The last week of conversations and soul searching have caused me to have a self revelation and I think it’s a topic the black community needs to have with itself if we are every going to change some of the issues we have with violence and crime in the community. I’m probably going to piss some people off and be labeled a hater. I don’t care because what I am about to say is the truth. If two year olds are going to get murdered for child support then I have no concerns about pissing people off anymore. I know there are many men who feel like I do so I will write this for them.
Thursday there was an editorial letter in the news paper by Minister Willie Muhammad of The Nation of Islam titled “Black men must lead the way to end violence”. I agreed with everything he said in that letter 100% but there was a paragraph that stuck with me. He said, “It is time for the clergy, social groups, community activists, civil rights groups, and everyday citizens to come together for the sole purpose of helping to reduce this pattern of senseless violence.” He’s right but the problem is that the people in these groups are not making the decisions that have us in this situation. It’s time to address the black community’s love affair with the thug mentality and figure out why those guys get the same respect as responsible men.
All my life I have had to work against the image of the ignorant thug as an example of masculinity. I pride myself on being a respectable man and a good father. Outside of a schoolyard fight I have never harmed another black man. There is not one woman anywhere looking for me to claim my child or telling stories about how I harmed or disrespected her. Anything I have was earned without any shortcuts. Frankly, if every black man conducted themselves like I do there would be no crime in the community. Yet, in my lifetime living in this city I have had my masculinity judged based on the character of some fool that doesn’t have half of my character. It’s an eye opening moment in life when you realize that you can never have the girl in school that you have a crush on because her boyfriend is 16 years old with a car that cost more than your house. It didn’t matter that he couldn’t read and stopped going to school in the 8th grade.
Thugs strut around our neighborhood and get treated like kings. We have an entire genre of music and entertainment that glorifies them. Even after they are convicted of crimes that destroyed their communities we support them like they are political prisoners in the struggle for freedom and fight the justice system so you can get out sooner and go right back to the same corner. Beautiful women compete for the chance to gain their favor and be with them and all those women are not sitting in the hood in public housing either. I have seen my share of educated professional sisters with some of the craziest guys. Everyone knows a sister with a man that doesn’t match because his wild nature is sexy and he reminds her of 50 Cent. I know this is about the brothers but the question has to be asked that if a man has several children in the same neighborhood, what was it about him that made all those girls that know one another want to get with him. It’s the fame these brothers have that causes it. They are not the outcast. The glory for those who reach the top of the mountain of this lifestyle is so great that even some successful brothers with legitimate money hang out in the same places they do. That’s how some rappers and athletes get into so much trouble. They are going to places where the hustlers go because they wanted to be him growing up. We even give them good solid excuses and free passes when they keep doing the same stupid things over and over and call other people who try to speak against the ignorance snitches and haters and put them in danger for trying to be responsible.
I and many brothers navigated our way through all the trappings to develop into responsible adults yet sit here at the beginning of 2009 with our manhood in question because of a bunch of ignorant goons who survive by destroying their community and have lots of fun and pleasure in the process. Everybody falls in love with the street solider until it’s time for real work. That’s when they turn to all the regular hard working cats and want to hold them accountable for fixing things. If all the groups Minister Muhammad mentioned in his editorial get together I will be there. I will even bring some brothers with me. If I get there and don’t see the deadbeats, gangsters, pimps, hustlers, goons and the drug pushers in the same room ready to accept responsibility for all the damage they did and start pulling their own weight then I am going home and watch T.V because if the guys who dwell in the mess aren’t going to change then how do you fix it? After 34 years of living my life the right way and having to prove myself in the same environment that these guys grew up in it’s hard for me to calculate how I have to do more work than they do.