Community · ethnography · Language · poetry · research

Generations 3

 

I don’t know the girl

called Shut Up Arianna

her mother I know

Shut Up Ari’s mom

was called Raggedy Ho by

her mom, Stupid Bitch

Shut Up Ari speaks

like those around her whose speech

and affect are flat

Tell me: Why does a toddler have ample amounts of time to stand in the window or doorway and shout her cousin’s name? He is 10, and tired of babysitting, wants to play with other boys, his peers. Why is Raggedy Ho not engaging her daughter, not interacting with her except for Shut Up, Arianna? Is it only me, or does anyone else see something wrong with this picture?

ethnography · Health and wellness · research · Sociology

Thoughts on Sagging and other Negricidal Behaviors

Martin Luther King, Jr. said that the most dangerous element of society are those who feel they have no stake in the society, that they will unconsciously seek to destroy that society because they have nothing to lose. Russell Jacoby asserts that violence is more often perpetrated upon those with whom we are most familiar.

With these thoughts in mind, it came to me that the imitation of prison garb chic in the outside world is an unconscious statement that even though some of the wearers are on the outside, they feel as if they are on the inside, prisoners of the system that provides them with few options to feel like stakeholders in our society, but every option to feel like a criminal, a thug, or a convict.

Of course, some people who adopt this ‘fashion’ are simply trying to stay current with a trend, but it is likely that many of these adopters, with their criminal records, revolving door negotiations of the criminal-legal-industrial complex, negligible participation in the traditional workforce, gang affiliations, and linkages to violence and disorder in their everyday lives do feel like prisoners.

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.