Thursday, October 01, 2009

No One To Blame But Ourselves

A while back, I met a young lady who was probably in her early twenties. She told me she enjoyed reading my columns and that she had noticed that the tenor of my columns has been changing. My columns sounded angrier. And guess what? She's right!

I'm 55 years old now. I am no longer living my life to grow up. I am fully grown and now am living my life with the expectation of death as my final frontier. I don't fear death, nor do I live my life scared of it. It is the finale we will all take after, hopefully, living a long, healthy and prosperous life.

Now I also believe that the date of our death has been etched in our soul by God on the day we were born. Some of us will get to live long lives while others will live short ones. The only guarantee that God gives us in living is the last breath we take and not the manner in which we take it.

That is the reason why when people survive events that should have killed them; we quickly acknowledge that it wasn't their time or place.

The recent tragic murder of Derrion Albert, the honor student from Fenger High School has put a worldwide spotlight on his timely death. He died at his appointed hour, but the manner in which it came has been forever etched in our consciousness because of the home video someone took of the incident.

To the mother of Derrion Albert, I say take a page from Mamie Till Mobley and demand that the videotape is shown unedited and un-blurred. Demand as Mrs. Mobley did that the entire world takes a look at what this city and its political, social and parental indifferences have done to your child.

I started with political, because we live in a society where the rules are made by politicians who govern almost every aspect of our lives. From the birth certificate that we are given on the day we are born to the schools we attend to our final mandated-by-politicians death certificate, politics is at the very center of our life.

And if we don't elect and then place demands on those we put into office, then we all suffer the consequences. Derrion's death highlights what an uncaring and unconcerned political environment can allow to happen.

A high school where learning should be the culture is allowed to denigrate into a location best known for massive group fights, and those fights are subsequently tolerated because it is "just them" killing and injuring each other.

A side note, but one that has been nagging at me, is how did we go from the school boycott a year ago to not a peep about anything this year? The answer is politics and politicians playing us for fools.

Next is the social system that we as black people have morphed into. I cannot use the word "evolve," because evolution takes time. What we are experiencing as a black community is a sudden change to our entire way of being since we arrived in this country.

We have bought into the bamboozlement and are quite willing to toss aside a lot of the moral, cultural and time-honored beliefs that allowed us as a people to persevere through slavery, Jim Crow and the Civil Rights movement. We have arrived near the mountaintop and are confused about what to do now that we are there.

We have raised a generation of children who have listened to adults emphatically always speaking about "getting their gun and doing this or that," and now we are shocked when our young people actually do it.

We have also chosen to not deal with the problem of gun violence in a realistic fashion, bypassing the fix by longing for the days when kids fought with their fists and feet.

Well folks, Derrion didn't die of a gun shot wound. He died because of fists, feet and a 2-by-4. The tape of Derrion's murder is proof positive for the entire world to see that far too many of us have allowed some of our children to become the embodiment of every atrocity that was ever heaped upon us.

Anyone who watches and listens to just the words uttered on the tape of Derrion's murder would be hard pressed not to believe it wasn't a racist lynch mob in the early 1920s.

From the young woman in the car who urges the videotaper to "zoom in" to the constant repetitions of "damn" by the man shooting the tape of the slaughter to finally the voice of some male shouting, "Put that nigger to sleep!" we have become the embodiment of the racist in our treatment towards each other.

Next, we cannot overlook the parental influence or lack thereof in raising young men and women who did what we saw on that videotape. If parents would put as much effort into raising, nurturing, educating and demonstrating proper social behavior to their children as they do in naming them, then we wouldn't have four young males, to date, being charged with murder.

I am sick of relatives who cannot look at the videotape, but proclaim their child's innocence. I am sick of females standing alone defending their sons while the male sperm donors get a pass. We have allowed any female raising a child by themselves to be bestowed with a title of honor of "single mother" while forgetting that it takes more than birthing to be a mother. Rearing a child successfully to adulthood is a job and not something done in between hair and nail appointments. When you fail as a parent, you have failed in life.

Lastly, one of the biggest topics regarding this murder has been the "snitch" debate. Well here's my take: the videotaper was the best snitch in town.


cross said...

Hey, Arlene. That young fellow hadn't been programmed to die by God at that moment. We all have free will. He could've walked on a different route, stayed home, ran away, or whatever.

Arlene Jones said...

You have managed to validate what I said by saying the young man could have walked away. BUT HE DIDN'T. HIS INNER VOICE DIDN'T TELL HIM TO TAKE HIS BEHIND ON. Rather he walked into the melee and met his death. If it wasn't his time to die, he would have lived.

Anonymous said...

Someone give Ms. Jones a job at a major media outlet. Well said, well said...

Ms B said...

I am a single mother of two. I have tried everything I can to help my children's father be a positive figure in their child's life. I feel single mother's do a great job, but the lack of male figures and father's in black communities is harming us. I am lost beyond words, I pray every night and day that I do a great job with my children, so they do no end up dead or a statistic of violence. I don't know wat else to say.

Anonymous said...

AS an Austin resident for more than 20 yrs or so, I can honestly say I'm a snitch. WE CALL THE POLICE now what they do after that is another story

Arlene Jones said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Arlene Jones said...

Ms. B,

Previous comment had errors, so I replaced it with this corrected version.

Ms. B, I too raised my children along as their father opted to not be a part of their life. But I did RAISE my children.

I can remember calling my children in to eat dinner and noted that the other children were never called to go home to their houses to eat. I cooked homecooked meals everyday until my son turned 18 at which point I told him I was done. I cook now only when I feel like it.

One thing I would urge to all parents is to teach their children to think. Forget the video games. Board games teach children to think. Games like checkers and chess teach them to plot their moves in advance. Monopoly to use their finaces wisely. And on and on.

And once you have taught your children to think, then they can never call you on the phone saying they did this or did that and they "didn't think" about the consequences. Because it then becomes unacceptable to accept the things they do.

My son knows not to call me from the police station because he knows I will weigh what has happened and if he's there for a dumb reason, I'm not coming.

Critical thinking and Logic are two sorely needed concepts that many in all communities need. But especially within the black community.

But trust me, its something that many don't want to have happen. Cause if folks began to think, they wouldn't tolerate so much of the mess that goes on each day.

Bill Baar said...

You ok if I cross post this with attribution on my blog?

Well said...very well said.

Arlene Jones said...

Sure Bill. Go ahead.

cross said...

Arlene, I didn't validate what you said. By having free will the kid could've done anything, other than what he did. A Supreme being is benign and indifferent, if it exists at all. And there's no way any of us can prove whether such an entity really exists.

Anonymous said...

Hi Arlene, I read you post today and have to say I agree with you. Only thing I have to add is that I believe the "snitcher" took this tape to the media first for money.

Thanks for telling it like it is.

Arlene Jones said...

There are a lot of rewards currently being offered for folks to "snitch". The recent tragic assassination of Percy Day and Tyrone Williams and the current offering of a $2000 rewards isn't sending anyone to the CPD with info.

If money were the sole measure by which people choose to tell or not to tell, the reward system would still work.

And am I the only one amazed that during this so called melee, that the person cell phone taping was never once in danger????