Shelby Steele needs Martin Luther King Jr’s pulpit 1

We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. … I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr

 It was with those words reverberating all around Washington, DC that I read Shelby Steele’s essay, The age of white guilt; and the disappearance of the black individual (Harper’s Magazine, November 30, 1999). By pure coincidence, I read the essay around the same time that Barack Obama’s own words to his black audience to “Stop complaining, stop grumbling, stop crying. We are going to press on. We’ve got work to do” were still ringing in my ears. To which the perennial black apologist, the Washington Post’s Courtland Milloy duly complained that Obama should not be lecturing the black folks, adding a curious observation that  “The unemployment rate among blacks stands at 16.7 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, up from 11.5 percent when Obama took office. By some accounts, black people have lost more wealth since the recession began than at any time since slavery. And Obama gets to lecture us?”

Aren’t those kinds of terrible unemployment numbers precisely the reason why Obama was/is right to exhort black people to stop whining and pull themselves up by the boot straps?

Chris Brown, Anon, Anon

Some black Americans (African Americans) have pulled themselves up from the ‘smaller ghetto’ as Martin Luther King Jr. dreamed. Unfortunately, they have pulled themselves into a larger ghetto – exactly what Martin Luther King Jr. feared. The three men above, for instance, might have talents that can move mountains. Given the way they have chosen to tarnish their bodies with ghastly, unsightly tattoos, it is fair to assume that unsightly body adornments make up the sum total of their character. So, regardless of how much money in the bank they might have, you are looking at three individuals who have succumbed to the mentality that because it can be done, it should. You can’t come up with a more childish, impressionable, mindset. After you mar yourself with such messy tattoos, who do you think is going to offer you a job? Indeed, why should any self-respecting woman (or man?) want anything to do with you when you look like a salamander?

Why is such heavy tattooing such a big deal? For the simple reason that the time one allots towards getting that ghastly inking done on one’s belonging can be used for more productive pursuits such getting an education or doing voluntary community service. Chris Brown is lucky to be alive in an era where you require limited talent – just being in the right place at the right time – to make a buck in America. After all, even women like the Kardashians are making money when no one can tell you what it is that they actually do. That is the nature of America today – obsessed with trivialities and willing to pay for anything and everything as as long a clever marketer finds a way of keeping it on television for 15 minutes.

Lil Wayne today and as a 14-year-old

 What should have our black young men pausing for thought is that they are not the only ones who have money in the bank. One can name you any number of white athletes and musicians who wear the badge of celebrity on their sleeve. You will, however, not find any one of them looking the way Lil Wayne has reduced himself to looking – like a tawdry, discarded, ethnic blanket on which toddlers have been set loose with ink and paint brushes. Given the mess that is his appearance, being jailed on gun charges seems like a kindness to him.

Can an adult look any more illiterate?

All this wouldn’t matter much if men like Lil Wayne, Chris Brown and their ilk weren’t seen as role models by a significant number of young black people. The tragedy is that, thanks to the collective guilt which political correctness has inflicted on, especially, the white press, you will not see a white person criticize these nincompoops in any media. The black press, too, chooses to turn a blind eye to the travesty that is staring them in the face. It is dishonest and, frankly, a terrible disservice to a black population that still needs more education, parenting and mentoring than any other race in America.

There are simply not enough adults in the black community demanding that our black boys (especially) quit thinking that the world owes them a living because their ancestors were slaves and live as responsible citizens who don’t beat up women, carry illegal guns or peddle mind addling drugs for a living. The results are embarrassing role models like Chris Brown, Lil Wayne and a whole line of despicable African American men who deserve nothing but disdain for their misogynistic lyrics, homophobic throwaways, serial (and public) philandering, gold plated teeth, pants stuck around their knees, gauche jewelry around their entire belonging, a total inability to string together two coherent sentences in their own language if they can control themselves long enough not to murder each other plus innocent neighbors in drive by shootings.

And the entire press corps (black and white) is totally silent at this ongoing tragedy; the white press because they have been cowed into silence by the white guilt so well articulated by Shelby Steele. The black brotherhood is silent because they are trying to close ranks by refusing to criticize their own even though their intellectual instinct must be telling them that what they are seeing is plainly wrong. That is why Lil Wayne continues to hog the limelight despite the apparent signs that he belongs in a borstal school, and Chris Brown adds yet more ridiculous tattoos to his body every other day, when he is not taking his clothes off and parading his dick in public in order to sell his mediocre music.

One wonders what Martin Luther King Jr. would have made of this large ghetto that black America is now wallowing in unfettered. One thing we can assume with uncertainty: he would have been troubled by the collective silence of those who ought to be showing the way.

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  1. Pingback: The new (larger) Negro Ghetto « sebaspace

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