I’m Just Saying I Am Aware

Black

I’m Just Saying I Am Aware:
As a 59-year-old Black Man who grew up in the Ida B. Wells projects in the City of Chicago in the 60s and the 70s, I am frustrated! There is such a lack of accountability, which we as Black people, accept responsibility for when it comes to our violence-filled and mired-in-poverty conditions!

I’m Just Saying:
That when our young people drop out of school at alarming rates, continually put themselves at risk to be arrested and incarcerated, and Black leaders and activists fail to articulate the problem and effectuate relevant solutions accurately, I get frustrated!

I’m Just Saying:
I was the oldest of four living in public housing in a one parent home. My mom was on public assistance, and my dad was incarcerated. However, with all that plus my proclivity to smoke Bud did not prevent me from securing my Bachelor’s degree in Speech Communication at Eastern Illinois University in 1978 and my Masters in Psych from Chicago State in 1980.

That said, I am not about to give anyone reading this the “Pull Yourself Up by Your Boots” speech, but I do want to outline how the inner city Black communities evolved into their current chaotic status and what we, as a people, must do to remedy our collective affairs.

I’m Just Saying:
Since Blacks were brought into this country, we have been segregated and placed in limited confines and communes so others could oversee and control us by any means necessary. The violence perpetrated on Blacks was undeniably cruel but visual. In contrast, the clandestine, legally social, and political caste systems that have been in place since Lincoln’s assassination still prevail. What I find amazing is how the so-called Black and Brown leaders, of the many distressed inner-city communities, allow the POWERS that be to get away with murder using Mass Incarcerations.

I’m Just Saying:
While it is indeed sad that young blacks prey on each other, adults, and seniors in their communities, it is clear that this phenomenon has been masterfully orchestrated by social policy and procedures crafted by others.

The social fabric of mostly Black and Brown inner city neighborhoods have been devastated. The quadrupling of the incarceration rate in America since 1970 has had diabolical collateral consequences.

Blacks have been imprisoned at six times the rate of whites and three times the rate of Hispanics. The results of this data are compelling: Millions of young Black and Brown children have been orphaned. Children are raising children without the moral direction or compass to differentiate right from wrong.

Survival by any means necessary turns neighbor against neighbor and family members against each other. Sub-cultures of “Don’t Be A Snitch” and “Mind Your Own Business” has allowed drug dealers, gangbangers, and blatant criminal actors to run free and rampant with little fear of community or police interventions!

I’m Just Saying:
Add to these facts that the Federal and State politicians who orchestrated and voted to craft the “War on Drugs,” which is in reality, a war on drug addicts, did so because prison services are outsourced to private industry. These same private industries are owned by their donor-friendly supporters who get wealthier by the day.

I’m Just Saying:
If we are to believe Douglas S. Massey (Getting Away with Murder: Segregation and Violent Crime in Urban America), high rates of Black crime continue to exist because Blacks live in highly segregated and severely impoverished neighborhoods.

I would add that statistics show that crime rates from two decades ago until now reveal that crime is going down, but the crimes that are being committed are more likely to involve guns and be perpetrated by a child.

Crime appears, and most certainly is, senseless, especially since deadly, cannot-take-it-back acts are carried out by persons too young to realize the implications of their decisions!

I’m Just saying:
Altercations that happened back in my day in the projects ended in fisticuffs; now they end in corpses! The need for revenge and increased ability to render mass shootings with automatic weapons like the AK-47 (which have the potential to fire 5-, 10-, 20- and 40-round box mags and 75- and 100- round drum mags) has intensified the need for real and immediate solutions!

So what am I saying? and where am I going with all this?

I’m Just Saying:
Until the black and brown communities get real leadership that focuses on actual solutions in their communities, inner cities like Chicago will continue to experience extreme gun violence and senseless killings, escalating school dropout rates, continued teenage pregnancies, and increased juvenile and young adult incarcerations.

Add to that high unemployment rates among youth and adults, lack of business or home/property ownership, overall reliance on entitlement programs and black and brown underground economies, and you get chaos, confusion, and convoluted leadership trying to remedy the problems.

I’m Just Saying:
For the past couple months, mass demonstrations and calls for political resignations over police shootings of unarmed black youth has garnered national media attention, as well as highlighted the anguish and pain of loss the families have and will continue to experience.

I’m Just Saying:
While black organizers and activists hold sit downs, sit-ins, town halls, and store blockades to express their cries for Black Lives Matter, their approach, focus, and demands fall far short of effectuating any immediate change in their communities.

I’m just Asking:
Where are these protesters and activists when every day our young people are being shot and killed by drive-by shooters?

I’m Just Saying:
Black Lives Do Matter! I believe holding our young men and women to higher standards matters. Why do I see grammar school- and high school-aged kids out in the streets and on corners at 11-12 p.m. and 1 a.m and then have to listen to their friends and relatives bemoan their assassinations on the news in the morning?

I’m Just Saying:
Inner-city Chicago neighborhoods must regain law and order, ensure revitalization, achieve economic growth, and change the community landscape. All I ask of those adamant and boisterous protesters is to:

Demand more respect in and from our own communities, we need to protect and serve our own interests;
Rain down on the liquor stores that open at 7 a.m. and close after 10 p.m.;
Demand that the dope peddlers and crack houses close down their operations;
Work with the police to develop mental health and drug addiction referrals;
Demand that welfare to work programs actually help people on welfare acquire employment;
Develop resources to maximize and organize our voting potential;
Demand that the Cook County Land Bank Authority make available the city’s Acquisition and Disposition of Real Property inventory to be developed and transferred to residents of the community;
Demand that we stop killing each other!
I’m Just Saying I am aware: BLACK LIVES SHOULD MATTER TO US!

Opinion by James Cannon
Image Courtesy of Zo187’s Flickr Page – Creative Common License

3 Responses to "I’m Just Saying I Am Aware"

  1. Victoria Riddle   January 31, 2016 at 9:44 am

    I don’t see anything new in this article that isn’t just the same old racial party line. You’d have to be blind to not see how far America has come from the mistakes of the past with regard to race. One glaring example is that we now have a black president. You know, most of us have it hard in America, black, white, brown; it’s time to quit dragging out the race card and, like you said in the beginning when I thought you were actually going somewhere with this, take some responsibility, be accountable.

    Reply
  2. David Wolfe   January 26, 2016 at 2:38 pm

    I am waiting to see where you are going with this. Your article has stated all the points that are known by us who live in the inner cities.

    Reply
  3. Cherese Jackson   January 26, 2016 at 11:00 am

    This article is passion-filled and well stated, James!! I’m just saying…

    Reply

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