Thursday, June 4, 2009

From Whence, Volition ?

On the earlier post Need For Speed Realty - FreeMan said;
"Is this one of those 'If a tree falls in the forest...?'"
Then SeeNew posted Van Sertima -

Usually at the beginning of every month, I drive my tenants around to take care of their errands.
After a little more than a decade of trying to be a one man welfare office, I thought it was about time to re-assess my perspective on how to help others.
I sat down and talked to many people from many generations who have lived within the cycle of dependence.
When I asked, "Why isn't your life better?" - I was given additional insight into the thinking of many of the habitually poor.

Most Liberals think that there is a need for more social programs - but these programs breed and cultivate a culture of dependence more than elevate it.
These programs make poverty too comfortable.

Take the town in which I now live.
It is about 50/50 Black to white.
The refinery jobs (100k yr +, with only a high school education) are taken equally by Blacks and whites.
The city council is half Black and half white.
The mayor is white, but she won a close election (based on issues not race) against a Black candidate.
The city attorney is Black and the city manager is white.
The highest paid ($435k yr.) public servant is the Black superintendent of the school district.
Two high schools (one a medical and technology magnet, the other the new school built in the Black neighborhood) are mostly Black (With almost all Black teachers and administrations), and the other is mostly white.
Funding (per student) at each Black school is ten percent higher than at the mostly white school. (But even the Black students at the mostly white school perform better on the standardized tests required to obtain admission to colleges or to obtain the better jobs).
We have two Baldwin Hills-type Black neighborhoods, several neighborhoods that are somewhat integrated and several that are either all Black or all white. an environment of financial and social equality - what went wrong?
Why are so many Blacks here relegated (by themselves or others) to the stereotypical role of "Ghetto Black"?
The opportunities are equal - but the results are not.

Is the image of what it is to be Black the determining factor in many of these people's lives?
Is the notion of the old telling their young, "That's good, for a Black person" the mentality that binds many to past limitations?

Most of the people whom I asked; "What, would you do differently?" came up with roughly the same answers.
Most said that they would have taken more advantage of the opportunities given.
(But this is also true with most of us.)
When I asked if racism or their lack of taking advantage of opportunities was more of a factor in determining the outcomes of their lives, most said that it was their own fault.
When I asked if I could actually help anyone, most said "Maybe the kids".
After getting past all of the institutional racism excuses - the determining factors always came down to themselves.

So why is the hood still "The Hood"?
IMO - It's their mentality.
Many of the homes were once nice in nice safe areas. (How many times have you driven past a bad area and thought; "This used to be alright"?)
What changed?
Why do so many let their areas fall into social and physical disrepair?
Businesses don't want to open in a bad area. Those that do, charge a premium for their goods and services.
If there are no businesses - there are no (legal) jobs.
With no jobs usually comes a rise in crime.
A rise in crime leads to "the good families" moving out of the area.
Then all that is left are those who are living off of the system as their job.

If you watched the clip on the link, Van Sertima points some of the accomplishments of Blacks in a hostile environment.
But what is different about those Blacks and many who are given opportunity after opportunity?
My answer would be; "A lack of conscience".
Conscience tells each individual the difference between right and wrong.
One's conscience will keep them doing what is right, even in a bad situation.
One's conscience will lead them to make right that which they have done wrong.
The missing element is "Conscience".

But from where does conscience come?
This (IMO) starts with consciousness.
This gets back to FreeMan's question ("If a tree falls...?").
Since most Blacks have a narrow view of what it is to be Black (That of suffering and/or of being a victim) - most Blacks will create this as their lifestyle.
Most of those who don't buy into this thinking become pariahs (As 'Uncle Toms' or 'Sell Outs' or as 'Bougie').
So yes, If a group of Blacks are doing well and no one is there to see them - they become invisible (to the majority of other Blacks).
They become non-existent.
They become a dream.
They become Non-Black.

So without the volition to do well (and good), doing well and good fails to materialize.
So that is my question; From whence, volition?


Citizen Ojo said...

This post has so many different topics that it's hard to know where to start. I wonder what the percentage of "our" problems we could actually fix if we clean up "our" own back yards? I've been wondering about that lately. It seems some black folks thought that Obama was going to come in and deliver us from evil. What are we doing for ourselves?? Social programs are important but nothing should be used as a lifetime crutch. And why are successful blacks sometimes shunned by other black folks. This is why we got of the plantations... you put alot in this one!!

uglyblackjohn said...

@ Ojo - Sorry about the lack of focus on the content of the post.
I was trying to go from; problem, to excuse, to answer.

CNu said...

Have you read Thorsten Veblen's Theory of the Leisure Class?

uglyblackjohn said...

@ SeeNew - Nope, but I'll buy it this weekend.
Thanks for the link.

FreeMan said...

Conscience or just in plain sight! We accomplish so much everyday but even I had to start a blog because I wondered was I the only black who thought a certain way. See to me it's a matter of the medium used to deploy this conscienceness! This is why TV and images are so important because they can reach far more than what a good UBJ could ever do. The kids will see theirselves as something more than a sports figure and then you will raise their conscienceness. Just like the clip implies since we only hear and see bad images and history of ourselves it has a way of making people act like what they they think they are.