Doomed Black Community

“I feel from browsing you and Sentinel posts that what Black Americans like me have worked hard to achieve is an ultimate sellout because we choose to move out of deteriorating neighborhoods and that we have completely bought into the White hype.” I am taking it that you feel that neither I nor BrotherP have worked hard “made it” and have never moved out of a deteriorating neighborhood or ever bought into the white hype.”


This is in reply to a comment on Brotherpeacemaker’s post titled “Keep Moving Forward“.

I have worked extremely hard and have made plenty of accomplishments. I have succeeded in a college environment twice having two career choices to advance myself at any point. I have lived in ALL white neighborhoods and in fact grew up in a neighborhood that was predominantly white at the time.

And I know that BrotherP is in a professional career with a college degree, graduating as one of the top of his class. None of this is the point. It does not make one a sell out or buying into the white hype, it just makes it more likely. But selling out is based on a lot of factors which still isn’t the point.

The problem is when you say that Black Wall Street or Tulsa, OK was a success despite white racism; we can’t duplicate these successes if we abandon the area as soon as we have achieved a level of success. People think that just by blacks being successful from afar will somehow rub off on the less successful blacks they left behind. That is ridiculous. You can’t very well teach your children success if you don’t live near them.

So it stands to reason that we can’t build a successful black area if all the successful people abandon it. Even if not everyone in the successful area IS successful they will have a better standard of living and their children will benefit from the perks that will come from having the successful folks around. These perks can be things such as better quality schools, cleaner well maintained neighborhoods, which will enable them to succeed themselves.

Personal responsibility is an interesting topic and probably warrants its own post. I have a few problems with the use of personal responsibility as it is used in conjunction with the black community. It seems widely assumed that blacks in failing black communities have no personal responsibility or they wouldn’t be there in that failing community.

What about the personal responsibility of the dominant community towards failing communities? What about the personal responsibility of blacks who have left black communities for more successful white ones, thus continuing the deterioration? Personal responsibility is lacking everywhere. Personal responsibility is a learned behavior, not one that is just inherent in everyone. If that was the case then we wouldn’t have much to teach our young. As we all know children have no sense of personal responsibility until taught.

Does it ever dawn on people that it may not be a lack of personal responsibility that plagues the inner city? That things don’t happen in a vacuum? We can go down a long line of causes for the condition of these areas. I don’t believe that I have ever heard personal responsibility used in conjunction with poor white people.

Somehow the poor whites are looked at with sympathy and understanding, not with disdain and disgust. The problems that plague the black community did not come in one day because a group of irresponsible black people just got together and decided to ruined an area. The lack of tax dollars, businesses and people with the ability to lead by example has plagued and doomed the black community.



Filed under African American, Black community, Black Culture, Black People, Minorities, Racism, Social Issues, Thoughts

8 responses to “Doomed Black Community

  1. Thanks for the response Sentinel.

    “I am taking it that you feel that neither I nor BrotherP have worked hard “made it” and have never moved out of a deteriorating neighborhood or ever bought into the white hype.”

    I don’t feel either way about the living situation of you or BrotherP that is not intended to be offensive. However, like I said through browsing some of your posts (not all) that was the overall general impression that I received. As I continue to read through your archives that opinion could change.

    “if we abandon the area as soon as we have achieved a level of success.”

    Sentinel I do understand this point I truly do, however in the current state that some of the inner cities are in there is no way I would want to relocate to that environment. My husband and I take his younger cousins out on rotating weekends they come to our home for some weekends so that they are exposed to something other than their current environment. I am not advocating for black people to leave the communities in which they were raised and to never return to help someone else out.

    “So it stands to reason that we can’t build a successful black area if all the successful people abandon it. Even if not everyone in the successful area IS successful they will have a better standard of living and their children will benefit from the perks that will come from having the successful folks around. These perks can be things such as better quality schools, cleaner well maintained neighborhoods, which will enable them to succeed themselves.”

    This is so true I completely agree with you. I am unsure of how to achieve this goal which is why I have chosen to seek out the opinions of those that differ from mine.

    “What about the personal responsibility of the dominant community towards failing communities? What about the personal responsibility of blacks who have left black communities for more successful white ones, thus continuing the deterioration?”
    As a black individual living in America I would be delusional to believe that the dominating culture would view it as a personal responsibility to aid failing communities. I could care less about what white America is doing. I want to know how other people propose solutions to the problems of the black community. We are all well versed on the problems that plague us but I don’t always hear solutions in conjunctions with finger pointing.

    I am throughly open to learning a different opinion, any suggestions will be taken and discussed between my husband and I. If we don’t learn and take from each other there is no hope for what each of us would like to accomplish. I differ in some of my thoughts and opinions that does not mean that I don’t feel as if those thoughts and opinons represented by you or Brotherp are not valid.

  2. Jazzy,

    I actually do feel that the dominant community should feel a personal responsibility to not only black failing communities but ALL failing communities.

    I do one the other hand understand the rationale of not wanting to live in some of these deteriorating black communities. But, either we make that effort or we don’t. And if we don’t then we can NOT be critical of the deterioration since we have chosen to wash our hands of the situation.

    I do live in a deteriorating black community, not by necessity but by choice. I have yet to have a big problem with anyone here. I do have an issue with how my neighbor’s might conduct themselves and their business. But I expected as much.

    And as far as what you are doing with your nephews, that is a great idea. It will show them something other than what they are exposed to each and every day. Hopefully it will have a positive change on their lives.

    Thanks for the reply

  3. So much propaganda stresses the advantages of personal responsibility but mentions little of social responsibility. Social responsibility says that the community must come together to provide services to the people. A town will use taxes to provide schools, roads, police and fire protection, medical facilities, and opportunities for businesses to develop. That’s showing social responsibility. Personal responsibility says that when the community offers facilities and opportunities for personal improvement, we take advantage of them. Personal responsibility says that we do something wrong, we step forward and take responsibility for it.

    Social responsibility within the dominant community is strong and thriving. But in the black community, often times we have to show personal responsibility without having the components that a community provides through its social responsibility. We want to berate black people for not exercising more personal responsibility when our schools are inferior. But the community at large refuses to take their social responsibility to the black community seriously. White community gets schools and jobs awarded to them. The black community has to pull itself by its boot strap. The white community gets no bid billion dollar contracts. The black community gets ridiculed for wanting handouts.


  4. I lived for a period of time in southern Missouri. In a location where few black people lived. To say that poor white people are not looked down on with distain and disgust is not correct. Have you not heard the phrase “poor white trash”. It is a term in wide usage for poor white people in those neighborhoods. And yes often I do blame poor decisions they have made as the reason they (the “poor white trash”) are there.

    Perhaps they need a better education. Perhaps they learned the behavior from their parents. But I still place the responsibility squarely on their shoulders. (Still talking about the “poor white trash”).

  5. Jay,

    I am not saying that either group isn’t called their share of shoddy names. What I am referring to is that in the white poor areas they at least have programs for the people to take advantage of. The schools do not hardly mimic those in the poor black areas.

    I have lived in both black and white urban and poor city areas. I know that the difference between a black poor area and a white one is like night and day. Their were a lot more outreach to be seen in white areas. This shows a sense of respect.

    Whereas, the black areas are being left to fend for themselves and fend off the negative stereotyping that is seen everyday on the news etc. You don’t hear much about the single motherhood in the poor white areas, you don’t hear much about the out of control crime their as well.

    These types of disparities make for totally different outcomes of the two groups of poor.

    Thanks for the reply.

  6. I came to your blog on a referral from Jay. It gives me a chance to see the viewpoint of society through a different lense. I believe I will be adding yours to my list of blogs to consider for my readers.
    In reference to social and personal responsibility, I believe we as society as a whole fall short on both counts. I believe that oftentimes the community as a whole fails to address the shortage of the blighted and deteriorating neighborhoods, often with minorities as the denizens of these areas.
    The social responsibility aspect relies heavily on the “dominant community” and their distribution of quality social services evenly throughout the various neighborhoods with no regard to the wealth/social status of said neighborhoods. It isn’t an easy solution, I’ll grant you. I think the denizens of the poorer neighborhoods must work twice as hard and be far more vigilant about attaining these services within their neighborhoods, along with using and maintaining them. You would be right to say that “it isn’t fair” or “it isn’t right” that it should have be this way, but frankly, in my opinion, it is the only way it will work. At least until the time (we only hope) comes, where the fairness of situations is more voluntarily commonplace than not.
    The same really goes for personal responsibility. I personally had to tell my neighbor to shut his trap when he dropped the “n-bomb” while out on his deck overlooking the playing kids. He tried to tell me there is a difference between black people and the “N’s” upstairs. Personally I don’t care what his relationship is with others on a personal level, I didn’t want to hear it, and I didn’t need my 4 year old (who, as all 4 yr olds seem to do- repeats the worst of the stuff that comes out of peoples’ mouths) to hear that crap. Especially from a guy I would qualify as definite white trash, who’s still awaiting his call to certain fame on the Jerry Springer show.
    Just as it has been asked that blacks denounce the bad characters that lead to the stereotypes of their race, whites should do the same. Not at a higher rate in either circumstance, but more consistently. And I think this is where personal and social responsibility cross paths. If Man “A” tells Young Punk “B” how it is about his bad behavior, that the other neighbors back him up, rather than saying “you aint that boy’s father” and going back to their own business. It doesn’t take a village to raise a child by any means, but those who don’t have fathers should count on the other men and women to look out for him, and keep him in line when necessary. That goes for the black ghetto or the trailer park.
    As whites should not shift blame and use the black guy as the scape goat, I think some of the “self/media-appointed” black leaders should be more careful about what issues they rail against society. Sean Bell I get. Jena 6 I get. The Duke Lacrosse rape case, I don’t. The crying wolf over some things causes society (unfortunately mostly the white society) to see everything increasingly as nothing more than bluster, taking the credibility away from what is real.
    I also see, and again this is merely my opinion of things, is that the welfare issue is looked at wrong, not just for blacks or whites, but as a whole. For those who use it as a stepping stone and truly are trying to live their lives responsibly, I favor a graduated system, as opposed to the “you’re on or you’re off” way we do it now. For those who literally pop out babies for a bigger check, or those who choose to use the services literally as a paycheck for life, I have no sympathy. For instance, I’m sure that despite different backgrounds, neither of our grandfathers would have accepted dime one from the welfare rolls if they existed back then. Not so they didn’t take money from the white man, but that they wouldn’t take money from any man. They had pride and never wanted to feel indebted to someone else. They were driven to earn every penny they brought in, no matter how hard they had it, they could say that THEY were the ones who did it.
    As for the successful blacks moving out of the community to never return, I really have nothing of credible merit to say on the issue. I guess that once successful, the black/white mentality doesn’t play in so much as the concept of wanting an established safe place for their kids to grow up without worry of gunplay, open drug trade, prostitution that occurs in all types of neighborhoods of poorer status, be it a black, white, hispanic neighborhood. That they don’t go back to their roots from time to time (preferably regularly), to be that example to the rest that success is possible, is a damn shame.

  7. Mike,

    I commend you for your handling of your neighbor. If there were more of you maybe we could weed some of that behavior out like you say. I agree that these people whether white or black need to be told about themselves when they step over the line.

    Also, I agree that false cases of “crying wolf” is terrible no matter who does it. I am just tired of the fact that the Duke lacrosse case will make white people see other cases as bluster. Yet, will never bat an eye at the Susan Smith’s who run around blaming their misdeeds on the scary black boogie man. No one then turns around and looks at a white person pointing the finger at a black person as bluster.

    We are pretty much eye to eye on the fact that people need to step up when they see anyone doing wrong. I also agree that welfare should be a stepping stone. But the problem is that as soon as a person gets a job they are off. They don’t even get a chance to bank a little money or get situated. Then they end up behind and working paycheck to paycheck. And the first problem means they are fired and back on the system.

    Unfortunately I don’t believe the hype about mothers having MORE babies to get more money as that is impossible. They have caps on welfare so that you can only get so much then each progressive baby needs to be handled with the same amount as you had with the last one. So there really is no incentive to have another.

    The problem is that these people have a lack of correct decision management. And end up having another child due to irresponsibility and lack of education on many fronts. From healthcare, sexual responsibility and basic school education.

    Also, the black people who leave the black community is a big problem. The more professional people in any given neighborhood will squash the illegal activities. Because the professional people will own instead of rent so will have more invested to keep the neighborhood clean so to speak.

    I can see a change in the neighborhood I live in which is an inner city one. It seems to have had a bad element when we first got here. But due to the plethora of professionals moving in due to better housing costs has caused a shift. This neighborhood is turning around. And the same bad seeds are still here as well. They have just been exposed to another way to live.

    It isn’t rocket science for these communities. People just need to feel a sense of ownership and pride. Once that is instilled in the community the rest will follow.

    Thanks for the reply.

  8. Long time since I’ve been over here. Peacemaker makes a good point. I agree there needs to be a mix of social and personal responsibility.

    Perhaps an Obama administration will use the presidency as a bully pulpit to tell us all that we are in the same vessel.

    By the way, what makes schools inferior? The students? The teachers? The administrators? The school boards? Everyone?

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