needed to get the rest of their population in line. We have the reverse problem, the perpetrators of Black on Black crime are also in the minority, but they are more widely recognized than those of us who really are trying to get our lives together and save our families. You know how it goes: "When I'm right, no one remembers; when I'm wrong, no one forgets."
Now that we have a true beginning of the genesis of the problem, let's have a real talk about RACE.
For those of you who want to read Mr. John Bennett's article, I include the link here:
As usual, your comments are welcome; you can also hit me up on "FaceBook" as well.
Stay Blessed &