Ashes to Ashes: Toxicity in the African American Community

Anyone who has eyes can see. There are some serious issues in the black community that have been swept under the rug, written off, or kept completely hidden for years. In 2017, many of us are still carrying the banner of slavery and Jim Crow. However, we are not carrying this history as wisdom to be learned from, instead they have become shields against true progress and integration into the Western heritage that we are a part of.

It is no secret that many black Americans have a distrust of the west. I, in no way, will deny that some of this distrust is warranted. But there comes a point where distrust turns into outright antagonism against some of the western values bestowed upon us that can, and have, shaped us into a group of resilient people who are capable of doing more than supporting dubious movements and spewing racism as a way of easing feelings of powerlessness.

There is baggage and it is time we unpack and expose this baggage for the world to see. At this point, much of our culture needs to be aired out and shamed. We cannot say “Black Lives Matter” when, in reality, very few lives matter to us at all.

This will become a series of blog posts highlighting the various social ills plaguing the black American community. This will be offensive but it MUST be said.

The Kids Are Not Alright

Other bloggers have begun openly discussing the fact that many black American parents are physically abusive to their children. Corporal punishment has come to be seen as a hallmark of the black community. Humorous hashtags are created to display this as if it is normal. It is not. The way many black Americans raise children is not normal.

The idea that a child will only “learn” if they experience some form of violence is so engrained conversations on the subject will become heated as a rare few decry the practice.

It is not uncommon to see someone say, “I was whooped as a kid and I turned out fine.” But one has to wonder whether or not this is true. The cycle continues and because there is no community outcry when the violence escalates, some children end up living under a tyranny masked as culture.

The other argument of “White people don’t beat their kids and look how they turn out.” also falls flat, especially if we look at the level of violence found in the black community.

Black Americans commit an astonishing amount of violent crimes considering we only account for +/- 13% of the population in this country. Violence seems to be a subject black leaders and liberal white Americans contribute to poverty as a way of masking the dysfunction. While poverty does play a role, it strikes me as odd that you do not see these kinds of numbers among the poor of other communities; certainly not at the rate in which it is seen in ours.

I believe the true root of our community’ penchant for violence stems from the fact that, from an early age, black children are taught that violence solves everything. If you want to “teach” someone you hurt them and this kind of message leaves obvious scars on the psyche of these youth as they traverse a world that does not view this mentality as healthy. In fact, in our community, abuse is often not considered evil at all.

Let me be completely clear, this issue, this cacophony of gunshots and Youtube televised fist fights lies at our feet as a tragic legacy carried over from slavery. As mothers attempted to avoid their children facing the whip, they showed them what it could be like through similar punishments. But instead of evolving past this programming, we have chosen to embrace it. We’ve decided physical abuse is a virtue and then marvel at why four teenage girls attacked and killed another young woman in a girl’s bathroom while filming it.

How can we possibly teach our children that violence does not solve anything when it’s our first resort the moment a child shows a streak of independence, or asks a question, or behaves like a child?

This mentality is an illness and it’s an illness that will continue to contribute to lost lives, busted lips, and damaged citizens. This is our shame. This is our legacy and it is nothing to be proud of. We need to evaluate how we raise our children. We need to evaluate the socially acceptable rage that allows us to look a five-year-old in the eye before striking them.

If we cannot do this, we can expect to see the same statistics we do now. In a way, perhaps we are already lost with our continued failure put forth for all the world to see.