As a people, we have been dying since we came to this land and built it on our backs for free.
Slavery gutted Africa, taking its most vibrant and vigorous men and women in childbearing years. It took or slaughtered young strong women and men. That completely destroyed the natural cycle of that continent, which is why it began to fall off.
It was made worse when the world continued to ravage the continent of its other natural resources, making war and causing strife amongst and between the indigenous peoples. Now, even some of us look at Africa with detached disgust, imagining that Africans destroyed their own land and each other for no good reason.
Even after slavery and Jim Crow, America did the same thing to African Americans, as in-bred self-hatred continued to seep into secret places in the psyche of Black folks. Integration and Black flight saw the best and brightest of the community seeking to live anywhere but around other Blacks. They took Black commerce with them and completely destroyed the natural cycle of the community.
It was made worse when the nation and crack came to ravage the community -as the educated and hard working denizens migrated to other communities, the lowest of the low became elevated and respected.
Pimps, prostitutes, gangsters and thugs took their place at the top of the food chain and completely retarded the community’s growth process. Things went off on a “Back to the Future” parallel universe tangent.
There was once a straight brotherhood, where the gangsters only took the kids who weren’t going anywhere anyway. As much as I thought I was a gangster, I was told in no uncertain terms that they would beat my ass everyday after graduation until I went to college, preferably out of the city.
Now the gangsters take whoever they can and lives are destroyed. Only after crack cocaine and the Eighties did we begin to see grown men dressing and behaving as children. Gangsters are now the biggest cowards, shooting at random to avoid face-to-face confrontations that may lead to man-to-man combat.
America gave us selfishness.
The Eighties in America gave us self-centered b**ches for men who would rather pursue big vehicles with too many televisions and careers chasing balls or holding balls while rhyming about nonsense.
There was once a straight sisterhood, where women encouraged each other to be beautiful and to love men and families. They encouraged each other to walk and talk in ways that commanded respect. Even prostitutes could clean up and look regal after working.
After crack and the Eighties, overly promiscuous women reigned, telling each other that they didn’t need men to have children—in essence, avoiding and helping to destroy the Black family.
The Eighties was the “Me” decade and ushered in the first generation of Black women who were hyper-materialistic, turning to easy money and away from and against their men.
The chickens have come home to roost now that we see an abundance of women who are single, angry and bitter with no kids. There are far too many old, drunken, promiscuous drugged-out freaks calling themselves Independent women and queens.
And our children are suffering the most.
America has given us a lack of integrity.
There is no personal responsibility. The selfish, greedy behavior of grown men and women has eroded the guts of our community.
In general, Black men blame White men and Black women blame Black men. For everything. In such an environment, Whites can say nothing about Blacks or they will be accused of racism and Black men can say nothing about Black women or they will be accused of hating them—even if they are telling the truth.
There are no mores, no standards, there is nothing.
The goal used to be to garner recognition as kings or queens, now it’s just to be called by those names. We want to feel good about ourselves without doing anything to feel good about.
America sold us sex without love, simply to feel good.
Porn is now mainstream. Strippers wear their title and career proudly and respectably and the idiots who make it rain are pawns in a game they think they are playing well. But both sides are using sex as commerce and love for nothing and in the open market, we are the icons for sexual debauchery.
Everything is sexualized and crude.
We see this crudeness everywhere in our community, particularly in interpersonal relationships. People don’t even know how to talk to each other anymore. Ignominious idiots will hurl insults and cast aspersions and then demand respect, deciding that cursing is worse than name calling, or that name calling is worse than insults, when really, moronic cowards are looking for ways to hurt others without being hurt.
No one wants to take the weight.
And no one wants to take the blame.
Even those of us who are doing well seek to blame those who are faltering for their own demise.
And really, most of us are at the precipice of demise.
We are underemployed and mostly two paychecks from disaster, while most of us claim to be doing well.
At least before the Eighties we were a primary part of the cheap labor workforce. Then many of us were supplanted by illegal immigrants who worked below the minimum wage and off the books, only to later unionize and demand a “living wage,” claiming that they took jobs Blacks were unwilling to do. In order to support such a lie, they had to ignore the people who were at work when they showed up to take the jobs for little pay.
But why wouldn’t those immigrants think so poorly of us when they and America promote outdated racist propaganda and materials in their native land?
Add that old school negative imagery to the new school negative imagery we allow ourselves to participate in promoting through rap music and comedy and African Americans are officially at the bottom of the totem pole in terms of respect.
And while some of us talk about reparations that will never come, too many of us refuse to look at the repairs that could save us—Black commerce and focus on saving young Black girls from AIDS and young Black boys from prison.
There are a number of viable hypotheses for the outrageously high HIV infection rate in our community, but the only one most of us want to entertain is the scenario where Black men are responsible. We promote this hypothesis while watching our children (and foolish adults) become more and more reckless with sex.
We became the primary fodder for the privatization of prisons at the same time that after school programs and college assistance programs were cut, while states began adopting “Three Strikes” legislation. All this under the watch of a president we called the first Black president, who later showed us his ass while attempting to get his racist wife elected as president.
Too many of us are dying, not from AIDS, but from simple, preventable curable diseases including hypertension and diabetes, yet none of us are supposed to talk about the high rate of obesity amongst Black women who want to feel good about being fat.
We are screwed, because as a people, we own little and control nothing. Yet, we boast about our visibility in sports and entertainment. But why wouldn’t a product be visible in the open market? We are clearly for sale and not only are we oblivious to the price, but most of us aren’t even aware of the cost.
We are paying and paying, while we are dying and dying.
We are helping to kill ourselves, which makes us very good Americans.
Darryl James n won the Chicago Book Festival Non-Fiction Award for “The LA Riots, 3 Decades of Revolution,” his book on Rioting in America. James is also the author of the forthcoming powerful anthology “Notes From The Edge.” Discounted Autographed and Numbered Pre-Release copies can be ordered at www.darryljames.com. View previous installments of this column at www.bridgecolumn.proboards36.com. Reach James at