An honest dialogue about love, life, and everything in-between...

Thursday, July 12, 2007

A Message To Your Black Leaders

10:07 PM |

Time and time again we are presented with proposed boycotts, requests for apologies, and calls for retractions over statements by supposed pillars of communities, politicians, and artists. However the focus of these demonstrations are often not in reference to a racial injustice but an "inferred" generalization or stereotyping of the African-American person. Many times these call to action are done so by people who have no direct knowledge of the situation at hand. How can one be so offended and not know or be present with the supposed injustice happened?

I was called to write this due to a recent u
proar by the Charlotte NAACP over our mayors statements about some Black youths. This statement came on the heels of the Red, White and Boom Fourth of July celebration uptown. Out of the 144 people arrested that night 122 were Black. Now keep in mind that the celebration is attended primarily by African-American residents of the city and surrounding areas. And although it seems as if it were a high number of people arrested, it actually only makes up fewer that 1% of the population that was in attendance according to what was written in the Charlotte N&O. In the mayor's report about the responsiveness of the police department he stated that "too many of our youth, primarily African American, are imitating and/or participating in a gangster type of dress, attitude, behavior and action." This statement was a direct result of what he saw in uptown Charlotte that night. The head of the Charlotte NAACP was out of town when the statement was released but was up in arms about it when he returned. They have asked for an apology to which the mayor refused "because [his] comments were accurate. Period." The best statement of this whole thing has to be: "My role as mayor is to communicate what I consider to be concerns and in doing so you have to step on some toes," he said. "What you say can't always make people feel good.... We can't run away from the situation and shoot the messenger."

In my opinion, I don't feel that this statement was unjust or inaccurate. Nor do I think that it is imposing that stereotype on all Black people. It is a fact that some people, especially Black youths are attempting to imitate the lifestyle promoted by the music, movies, and the "gangsters". Fast money, lavish things, hot women/men are appealing to everyone. But because a majority of our children don't have anyone to tell them right from wrong, they don't know that sometimes fast and easy isn't always the best. Thus getting them into trouble. I am aware that there are all types of problems with the police, and overall inequalities here, and my opinion on this does not dismiss my overall disgust for the treatment of Black people in this city. However we have to draw our battle lines intelligently.

It seems as if your Black leaders are so quick to try and defend us against the stereotypes, however nothing is being done to change them. We have to keep in mind that stereotypes are all directly from actions that have been done by a group of people in some form or fashion. Instead of screaming about what has been said let's scream about the fact that our jails are full of our people, that
our children are failing in schools, that our children are content with being stupid, that our music is steadily becoming more ignorant and disrespectful. Black leaders it's time for you to stand up and create change. Make people accountable for their actions. Challenge our law makers to compensate the teachers who have the MOST influence on the direction these children's lives take. Challenge parents to be ACCOUNTABLE for what they allow their children do! Hold the youth ACCOUNTABLE for their actions! How much more can we as a people take? What will it take for us to do like Lawrence Fishburne did at the end of school days? It's time for everyone to shout it from the hills...WWWWAAAAAKKKKKEEEEE UUUUUPPPPP!!!! Wake up people. It's time for us all to get up, get out and do something. Stop fighting over words and start fighting over life.