Sunday, April 8, 2012

Beyond Treyvon Martin: A Look in the Mirror

Let me begin by emphasizing my opinion that Treyvon Martin was a young man, who lost his life in what seems to be a senseless manner way too early.  However, I am not going to go off on a tangent about the clear racism that does and has existed in the American legal system.  I also refuse to get into the likely possibility that Treyvon was racially profiled, or the Sanford Police Department’s lackluster effort in gathering evidence, probably because Treyvon was a minority.  Why do I not care more about these clear injustices?  I do care about them, I just chose not to focus on these problems because the problems that exist today are not new, and they are not going anywhere until some internal problems are corrected.  On the Treyvon case in particular there is too much that is unknown.  Given the quick judgment that the public has made on the issue, I am sure we will never know what actually took place either.
Our country has a race problem!  Anyone who does not acknowledge this must be lucky enough to avoid the issues, and is sadly mistaken.  See, to highlight these issues is all too easy, we could begin with the clear murder of Oscar Grant, and the minimum 2 year sentence (1 year served) which the perpetrator received.  I could call on the more egregious case of James Craig Anderson, where teens that clearly learned from their surroundings to hate African Americans thought that it would be fun to randomly beat and murder the first one they met in town.  From this, a crime with at least 7 guilty parties, comes one conviction, which is justice when the victim is a minority in Mississippi.  I choose not to tackle these things, though yes I do know about them. I experience racism myself, most acutely when I am pulled over by a police officer and feel that I must be as obedient and compliant as possible to avoid confrontation even though I have done nothing wrong, and am simply on my way home in my non-minority neighborhood.  Is it wrong?  Yes.  Am I being profiled?  Probably.  But complaining, marching, or wearing a certain piece of clothing wont solve it.  Proving to them that I refuse to behave ignorantly, as many would expect or even hope that I would, will solve it though!
See, I was raised by a solution-oriented man.  A man who taught me to find out how I can fix my situation, not find a place to lay the blame.  This self-reliance was only amplified by my time in the Army in which, my best leaders taught me to be 100% mission oriented.  I am aware that many among my race cannot make these claims, but that too is an excuse and not a solution oriented view of the situation.  I am not a man who looks at a system that stands against me as a barrier to success. It is impossible for me to place blame at someone else’s feet prior to looking in the mirror and ask what I have done myself to improve my situation as much as possible.  This is where I ask the minority community to stand, next to me in the mirror.  Lets look at ourselves.  What have we done to improve our situation.  We march, wear T-Shirts, and for Treyvon wear hoodies and carry Skittles.  When? If someone for another race does the killing.  But for every Treyvon who is murdered by another race, there are several other young minorities who are gunned down by someone who looks just like them.  For most teenagers in America it is accidents that are the main cause of death; however, if you are black and between 12 and 19 then your primary risk for death is homicide.  It is not that Caucasian, Hispanic, or Asian citizens are coming into African American communities to kill black kids off; instead, they are killing each other
If it is the desire of the black community to reduce the size of the target on our back, it seems to me that the easiest way to do so is to reduce the amount of senseless crime committed within our communities.  If we are looking realistically at what we can do to solve the problems of racial inequality, sentencing discrepancies, racial profiling, and racism overall, we must first tackle the basic flaws that confirm the belief of any and all ignorant, and racist individuals.    Not only does black on black crime spur the racism that makes a black man feel foreign in his own land, it also diminishes the chances of upward mobility from within the community.  I could talk about this subject for days, and I have endless opinions as to where the problems come from.  These problems are not simple, and if they were, they would already be remedied.  It is the ignorant view on “snitches,” and the childish nature of black entertainment that I feel are the biggest culprits in creating fertile soil for negativity to grow.  So yes, lets march.  Lets march these drug dealers off of our corners.  Lets march for EVERY killing, loudly proclaiming that it is intolerable for us to live in war zones.  Lets march for our entertainers to add substance to their routines.  Lets march for our schools to provide elite education to the youth.  Lets march because we feel we are worthy of better.  If we do not demand better of ourselves how can we possibly demand better treatment from others?
We find ourselves constantly surrounded by boys and girls who are supposed  to be men and women, and I’m not talking about the teenagers.  Adults who act like children are the weight holding the entire race down.  No, it is not everyone; there are many successful, and responsible African Americans.  Unfortunately though, as a person who contemplates remedies to our internal problems, there are more days that I go home in despair than days that I find a glimpse of light at the end of our dark tunnel.  There must be a point of no return, and I am convinced that we are approaching it.  We can make a change though, I know that we can. Below you will find a freestyle rap song that I created to highlight many of the problems that I think compound the difficulties that African Americans face in America.  It is recited over the instrumental to the song “We Are Young” by Fun, and is titled “Grow Up” (We Are Young Freestyle).  I think more messages like this, and a very frank and no-nonsense approach to discipline, education, and responsibility is just what we need in our communities.  The time for sugarcoating and pointing fingers is over.  Boys become men, and girls become woman.  It is time to Grow-Up.  Seek Knowledge Or Only Lose

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