A lot has been said about the schisms that are occurring worldwide: the rich are getting richer and the poor poorer; Black people and white people are becoming more and more at odds with one another; Republicans are against Democrats, and conservatives against liberals for starters. Along with these, there is another growing gap that is happening in Black communities all across America – the class divide.
There are two Black Americas, and the rift between them is growing. On the one hand you have a large number of Blacks who value education. These people demonstrate great enthusiasm for learning and for creating a better future for themselves and for the Black community as a whole.
On the other hand, you have a group of individuals who seem to be getting more lawless by the day. You can see them on Facebook waving guns, spouting obscenities and promising to kill interlopers who happen to cross their paths. These individuals have dropped out of school, use and sell drugs, and create havoc in their communities.
They often produce children that they cannot, or do not support, and exhibit less than faithful behaviors that could enhance the solidarity of families. They are terrorizing communities.
Children do not feel safe playing outdoors, senior citizens are afraid to leave their homes; businesses flee communities when they get the chance because of fear of crime, and no one is safe, not even ambulance drivers who arrive to transport those who have been injured. These individuals are responsible for many deaths, not only of those who are their targets, but of innocent bystanders who happen to be in their path, including men, women and children.
In this last situation, the two Black cultures have clashed.
Young college youth have been shot down by the thugs, sometimes in the process of robberies or because of mistaken identities. It is particularly heartbreaking to witness our best and brightest cut down by the outlaws, i.e., those who do not share values that enhance community well-being.
This last point is key: the basic differences between the two cultures, is that of the values that they embrace. On the one hand you have those who are ambitious and who strive for the personal and community success and prosperity. On the other hand you have those who have adopted values of the criminal subclass. They are interested in getting money by any means necessary, and tend to be hypersexual, misogynistic and violent.
The ironic thing about this situation is that upwardly mobile Black people are reluctant to even acknowledge that these two camps exist, possibly for fear of being considered elitist or anti-Black. The others, those who have embraced lower standards, have no such concerns. They are the ones who are chiefly responsible for the so-called criminalization of the Black community. Very often, when people think about Black people, these are the ones they envision.
Basically, the differences in the Black community will grow even wider if we don’t face facts about the erosion of positive values therein.
Guns are everywhere and young people brandish them freely. As much as this is happening, however, apologists from the upwardly mobile culture make excuses saying that someone from outside of the community is responsible for the proliferation of guns in the community. This is no doubt true, but the fact is that those who want the guns will get them and use them, and others with different values will not take the criminal route. You could place a stack of guns in their paths but they will ignore them as they pursue higher, more moral objectives.
There is a group among some in the so-called “Black conscious” community who believe that Black people are the original descendants of the “gods.” They see a difference between these Black “gods” and what they call n*ggas. The current challenge in the Black community from this perspective, therefore, is that of enhancing the values embraced by the Black “gods” and reducing the influence of the n*ggas. They think that this will determine the destiny of the Black community. They just might be right! A luta continua.