best of craigslist > chicago > From a black man who thinks
Originally Posted: 2005-10-03 1:00pm

From a black man who thinks

I am awake. I am aware there is, and continues to be, racism against blacks. I have to deal with it just like any other black person. I am not stupid, or ignorant, and I would have to be both to pretend that wasn't the case. What I am saying is that the OP's ideas on how to deal with it are just plain wrong.

What I was saying (please re-read) is that black people who refuse to give credit to other blacks who have succeeded in predominantly white professions do none of us any favors. Successful black people aren't "Uncle Toms" - they're successful black people, and much better role models than the gun-toting, coke-snorting, bling-bling flashing, woman-hating rappers our young men so much admire. Just because they succeed in predominantly white areas, other blacks say they have "sold out". This is stupid. What we need is more blacks succeeding against whites at their own game, not less, if we hope to combat racism. To say or act otherwise is to betray your own people and contribute to many black people remaining an oppressed underclass.

I also didn't say blacks commit more crimes overall. That is the usual misunderstanding that people who don't pay close attention to what they are reading fall into when someone mentions a crime rate. I said a higher crime rate. Statistics indicate that, based on the number of crimes committed per 1000 of the population, a black person is about 4-5 times as likely to commit a crime as a white person is. What that does mean is that if there was as many blacks as there are whites in this country, and the RATE of crime remained the same, there would be 4-5 times as many crimes committed by blacks as by whites, and about 3 times as much crime overall. We should be ashamed of this.

As it so happens, even more shamefully, the largest single group of violent crimes in the US - around 40% - are black on black. How are white people responsible when we attack each other? Even Jesse Jackson said in one interview that there was an occasion when he was walking down the street alone after dark in Chicago and saw two young men walking up behind him. To his shame, he admitted feeling relieved and safer because they were white. This was Jesse Jackson talking. Keep that in mind.

And really - this crack cocaine thing. OK, maybe (MAYBE) it was introduced into black neighborhoods as part of some white conspiracy. I have heard people say the CIA was behind this. I have never seen any evidence of any of this, and if it exists I would like to, because I have looked. I would be the last person to think our government is trustworthy, but frankly, I find that whole idea laughable. The dealers selling crack to blacks are other blacks. I think it very likely the people who discovered you can refine coke into crack were black as well - dealers looking for a more addictive, higher revenue way to make money. And even supposing it was whites who originated it - why is it that it is now such a huge black problem, but comparatively minor among whites? Are white people holding black drug dealers at gunpoint and forcing them to sell crack in the projects? Are they holding the crackheads down and forcing that glass dick into their mouths so they can suck it?

Yes, I know that a lot of the crime is because many black people are poor, and some of that is due to white racism. But the worst of that ended 40 years ago. Frankly, these days a lot more of it is due to our people who are in families which are in some cases now entering the third generation where none of them has ever held a job. It's due to ridiculously high drop out rates. Did you know that across the country, the majority of our black kids don't finish high school? How are white people to blame for that? How are they to blame for the rate of illegitimate births in the black community as a whole being close to 70%? Is there a white person there forcing a 12-year-old black girl to have unprotected sex with her 15-year-old black boyfriend?

I am, again, not saying there is not racism. But these days, with legal recourse in the event of discrimination, with affimative action programs in place to ensure that minorities are equally represented, with, quite often, preferential treatment for blacks in college scholarships and admissions (for instance, I'm not aware of any United Caucasian College Fund), and so on and so on ... what's holding us back is ourselves.

When a black person succeeds in white society and we yell "Uncle Tom" and when we spend more time worrying about what some ass like William Bennett says about us than about our kids being promiscuous, violent, drug-abusing, uneducated thugs, we are shooting ourselves in the foot. I am not saying we haven't been badly treated in the past. But at least in this country, right now, we have a better chance to change that than anywhere else in the world, and in some cases (like college scholarships admissions) the deck is actually stacked in our favor. And what are many blacks doing? Mocking other blacks who actually use the system to get ahead.

The system doesn't change for anyone, white, black, yellow or whatever. The only way to make change happen and stick is to improve yourself as a person constantly, take responsibility for your own education and advancement, use the resources available, and set an example of success for other black people to follow. You can then take over the system by being better at playing the game than the people in charge.

That's what other oppressed minorities (Asians and the Irish, just to take the two most obvious examples) have done in this country. They did it by sticking together and working hard. Why don't more black people take this route too? Being successful in "white" society just means being successful in society, period, because we are MINORITIES. If we want society as a whole to treat black people better, we (as a people) need to start treating ourselves and each other better. Instead, when a black person is successful at anything other than the entertainment industry (in which I include sports) we cry "Uncle Tom". Again, it is really, really stupid.

As for your "blacks are oppressed the world over" - again, not so any more. These days, the oppression against blacks in Africa, for instance, is by other blacks. Whites don't govern those countries any more. And in Jamaica and the West Indies, home to largely successful and prosperous black societies that made the transition from being white-owned slaves, treated worse in some cases than in this country, without any of the help American black people have had, they look down on us American blacks and call us "cotton pickers". Their attitude is that we have more opportunity than any other black people on the planet, and we still sit on our lazy asses and point the finger at whitey for all our problems.

And you know what? In way too many cases, they are right. It embarrasses me as a black man that a lot of our culture glorifies crime, violence, stupidity and misogyny. It embarrasses me when those black people who refuse to speak English properly (again, something blacks in other countries don't do - you can't tell an English black from an English white by sound, for instance) stand up and yell about how other people have to change to suit us. ("Ebonics"? Was there ever a more stupid idea?) They sound like ignorant morons, frankly, and they make those of us who can speak the language and worked hard to get where we are look just as bad because we happen to share a skin color.

Too many black people demand that white people respect black American culture when right now we aren't offering them much to respect compared to the problems we create. Until that changes - and only we can change it - we can't expect an end to racism in this country.

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