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I love the phrase Black-on-black violence.  In fact I love America's entire racial narrative.  Like the drunk natives kicking around the reservation too lazy to get a job.  (This image being useful when it comes to imposing windfall taxes on Indian casinos to make up budget short falls.)

But black-on-black violence is great.  It allows me as a white person to roll my eyes at crime statistics in poor neighbourhoods and see them not as a consequence of increasing poverty in a society with a perpetually widening spread between rich and poor (with more and more falling into the poor bracket as the elites aspire to banana republic status for the US).  Even better I can avoid altogether any thought as to why it is that black and brown Americans are more likely to be in poverty than nice shiny white folks.  

Country built on genocide - fuggedaboudit.  Legacy of slavery and racial oppression still not remedied in any sort of way that gives non-whites the same in-built advantages, on average, as whites, on average - fuggeedaboudit.

It was thinking about Jamie Foxx's sarcastic comment at the VMAs and it got me off on this tack.  Kid Rock smacked Tommy Lee for comments about/at/towards Pamela Anderson.  It caused a kerfuffle before Foxx took stage to give an award, and in a smart aside he made a plea to stop the white-on-white violence.

I liked the phrase.  It made me laugh.  Made me imagine prominent black commentators standing up and saying, "it's such a shame.  Do these white artists not understand they are role models?  Do they not see the opportunities they have been given and that they are squandering when so many of their community remain stuck in trailer parks never able to experience this good life as they do?"

You see, other thing that's bothered me for a while was Michael Vick keeping it real and down with the dog-fighting set.  The entire way the media dealt with Vick has bothered me from day one.  It goes without saying that his crime was terrible, and therefore the fact that it was constantly stated in this way throughout the coverage certainly smacked of anchors feeling they were skirting the edge of something that needed additional justification.

There's a great skit in the Chappelle show called "when keeping it real goes bad" demonstrating wittily in his usual biting satire the fallacious, self-harming ridiculous nature of this whole phrase "keeping it real".  As a couple of prominent African-American commentators on NPR (don't get me started on NPR but i was listening to it) discussing the Vick thing when it happened pointed out, if Vick wanted to keep his old friends from the old neighbourhood why not bring them along - why not pay for them to get their GEDs sponsor them through college - if he wanted to have a business with them help them break out of where they are, not get dragged back in.

But instead you see there is this whole narrative that comes with black athletes failing that is interesting.  There was a disgusting smugness to the reportage of Vick - a sort of "look we're not being racist because he did something bad" which allowed for a sort of coverage that was blatantly different to that which a white athlete would have received.  Partly because when a white athlete fails it is always a story of redemption.  We should almost pity the fallen hero.  (It's such a shame such-and-such beats his wife and kids in a drunken rage after losing a baseball game - we hope he gets help.)

Forgiveness is a key part of the commentary.  When a black athlete fails the story is how he blew a great opportunity WE gave HIM.  Look at what he was given and how he wasted it.  He was clearly undeserving of such largesse.

And of course protesters outside the courthouse talking of lynching Vick were not driven at all by racism but by the heinous nature of Vick's crime of course.  The lynching imagery was an unfortunate oversight - never really thought that it could have racial overtones.

Now I do happen to believe that there IS a lack of leadership in the black community in the same way as the unfairly pillioried Bill Cosby does.  I do think that there are problems within the community that go unchallenged too much.  I don't think the use of the word nigger is a self-empowering thing as is argued, but instead makes it easier for whites to get away with using it with a nod and a wink.  I think the acceptance that it is okay for young African-Americans to not speak English correctly and instead celebrate this independence of spirit is harmful and holds many young people back from employment opportunities.  I think America's ghettoizing of the racial groups into separate bantustans within each major city perpetuates differences between cultural groups - which we are supposed to celebrate, but which in reality just re-inforce the sense of other.

But at the end of the day it's all hopeless against a national dialogue that focuses on black-on-black violence and not white-on-black institutionalization of disadvantage.

I dunno.  I guess coming from the UK to the US in 1999 and living here ever since, the whole racial division in America has been so disappointing to me.  It is so far out of the cultural context I grew up with, yet so casually accepted by Americans of all stripes, that every so often it just really gets to me.  Like the racist relatives on my wife's side (Texans) who think that it's okay to make racist comments or tell racist jokes around me, despite all protestations to the contrary I have made for years now, because at the end of the day we're all white-folks together right?

Not really much more to say on this today - just been bugging me - that's all.

Bah... we're all going down the tubes in the next few years with economic collapse, topsoil removal, resource depletion, climate change, lack of NPK inputs to the food supply and of course the one that will trigger it all really soon, Peak Oil, so why bother eh?

Originally posted to ResponsibleAccountable on Sat Sep 15, 2007 at 08:17 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Nialed It n/t (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    leonard145b, smartdemmg

    I straddle the thin line between Holistic and Assholistic

    by Goodbye Kitty on Sat Sep 15, 2007 at 08:22:49 AM PDT

    •  thanks (0+ / 0-)

      but this has already drifted to the bottom and will be replaced by my-candidate-is-better-than-yours and bush-cheney-are-evil-psychopaths and isn't-our-community-like-totally-ossum diaries

      once upon a time Kos was a good place to debate issues - now i am afraid i just get to vent a little... (see previous diaries to see what I mean)

      All of these memories will be lost in time like tears in rain

      by ResponsibleAccountable on Sat Sep 15, 2007 at 09:56:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not to forget (0+ / 0-)

        it's-all-the-fault-of-Bush-enabling-Democrats-who-claim-to-know-how-to-count-votes-in-Congress diaries.

        More of those diaries and comments are coming along every hour of every day. They serve to squeeze out any discussion of other issues deserving attention, as well as other views of how to beat the Repubs.

        •  and it's a shame (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Woody, little liberal

          because what the left is losing here is any sensible period - so close to the election cycle - of robust internal debate on big issues

          the Republicans managed to keep up the attack on Clinton without letting it be the only issue they talked about

          in the UK the Conservatives have very cleverly completely looked at all the major issues from first principles to build up a really interesting to the electorate range of new policies way different from what was out there before in many areas

          on the left we don't seem to do that

          just like the truth is the war in Iraq is a lot more complex than our side wants to make it - and by refusing to actually look at the true underlying issues behind it (resource depletion and our unsustainable economy poised on the verge of collapse) we won't ever really defeat the other side on these issues - because when you look at things one- or two-dimensionally and your opponent has a 3-D view - you are gonna lose, even if you are right on principle

          All of these memories will be lost in time like tears in rain

          by ResponsibleAccountable on Sat Sep 15, 2007 at 10:17:41 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  for what it's worth: tipjar (12+ / 0-)

    i know this isn't exactly hot-topic of the day

    All of these memories will be lost in time like tears in rain

    by ResponsibleAccountable on Sat Sep 15, 2007 at 08:22:52 AM PDT

    •  I Always Wondered If "Black On Black Violence," (0+ / 0-)

      was better than White on White violence, but then I remembered; White on White violence, is just plain Ole violence.  Blacks are so lucky!

      On the front end, they get all the publicity.  And on the back end, either nobody really cares.

  •  Bingo. (4+ / 0-)

    You summarized the thing that bothered me about the Vick coverage:

    There was a disgusting smugness to the reportage of Vick - a sort of "look we're not being racist because he did something bad" which allowed for a sort of coverage that was blatantly different to that which a white athlete would have received.

    •  Me too (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      karmsy, Pris from LA

      What Vick did was inexcusably cruel and should be appropriately punished. But, at the same time, there was DEFINITELY racism in how Vick got treated by the media and by a good many white people in the general public. That doesn't make him any less guilty, but it's not something we can ignore, either.

      •  Vick got nailed for abusing dogs... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Woody, metal prophet, JFinNe

        ...while so many athletes, regardless of color, get a free pass in cases of spousal abuse.

        I guess this has to mean that, for sports fans, dogs are more important than women.

        This has been bugging me for a while. I had to say something.

        Thanks to 6+ years of Dubya, we are all suffering from "accelerated decrepitude."

        by Pris from LA on Sat Sep 15, 2007 at 09:41:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  yup (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Woody, metal prophet, tullyccro

          the problem of sexual violence among sports persons...

          ...from the persistent undercurrent of hushed up rape allegations on campuses where college athletes get a free pass on most "minor" crimes (and if you don't know what I am talking about talk to those friends or relatives actually in college today)

          ...to the casual acceptance of a constant drip drip drip of stories of domestic abuse in athletic households

          ...just bugs the shit out of me]

          but then so does it when people like George Will casually drop in terms like "abortion culture" to imply the loose morals of women today, yet when those same women face a one in three chance of being a victim of rape or sexual assault of some kind at some point in their lives in this country we don't speak of a rape culture

          i am an animal lover - i have a dog and a cat... but the fact that they seem to often take a place in society above the abused and downtrodden people in our communities... the fact that more money goes to animal charities than to feed-the-homeless charities in this country... the fact that the animal crime becomes an excuse to pile on to the latest famous black bogeyman... something is seriously wrong in our culture

          All of these memories will be lost in time like tears in rain

          by ResponsibleAccountable on Sat Sep 15, 2007 at 09:49:07 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I agree with you (0+ / 0-)

          Domestic violence is a very, very serious issue, but when it comes to elite athletes, it's brushed off as not very important. There are some seriously messed up priorities for you, there.

  •  This diary is a discussion-starter. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Woody, majcmb1

    Very well-written and thoughtful. Thanks for posting it.

    Before I even opened it up, I had been thinking about race and class.

    I had been thinking about the intensity and bitterness of the backlash against Affirmative Action hiring policies--while white, privileged noodninks, serving in high places as models of incompetence, somehow garner nary a blink these days.

    Are the same conservatives decrying "the less-qualified blacks stealing jobs from more-qualified whites" turning a blind eye to the depredations of connected, privileged oil scion George W. Bush? In many cases, I fear it's so.  

    I'm not saying Affirmative Action is perfect; I am open to considering that there may well be instances where it promotes "reverse discrimination" against qualified whites. It's a stab at addressing a deep systemic problem, is all--but a problem its deepest foes rabidly deny.

    •  affirmative action models seemed to work (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Woody, karmsy, Pris from LA

      back in my native UK - where a lot of the same arguments were made against it - in fact the areas we have the biggest problems is where communities insisted in fighting integration efforts from within (largely certain parts of the pakistani community - which is why there is such disaffection)

      and as to college entries... the "legacy" system is merely a way of maintaining access to a rich elite that can afford to make huge donations... the fact that such people cannot gain a place on the basis of merit with all of the other advantages a white legacy applicant will have had in their lives over an affirmative action candidate, suggests that legacy is far worse than affirmative action

      the real problem i see with affirmative action in college entry is that the minority students STILL end up often having to work their way through college to make ends meet, even with scholarships and entry

      i preferred the UK system i went through - where you were effectively paid to go to college (not a lot - but the GBP3k it was in my day is the equivalent of perhaps USD 12k today - more than a full time minimum wage job in many places)... the theory being if college REALLY benefits you then you'll earn more and pay more in taxes, and assuming you have a progressive tax system thereby repaying to the state the cost of your education...

      this is the BEST way of helping minority students i think... of course it would also help if you had an examination system like our A-levels before you got into college so the application process could be objectively based on performance rather than subjective with only the SAT aptitude test in there

      that way you'd have access on merit and no disadvantage based on income... and that would help minority candidates no end

      (but I hasten to add universities in the UK still give extra credit in application, all else being equal, to someone coming from an inner city school in a rough area, because of the extra challenges they will have faced)

      All of these memories will be lost in time like tears in rain

      by ResponsibleAccountable on Sat Sep 15, 2007 at 09:38:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  bravo. nail hit directly on head. (0+ / 0-)

        Also, I like your .SIG for obvious reasons.

        Thanks to 6+ years of Dubya, we are all suffering from "accelerated decrepitude."

        by Pris from LA on Sat Sep 15, 2007 at 09:42:49 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Small private liberal arts colleges (0+ / 0-)

        face accreditation every six years.  In Nebraska, to be specific, the black population is about 3% and the small liberal arts colleges fight each other like mad to get the minority students to attend their college.  Three percent doesn't go very far, so when accreditation time rolls around, these colleges receive very low marks on diversity.

        Many, if not most urban students do not want to leave their urban/city environment for a small college in a small town, and more's the pity for that as it is the goal of every college to see their students graduate and prosper.

        "Man's life's a vapor Full of woe. He cuts a caper, Down he goes. Down de down de down he goes.

        by JFinNe on Sat Sep 15, 2007 at 10:27:25 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  but that is a problem of how things are being don (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Nina, karmsy

          not whether or not there is a principle at stake here

          as noted in another comment of mine somewhere on this thread - there are ways to make aff. action work and ways not to

          blind %age quotas are a pretty blunt instrument...

          indeed it's not a tool for action so much as a metric because people don't trust colleges to be left to create systems that work... part of our national obsession with meaningless numbers rather than the harder questions of actually what do we want to achieve by a policy

          but the college thing specifically feeds into greater education system problems in America - like the lack of actual accountable subject based examination system at high school level that can be the basis for merit...

          All of these memories will be lost in time like tears in rain

          by ResponsibleAccountable on Sat Sep 15, 2007 at 10:31:58 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Before you moved to the US (0+ / 0-)

    and back in the "good ol' days," there was an unwritten rule that blacks did not do violence on blacks.  There was almost a code of honor, but it does not exist anymore.  I don't know if the "black on black" violence meme is an outgrowth of the broken unwritten rule or not, but whenever I hear the phrase, I harken sadly back to the good ol' days when that didn't happen.

    "Man's life's a vapor Full of woe. He cuts a caper, Down he goes. Down de down de down he goes.

    by JFinNe on Sat Sep 15, 2007 at 08:49:10 AM PDT

    •  What Are You Referring To? Intra-Racial Violence (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      karmsy

      has always existed.  Aren't blacks people too?

      "You've been had. You've been took. You've been hoodwinked, bamboozled, led astray, run amok." - Malcolm X -8.38, -5.54

      by majcmb1 on Sat Sep 15, 2007 at 09:20:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, intra-racial violence (0+ / 0-)

        has always existed, but at one time, it was considered dishonorable for blacks to do violence on blacks on a whole scale level and I emphasize whole scale level.  It was noticed because it was admirable.

        How could you possibly infer from my comment that I did/do not consider black people, people?

        "Man's life's a vapor Full of woe. He cuts a caper, Down he goes. Down de down de down he goes.

        by JFinNe on Sat Sep 15, 2007 at 09:30:59 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  macjmb1 - i think i know what JFinNe means (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Woody, tullyccro, JFinNe

          there was a greater degree of social cohesion within comminities of all kinds, which meant that stealing from your own, doing harm to your own, was far more frowned upon than today...

          ...of course the flooding of minority communities with drugs to fund anti-communist activities in South America added incentive to intra-community violence

          i don't want to speak for JFinNe but I think he/she was saying more that this code of conduct - this togetherness within all types of communities nationwide  has broken down

          All of these memories will be lost in time like tears in rain

          by ResponsibleAccountable on Sat Sep 15, 2007 at 09:43:07 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I Just Meant That Like Every Other Racial Group (0+ / 0-)

          blacks commit crimes against each other.

          I took understood your comment as recalling a time when such human activity didn't exist in the black community.  Slaves killed slaves, white plantion owners killed other white plantions owners (and other whites as well), freedmen killed freedmen, so on and so on...

          The intensity of the violence in black American (and other poor) communities has more to do with IMO the failure of the police to provide services at the same level their provided to middle and upper-class white communities.

          "You've been had. You've been took. You've been hoodwinked, bamboozled, led astray, run amok." - Malcolm X -8.38, -5.54

          by majcmb1 on Sat Sep 15, 2007 at 12:37:56 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Partly, the violence (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tullyccro

        among poor African-Americans in inner cities amounts to oppressed, colonized persons taking on the worst traits of the oppressors.

        And don't think the oppressor class doesn't benefit from African-American self-destruction. The phenomenon of poor, powerless people doing each other serves as a wonderful scapegoat for social problems that the most powerful class in society have in fact created and have a stake in perpetuating.

        I came across a DailyKos diary a few months ago that made me smile from ear to ear, because of the way it spoke about this phenomenon, referring in passing to poor, violent thugs as "chumps."

        The gun-slingers on America's mean streets? They survive, grasping at dignity and integrity in the only way they see possible. But they are dupes.    

        •  America is keen to get back to the past (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tullyccro, karmsy

          by which i mean a small landed gentry

          a huge poverty-based desperate serf-class

          and a small band of overseers - a hollowed out middle class so desperate not to fall into the serf-class they will do LITERALLY anything they can to prevent that

          in such a world having a violent underclass is very helpful - it increases the desperation of the middle class overseers and their willingness to do violence on behalf of the elite

          blacks are really useful scapegoats in this as they provide an immediate visual cue for poor, dangerous, violent... this is why the images that so many find self-empowering - the gangster rap image pushed by cynical white middle aged middlebrow marketing executives first into the music sphere then into the sports arena - are so very harmful, yet it is so profitable to push them...

          yet when someone like Bill Cosby stands up and calls a spade a spade he is torn apart by the community in which he is trying to show leadership (and boy does the white press enjoy telling THAT story)

          All of these memories will be lost in time like tears in rain

          by ResponsibleAccountable on Sat Sep 15, 2007 at 09:53:20 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Good observation... (0+ / 0-)

      People used to be a lot more conscious of the interests of their communities and how they compared to other groups in the country. (class consciousness)

      Misery loved company.

      This community awareness has definitely been eroded over the past 30-40 years, by extreme poverty, and the celebration of a mindless, defiant, selfishness in almost every realm of the media. Keep in mind that the media is the only thing that we all really share as a national community. Not education, or religion, but the TV. And what is the TV all about these days???

      In many black communities, the corruption or disintegration of the church, which was the traditional community center, is largely to blame for the complete fragmentation of the black community.  

      But seriously, just flip on MTV and watch "My Super Sweet 16" or check out the new videos on BET and tell me how the youth of America now define "success". It's being rich and doing whatever you want at the expense of everyone else.

      Everyone, including multi-billion dollar making athletes and rappers, has been swindled by Republicans into buying into the myth of unbridled capitalism and the pursuit of money.  

      The funny thing is, misery used to love company, now it causes hostility. And "black on black" violence.    

      •  i think if i read you right (0+ / 0-)

        you are saying something i wholeheartedly agree with - which is this pervasive pernicious culture of bling is very much part of the problem and bears much of the blame for the violence that follows in its wake

        All of these memories will be lost in time like tears in rain

        by ResponsibleAccountable on Sat Sep 15, 2007 at 09:57:43 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You got it... (0+ / 0-)

          And it's beyond the black community so I don't think it's fair to call it the culture of bling. It's just the most recent incarnation of a zeitgeist Tom Wolfe nailed when he wrote his article on the "Me Generation" 35 years ago.

          Replace "me" with "you" and you've got the idea of what it has become today.

          Person of the year: "YOU". Or is it "ME" ?

          Definitely not "Us".

          It's a me against the world mentality and it fails to draw any realistic distinction between real political interests. And, thanks to our indoctrination by media, it is all-pervasive.

          I sound like a real chicken little here, but truly, I am an optimist.    

          •  well - this feeds into something that (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Woody, tullyccro

            always gets my ass kicked on any forum

            which is criticism of the Boomers who largely took what the Greatest Generation created and then squandered it as they grew up into the Yuppies of the Reagan era and the selfishness of the Clinton era boom (these two eras being when the boomers were the dominant electoral demographic)

            during this time they gutted the education system to leave the upcoming Gen Y and some later Gen Xers (though earlier Gen Xers managed to make it through while there was still at least some critical thinking left in the system) with no tools to deal with the world the entered

            a world now controlled by the same boomers in their senior roles making policy, heading the marketing and ad agencies that create our images etc.

            from the Greatest Generation to the selfish generation... to the new generation which is about to inherit a world completely depleted of resources and who will have to live through some truly awful times of death and conflict as the Oil Peak hits us, and our entire system built on exponential growth runs into resource depletion, climate change and the simple truth, obvious to anyone that has the most basic understanding of mathematics - that an exponential function cannot run forever in world of finite resources

            All of these memories will be lost in time like tears in rain

            by ResponsibleAccountable on Sat Sep 15, 2007 at 10:36:52 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  When and where was this? (0+ / 0-)

      I just don't know when or where was a golden age when blacks did not commit violence on other blacks. I don't think it was in my lifetime, and I'm now 63. When I came to NYC as a volunteer social worker in VISTA, as part of LBJs War on Poverty in the mid-60s, there was already plenty of black-on-black crime, from burglary to assault and murder.

      Historians have written about a corrupt implicit deal made in the pre-Civil Rights South, whereby Jim Crow was strictly enforced, but as an escape valve, blacks were allowed to get a little wild on their side of the tracks. They could drink to excess (buying from bootleggers in areas where Prohibition prevailed), maybe use other drugs if available, partake of gambling and knife-fighting, enjoy sexy dancing and non-marital sexual behavior even up to and including rape of black women by black men. And this stuff was just not treated as a problem by the authorities.

      I'm not sure I'd pay any attention to any 100-year-old crime statistics, because the police probably didn't bother to write down reports by black victims.

      In the 1970s I read about a study of black rapists in the cities, which said the police become interested only when the rapists graduate to raping white women. But the criminals usually had  practiced raping black women before getting the confidence to take on white victims. The problem was, the police did not care when black women were raped, and invested little effort in catching those rapists until after they had honed their skills.

      Yes, I have seen some breakdown in the black sense of community. Sadly, in an action of the law of unintended consequences, one major cause was the loss of black institutions as integration opened up other opportunities. So, fewer black principals and black teachers in black neighborhoods, few black-owned retail businesses, and the more educated, prosperous, and influential members of the community being able to move out of the ghetto, etc. etc. But I don't think this breakdown of community is actually a major factor in crime. (The prohibition of drugs is a major factor.)

      Of course, the book Freakonomics shows that the crime rate, including black-on-black crime, went down dramatically about 18 years after legal abortion began to reduce the number of unwanted births by poor mothers who were too overwhelmed by their desperate circumstances to cope with the unplanned, unwanted children.

  •  Well put (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pris from LA

    Same thing bothered me about the whole Vick coverage.

    I couldn't help but think that it was somewhat gratuitous coverage from the get go, as is usual when the media is presented with heinous crimes so completely out of the ordinary that they should be mentioned and then avoided, out of good taste.

    But what initially started out as a public rally against criminal acts towards animals was nurtured by the sensationalist media and culminated with crowds of angry dog-loving Confederates calling for the blood of a black man in front of TV cameras, which no one should be comfortable seeing, no matter what the circumstances.

    This was not an example of American style justice amplified through public opinion, it was a desire for blind vengeance, for blood; the same desire that convinced the public to consent to the two ridiculous wars that the oil elite are currently undertaking in the Middle East.

    I'm not sure what causes us to want to kill our criminals so badly or see people fail, especially "celebrities" such as athletes.

    I suppose poverty breeds resentment.  

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