By Greg Thrasher
In too many venues in this region from the board rooms to the lounges of manufacturing plants to even church basements there is always some chatter or whispers about Black on Black crime. Often these exchanges involve a discussion about horrific criminal acts perpetrated against Black victims by Black assailants. The range and depth of Black on Black crime in the city hurts even now as I write these words yet these words must be written.
Many of these internal exchanges and chatter are constructive and warranted it is also true that many of them are nasty race tinged rumors and chatter often used to demonize the city and Black folks in general. Quite often those invoking this verbiage are Black people, from police officers to parents to pastors.
Yet my words here today are not about the criminal themes surrounding this potent and provocative subject matter but in this setting I want to engage in a dialogue about another incarnation of Black On Black crimes. I want to explore and discuss the crimes of personal inhumanity we commit against each other. The crime of Black on Black inhumanity. These are intra/inter personal negative actions just as lethal as crimes that violate our criminal laws.
The tragic behavior and destructive culture within the Black diaspora that negates the humanity and self esteem of Black people is sometimes beyond comprehension. The very nature of Black people shouting down each other’s dreams, ambitions and esteem and denying each other the basic dignity of humanity is reckless and impacts the every caliber of our lives.
No wound or injury hurts and stings and leaves life-long scars more than those which defeat our spirit and damn our personhood and self essence. When Black parents lecture to their children that they are ignorant, stupid and losers these words fill the air with arrows that pierce not only the heart but they puncture the mental ether of our children’s mental state of mind. When we attack the foundations of our children’s essence we destroy the currency of their consciousness and we harm their personal futures and we create obstacles in their dreams.
The damage of anti-esteem words punishes the very soul of a child’s imagination. When a Black person hurls bitter rage at a senior person it augments the velocity of our elders’ life span. When Black people wage a civil war within the community we commit crimes against humanity that prevent our communities from prospering and even recovering from tough times and duress.
The prisons of anger, rage, contempt, shame, ridicule, humiliation, envy, jealousy, sadness, despair, and sorrow handcuff the very essence of our community. Detroit cannot recover if the crimes against our personal dignity and self worth continue at the present velocity.
We need rallies and protests which focus on ending the civil war of personal self hate and incivility we share and exchange with each other to often on a daily basis. Instead of a day of prayer and atonement, we need endless moments of recognizing each other’s personal essence and self worth. We need to schedule appointments and meetings with each other with agendas that promote our humanity for each other.
The foundation of this collective self hate and contempt for our very essence and personhood has a history in the development of America. I will leave the navigation of the origins of our collective self hate for another day. If we intend to create a city which has a future, we must as a Black community begin this journey with the affirmation of our collective self worth. We must end the crimes of inhumanity we are waging against each other beginning within our families and extending out into our relationships with our friends and others.
We can live a purposeful life in the city of Detroit and other urban venues across America. We must end the internal civil war within the Black community which places our very collective being in peril. Our future starts now only if we affirm each other’s humanity and self worth every moment we interact with each other. Right here…Right now…