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)
Last week I tried to describe the state of the Black community in peril (Blacks have lost significant ground with nearly every “positive” demographic decreasing and nearly every “negative” demographic increasing – creating alarming disparities and multiple “risk” factors) in addition to shrinking resources coupled with losing public opinion.
I talked about accountability and how Black people want to hold others accountable but rarely do we hold ourselves accountable. A perfect example of this is the current public protest of the murder of Michael Brown, an unarmed Black male, by a White police officer. I feel the pain of the community and am overwhelmed with emotions for the family. These actions are valid. What troubles me is: Where is the same outcry for the thousands of Black males that are murdered annually by other Black males? Are not the losses to those mothers and families equal? Are not those deaths, in many cases, equally tragic and unfair especially those murdered by just being in the wrong place at the wrong time? Brothers and sisters, we are sending a very lethal message that ultimately supports the prevailing opinion held by many in and outside of the Black community that a Black Male has no value.
We discussed the concept of “Do for Self” with the understanding that we must defend the black culture.
I likened the immune system in the body to our culture. The immune system (the ultimate defense mechanism) is a system that protects the body from disease. The Black community’s immune system (Black Culture) is broken because we have allowed the disease of ignorance to invade our community, potentially threatening our very existence. This can be seen clearly through generational failure; multiple manifestations of selfhate; and the deterioration of the Black male/female relationships tied directly to the near complete erosion of the leadership capabilities of the Black Man via:
• Mass incarceration of Black Men
• Current disproportionate level of academic gains of Black Women over Black men
• Increased levels of violence and homicides.
• Black men have the highest levels of stress than any other group.
If we examine the root cause to many of these issues, one must wonder how this is possible. Even our staunchest defenders have themselves adopted language and attitudes that demean our people and reflect a significant level of discomfort and dislike for being Black. There is no greater disease that threatens the Black community and ultimately impacts our culture and our ability to succeed, than the ramifications of selfhate perpetuated by the media.
Brothers and sisters, we must Do For Self and wage war against those that wage war against us even if it means attacking another “unconscious” Black person.
I contend that in the area of selfhate, the legacy of slavery is alive and thriving. How else can we explain these deep rooted fears and behaviors of our people both externally and internally (if you have another reason, I’m all ears). If we truly examine what we think about ourselves and what others think about us, it’s not good. The American media has consistently portrayed.
Blacks as subhuman beasts, and/or animals that can never be civilized. Blacks are fundamentally just above animal and born as inferior. This belief of bestiality and inferiority of Black people are held when:
Reparations not on the table: America has participated in addressing reparations for several groups/countries over the past 150 years (i.e. Jewish, Japanese, Indian, WW1, etc.), so the concept isn’t a foreign one. In Congress a bill continues to languish which seeks to just acknowledge the fundamental injustice, cruelty, brutality and inhumanity of slavery and to study the impact of slavery on Black people today. This is hypocritical when you understand that Congress creates legislation to study some of the most obscure things (i.e. ants, birds, sand, etc.). In addition to contributing the blood of our fathers in every war waged by America to protect freedoms that we didn’t even have, Blacks were integral to building America’s multitrillion dollar economy and its multi-billionaires making it the world leader it is today. Every black politician that goes to Congress could do no more than get this reparations bill passed.
Blacks have never received treatment for, nor has public opinion recognized the need to treat the psychological scars left by slavery and negative portrayal of Blacks by the media. Slavery has been more damaging to Black people and their offspring than anything we can point to. The rub comes when experts rush to address the need for longterm psychological treatment to the victims of violent events. The shootings at Columbine and the return of our veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan are recent examples. I asked you: What was more violent than the American institution of slavery on the Black people?