The Deconstruction of Black America (Part II)

If you haven’t checked out part one of the series click here to catch up with the discussion.

I left off with discussing some of the problems which I feel affects black America. That’s where I’ll pick up and hopefully if I don’t get too long winded I’ll begin to delve into some of the solutions.

Shoddy Leadership. Black people don’t have strong leadership who advocate on their behalf. Before I go any further Barack Obama is president of the United States of America not president of Black America. Obama may be black but this nation is not and that’s whom he was charged with keeping the best interest of. So who are we left with? Al Sharpton? Jesse Jackson? Civil rights leaders of past are stuck preaching the same tired rhetoric of the 60s and 70s. There are new challenges facing black America in todays society. Issues such as how to compete for jobs with not only whites but on a global market when we are falling behind in education. I’m ashamed to say I grew up in a city that re-elected a black man as mayor after he was caught on camera smoking crack cocaine. Marion Barry led an administration that accepted high crime and failing schools as a way of life for black people. What did we do? Voted him into office. I guess we didn’t want to see a white man in power of our city that bad that we allowed a total sense of unaccountability. I personally feel that black leadership is all about self. Sure we share the same skin color but in the end the only color that matters is green. I have more in common with a 3o year old man in Iraq than I do with Al Sharpton or Maxine Waters and that’s a problem (and another post coming soon).

Rap Music and Television. I listen to rap music. The thing is that I know the difference between what is a modern day minstrel show and what goes on in real life. In today’s rap business, young rappers hungry for stardom are cheap labor, able to satisfy white America’s continuing desire to see negative stereotypes of blacks. And let’s not get it confused, the biggest consumer of rap music are young white males. The problem is that white-owned corporations making big money off off the music have to get past the risk of charges of racial stereotypes. That requires the silence of black leaders, politicians, ministers and the media. Even if these leaders were vocal how can you blame corporate America? Its not as if you look at music videos and its white people in black face. These are black people contributing to the overall negative stereotypes of black people. Ones that charge black men with being unfeeling stud mandingos who have a propensity to violence and portray women as prostitutes who have no self-respect. The problem is parents allow children to internalize these negative connotations of images of people they see who look like them. How else should a child behave if all they see is a man rapping about busting guns while driving expensive cars or women popping their pussy on a handstand? And let’s get into television. I find it sad that people want to put down shows like Reed Between the Lines which portrays black people in a positive light but tune in week in and week out to shows like Real Housewives of Atlanta, which show young girls that to make it you have to marry someone successful.

I don’t want this to get too long so I’ll finish this up in the next post were I’ll discuss some possible solutions of how our culture can bring back the pride that has recently been lost. Feel free to discuss in the comments sections. I’m sure I’ve left out some issues.


16 thoughts on “The Deconstruction of Black America (Part II)

  1. Tasha

    I think the issues lays in black folk waiting for a leader to lead and not being a leader/role model in their own home. Let’s face it, the black community may never experience another Malcolm, Martin or Obama for that matter. Until we solidify leaders in our own homes then branch out into becoming leaders in the community, we will continue to have these pseudo leaders who really only have their own best interests at heart.

    1. madscientist7 Post author

      this is definitely a problem. it all starts at home and with personal accountability. this is why i’m resolved to try to impact those closet to me first before i try to make a difference on a larger scale.

  2. Tasha

    And I’d like to add that the 1960s black leaders I cited above had a strong support base that believed in their movement, ideologies and goals. These people potentially risked life and limb to stand with brother Malcolm and Martin. Now let’s fast forward to today’s base and ask ourselves do we really see the black community banding together behind a cause at the risk of their own peril? Even with President Obama in office, many ppl in our community have only become supporters purely based on the melanin shared by the POTUS and cant speak to what his policies are. I think being uninformed about our current day black ‘leaders’ (the Sharptons and Jacksons) allows for them to continue to make a profit off of labeling themselves the voice of black people.

    1. madscientist7 Post author

      is it me or when al or jesse shows up to the aide of some of someone or something that has been wronged the whole movement loses a notch of credibility? i kind of want them to go away.

  3. Kyzwana

    Well written Tunde! You are absolutely right. And the problem starts with education. A lot of our youth do not have the propensity to grasp abstract critical thinking skills and only function at the level of concrete thinking due to a lack of education. But who do we blame? Do we blame the parents who may or may not be trying their best to steer their child(ren) in the right direction, but is working 2 or 3 jobs and does not have as big of an influence on them as the people they spend the most time with…their friends? Do we blame society for allowing the promotion of exaggerated sexual innuendo and in turn promote pro-life? Who can we blame? Better yet…what can we do and how fast can we do it? Sometimes it concerns me even thinking about bringing a child into this world the way Black America is headed. However I know that my child will be afforded the opportunities that will hopefully drive him or her to be a productive citizen; because I will expect no less.

    Great point regarding President Obama. Ill just add a little to what you expressed. It truly saddened me to hear during President Obama’s campaign and election the mentality of some people. I remember a substantial amount of Black people, of every generation, being asked,”Who are you voting for and why?”, and all they could regurgitate in reply was “Obama! Because He is Black!” *slowly hangs head* Something must be done. Change is long overdue. But where do we start? Maybe, just maybe, as an educated generation we can all begin to work together and start to create change. *cues Al Green*

    1. madscientist7 Post author

      see the problem with voting for obama just because he is black doesn’t help anyone. sure the republicans don’t always have the best interest of the working and middle class in mind but if you constantly throw your vote behind the democrats without rhyme or reason then they start to take that demographic’s vote for granted. they won’t be pushed to try to make changes on that demographics behalf. i’m not saying that black people should be republicans just know who and what policies you’re voting for and not just because they are black or democrat.

  4. MsEvaHoney

    My question is are we leading in our communities? I can admit that I am not. Between working full time and trying to get into nurse practitioner school, I am “too tired and busy” to take time out once a week to mentor a child. It is a shame and this series of post is a reality check. I agree with Tasha, leadership starts at home and I, for one, will start to be more of a leader.

  5. K.Nicole

    I think that the time of the one black leader is long gone. Now that blacks feel that our major dragons (segregation,lynching, etc) have been slayed, I seriously doubt that blacks will collectively mobilize behind one person again. Also in the media/tabloid age we live in, the destruction of a leader like Malcolm would be instantanous (his affairs would have been on MTO immediately). I think those of us that can help should on a grassroots level. I believe mentoring could go a long way to show young blacks what life really is about/should be about.

    As for rap/tv, what’s sad to me is that whites who consume a lot of black media KNOW that rap is/should be a form of entertainment and not an instruction manual on how to live.
    The book Losing My Cool: How a Father’s Love and 15,000 Books Beat Hip-hop Culture, is a great example of that.

    1. madscientist7 Post author

      see the thing is in the 50s and 60s there wasn’t just one black leader. although media and history would have us believe that the only two black leaders were mlk and malcom x. there were plenty of leaders in the community. i.e.- bobby seale, medgar evers, james chaney, etc…..

      i don’t think you have to make a change on a broad scale or even be nationally recognized to be a leader within our community. mentoring is actually one of the subjects i’m going to touch on in my next blog post.

      thanks i’ll be sure to check out that book. the thing is a lot of white people don’t have that much interaction action with black people so all they have to go off is what they see on television or hear on the radio. for instance i don’t know too much about french people but i know what i see on television. the difference is i wouldn’t judge a french person based on second hand information that could or could not be wrong.

  6. K.Nicole

    You’re right there were others, but I believe there are people out right now, it’s just how much press are they getting and how many people are following them, i.e.:
    Van Jones – Green for All, sustainable jobs for minorities
    Majora Carter – She “greened the ghetto” by founding Sustainable South Bronx, where she pioneered green-collar job training and placement systems in one of the most environmentally and economically challenged parts of the US.
    Ben Jealous – Pres. of NAACP
    Marc H. Morial – Pres. of National Urban League –

    Can’t wait to read your thoughts on mentoring.

    1. madscientist7 Post author

      oh i don’t doubt that there are others now and i also don’t doubt that they aren’t getting the recognition they deserve. the issue i have is how many black people actually care that people are doing good and trying to make a difference. priorities are sorely lacking.

  7. Janina Jeff

    “Barack Obama is president of the United States of America not president of Black America.”
    I cannot tell you how happy I am that you said this. This really needed to be addressed. After reading this post (and the last) I feel that leadership and accountability are a major problems in the black community.
    As for leadership, there are several leaders that our children (descendants) do not know about who have made just as much as an impact as MLK and Malcom. My grandfather (Dr. Morris F. X. Jeff Jr., past president of 100 black men) and great grandfather (Morris F. X. Jeff Sr.) were both well-respected leaders in the AfAm New Orleans community. I was able to see first hand how mentoring or a simple conversation with them empowered many. Yes, MLK is one of the best leaders known in our community but how many of our children are going around saying he inspires them? Most don’t, which is mainly because they don’t have a personal relationship with him or know much about him past “I have a Dream”. They weren’t able to see directly his dream they just hear about it. This generation is disconnected to the leaders of the Civil Rights movement. I truly believe that one on one mentoring has the greatest impact on our children’s lives. While the contribution is small, imagine the effect it would have if more of us did it. I recently joined BBBS of Nashville. Most of the events I go to, I am the only AfAm “Big” meanwhile all of the “Littles” are little black children. What kind of message does this send to our kids? That educated black ppl don’t care about them and these white folks do. Think about how that makes them feel but this is a completely different topic.
    Being accountable for our failing community is something that most do not want to admit, let alone address. I had a long heated debate with a good friend of mine who believes that we as black people constantly whine about the negative things the white man has placed in our community. While I do believe that the white man did place a lot of the drugs, poor education, pollution, diseases, crime etc. in to our communities; I think we are equally responsible for its continual presence. While black men are more likely to go to jail than college, the number of AfAms graduating from college has increased over the years (something most ppl don’t discuss). That being said I think there are far more educated AfAms today that have the ability of reversing some of the wrong-doings of the white man in our communities. One example of this is Geoffrey Canada, Harvard grad, that returned to Harlem (where he grew up) to change a community. To date his story is one of the few instances where an entire neighborhood has dramatically changed. I say that to say, it is possible but we have to give back and be accountable for each other!

    1. madscientist7 Post author

      thanks for your comment and views. i believe you’re right. the whole mentoring aspect is sorely missing from our community and while one-on-one mentoring makes a small difference that is better than no difference.

      ” I am the only AfAm “Big” meanwhile all of the “Littles” are little black children.”

      this is just sad. the fact that we don’t take responsibility for our own but we allows others to do so speaks volumes. we then complain about this younger generation while doing nothing or being proactive in trying to make a difference. kudos on trying to make a difference janina. 🙂

  8. Mika. (@MikasThoughts)

    I can not name one predominately black country headed by blacks that is stable. Theyre all corrupt and lack proper leadership so it’s not a surprise that the leadership here in U.S in our communities is shoddy. Dare I say that there is an innate barrier that prevents us from being able to lead… or was it the “intervention” of the west that disrupted our ability to do so…and we are seeing the long-lasting repercussions? I don’t know.

    What I do know is that we need leaders that are self-less and dedicated to the betterment of our people. A professor (Dr. George Yancey) predicted that in the year 2050 all non-blacks will be considered white. Meaning, Asians and Latino’s will be seen as white and thus treated better; given more priveleges, more opportunities, more jobs. This is kinda frightening and means that things will only get worse for black people and if this happens we definitely need leaders who will genuinely advocate for us.

    1. K.Nicole

      WOW, that’s a loaded statement right there. First I can name a black headed country off the top of my head that is stable: St. Kitts. Secondly, I don’t think the instability is race based, but culture based. For example bribes, etc. in some countries that is just the way things are done whether the US thinks that’s morally right or whatever. And these are not just “black” countries, a lot of countries work that way.

      Secondly, as for the whitening of other minorities…white latinos and eastern asians are already treated “better”. And secondly other minorities for the most part feel no affinity with blacks right now in 2011 so them becoming white in the eyes of white people doesn’t really mean anything. If all minorities pulled together could we make massive change, yes; will that happen…doubtful.


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