Monday, November 23, 2009


Black Teen With GunA blogger that I frequent spoke eloquently, but painfully, about the constant presence of death in his life, as his work brings him face to face with it often. He bemoaned the violence in the black community, and our seeming inability to curb it, or to defeat it.

I think we can all agree: The answer to violence is a complex one. But if we are to combat it, and combat it successfully, I believe that my response to this blogger outlines some of those elements that will need to be present if we're to succeed. I would be interested in your take: What do you feel is missing, and what must we as a society do to rescue our youth, especially our black ones?

Here's my response:

I hear your frustration. It's mine as well. To be sure: The problem is a difficult one to grapple with.

Had we the power to look ahead, to see how far the infection would spread without intervention, we could have taken steps then.

But we didn't.

As we concentrated our energies and collective resolve to fight and defeat the external forces that sought to destroy us, we neglected the forces from within.

The problem as I see it is this: GIGO.

"GIGO (gī'gō, gē'-)
n. Computer Science
An informal rule holding that the integrity of output is dependent on the integrity of input."

Or to put it more graphically, "Garbage In, Garbage Out."

We are what we value. And values are instilled early in a person's life. He or she that gets there first, gets to shape the eventual outcome of that person.

It works that way most of the time, but, of course, not all the time. There are glaring exceptions. Always, there are glaring exceptions to any rule, solution, or remedy.

Having an intact family is not always the solution. It's the family that models certain values, and pass them on to their offspring.

And we know that generations have rebelled against certain values, but mainly did so because the values that their parents sought to inculcate, the parents, themselves, didn't follow, and the hypocrisy invalidated the values, and brought about a backlash.

As you suggested with the "village," nothing short of restructuring our society, and the family model, will bring the healing we seek.

It's not a black problem or a white problem; the problem of our youth is a national problem.

Until we see it from that perspective, I'm afraid that the problem will persist, and grow exponentially.

We all have to get involved in the rearing of our children. We first have to see them as the national treasure that they are, and put a large part of our energies and resources into spiritually, intellectually, and physically enhancing each successive generation.

We can no longer leave that task to the nuclear family construct. Children need many mommies and daddies from those in society who have lived long enough to gain wisdom, as well as intellectual and spiritual prowess.


kathy said...

Yes, the problem of youth is a national problem, and I actually do think that the media has contributed to this, I watch children's shows and sometimes can't believe what they are about, the things said, AND, the high level of disrespect that parents often get in some of these children's sitcom;s.

I really love this post, I want to mull over it some more, because I was thinking about this topic myself today.

Black Diaspora said...

kathy, I sincerely pray that one day we as a society will come to the realization that we have to invest considerably in those who will replace us, and invest in them early.

We can't leave such an important task to chance. We have to purposely set out to replace ourselves with the best humans possible.

No, I don't believe in eugenics. I do believe that we should draw out the very best within each child, and then hope for the best.

I believe that our very survival depends upon it.

Anonymous said...
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Ernesto said...

"I do believe that we should draw out the very best within each child, and then hope for the best."

I believe this is possible, but it is difficult to do in many circumstances because we live in what is essentially a predatory economic system, where life takes a back seat to material wealth. That, I believe, is the crux of the problem and prevents us from drawing out the best in ourselves and those we care for. Life is de-valued in this country. Killing someone for material gain, whether it involves sneakers or large revenues from natural resources, is symptomatic of this sickness which is pervasive here. So pervasive that we sometimes fail to recognize the many insidious effects that it has on all that is around us. Being a racial or ethnic minority in a society structured and defined in this way compounds the problem, of course. But the problem is bigger than us. I'm sure you often get the feeling we are swimming against a pretty strong current.

Swim we must, though, and your words are from the heart. Thank you, BD.

Black Diaspora said...

"Being a racial or ethnic minority in a society structured and defined in this way compounds the problem, of course."

Excellent points, all around, Ernesto. We are addicted to material things, and that addiction is supported by government, and the private sector.

It's the engine that drives our economy, and leads to all kind of excesses and moral dilemmas

It's the pact with the devil that no one wishes to talk about, and certainly not about the huge hit to the integrity of our national soul.

Good post.