This essay is being written to encapsulate some of the issues affecting black homes and communities in America. It talks about the dangers that surround the homes of black people and their communities. The dangers are social, economic, political and legal manifestations of systems designed by white people to perpetuate disunity, crime and socioeconomic exclusion of black people, their homes and communities.
The essay ask the reader to consider steps that can be taken to dismantle the presence of exclusionary systems and replace them with building blocks that can usher in a new age of survival for black people, their homes and communities. This discussion could generate hundreds of pages, but the objective here is to participate in an ongoing conversation germane to the survival of black people the world over.
Volatile Black Homes
Black people migrated from the South hoping to escape southern white mob rule, which was facilitated by the Ku Klus Klan. As blacks went looking for places to lives in the Western, Northern and Eastern regions of the United States whites would not allow them to settle in their communities.
So they designated areas wherein black migrants could settle, and isolated those areas from social, educational, political and economic resources. They built projects, low income apartments and housing tracts in the designated areas and labeled them urban ghettos. Blacks living in the urban ghettos were hidden from sight, so that whites had almost no contact with blacks.
White people controlled all the necessary resources needed for the ghettos to survive; resources which black people were denied. Job discrimination, minimal wages, segregated schools and squalled living conditions exacerbated the efforts of blacks to develop morals, ethics and faith in their communities.
Dr. Chancellor Williams says, A not so invisible army of white men maintain a vigil over the black community. They are well armed, and trained by “Sportsmen” gun and target clubs;” nation-wide “task forces,” specially trained for inner-city operations.” And as for blacks who have integrated into white suburbs, they too are surrounded by white men who have automatic weapons, many of whom live in the suburbs to distance themselves from black people.
Medgar Evers was at home in Jackson, Mississippi when a Ku Klus Klan member, Byron De La Beckwith, drove into his community, and shot Mr. Evers dead in his driveway. The Ku Klus Klan sent black people a strong message when they killed Mr. Evers; the message being, black people were bought here to be a subordinate race, and the white people of America will do whatever it takes to keep you in your place.
And so, white people made it no secret that the black community would be governed by oppression, marginalization, stagnation and assignations. Movements for social, educational, political and economic independence were quashed. So that, early in the life of the black community, blacks were discouraged from helping themselves.
According to the Economic Policy Institute, in 1963, the average black family was worth $2,457 dollars. Fifty-five years later, in 2018 the black family was worth $17,409 while the worth of the white family was$171,000. The wealth in the black family represents 10.2 percent of the average wealth of white families. Whites held blacks back, while they made progress in all areas of society.
In the United States real-estate has been a major contributor to wealth generation. Yet, since 1968 the number of black families that own their homes has remained unchanged (41.1 percent), and today (41.2 percent). Over the same period, homeownership for white households increased 5.2 percentage points to 71.1 percent, about 30 percentage points higher than the ownership rate for black households.
It is apparent that black people have not invested in their homes and communities over the last fifty-five years. The inflation-adjusted annual income of the average black household increased 42.8 between 1968 and 2016. In addition, the number of black people living in poverty declined over the same period of time. Over one-third (34.7) of blacks lived in poverty in 1968, and today just over one in five (21.4 percent).
White Europeans did not bring black people to America to build wealth, homes and communities. As a matter of fact, they bought them here to live in perpetual servitude. As blacks continue to dismantle the structures of perpetual servitude, they need to pour energy into economic independence, which must be measured by the development of community institutions i.e., safe neighborhoods and schools, churches, businesses and jobs, medical care, safe water and food.
President Nixon Attacked Black Homes
The black community is amazing; it has survived an unrelenting bashing from white people since its beginning in America. The black communities orientation to life in America began in shacks they built on plantations owned by white slavers. The overseer was in charge of the orientation, which included classes on cursing, hollering, violence, torture, rape, child abuse, violence, and killing. The orientation evolved into social norms, norms that white people practiced in the black community for over three hundred and sixty years (1612-1972).
In 1994, John Ehrlichman was interviewed and can be quoted saying: “You want to know what this was really all about?” He continues, “The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or blacks, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meeting and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about drugs? Of course we did.”
John Ehrilichman was Assistant to the President for Domestic Affairs. With his own words he disclosed plans that the President of the United States developed for black people living in America.
President Nixon created the war on drugs to criminalize black people. In doing so, various aspects of slavery were re-introduced in the twentieth century. The presumption of guilt translated means; flogging, lynching, dismemberment, and being burned alive are to be replaced with the choke holds, racial profiling by police who can kill blacks with impunity, and long prison terms the prison industrial complex, which is designed to create jobs and profits for white people.
Nixon had to vilify black people to facilitate criminalizing them. To vilify black people, Nixon used drugs, thus the “was on drugs.” News organizations reported black on black crimes, violence, drug addiction and related activities night after night on the evening news. The media sensationalized crime and black people making them synonymous.
Nixon’s war on drugs devastated black communities in the 1980s, and early 1990s; as politics was driven by “tough on crime” campaigns. Politicians pitched that gangs and drugs have taken over black neighborhoods. Children were unsafe playing in their front yards, and walking to school. Everyday drive by shootings sent bullets flying in all directions killing indiscriminately. And in 1994, President Bill Clinton signed the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, allotting $12.5 billion dollars to states to increase incarceration.
The war on drugs cast the black community as a homogenous environment; i.e., all black people are alike. It was a criminal indictment, meaning that every black person in America was labeled a criminal.
This was a delayed response to the desegregation of schools and communities. As black people slowly moved into mainstream cities and communities; white people moved to the suburbs. The neighbors and cities they abandoned were then labeled ghettos, and left to deteriorate as economic resources were diverted to the suburbs.
The emerging middle class black people pursued integration, and followed whites into the suburbs, rather than putting in the work to rid the black community of the crime and poverty that was created by the white people whom they wished to integrate with.
No, black people have not fought for their communities with the same intensity they put into forcing white people to accept them. Here in America, black people paralyzed their communities in their pursuit of integrating with the very people who don’t want them going to school with their children and competing for jobs. White people are vehemently against integration.
But, just to keep it real; the vast majority of black people disdain integration, and want nothing more that to see their communities grow, thrive and flourish.
Facilitating the erroneousness pursuit of integration is the ability of a small percentage of black people to amass wealth. Black people in America worked hundreds of years without being paid, but as they began to earn and accumulate wealth, it did not and has not improved the socioeconomic plight of the black masses.
Oprah Winfrey, and Barack Obama are examples of wealthy, and powerful black people. But the reality of all but a select few black people reaching that level of success is discouraged by structural barriers set in place by centuries of racism.
Home is Life
There is a need for home building in the black community. And, as we build we should consider redefining the meaning of poverty in the way it is used to devalue black life and homes. The illusion of poverty stricken black neighborhoods fosters false narratives and stereotypes that perpetuate resentment, isolation and exclusion. We are seldom told that the standard of life in the black community (labeled ghetto) is above that of the average citizen in Europe, and at or near the standard of the wealthy in developing nations like Kenya.
In 2005, the average household in the black community (ghetto) had indoor plumbing and electricity, a car, air-conditioning, two or more color TVs, sound system, kitchen, refrigerator, oven, stove, microwave, washer and dryer, cordless phone, and X box or PlayStation where children are living in the house. (Angela J. Hattery, Earl Smith: African American Families Today; Myths and Realities)
Black people struggle, but people very seldom go hungry, and they get medical care when needed. Usually, there is enough money to pay for essential needs, so that, they struggle to pay air-conditioning, cable TV bills, and in some cases to put food on the table.
There are a few issues in the black community that if put to bed will ensure progressive outcomes, not only for black communities in the US, but black communities throughout the world.
One of the issues is unmarried black women having children, and raising them with no father in the household. In black communities 75 percent of children are born to single mothers. And where you have single mothers with children, 38 percent of households are poor. And compounding the poverty is the absence of progressive male role models.
Even though the black community is isolated, segregated and cordoned of from mainstream society with under-resourced schools, few fathers working with mothers to save money to buy a house, and no push for sending children to college; these issues can be resolved if the middle class organized and assumed responsibility for the black community.
Welcome Back Home
The black community needs to integrate with black people; it must be safe for people to live and work without fear for themselves and their children. Building blocks must be put in place; building blocks that lay the foundation for strong independent communities.
Love must replace hate, courage must replace fear, self control must replace violence, unity must replace disunity, legal systems must replace illegal systems, good diets and exercise must replace junk food and sedentary habits, spirituality must replace dependence on drugs and alcohol.
Everyday black men are being released from prison. And the black community must welcome them home, as their voices are critical in the development of an anti-crime body of thoughts, ideas and mandates created by the black community for the black community. In order to rid our communities of crime, crime must be put on trail, found guilty and banished. Crime in the black community has to go, primarily because just about all crimes committed by Blacks are against Blacks.
The black community is setup to be a bastion of crime. For example, black man kill a white man and he will get death row, or life in prison. Black man kill a black man and a few years later he is back in the neighborhood to kill again. The racist justice system rewards blacks who commit crimes against blacks with lighter sentences.
After decades of watching crime devastate, stagnate and destroy black lives and families it’s time for it to end. The very expression “ex con or ex anything else would be rigorously banned” as a step toward inclusion and unity. We must teach a new way of acknowledging our black fathers, uncles, brothers, sons and nephews. Black people are special people, the original people of the earth and they only non-immigrants in this country, with the exception of native Indians.
American is home! Knowing that jobs require commitment, wages are low, and the cost of living exceeds wages in low skilled vocations, we must develop an educational system that teaches a new way of life. A new way of life that not only educates and trains people, but one that creates expertise in job placement and creation.
It should be the goal of every man, and women to insist on the eradication of crime, and the creation of an environment that encourages young people to achieve their dreams through higher learning, skilled labor and work commitment.