The Black male – A target group (part 1)

October 30, 2014

Rahim Islam is a National Speaker and Writer, Convener of Philadelphia Community of Leaders, and President/ CEO of Universal Companies, a community development and education management company headquartered in Philadelphia, PA. Follow Rahim Islam on FaceBook(Rahim Islam) & Twitter (@RahimIslamUC). I have written many times that the instability of the Black community is tied to the instability of the Black family, which is also linked to the instability of the Black man. The Black man has been a target since being enslaved for some 450 years. Nearly every demographic screams out loud that something is seriously wrong with the Black man in America. When did this start? Is the Black man, by nature, a broken and inferior specimen? If you examine the Black male incarceration rate (school to prison pipeline), health disparities, massive long-term unemployment and underemployment (over 50 percent for Black men ages 18 -35), twothirds of high school dropouts are Black men, and high levels of violent crimes (i.e. murders, aggravated assault, robbery, aggravated robbery, etc.,) are committed by Black men. Black men are the most vulnerable of all racial/gender groups on the planet. I know what you’re saying. How can Black males be a target? How are the issues facing Black men directly connected to our legacy of slavery? Let me explain how. For those who say, “Why are we going back to one of the worst times in American history?”, ” Why is it relevant today?” Do the math. Between 1939 and 1945, Jews were targeted and methodically murdered in the largest genocide of the 20th century. Every arm of Germany’s bureaucracy was involved in the logistics of the genocide, turning the Third Reich into “a genocidal state.” In total, approximately 11 million people were killed, including one million Jewish children alone. A network of facilities in Germany and German-occupied territories were used to concentrate, confine, and kill Jews. The persecution and genocide were carried out in stages. Initially the German government passed laws to exclude Jews from civil society, most prominently the Nuremberg Laws of 1935. While these atrocities were vicious and insensible, the Jewish community, to their credit, has never let the world forget not only what Germany did to them but how other countries were complicit in this crime against humanity. In addition to thousands of movies, books, and incorporated ceremonies that honor the victims and the resistors, they will attack and/or address anyone that attempts to trivialize or minimize the impact the Holocaust has had on the Jewish community and its descendants. Starting with the capture and trans-Atlantic passage of millions of Africans from the shores of West Africa, with untold millions dying in the process, being subjected to barbaric conditions ever perpetuated against a people over such a long period of time. In addition to being torn away from its native culture, which was systematically removed over several generations and forced displacement and disruption of the Black family, chattel slavery, unlike other forms of slavery, is the worst form of slavery because it binds the enslaved offspring into perpetuity. Our ancestors were viewed and treated no better than animals for several hundred years. Blacks are being urged to forget slavery and to forget the terrorism of Jim Crow that specifically targeted Black men. Some estimate nearly 50,000 Black men were lynched during this period with millions of dollars of property seized and or destroyed to enforce White superiority and fear. I’m not here to argue which holocaust is worse, but like the Jewish community, the Black community can’t let America and the other beneficiaries of the American institution of slavery (America’s Black Holocaust) off the hook. Because the institution of slavery took place over hundreds of years impacting numerous generations of our ancestors, the legacy of slavery is much more ingrained and profound, especially as it relates to the family roles and the socialization process. Using the Jewish logic, the American institution of slavery ( America’s Black Holocaust) should be a prominent and healthy discussion and description of the America story and should not be relegated to an event type of footnote. What we don’t realize is that while we might not speak about slavery, it reigns in our hearts and in our minds on a daily basis. Dr. Joy Leary, in her book titled, Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome, states that slavery was one of America’s most lucrative institutions and was the cornerstone on which American wealth and power were built. Like wealth and power that has lasted until today, so does the psycho-social consequence on Black Americans. Many White experts (i.e. psychologists, social scientists, researchers, etc.) know very well the ramifications of slavery but continue to act as if the current state of affairs for so many African Americans is the result of their own doing and their own ineptitude. Nothing could be further from the truth! The effects of slavery are very much alive and well. There are many historically correct and factual representations about slavery, but until recently, little has been done to examine slavery’s impact on the Black community, especially the Black family; specifically the Black man