Criminal Organizations · ethnography · Health and wellness · research · Sociology

Negricidal Behavior

After observing self-destructive behavior in people of different ethnicities, I recognize negricidal behavior is not limited to lower-income Blacks, but is visible in many people of the last couple of generations. It seems more noticeable to me in the former group because of their smaller numbers and high visibility in my immediate arena.

I remain convinced that the at- large culture is  to blame for behavior that causes many people to act as if they have no stake in the world around them, no stake in their communities, none in their families, not even a stake in themselves. Easy come, easy go. Live fast and die; get it over with.  Our culture’s reduction of value from our humanity has created this behavior.  Such death affirming ways of living occur when people are commoditized, marketed incessantly, and made to feel they have no purpose for being other than that of endlessly dispensable consumers.

Take the thugs I observe daily as an example. No one has a job, but they all drive late model Lexus on gigantic rims, equipped with the loudest state of the art sound systems that turn these luxury vehicles in rolling sources of annoyance for anyone unlucky enough to be within earshot. They do not dress to match the luxury of their vehicles, tending to wear extremely baggy pants belted underneath their posteriors with oversized bright, white tees. If the weather is cold, this uniform is accompanied by a black hoodie. Everyone looks the same so as to be indistinguishable and unrecognizable to witnesses.

The sagging pants are worn to show underwear and seem to say, “Kiss my ass.” It is the elevation of prison practical style to street chic. I dubbed these young people niggarati as they seem to be the street intelligentsia of our times. As different ethnic groups have adopted ‘nigga’ as a greeting and term of endearment and signal of relationship, the concept seemed fitting.  It makes my skin crawl to hear them speak to one another this way, but I am a child of the 60s and of a different sensibility.

A young man was killed by police the other day.  Riding in a stolen vehicle with a 14-year-old companion, fleeing police, the young men bailed out of the car and took off on foot. The 19-year-old driver was shot and killed by police after he appeared to place a hand in his pocket.  The officers thought he was going for a weapon and shot him dead. Likely, he was trying to pull up his pants in order to run faster as no weapon was found on the body.

Essentially hobbling oneself as a fashion statement, then engaging in behavior guaranteed to get you noticed and chased by law enforcement, and attempting to run away seems stupid to me.  There has to be a better explanation for engaging in this potentially self-destructive practice than plain stupidity.  I simply don’t know what it is at the moment.

ethnography · research · Sociology

Negricide

Remember the era of Negritude, when there was awareness of and pride in all that was Black culture? Seems to me that what we’ve got now is negricide, the extermination of Black culture.

I’m working on developing a concept here. Negricide encompasses that awkward term black-on-black crime, child-rearing practices, general cultural practices like wearing one’s pants around one’s ankles and expecting to be able to run away from the police when they attempt arrest.

Class is involved in negricide. It seems to be a practice of the lower classes, the underclass, the long-term, hard-core unemployed, the African-Americans who frequent the prisons and jails as if they were colleges and universities, gang members. It is also an internal practice, beginning from within, unlike genocide that begins from without. Mothers speak abusively to their children; the children return the abuse in kind and go on to abuse others. It is the extermination of the emotional, mental, and physical portions of Black culture.

A working definition, in progress, copyright 2011.

Sociology

Don’t know what to do

It amazes me that the government only recently decided that we are in recession. I knew what was up when my teaching gig ended and I could not find work for six months. When I did locate a job, after my unemployment benefits ran out and the bills kept coming, I applied and was hired by a security guard company. Something about the people who hired me did not feel right, but I went ahead with the deal because I was not getting any offers from other sources.

From the very start, I had a problem getting my uniforms and worked in my street clothes for about a month. When I did receive my uniform, it was an oversized man’s shirt with properly fitting trousers that I was told I would have to wear every day until replacement could be found. I was dressed better wearing my own clothing, so after a day of looking like a clown, I went back to wearing my own clothes. Later, I was provided with appropriate shirts, but with constant washing and wearing I needed replacements after about 3 months. I made repeated requests for the replacements and was told repeatedly that it would take about three weeks to get them. Three weeks passed a couple of times; still no replacement shirts.

A supervisor’s assistant came to my worksite and started running his mouth about the identity of his supervisor. The man was the spouse of the branch supervisor, who had to be kept happy. Now, I had read my employee handbook very carefully and the employment of spouses or relatives, in general, was allegedly against the rules and was to be reported if observed. I did so, using the company’s internal complaint resolution website. While I was at it, I complained about my inability to get replacement shirts and expressed my concern that there was some sort of bias in play. That was 18 April.

On 21 April I was fired for no reason. Because this company is an at-will employer, they don’t have to give an explanation of their decision, but because I had observed their tactics over time, I knew that my firing was likely a result of my having filed the complaint. I immediately returned my uniforms and filed for unemployment benefits. I also filed complaints with the EEOC and the Labor Board.

The company tried to prevent me from receiving unemployment benefits by saying that I voluntarily quit. However, they couldn’t make that lie stick and I have been receiving my $81 in benefits to this day. Thank the Fed for the extension or I would likely be on the street right now. As it is, I’m hanging on by a thread and have no idea how I’m going to hang on much longer.

I apply for work every day, but get no call backs. I never believed having higher education meant work would always be readily available. As it stands today, having a degree is often interpreted as threatening and I get that tired "overqualified" excuse from employers who won’t hire me because I have too much education and experience in teaching. I’ve begun telling these people that there is no such thing as overqualified. Either one has the skills to do a job, or one does not.

Obama says this recession will get worse before it gets better. I don’t believe I can take things getting any worse for me, but I know there are others who have it much worse than I do even now. I take no comfort in that. I need work, a steady income, a way to pay my necessary bills. I’ve never had my utilities turned off, but am beginning to experience that now. I am dependent on the library for my wi-fi, have no cable service, no phones, no gas for heating.

When is the government going to bail us, the taxpayers, out of this hole created in part by Bush and company? When is someone going to help regular people who aren’t connected to the auto industry?

What are we to do?

Sociology

Forty Acres and a Gap in Wealth

The Pew study that found Blacks no longer think of themselves as one "race" seems to have caught many people off guard. I don’t really understand why. In the article linked below, Henry Louis Gates calls for making property owners of the poor. He thinks that ownership of property will make the left behind feel like stakeholders in America, that owning property will change the values, habits, and practices of those who do not think of themselves as middle-class.
 
It will take much more than property ownership to change hearts and minds. The poor are mired in various types of property as it is. They are as caught up in the consumer economy as the rest of us. They buy expensive cars and equip them with some of the most useless accessories (spinners, video screens in the back seat), get their hair and nails did on the regular,  and always seem to have enough money for the daily blunts and alcohol. They have no interest in reading or learning anything that doesn’t teach how to immediately stack a dollar. The lack of interest in schooling often forces those who do work to take low-paying jobs as security guards or certified nursing assistants as they have not acquired skills or educational credentials that might help them qualify for better paying jobs with greater autonomy.
 
Trouble is, for me, that Blacks only became one "race" once they were brought across the great water. Prior to being sold into oblivion, black Africans were members of tribes and ethnic groups. They recognized themselves and others as members of distinct groups and never considered themselves to be one "race". Once in glorious America, the previously distinct groups were lumped together. Often, people were placed among others who did not speak their language, who might have been enemies in the old country. This was done to prevent coalition building that might successfully overthrow the overseers of the hell that was American slavery.
 
Blacks should be considered an ethnic group. Within the ethnic group are subgroups that engage in diverse cultural practices. Because this country has been loathe to discuss issues of class differences within ethnic groups there is this ridiculous sense of surprise at Pew’s finding that Blacks don’t think of themselves as one "race". What the hell is "race" anyway? There is no scientific basis for racial thinking. As a social concept, "race" is fast losing ground. While Blacks may have been forced together in slavery and segregation, while they may have suffered the same oppression, I don’t believe for a second that they have always considered themselves one people. After a time, the dividing process began again, under the authority of slave owners. We get the house slave and the field slave, the true African and the mulatto. Simple and sparse divisions, but mighty in their power to persist over centuries.