Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Killing The Culture Part 2 : The Myth Of The Drug Hero

And all y'all dope-dealers...
Your as bad as the po-lice- cause ya kill us
You got rich when you started slangin' dope
But you ain't built us a supermarket
So when can spend our money with the blacks
Too busy buyin' gold and Cadillacs

Ice Cube - US

When I speak about killing the culture I don’t want anyone to think I am talking strictly about the young kids that are having problems right now. They may be the latest product of the culture but by no means did they start any of this. I think this whole thing started with the assimilation of drug dealing into our community as a respected and acceptable profession. When the crack era started we made too many excuses for people selling this drug. Some of those excuses were not many jobs or opportunities were available so the brothers didn’t have a choice but to sell drugs to try to make a living. That was easy to say and believe during the Ronald Reagan era. We turned the guy who used to be an outcast figure into this anti-establishment hero that was going to beat the system and escape poverty by any means necessary. There has been a lot of money to pass through the inner city from the result of drug sales. I pose the question; what in the hell do we have to show for it? What have we gotten for so much death and destruction?

I was watching this special on the history channel about Jewish gangsters of the past. There was a time when Jewish gangsters were just as bad as the Italian mob. There were people like Bugsy Siegel and Meyer Lansky. At the end of the show one of the historians mentioned that the reason the Jewish mob lost a lot of its power was because while the older guys were running their rackets, their kids were going to top notch schools and most of them ended up having legitimate wealth and success. That leads me to my first question.

Where are the poor little hood children who are now successful people, with world class educations because their dope dealing daddies used that money to better their lives? Why do so many kids still struggle in the same ghettos that their families destroyed in the drug trade? Shouldn’t we have set up enough avenues for some kids to escape with all this money? I am not trying to sound like a hater. I’m just saying that if your dad controlled all the drugs in the Ninth Ward at one time and you can’t read, he and the drug culture failed you. When was the last time you’ve seen a group of kids in the store with their dad buying baskets of food with his drug money? How come so many sisters who had babies for these cats still on food stamps? Where are our stores owned by all these outlaw mavericks who beat the system? What did they do to keep our money in the community and change the circumstances for the next generation?

Forget about the false benefits. What about the price that’s been paid. Have we not lost thousands of dads, moms, daughters, sons, grandmas, grandpas, uncles, aunts, cousins, and close friends all in the name of the game? Didn’t the deadly rules of the drug game lead to even more kids not having their father’s present? I have a play cousin I grew up with that has three kids. All of their dads were murdered before the kids were born.

Is it not true that the crack era damaged the family hierarchy and respect factor so much that it’s been difficult to recover? You can’t fix the problem without being open about what really goes on. It’s hard to maintain the same level of respect for your elders when women who were your mom’s friends when you were a child are trying to turn tricks with you for ten dollars. That might make you uncomfortable but it is real life.

Hasn’t the need to move product forced us to accept a level of demand that meant we never properly dealt with the drug users in our community? That led to the user becoming a character to be laughed at instead of cared for which led to acceptable drug use and disease.

Hasn’t the materialism based on the idea of fast money changed the definition of manhood and masculinity in our community thus putting criminal behavior on par with everyday hard work and in some instances in higher regard? Doesn’t this make it extremely difficult to reach out to these young brothers and tell them what they are doing is wrong when at the same time the hustler gets respect, attention, popularity and female attention? At the same time, hasn’t it changed the way young men view the value of women and altered the respect level they have for the mothers of our children?

When you add it all up the years of the drug game have been a horrible mess yet strangely we still accept it. We only get bent out of shape when the violence escalates but when it calms down and contains itself within the acceptable victims it’s all good. There are a few rare situations where guys have been successful doing it and turned it into a good life but there’s probably entire neighborhoods destroyed because of it. It’s time to admit the Scarface mentally hasn’t done a damn thing for us. Hell, even Tony Montana gets killed at the end of the movie with nothing to show for it. We are glorifying the wrong things. When I was a teenager my child hood best friend’s dad ran his own company. His parents could legitimately go out and buy him anything he wanted. Because of the neighborhood we lived in, people used to assume and ask him if he was a dealer. The bad part is that for popularity purposes this wasn’t a bad thing. This kind of mentality has only gotten worse with time. That's why we have so many studio gangsters.


Leigh C. said...

Reading books like "Tough Jews" and "But He Was Good To His Mother" shows how much most of the Jewish gangsters knew they weren't legit and how hard they worked not to taint their children with what they did.

The only ones who didn't care much about that kind of thing, guys like Abe Reles and Pittsburgh Phil Strauss, were already too sick in the head. The ones who knew what they did was wrong but also knew that the prejudices of the times weren't going to get them into a position where they could, say, rise to the boardrooms of Standard Oil and other WASP-y establishments worked hard to either give their illicit gains to charity or to get their kids into good schools and better circles - and to keep them out of the gangster business.

How CAN the black communities of this country best do that?

Anonymous said...

Good post bro.

There are so many issues in Black communities across America. Deep issues whose roots go wayyyyyy back.

You feel me?

There are many theories about why enough of us can't get our minds around the things that will benefit our communities and our people as a whole.

One of the sad things about this country -- black and white -- is how it feeds into stereotypes of race and color.

Which is often the reason why it's so easy for some to do what they do, because they feel it's how they will be viewed, regardless of what they accomplish in life.

We all know that any African-American man in this country -- especially one driving a newer model Mercedes or BMW -- is subject to being pulled over at any time for DWB (Driving While Black).

Doesn't matter if he's an Ivy League graduate making six figures a year or some dude making six figures because he supplies all the neighborhood boys slanging on the corners.

We need to stop glorifying those who have nothing positive to contribute, stop believing all the t.v. commercials, stop being hypnotized by the videos on BET/VH1/MTV, etc.

In place of those things, WE have to learn and teach our children to value ourselves more, respect ourselves more, love ourselves more.

Then we can get on with the business of doing the right thing.

But how do we get from HERE to THERE?

- Bliss