Danny Cardwell's picture

    Articles About Race Part 2 Black on Black Crime

    If you Google black on black crime you'll be bombarded by statistics detailing inner city violence, pictures of chalk outlines and countless stories about the lives that have been destroyed. What you won't find are many stories chronicling the history of the black bourgeois attacking poorer and less educated blacks. This form of black on black crime is used by reactionaries to validate the criminalization of blacks. The most tasteless form of these attacks are leveled by "elites" who seek to distance themselves from the negative imagery associated with black life. There's a very lucrative conservative media market for blacks willing to denigrate other blacks.

    Every ethnic group has distinctions that can be used to create artificial hierarchies. The African American community has used skin pigmentation, hair texture, and eye color as in-group out-group signifiers. Many of these distinctions can be traced back to slavery where light skin and straight hair were thought to be a less threatening and more desirable condition of blackness. The wealth and status gained by blacks in the last half of the 20th century created a sect of black elites who choose to impose their sense of superiority on less fortunate blacks. Many dark skinned blacks in the bourgeois class used their education and wealth to combat the historical trauma associated with their dark skin. 

    Spike Lee's movie School Daze opened my eyes to some of the rifts that exist in the black community. There were two dominant forms of black on black crime  in School Daze. The first type was class based- between the locals (who were often depicted as envious and jealous) and the students (who were mostly depicted as entitled and pretentious). The second type was race based- between the dark skinned Pan-African students (depicted as militant and angry) and the light skinned fraternity brothers (depicted as fake and sellouts). 

    In the 25 plus years since School Daze was released the psychological warfare between segmented groups inside the black community has grown more vicious. Social media has given a larger platform to blacks willing to spread the seeds of fear, distrust and hatred. Reverend Jesse Lee Peterson, Tommy Sotomayor, Pastor James David Manning and a slew of lesser known commentators are symptoms of this segmentation. You can find an almost infinite amount of blogs and vlogs by blacks making derogatory statements about other black people. Many of these critiques (mostly inarticulate and overly simplistic) are disguised as tough love, yet they rarely offer any serious solutions to the systemic or cultural problems facing the black community. They share a common ideology that blames black victims of racial injustice as the culprits of their own predicaments. Slavery, Jim Crow, inadequate schools, stop-and-frisk, mass incarceration and police brutality are all discounted as playing any part in black suffering.

    The ironic and fatal flaw in the black bourgeoisie's worldview is that no level of self aggrandizement can separate them from their black skin. The black bourgeois are Just as susceptible to racial profiling and various forms of discrimination they dismiss or outright deny. My goal isn't to deflect or silence their criticisms, but to call into question those who have nothing but contempt for their own people. Instead of defining themselves in terms of their accomplishments, they choose to point out who they are in terms of who they aren't. The stereotypes they try to distance themselves from ultimately work to trap them inside a psychological prison built by self doubt.



    Another nice post, Danny.

    As a side question: what did you think of Dear White People? It certainly had Spike's School Daze on its mind.

    I'm embarrassed to say I haven't seen it. I have friends who have, and say it is a very good depiction of what some kids go through at private institutions. I'll make an effort to run it down.

    Don't be embarrassed! It's easy not to see a movie that only plays on a few screens for a short time.

    I was asking for your opinion because I'm interested in it. I wasn't giving you homework.

    Thanks for a great post. Another aspect of the Black vs Black debate is the concept of respectability. Booker T. Washington felt that W.E.B. DuBois was too radical despite a Harvard degree. Washington felt that DuBois was not being respectful.

    Ida B Wells thought that if Blacks behaved in a respectful manner, lynching would decrease. Wells changed her opinion when two of her respectable male friends were lynched. Wells went on to become a powerful anti-lynching activist.

    Martin Luther King Jr. was called out by clergy of all ethnicities for taking the Civil Rights Movement to the streets.

    So -called respectability has been used as a wedge to divert attention from social injustice.



    Thanks for considering my post. You're right, there have been a number of high profile civil rights leaders who had a variety of solutions to racism. I'm half way finished with part 3. I hope you will continue to engage this series.

    Great piece, Danny.
    Another serious problem with this situation is that the more financially challenged Blacks in the community have become so sensitive on this issue that even when well-meaning Black people try to make suggestions that might improve their lives, they feel that they're under attack and dig in. That's not good. 
    I just encountered that problem with a brother this morning.  But I don't play the game, or tap dance around the issues. I don't have the time.  I simply say whatever it is that I think needs saying to whichever group, and regardless to whose ox it gores. Because we don't have time to play around. We may not have but two more years, because I believe that the 2016 election is going to be a pivotal, do-or-die, election in this country.  If the GOP wins, this country will never be the same again:

    About the Concept of White Supremacy
    "I keep hearing so-called Black activists talking about how the "White Supremacist" system is holding the Black man down. They don't seem understand that if White Supremacy can hold the Black man down, that means that the White man is indeed superior!!! That's directly analogous to a man going home and telling his family that he can't feed them because "Willie won't let him." If Willie can prevent him from feeding his family, that means that Willie is the better man. Thus, every time you say, "the White man won't let me," you're reinforcing the idea in your own mind that the White man is superior to you. Can't you see that simple logic?
    While I understand that “the White man” has a system in place that is designed to give him the upper hand, all the whining in the world is not going to change that system. How long have we been whining so far, and what has it done for us? It hasn’t done us a damn bit of good, has it? So what I’m telling you is, we can’t out-scream the White establishment, because they control the media, and we can't out-fight the White establishment, because they control the military, so the only way we’re going to overcome the denigrating affects of his system is to OUT-THINK him. Thus, what we need to do is shut up, so we won’t be telegraphing every move we make; Turn off BET, MTV, and ESPN; and start educating ourselves.
    The only hope for the Black man is to make knowledge, the new soul. God made birds to fly, fish to swim, and man to think. That’s why throughout human history it’s been the smartest people who prevailed. So what many of us are doing is simply wasting time by continuing to whine about how bad we've been treated. Victims are always treated bad, so if we want to stop being treated badly, we've got to stop being victims. We've been whinning for over four hundred years, with absolutely no results. It's time to give the obvious a try - seek the knowledge to outmaneuver the system."
    The brother really didn't like hearing that, but, oh well . . .  But there is one thing I had going for me - he couldn't call me bourgeois, because my background would classify me as the quintessential hood rat, for reason, I take great pride in that.


    The beauty of life today is that there is relatively easy access to information. The Internet and libraries provide a wealth of data. Take the issues of vaccinations or climate change, for example. One can be confronted by isolated articles challenging the science of climate change or the benefits of vaccination. These articles are the basis of the Koch Brother supported climate change deniers and the Jenny Mcarthy/Rand Paul rants about vaccinations. Once one is equipped with the idea that you have to look at where the bulk of the data suggests rather than focusing on one study. The bulk of the data supports climate change and the benefits of vaccinating to prevent measles. Articles denying facts can be dis missed.

    When Rand Paul or Chris Christie challenge vaccinations, they can easily be ridiculed. When Republicans present their libertarian ideals, we can ask them to point to where these ideas actually worked. We can also point to Kansas where the tax cut and large resulting debt plan was put into effect. Knowledge is something the GOP fears.

    We need to realize that we are not operating in a meritocracy. A man who was a drunkard made it through Yale with a C average and become President of the United States based solely on a wealthy family. A non-board certified Opthalmologist like Rand Paul can become a Senator. Sarah Palin can become Governor of Alaska and a Vice Presidential candidate. After multiple instances of erroneous statements and a family involved in a fight, she was still getting invited to give talks at national meeting. It was only after a recent word salad speech that she came under question, A Black politician would have been laughed off the stage much earlier.

    One has to actually work at being ignorant of the many examples of Black excellence in science, medicine, and the arts. There are books and articles that provide details on these individuals. The society's built in bias is not going to change anytime soon, I agree that you need to figure out how to out-maneuver the system. There are ready examples to follow and use as a guide to work your way out.

    Very well stated, RM.

    But you left out one of my favorites - Michele Bachmann.  And that husband of her's is really a joke, with his "Institute to 'Cure' Gay People."  The guy's got honey drippin' out of his ears. He's not just gay, he's exuberant! I bet his "institute" is Orgy Central.  Hypocrites like that drive me up the wall, and the GOP is just full of them - and that's not all it's full of. 

    I hope I don't sound partisan.  

    Thanks Wattree! I think you are right on when you talk about the inability of some to take criticism. The mental shackles are so tight for some that they won't or can't accept the possibility that some of their wounds are self inflicted. Anyone who sees themselves as only a victim will remain powerless. My critique of the black bourgeois stems from growing up in the south with a bunch of brothers who saw their black skin as a degenerative condition. In part three I focus on black women. I know brothers who have never dated a black woman. That amazes me. I'm not saying you can't find love in another race, but to look exclusively outside of your own race is interesting to say the least. I hope you enjoy the third installment. Peace!

    I look forward to it, Danny.


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