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The Need For Islamic Outreach to the Black Ghetto

And We inspired the soul with knowledge of evil and piety. Those who purify their souls will certainly have everlasting happiness and those who corrupt their soul will certainly be deprived of happiness. (Surah ash-Shams, 91:8-10)

It is the duty of Muslims to confront tyranny and oppression wherever they find it—and what greater tyranny and oppression is there than the ghetto which America has imposed upon its Black population?  In the Political Economy of the Black Ghetto by political scientist William K. Tab, the author explains that the Black ghettos did not emerge out of thin air, rather, the ghetto is an actual unjust political arrangement that the white power structure in America uses to entrap, oppress, and degrade a black underclass which has been systematically ostracized from mainstream American social, political, and economic life.

Islam is about social transformation.  It comes to remove oppression and replace it with justice. Islam never came to appease oppressive power structures but to remove them entirely. Islam is an ever forward movement towards freedom and justice. It comes to replace ignorance with knowledge, replace decadence and immortality with righteousness and piety, and most importantly replace polytheism and atheism with the pure worship of one God.  Islam teaches its adherents to fight in the cause of the oppressed, the weak, and the downtrodden.

In pursuit of this Qur’anic ascribed agenda Muslims must see the need to shine the light of Islam throughout the oppressed ghettos of America.

And what is wrong with you that you fight not in the Cause of Allâh, and for those weak, illtreated and oppressed among men, women, and children, whose cry is: “Our Lord! Rescue us from this town whose people are oppressors; and raise for us from You one who will protect, and raise for us from You one who will help.” 4:75 Qur’an

The Black Dawah Network believes that within the most dangerous hoods, those Black communities with high concentrations of poverty, home to recurring homicidal gang conflicts, police terrorism is the norm, where bullets take the lives of innocents, drug addiction and the drug economy go hand in hand-that Muslims should be giving Dawah to Islam.

Indeed, it is high time that Muslims heed the word of Marcus Garvey’s United Negro Improvement Association, who declared in their Champion Newspaper,  “The Negro is crying out for a Muhammad, a Prophet to come forth and give him the Qur’an of economic and intellectual warfare.”

From Southside Chicago to Compton, from Baltimore to South Memphis, Black people throughout America have been confined to impoverished ghettoes wherein the drug economy is king, gang violence rules, and too many Black youth expect to end up dead, in prison or both. This is the reality of Black youth life for in the ghetto. Consequently, it should be a goal that Muslims strive to free these communities from their oppression with the establishment of Islam.

Islam has the transformative power to turn the junkie on the corner into a scholar, to instill the spirit of brotherhood and unity amongst feuding gangs, and  to instill within a marginalized population, the courageous spirit, discipline, and determination to confront their oppressors and to  overcome the systemic forces that create, maintain, and perpetuate the maintenance of the ghetto. However, whether this potential is actualized will depend upon the actions of Black Muslim themselves.

If we are just content with primarily working in colonized immigrant Muslim institutions that do not have the interest of the oppressed black masses at heart and work towards assimilation with the white power structure of America–then this potential will never be actualized. And if this is the case, Islam in Black “America” will be a fading memory, we will be left to the nostalgia of the good days about Ali and Malcolm X and other cultural celebrations of Black Muslim identity all without an actual agenda or plan to push Islam forward in the Black community in the 21st century.

But it does not have to be that way.  We can change this trajectory! It will require the strength and conviction that our people are known for.  It will require Dawah like never before and a concentrated effort at expanding Islamic outreach in the most oppressed Black communities.

We are taught in Islam that should a people abandon their religion, Allah will raise up a new people who love Allah(swt)  to carry own the work for the rise of Islam, who do not fear nor concern themselves with the criticism of any critic. The Black Dawah Network contends that within the ghettos of America,  the victims of white capitalism, a class of people can emerge that can carry on the banner of Islam.

The Sahabah, the companions of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, were concerned with the growth and development of Islam throughout the world. The time has come to carry on this mission, to establish Islam in the ghetto.  It is the last hope of our people. It is the faith that can enable and facilitate the liberation of masses of Black people who are trapped in lives of misery and despair.

The Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, once went to the hostile city of Taif to invite the people to submit to their Creator. The residents of the city violently threw stones at him causing him physical pain. Yet, afterwards, the Prophet(pbuh) merely expressed that so long as Allah(swt) was not displeased with him he did not care what he faced from those people. When an angel arrived asking the Prophet(pbuh) if he wanted Allah(swt) to destroy the city in response to what they had subjected him to, the Prophet (pbuh) indicated he did not want this to happen explaining perhaps one day the city would be Muslim. And indeed, today, the city is all Muslims.

It is with this energy, that Muslims must go into the hostile ghettos of Black America to invite people to submit to their creator. We must see in the local drill rapper whose every lyric glorifies violence the potential to one day be a scholar of this faith and we must see in the low-level drug dealer on the block the potential one day to live a life of piety and  moral excellence. We must direct dawah towards the Black poor and disenfranchised, in the most hostile of blocks, be willing to endure whatever persecution and hardship comes our way and withstand the criticism of any critic. Therefore, lets us go from Atgelds Garden in Chicago to the Baisley Housing Projects of Queens, New York, let us go from Compton to South Memphis, and every hood in America giving dawah to Islam and working tirelessly towards Islamic outreach to the hood with Allah’s blessing every step of the way.

Chicago’s Gangs: A Product of Institutionalized Racism

 

            Chicago’s Gangs: A Product of Institutionalized Racism

Chicago is a city infamous for its ruthless gang violence. Even after much legislation attempting to solve the problem, gang warfare is still a destructive force in Chicago’s culture. It continues to squeeze the life out of black youth whose blood has been splattered all across Chicago’s streets. Many black youth grow up in abject poverty and see only two paths for their future: prison or death.Their mothers feel hopeless, as they stand unable to stretch their money for electricity, rent, insurance and food. Black communities endure subpar living conditions as seen through the decaying housing, substandard schools, drugs, and poverty. After examining these appalling social conditions, people often claim that the gangs that terrorize the community with violence are attributed to some “innate”delinquency or aggression amongst black youth. In reality, Chicago street gangs are a product of social conditions created by institutional racism, police brutality, and white vigilantism. Chicago’s state-sanctioned racism produces “thugs” and systematically strips the morality from people and replaces it with a stone cold heart that is seen as necessary to survive on these mean streets.Blacks have been systematically disempowered and live in the most violent areas, not because we are “naturally” aggressive, but because of economic conditions that have been imposed on us by  malicious outside forces.  The obstacles that were, and still are, put in place,  to halt black socioeconomic aspirations,  has resulted in black youth  acquiring detrimental social, economic, and political habits that are exemplified in the gangs that roam Chicago’s streets. The gangs that we have in our community, the bloody knives that lay astray in the pavement, the white chalk on our sidewalks, the yellow tape surrounding vacant lots, and the rapid succession of bullets that are fired at one another are the cumulative effects of systematic institutionalized racism.

                         Chicago: A History of Racist Brutality

 African-Americans that previously resided in the Klan-run South came to Chicago during the great migration, lured in by the promises of jobs and political rights. However, these opportunities were systematically denied. Since blacks have entered this city they have been met with a level of bigotry so disgusting, and so pervasive, that it is a core aspect of Chicago’s culture. African-Americans seeking tocreate a better life would still face the very same racism and violence they found in the south. However, instead of it being by the Klan, it would be by the Chicago Housing authority and white mobgroups. [1]

When blacks first came to Chicago they competed with the Irish over a scarce labor and housing market. In 1919, racial animosity reached a boiling point when a white person hit a blackchild with a rock while he was swimming in Michigan Lake. The black child drowned to death, but the Chicago Police Department refused to arrest the white aggressor. Blacks led a peaceful protest demanding justice, and as a result of their efforts they were viciously attacked by white mob groups. Whites entered the predominately black area on the Southside, terrorizing the black population through arsons and assaults. [2] Nobody, not even children, were spared in the attacks. They even sought to enter a predominately black hospital to terrorize the black patients there. As whites continued to set fire to black neighborhoods, the Chicago Fire Department was not allowed to operate in these communities. [3] Hundreds of African Americans, including women and children, were left homeless on the streets after fires demolished their homes in these senseless attacks. Richard J. Daley was 17 years old at the time and one of the leaders of the Irish Hamburg Athletic Club that led this senseless attack on the black community.  Instead of being punished for these clearly racist attacks, he was made Mayor of Chicago, where he would continue to push and support racist legislation to disenfranchise the black community. [4] Indeed, the white-ran Chicago housing authority from its inception worked to ensure that blacks lived in segregated neighborhoods.

Blacks were confined to the Southside and these areas were treated with inconceivable neglect by government agencies. The “Neighborhood Composition Rule” ordered that housing was to be segregated. This resulted in Black people being segregated in the Southside in what is known as “The Black Belt.”[5] Of course, all of the housing that the Chicago Housing Authority set aside for blacks was decrepit; many apartments lacked plumbing, were overcrowded, and far below requirements for healthy sanitation.[6] Even wealthy blacks were forced into substandard neighborhoods due to racial discrimination. As a direct result of these social conditions, the infant mortality rate for blacks sky-rocketed to well above the national average. Eventually, the neighborhood Composition rule was eventually struck down. This was met by complete outrage by white vigilante groups who, once again, terrorized the local black population with heartless violent confrontations. While blacks were portrayed as being “violent”, many times it was not the “delinquent” black youth attacking innocent peaceful white people but vice-versa. Indeed, during this time blacks lived under increased threats of violence and fear from whites. Blacks had no choice but to live in the ghetto because of the terrorism inflicted by whites against those would dared to live on the outskirts of their state created locus. [7 ]During these times, overt discrimination against blacks reigned supreme in every area of Chicago’s society, such as employment, housing, health care, and every other opportunity for upward social mobility.

Modern Day Disenfranchisement of Blacks in Chicago

In America, the common belief is that Civil Rights legislation ended discrimination against African-Americans. The fact of the matter is that blacks in Chicago are still discriminated against at unprecedented levels!

Health Care

Discrimination and apartheid-like conditions characterize Chicago’s health-care system. Despite there being high levels of violence and shootings on the Southside, there is no trauma center to operate on victims, leaving youth to die in the streets. Yet, there are plenty of hospitals and trauma centers in affluent white areas despite the low levels of violence. [8] Blacks that are exposed to this violence develop post-traumatic stress disorder, similar to troops returning from combat. For many it isn’t “post-trauma” but a continuous cycle[9]. In spite of this, Rahm Emmanuel has plans to close down mental health facilities in Chicago’s low income areas.[10]  In the current hospitals located in Chicago, blacks face rampant discrimination. Several studies have indicated that black patients receive excessive wait times and have been subject to expensive deposit requirements prior to treatment. [11] According to a study from UCLA, researchers found that racial discrimination is the key factor in explaining why blacks suffer from diabetes, cardiovascular disease, heart disease, and strokes, more than any other population. [12]  However, this discrimination not only affects patients, but also workers. Jackson Park Hospital has recently been ordered to pay $80,000 after being exposed for racist practices against its black workers.[13]

Housing

Chicago is divided between affluent whites on the north-side and impoverished blacks on the South-side but even blacks with wealth find themselves unable to move out of the ghetto. Though it is illegal, housing discrimination continues to affect African-Americans in Chicago. All Civil-Rights legislation did was ban “No Colored” signs but racism in the housing market continues to disenfranchise blacks.  African-American borrowers were given higher-interest on subprime mortgages when compared to whites – even when they qualified for much better deals.[14] Even “blockbusting” referring to racist practices by real-estate agents, against blacks, was pioneered in Chicago![15] Today, Chicago stands as the most racially segregated city in America. [16]

Schools
Even after the Supreme Court’s Brown V.S Board of Education decision to desegregate schools, Chicago’s schools remain segregated. According, to the Progressive Labor Party “In 2000, 54% of black public school students in Chicago attended schools that did not have a single white student enrolled, 274 schools were 90% or more black, and 173 of those schools, 30% of all Chicago public schools, were 100% black.” [17]  Many whites attend schools with greater infrastructure and resources, located in suburban areas. Chicago Public Schools has nine elite selective enrollment schools that students must “test into” in order to get a quality education.  These culturally biased “selective-enrollment” tests give Chicago Public School the ability to keep schools segregated. Students unable to test into these schools are shipped into school-to-prison pipeline lacking libraries and adequate material needed to teach the classroom.   The Chicago Teachers union indicated that “Chicago Public Schools remains one of the urban school systems that[’s]“only a few percentage points from an experience of total apartheid.” [18]  These schools are fundamentally preparing black youth for a life of solitary confinement. Only 3 out of 100 Chicago Public School freshmen earn a Bachelor degree by the age of twenty-five. Education for black students is still not equal to that of whites.[19]

 Employment

Discrimination continues to be perpetuated against African-Americans in the job market.  Studies have found that applicants with more “Black-Sounding” names on resumes (i.e. Jamal, Lakeshia) were less likely to be called back for an interview than applicants with more “White-Sounding” names(I.E John, Emily) even when credentials were identical. [20] Even more troubling, a study found employers to be more likely to hire a white person with a criminal record than a black person without one, even when qualifications were exactly the same.[21]

Business/Loans
Foreigners, specifically Arab merchants, own the majority of stores in African-American communities within Chicago. These are pseudo-grocery stores that sell inflated unhealthy goods to the community and often collaborate with gangs in the illegal drug trade. The black community has a huge lack of black business ownership; so much so, when there is a store owned by blacks you often see the sign “black-owned business” in the window. The majority of the stores in the black community should be owned by blacks; the fact that we have signs saying “black-owned” business demonstrates the severity of our situation. The fact of the matter is that there are plenty of black entrepreneurs who seek to set-up business in the black community, but they face constant barriers through discriminatory loan practices by banks. Banks have consistently been found not to loan to blacks, or will charge themhigher interest rates (regardless of their credit!) than they dowhites and other minority entrepreneurs.[22]
Car loans
Auto-shop dealerships in Chicago consistently discriminate against African-Americans. A study in Chicago sent various races to car dealerships to purchase  a car. They discovered that  auto dealerships offered lower prices to white males than blacks, even in identical financial situations on interest rate loans. Black males on average were priced twice the amount of whites, and black females were ask to pay more than three times  the amount as white males.[23]These types of discriminatory practices are responsible for minorities depending upon public transportation such as the CTA(Chicago Transit Authority).  These buses are often extremely overcrowded, breeding hostilities between customers and causing unnecessary conflict from the congested environment.

The Origin of Gang Violence

Black street gangs do not come out of the sky. Their origins are undeniably rooted in state imposed substandard social conditions. Gangs result from the myriad ways in which this racist government has confined black youth in the most atrocious of social conditions. It is undeniably accredited to the denial of economic opportunities, denial of quality education, and racist violence inhumanely inflicted by covetous white vigilante groups. Discrimination against black youth runs rampant on the job market. And as  hip-hop Artist Nas once said “Anytime brothers can’t get jobs, they rob. A man would rather die than live on his knees and starve.”[24]Street gangs allow people to experience a bond that surrogates climbing up the socio-economic ladder, the same one that has systematically excluded blacks.

Unlike parasitic western capitalists that rob and kill the resources of entire countries out of pure greed, inner-city youth participate in these actions for pure survival. Gangs go to war with one another to protect their “turf”. As Freeway once said “Even though what we do is wrong… don’t you know a cops sole purpose is to lock us down and throw away the key. But without this drug shit your kids ain’t got no way to eat?”[26] The drugs that gangs sell act as a mechanism for historically impoverished and disenfranchised people to have a taste at what being wealthy feels like. Often times, the drug economy is sometimes the only way in which they can provide for their families. Indeed, between 1967 and 1982, nearly 50% of Chicago’s manufacturing jobs were eliminated.[27]   This devastated Chicago’s black community and gangs skyrocketed.  Of course, such an event is inevitable under capitalism which seeks to outsource to foreign countries for cheap labor to increase profits. John M. Hagedorn writes that “The conditions in Chicago’s poorest neighborhoods came to resemble impoverished Third World countries, and police harassment was ever-present.”[28] Also worth noting is that the Chicago government has also responded to white street gangs and black street gangs differently. Contrary to popular belief, the first gangs in Chicago were not black but white, specifically Irish. Unlike Black Street gangs that formed out of economic necessity, these gangs formed amongst white youth to terrorize black communities who dared to defy racist segregation  laws.[29]

Chicago’s government decided to take a rehabilitation approach with these white Irish gangs and transform them into “respectable” members of society. Indeed, the entire Irish gang that brutalized and decimated black communities was transformed into the Chicago Police Department. Richard D. Daley, who was a dedicated member of one of these gangs, later became Mayor. There has never been a serious attempt by the Chicago government to rehabilitate black gang members into society. Instead, the government has only responded through police occupation of black communities. [30]

Also, the black community has taken numerous steps to deal with gang-violence and all of them were foiled by the government.   Fred Hampton, the leader of the  Black Panther Party For Self Defense, attempted to form an alliance with Chicago’s black street gangs to turn them into an activist organization.[31] Instead of allowing this alliance to manifest, the FBI would instead forge letters between the two groups to breed hostility. The Chicago Police Department would eventually assassinate the Black Panthers leader Fred Hampton.[32] This alliance had the potential to unify black street gangs and end the violence that they were perpetrating against one another but the government would not allow for it to materialize. Today, gang violence continues to take the lives of black youth.

 Shoutouts

1.Housing: “A Short History,” http://southside.uchicago.edu/History/Housing.html

2 “Chicago Race Riot of 1919”.Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.. 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-04.http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/110488/Chicago-Race-Riot-of-1919

3.) Tuttle, William. Race Riot Chicago in the Red Summer of 1919 (Urbana, IL; University of Illinois Press, 1970)

4)   RACE NOT SPACE: A REVISIONIST HISTORY OFGANGS IN CHICAGO John M. Hagedorn* gangresearch.net/Archives/hagedorn/articles/racenotspace.pdf

5) Housing: “A Short History,” http://southside.uchicago.edu/History/Housing.html

6) Arnold Richard Hirsch, “Making the Second Ghetto: Race and Housing in Chicago 1940-1960”, University of Chicago,1998,http://books.google.com/books?id=px0PuO7GWhsC&pg=PP1&ots=9I1rYsYyNh&dq=%22Making+the+Second+Ghetto%22+hirsch&sig=IPgKY-xgpCRZwpCsboI_rk0UPgc#PPA18,M1

7 ) Arnold Richard Hirsch, “Making the Second Ghetto: Race and Housing in Chicago 1940-1960”, University of Chicago,1998,http://books.google.com/books?id=px0PuO7GWhsC&pg=PP1&ots=9I1rYsYyNh&dq=%22Making+the+Second+Ghetto%22+hirsch&sig=IPgKY-xgpCRZwpCsboI_rk0UPgc#PPA18,M1

8)   Asraa MustufaFriday, June 17 2011 http://colorlines.com/archives/2011/06/chicago_activists_push_for_trauma_center_on_the_south_side.html Chicago Activists Push for Trauma Center on the South Side

9) “I See Everything Through This Tragedy” February 12, 2012, 11:00 am ET by Alex Kotlowitz http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/social-issues/interrupters/i-see-everything-through-this-tragedy/

10) Karen Jordan Activists rally against mental health clinic closures

Tuesday, April 17, 2012  http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/local&id=8624017

11)  Race, Health Care and the Law Speaking Truth to Power!

Institutional Racism in US Health Care http://academic.udayton.edu/health/07humanrights/racial01c.htm

12)  Discrimination Contributes To African-American Health Disparitiea  http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/55345.php 01 Nov 2006 – 3:00 PST

13)  Chicago’s Jackson Park Hospital Settles Discrimination Charges

Written by Molly Gamble | November 22, 2011http://www.beckershospitalreview.com/hospital-management-administration/chicagos-jackson-park-hospital-settles-discrimination-charges.html

14) Black Borrowers Face Higher Hurdles in Lending, Study ShowsBy Stefanos Chen  Feb 24th 2012 1:48PM

 http://realestate.aol.com/blog/2012/02/24/black-borrowers-face-higher-hurdles-in-lending-study-shows/

15)  A Requiem for Blockbusting: Law, Economics, and Race-Based Real Estate Speculation Dmitri Mehlhornhttp://ir.lawnet.fordham.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?articl The Schools Chicago’s Students Deserve

02/16/2012

e=3528&context=flr

16  Chicago Most Segregated City In America, Despite Significant Improvements In Last Decade

01/31/2012 12:49 pm http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/31/chicago-most-segregated-c_n_1244098.html

17  http://www.plp.org/leaflets-pamphlets/pamphlets/Racism_pamphlet2.pdf PROGRESSIVE LABOR PARTY ON RACE AND RACISM

18) The Schools Chicago’s Students Deserve

02/16/2012 HTTP://WWW.CTUNET.COM/BLOG/TEXT/SCSD_REPORT-02-16-2012-1.PDF

19) Consortium for School Research at the University of Chicago

20)  “Are Emily and Greg More Employable than Lakisha and Jamal? A Field Experiment on Labor Market Discrimination,” Marianne Bertrand and Sendhil Mullainathan, National Bureau of Economic Research, July 2003.

21) The Mark of a Criminal Record Devah Pager Northwestern Universityhttp://www.princeton.edu/~pager/pager_ajs.pdf

22) http://www.dartmouth.edu/~blnchflr/papers/finalrestat.pdf DISCRIMINATION IN THE SMALL  BUSINESS CREDIT MARKET

23)   Race and Gender Discrimination in Bargaining  for a New Car

By  IAN  AYRES  AND  PETER SIEGELMAN*http://islandia.law.yale.edu/ayers/Ayres%20Siegelman%20Race%20and%20Gender%20Discrimination%20In%20Bargaining%20%20for%20a%20New%20Car.pdf

24)) NAS LYRICS “Hold Down The Block” (feat. Mark B. Mayfield) http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/nas/holddowntheblock.html

26) Freeway, What We Do http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/freeway/whatwedo.html

27 )   RACE NOT SPACE: A REVISIONIST HISTORY OFGANGS IN CHICAGO John M. Hagedorn* gangresearch.net/Archives/hagedorn/articles/racenotspace.pdf

28) Rates of of poverty, violence, and other indicators of social exclusion resemble Third world cities like Rio de Janiero, Cape Town, and Lagos more than they resemble lower-class European urban aieasofpoverty. JohnM.Hagedorn, “Youth in Organized Armed Violence in Chicago” in Neither War Nor Peace: International

 29) RACE NOT SPACE: A REVISIONIST HISTORY OFGANGS IN CHICAGO John M. Hagedorn* gangresearch.net/Archives/hagedorn/articles/racenotspace.pdf

30) Ibid.

31) Ibid.

32) Ibid. Also see The Assassination of Fred Hampton: How the FBI and the Chicago Police Murdered a Black Panther by Jeffrey Haas.

How racism created Chicago Gangs

chicago-ghetto African-Americans that previously resided in the Klan-run South came to Chicago during the great migration, lured in by the promises of jobs and political rights. However, these opportunities were systematically denied. Since blacks have entered this city they have been met with a level of bigotry so disgusting, and so pervasive, that it is a core aspect of Chicago’s culture. African-Americans seeking tocreate a better life would still face the very same racism and violence they found in the south. However, instead of it being by the Klan, it would be by the Chicago Housing authority and white mob groups. When blacks first came to Chicago they competed with the Irish over a scarce labor and housing market. In 1919, racial animosity reached a boiling point when a white person hit a blackchild with a rock while he was swimming in Michigan Lake. The black child drowned to death, but the Chicago Police Department refused to arrest the white aggressor. Blacks led a peaceful protest demanding justice, and as a result of their efforts they were viciously attacked by white mob groups. Whites entered the predominately black area on the Southside, terrorizing the black population through arsons and assaults.Nobody, not even children, were spared in the attacks. They even sought to enter a predominately black hospital to terrorize the black patients there. As whites continued to set fire to black neighborhoods, the Chicago Fire Department was not allowed to operate in these communities.

Hundreds of African Americans, including women and children, were left homeless on the streets after fires demolished their homes in these Chicago_Violence_Funeral-0e431-3658senseless attacks. Richard J. Daley was 17 years old at the time and one of the leaders of the Irish Hamburg Athletic Club that led this senseless attack on the black community.  Instead of being punished for these clearly racist attacks, he was made Mayor of Chicago, where he would continue to push and support racist legislation to disenfranchise the black community. Indeed, the white-ran Chicago housing authority from its inception worked to ensure that blacks lived in segregated neighborhoods. Blacks were confined to the Southside and these areas were treated with inconceivable neglect by government agencies. The “Neighborhood Composition Rule” ordered that housing was to be segregated. This resulted in Black people being segregated in the Southside in what is known as “The Black Belt.”Of course, all of the housing that the Chicago Housing Authority set aside for blacks was decrepit; many apartments lacked plumbing, were overcrowded, and far below requirements for healthy sanitation.

violencechicagoEven wealthy blacks were forced into substandard neighborhoods due to racial discrimination. As a direct result of these social conditions, the infant mortality rate for blacks sky-rocketed to well above the national average. Eventually, the neighborhood Composition rule was eventually struck down. This was met by complete outrage by white vigilante groups who, once again, terrorized the local black population with heartless violent confrontations. While blacks were portrayed as being “violent”, many times it was not the “delinquent” black youth attacking innocent peaceful white people but vice-versa. Indeed, during this time blacks lived under increased threats of violence and fear from whites. Blacks had no choice but to live in the ghetto because of the terrorism inflicted by whites against those would dared to live on the outskirts of their state created locus. During these times, overt discrimination against blacks reigned supreme in every area of Chicago’s society, such as employment, housing, health care, and every other opportunity for upward social mobility.

Black street gangs do not come out of the sky. Their origins are undeniably rooted in state imposed substandard social conditions. Gangs resultchicago4343 from the myriad ways in which this racist government has confined black youth in the most atrocious of social conditions. It is undeniably accredited to the denial of economic opportunities, denial of quality education, and racist violence inhumanely inflicted by covetous white vigilante groups. Discrimination against black youth runs rampant on the job market.  Often times, the drug economy is sometimes the only way in which they can provide for their families. Indeed, between 1967 and 1982, nearly 50% of Chicago’s manufacturing jobs were eliminated.   This devastated Chicago’s black community and gangs skyrocketed.  Of course, such an event is inevitable under capitalism which seeks to outsource to foreign countries for cheap labor to increase profits. John M. Hagedorn writes that “The conditions in Chicago’s poorest neighborhoods came to resemble impoverished Third World countries, and police harassment was ever-present.” Also worth noting is that the Chicago government has also responded to white street gangs and black street gangs differently. Contrary to popular belief, the first gangs in Chicago were not black but white, specifically Irish. Unlike Black Street gangs that formed out of economic necessity, these gangs formed amongst white youth to terrorize black communities who dared to defy racist segregation  laws.

Chicago’s government decided to take a rehabilitation approach with these white Irish gangs and transform them into “respectable” members of society. Indeed, the entire Irish gang that brutalized and decimated black communities was transformed into the Chicago Police Department. Richard D. Daley, who was a dedicated member of one of these gangs, later became Mayor. There has never been a serious attempt by the Chicago government to rehabilitate black gang members into society. Instead, the government has only responded through police occupation of black communities.  Also, the black community has taken numerous steps to deal with gang-violence and all of them were foiled by the government.   Fred Hampton, the leader of the  Black Panther Party For Self Defense, attempted to form an alliance with Chicago’s black street gangs to turn them into an activist organization Instead of allowing this alliance to manifest, the FBI would instead forge letters between the two groups to breed hostility. The Chicago Police Department would eventually assassinate the Black Panthers leader Fred Hampton. This alliance had the potential to unify black street gangs and end the violence that they were perpetrating against one another but the government would not allow for it to materialize. Today, gang violence continues to take the lives of black youth.

 

. Chicago’s state-sanctioned racism produces “thugs” and systematically strips the morality from people and replaces it with a stone cold heart The Third World Inside of America: A Critical Look at the Southside of Chicago PT 1that is seen as necessary to survive on these mean streets.Blacks have been systematically disempowered and live in the most violent areas, not because we are “naturally” aggressive, but because of economic conditions that have been imposed on us by  malicious outside forces.  The obstacles that were, and still are, put in place,  to halt black socioeconomic aspirations,  has resulted in black youth  acquiring detrimental social, economic, and political habits that are exemplified in the gangs that roam Chicago’s streets. The gangs that we have in our community, the bloody knives that lay astray in the pavement, the white chalk on our sidewalks, the yellow tape surrounding vacant lots, and the rapid succession of bullets that are fired at one another are the cumulative effects of systematic institutionalized racism.

————————

1.Housing: “A Short History,” http://southside.uchicago.edu/History/Housing.html

2 “Chicago Race Riot of 1919″.Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.. 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-04.http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/110488/Chicago-Race-Riot-of-1919

3.) Tuttle, William. Race Riot Chicago in the Red Summer of 1919 (Urbana, IL; University of Illinois Press, 1970)

4)   RACE NOT SPACE: A REVISIONIST HISTORY OFGANGS IN CHICAGO John M. Hagedorn* gangresearch.net/Archives/hagedorn/articles/racenotspace.pdf

5) Housing: “A Short History,” http://southside.uchicago.edu/History/Housing.html

6) Arnold Richard Hirsch, “Making the Second Ghetto: Race and Housing in Chicago 1940-1960″, University of Chicago,1998,http://books.google.com/books?id=px0PuO7GWhsC&pg=PP1&ots=9I1rYsYyNh&dq=%22Making+the+Second+Ghetto%22+hirsch&sig=IPgKY-xgpCRZwpCsboI_rk0UPgc#PPA18,M1

7 ) Arnold Richard Hirsch, “Making the Second Ghetto: Race and Housing in Chicago 1940-1960″, University of Chicago,1998,http://books.google.com/books?id=px0PuO7GWhsC&pg=PP1&ots=9I1rYsYyNh&dq=%22Making+the+Second+Ghetto%22+hirsch&sig=IPgKY-xgpCRZwpCsboI_rk0UPgc#PPA18,M1

8)   Asraa MustufaFriday, June 17 2011 http://colorlines.com/archives/2011/06/chicago_activists_push_for_trauma_center_on_the_south_side.html Chicago Activists Push for Trauma Center on the South Side

9) “I See Everything Through This Tragedy” February 12, 2012, 11:00 am ET by Alex Kotlowitz http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/social-issues/interrupters/i-see-everything-through-this-tragedy/

10) Karen Jordan Activists rally against mental health clinic closures

Tuesday, April 17, 2012  http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/local&id=8624017

11)  Race, Health Care and the Law Speaking Truth to Power!

Institutional Racism in US Health Care http://academic.udayton.edu/health/07humanrights/racial01c.htm

12)  Discrimination Contributes To African-American Health Disparitiea  http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/55345.php 01 Nov 2006 – 3:00 PST

13)  Chicago’s Jackson Park Hospital Settles Discrimination Charges

Written by Molly Gamble | November 22, 2011http://www.beckershospitalreview.com/hospital-management-administration/chicagos-jackson-park-hospital-settles-discrimination-charges.html

14) Black Borrowers Face Higher Hurdles in Lending, Study ShowsBy Stefanos Chen  Feb 24th 2012 1:48PM

 http://realestate.aol.com/blog/2012/02/24/black-borrowers-face-higher-hurdles-in-lending-study-shows/

15)  A Requiem for Blockbusting: Law, Economics, and Race-Based Real Estate Speculation Dmitri Mehlhornhttp://ir.lawnet.fordham.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?articl The Schools Chicago’s Students Deserve

02/16/2012

e=3528&context=flr

16  Chicago Most Segregated City In America, Despite Significant Improvements In Last Decade

01/31/2012 12:49 pm http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/31/chicago-most-segregated-c_n_1244098.html

17  http://www.plp.org/leaflets-pamphlets/pamphlets/Racism_pamphlet2.pdf PROGRESSIVE LABOR PARTY ON RACE AND RACISM

18) The Schools Chicago’s Students Deserve

02/16/2012 HTTP://WWW.CTUNET.COM/BLOG/TEXT/SCSD_REPORT-02-16-2012-1.PDF

19) Consortium for School Research at the University of Chicago

20)  “Are Emily and Greg More Employable than Lakisha and Jamal? A Field Experiment on Labor Market Discrimination,” Marianne Bertrand and Sendhil Mullainathan, National Bureau of Economic Research, July 2003.

21) The Mark of a Criminal Record Devah Pager Northwestern Universityhttp://www.princeton.edu/~pager/pager_ajs.pdf

22) http://www.dartmouth.edu/~blnchflr/papers/finalrestat.pdf DISCRIMINATION IN THE SMALL  BUSINESS CREDIT MARKET

23)   Race and Gender Discrimination in Bargaining  for a New Car

By  IAN  AYRES  AND  PETER SIEGELMAN*http://islandia.law.yale.edu/ayers/Ayres%20Siegelman%20Race%20and%20Gender%20Discrimination%20In%20Bargaining%20%20for%20a%20New%20Car.pdf

24)) NAS LYRICS “Hold Down The Block” (feat. Mark B. Mayfield) http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/nas/holddowntheblock.html

26) Freeway, What We Do http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/freeway/whatwedo.html

27 )   RACE NOT SPACE: A REVISIONIST HISTORY OFGANGS IN CHICAGO John M. Hagedorn* gangresearch.net/Archives/hagedorn/articles/racenotspace.pdf

28) Rates of of poverty, violence, and other indicators of social exclusion resemble Third world cities like Rio de Janiero, Cape Town, and Lagos more than they resemble lower-class European urban aieasofpoverty. JohnM.Hagedorn, “Youth in Organized Armed Violence in Chicago” in Neither War Nor Peace: International

 29) RACE NOT SPACE: A REVISIONIST HISTORY OFGANGS IN CHICAGO John M. Hagedorn* gangresearch.net/Archives/hagedorn/articles/racenotspace.pdf

30) Ibid.

31) Ibid.

32) Ibid. Also see The Assassination of Fred Hampton: How the FBI and the Chicago Police Murdered a Black Panther by Jeffrey Haas.

The Black Holocaust: 3 Racist Courtroom Decisions Relevant Today

American laws have historically been used to reinforce white supremacy and further the subjugation of Black people. In this article, Hakeem Muhammad documents several  horrendous court decision that set forth the precedent of legalizing the oppression of Black people.

Celia Vs. State Of Missouri

State of Missouri v. Celia, a Slave was a murder trial that took place in 1855. Celia’s slave master, Robert Newsom  repeatedly raped  her. One day,  Newson came into the cabin where Celia lived and made sexual advances. Celia rejected his sexual advances but Newson persisted. In response, Celia took a stick and hit him. Newsom tried to grab her and she continued to hit him with the stick eventually killing him.  Afterwards, Celia was brought up on murder charges and the court determined that Celia could not plead self defense. The court held that white slave masters had a right to rape their Black slaves and slaves could not resist. Sadiya Hartman, in Scenes of Subjection  writes that the court indicated, The enslaved could neither give nor refuse consent, nor offer reasonable resistance, yet they were criminally responsible and liable.” With a guilty verdict for murder, Celia would be hanged for her “crime.”

 

North Carolina v. Mann

 

In the case of North Carolina vs Mann, John Mann brutally lashed his slave Lydia. While being lashed, Lydia attempted to escape, whereupon Mann shot and wounded her. John Mann was indicted for assault and battery, the court dismissed the charges and Judge Ruffin declared, “The power of the master must be absolute, to render the submission of the slave perfect..” Judge Ruffin posits a “slippery slope’ argument stating that if white slave masters can be brought up on charges for shooting slaves, they could potentially be brought up on charges for any form of abuse, and that this would defeat the very essence of slavery.   In light of John Mann shooting a black woman, the court declared,”There is no remedy.”   

   Dred Scott Decision vs. Samford

In the case of  Dred Scott vs. Samford, Dred Scott freed for his from from slavery. His master, Scott Emerson, purchased him in a slave state of St. Louis, Missouri and subsequently moved to Illinois which had prohibited slavery in its territories. Dred Scott would sue for his freedom  and the question had hand was, did Dred Scott’s transfer to a free that entitle him to freedom. Supreme Court Justice, Roger B. Taney ruled that Blacks were,“regarded as beings of an inferior order” and had “no rights which the white man was bound to respect.”  The  court further ruled that Black people did not even have standing to bring a suit in court.

 

About: Hakeem Muhammad is a Black Freedom Fighter and every  racist White Settler Colonist’s worse nightmare.

Analyzing Bill Maher: Liberal White Supremacy

When people think of white supremacy, images of the Ku Klux Klan usually pop into their hands. They regard it as a belief which is now on the fringe, feeling that although maybe a few Neo-Nazis subscribe to it, it is generally an ideology that no longer has any influence on the world. This is a dangerous myth! White supremacy is a globalized political structure and the most destructive political system currently in operation in the world today. Yet, it has been so seeped into the world’s consciousness that many are unaware that it is not in fact the natural way of life.

As an example, in America, the political system, economic system, and judicial system is largely controlled and operated by the descendants of white Europeans—not the Native Americans who were the original inhabitants of the country. This is not normal, nor should it be this way. In Australia, the political, judicial, and economic systems are largely controlled and operated by the descendants of white Europeans—not the Australian aboriginals who were the original inhabitants of the land. This is not normal, nor should it be this way. Even in post-Apartheid South Africa, the descendants of white Europeans enjoy better living standards than the native black population, and control the majority of the economic infrastructure. This is not normal, nor should it be this way.

Additionally, Liberalism and white supremacy are not mutually exclusive and this can be vividly highlighted in the talk show statements of Bill Maher:

“Liberals need to stand up for liberal principles … freedom of speech, freedom to practice any religion you want without fear of violence, freedom to leave a religion, equality for women, equality for minorities. But then when you say in the Muslim world, ‘This is what’s lacking….’”

Bill Maher getting drunk on land stolen from native-americans instead of fulfilling his obligation to fight oppression. White Hedonism exist upon the systemic oppression of black people.

Bill Maher getting drunk on land stolen from native-americans instead of fulfilling his obligation to fight oppression.
White Hedonism exist upon the systemic oppression of black people.

The question for Bill Maher is: why are the original inhabitants of the United States, the Native Americans, a minority within their own land? It’s because of liberals like Thomas Jefferson, who supported the Indian removal act believing that Native Americans should be exterminated. Jefferson’s worldview stemmed from one of the most foundational philosophers of liberalism, John Locke, who invested in companies that partook in the transatlantic slave trade of black Africans.  It is a result of a worldview held by most liberal philosophers in which only whites were humans and thus fit for liberal rights. Yet, After centuries of enslaving Africans and the genocide of Native Americans, Bill Maher now says he believes in “equality for minorities.” What does the liberal notion of equality mean in any real sense? It’s a political abstraction that has no concrete tangible meaning.

To pass anti-discrimination laws after years of exploitation to solidify yourself on the top of the social hierarchy is one thing, but to actually relinquish power, wealth, and infrastructure that was inherited  unjustly is something else completely. No liberal would support any policy that seriously restructured society on a significant level; in fact, Native American thinkers such as Jodi Byrd state that the inclusion of Native Americans within liberalism is a continuance of this cultural genocide, as Native Americans had their own cosmologies and worldviews that were often completely antithetical to liberalism.

The danger behind Bill Maher’s statement is that he now utilizes the inclusion of Native Americans into liberalism(cultural genocide) as a reason to justify violence  against the non-Liberal Muslim World. In a further  interview with an African-American Muslim hip-hop artist, Mos Def, Bill Maher questioned him by stating:

The religion of Islam spread through the sword, spread through oppression. Have you read your history? What happened between 632 to 732 A.D.; 100 years they conquered the whole known world.

This is simply empirically false; no credible historian today can assert that Islam spread through the sword. Just take

Leading Atheist  "thinker"Christopher Hitchens doing what he does not  best: cigarettes and drinking.  European colonial expansion has secured liberal notions of "freedom" exclusively the  white race  which is secured from the oppression of people of color.

European colonial expansion has secured liberal notions of “freedom” granting them exclusively to the white race which is secured from the oppression of people of color. Thus, enabling Leading Atheist “thinker”Christopher Hitchens doing what he does  best: using cigarettes and drinking.

Indonesia, which is home to the world’s largest population of Muslims—there was never any Muslim conquest of Indonesia. Islam spread to that area of the world from commerce and trade. Similarly, in West Africa, Islam spread through trade and commerce—not military conquest. Even more recently, according to the American Muslim council, 42% of Muslims in America are African-American, 24% are South Asian, and 12% are Arab. What Muslim general put a sword to the African-American population and made them undergo forced conversions? What Bill Maher is doing is projecting. Brother Mos Def should have asked Maher what happened in his European history between 1492 until now. Europeans actually came incredibly close to controlling the world.

https://ton.twitter.com/i/ton/data/dm/576948543975395328/576948544155725824/VsVd_GjW.png

The above map shows that only a few countries have been spared from European colonialism, and, as you can see, the Muslim/Arab world, Native-Americans, Australian Aboriginals, and Africans, all came under European domination. In fact upon the British-Dutch conquest of South Africa, they established an apartheid regime on their land in which blacks would be incarcerated for a variety of trivial offenses (including being unemployed). Modern day Muslim extremists are mostly a product of European colonialism, and yes they have committed inhumane atrocities—but they have a long, long, long way to go before they even come close to rivaling what Europeans have done and continue to do.

The Crack Epidemic: How Will I Make It in Harlem? (Hood Series)

 

bigl43In the Post-Civil Rights Era, African-Americans are said to be progressing in society; institutional racism is written off as a sad social reality of the past, but now it is claimed that a window of opportunity is available for blacks. During Dr. Martin Luther King Day and Black History Month, Americans reminisce over how racist America used to be as King’s historic “I Have a Dream” speech is routinely read and heard.  Society then reflects upon prominent African-American figures such as Barack Obama, and thinks to themselves how far America has come. In a song entitled “How Will I Make It?” Lamont Colemon gives narratives that profoundly challenge the sociological myth of black progress in the Post-Civil Rights Era. Coleman, who went by the name Big L, was not a politically conscious rapper like Tupac Shakur (who routinely drew links between capitalism and the plight of black Americans) or Nas (who constantly discusses fratricidal ghetto life and routinely draws links to the roots of institutional racism). As such, Coleman is free of all of the biases that may come from a formal study of Critical Race Theory and thus provides an organic insight on the status of black youth that disrupts the myth of steady progress.

Lamont Coleman in describing his upbringing states that, “I’m only at the age of 10 and life already seems to me like it’s heading for a dead end. Cause my Moms be smoking mad crack. My dad went out for a fast streetstruck34snack and never brought his a** back.” Coleman grew up fatherless and with a mother who was addicted to crack; the crack epidemic led to an uprising in violent crime as unemployed black youth who were discriminated against in the job market resorted to selling the cost-efficient cocaine derivative to move up the social economic ladder. This era produced an entire generation of neglected children subjected to pre-natal cocaine exposure (often referred to in the streets as “crack babies”), mass incarceration, and social decay in the black community. For Coleman in particular, at only ten years old, he states that, “Nobody knows how I feel, it’s quite ill Cause I had to steal to fill my stomach with a nice meal.” Reading this, one would think he grew up in a third world country, but in reality he was growing up in the heart of America. Heading into his teenage years, Coleman states, “Now I’m at the age of 15, no more fun and games it’s time to get cream… Now every day I creep with the heat, ain’t nothing sweet, I rob for meat. If I don’t steal, I don’t eat.” In such economically oppressive social conditions, Coleman had to resort to crime merely for food. As he lives a life of crime for mere survival, he laments that he may end up in jail but that he is forced into such activities through economic necessity. Nonetheless, he makes a very revealing statement:

“Where I grew up it was a living hell. Then I started to realize – I’m better off in a prison cell. Now I can sleep, now I can eat.” Being born into yk54poverty in the street of Harlem and realizing that being in prison actually makes it easier to eat regular meals is a serious indictment of the socio-economic system of America in the Post-Civil Rights Era. One in three black males can be expected to be under the tutelage of the criminal justice system either through prison time or parole throughout their lives. As prisons become increasingly privatized, rich white CEOS have begun profiting from the mass-incarceration of black youth who are funneled into a life of crime due to the economic conditions that they live in. Eventually, Coleman, after carrying out a robbery, was convicted; however, upon getting out, he quickly finds himself in the same social situation

“It’s getting crazy hectic

Cause I’m broke and can’t get a job cause of my jail record

Before you know it, I was robbing them same ducks”

From growing up in a poor black household, Coleman’s criminal pursuits to begin with had nothing to do with wanting to choose a life a crime, but rather it materialized from economic necessity to survive. Upon leaving jail, Coleman quickly finds himself in the same social situation. Prisons are less about reform, and even after leaving jail there have been no job training programs to steer him in the right direction. Coleman states, ”Either I’mma go to jail or get murdered, but do I deserve it? All I tried to do was live the one life that I got but it seems like I can’t get a fair shot.” Coleman was never given a fair shot due to one basic fact: he was born black in a white supremacist system and, like so many other black youth, either felt he was going to be killed xewk23at a young age or go back to jail.

When it comes to black-on-black crime, the conservative media often attributes it to bad behavior, a lack of morals, or the influence of Hip-Hop. They call for self-responsibility and simply saying blacks need to will themselves into doing the “right” thing. In his song ”Street Struck,” Coleman advocates self-responsibility for black youth in an interesting manner, stating, ”Some of my peeps are still in the game sellin ‘caine. If that’s what you gotta do to maintain, go ‘head and do your thang. But with the cash profit make an investment. And try not to go to the grave like the rest went.” Essentially, he recognized the inevitability of black youth turning to the drug market for survival, but encourages them to use profits from drugs and to turn it into a legitimate enterprise.

 

Tbig4544he real question is: when will whites began to take responsibility for the unjust social system their forefathers created that has resulted in the drug economy being the only way for black youth to have basic needs? When will whites take responsibility for having created the unjust prison industrial complex, partaking in redlining, and the discriminatory loans that targeted blacks and led to the subprime mortgage crisis and causing a crisis in the black community. The calls for “self-responsibility” among blacks by whites is a way in which they can absolve themselves from having to challenge the white supremacist power structure that they continue to benefit from; essentially, blacks must exercise supreme levels of discipline and responsibility, as they pull themselves out the hood by their boot-straps. Such a discourse also neglects that fact that due to institutional racism, whites who partake in self-destructive behaviors (alcohol, drugs, etc.) are less likely to be harmed by it than blacks due to their extensive social safety network developed from institutional racism.

In the midst of oppression and white scapegoating, Coleman – with no formal study of sociological issues, critical race theory, etc. makes a profound statement:
“In the ghetto, all you can wish for is a better tomorrow. It ain’t getting no better, it’s only getting worse, word up.”

Effectively refuting the myth of black progress in the Post-Civil Rights Era, for black youth, the conditions are only becoming worse.

 

 

 

 

 

The Crack Epidemic: How Will I Make It in Harlem?

 

bigl43In the Post-Civil Rights Era, African-Americans are said to be progressing in society; institutional racism is written off as a sad social reality of the past, but now it is claimed that a window of opportunity is available for blacks. During Dr. Martin Luther King Day and Black History Month, Americans reminisce over how racist America used to be as King’s historic “I Have a Dream” speech is routinely read and heard.  Society then reflects upon prominent African-American figures such as Barack Obama, and thinks to themselves how far America has come. In a song entitled “How Will I Make It?” Lamont Colemon gives narratives that profoundly challenge the sociological myth of black progress in the Post-Civil Rights Era. Coleman, who went by the name Big L, was not a politically conscious rapper like Tupac Shakur (who routinely drew links between capitalism and the plight of black Americans) or Nas (who constantly discusses fratricidal ghetto life and routinely draws links to the roots of institutional racism). As such, Coleman is free of all of the biases that may come from a formal study of Critical Race Theory and thus provides an organic insight on the status of black youth that disrupts the myth of steady progress.

Lamont Coleman in describing his upbringing states that, “I’m only at the age of 10 and life already seems to me like it’s heading for a dead end. Cause my Moms be smoking mad crack. My dad went out for a fast streetstruck34snack and never brought his a** back.” Coleman grew up fatherless and with a mother who was addicted to crack; the crack epidemic led to an uprising in violent crime as unemployed black youth who were discriminated against in the job market resorted to selling the cost-efficient cocaine derivative to move up the social economic ladder. This era produced an entire generation of neglected children subjected to pre-natal cocaine exposure (often referred to in the streets as “crack babies”), mass incarceration, and social decay in the black community. For Coleman in particular, at only ten years old, he states that, “Nobody knows how I feel, it’s quite ill Cause I had to steal to fill my stomach with a nice meal.” Reading this, one would think he grew up in a third world country, but in reality he was growing up in the heart of America. Heading into his teenage years, Coleman states, “Now I’m at the age of 15, no more fun and games it’s time to get cream… Now every day I creep with the heat, ain’t nothing sweet, I rob for meat. If I don’t steal, I don’t eat.” In such economically oppressive social conditions, Coleman had to resort to crime merely for food. As he lives a life of crime for mere survival, he laments that he may end up in jail but that he is forced into such activities through economic necessity. Nonetheless, he makes a very revealing statement:

“Where I grew up it was a living hell. Then I started to realize – I’m better off in a prison cell. Now I can sleep, now I can eat.” Being born into yk54poverty in the street of Harlem and realizing that being in prison actually makes it easier to eat regular meals is a serious indictment of the socio-economic system of America in the Post-Civil Rights Era. One in three black males can be expected to be under the tutelage of the criminal justice system either through prison time or parole throughout their lives. As prisons become increasingly privatized, rich white CEOS have begun profiting from the mass-incarceration of black youth who are funneled into a life of crime due to the economic conditions that they live in. Eventually, Coleman, after carrying out a robbery, was convicted; however, upon getting out, he quickly finds himself in the same social situation

“It’s getting crazy hectic

Cause I’m broke and can’t get a job cause of my jail record

Before you know it, I was robbing them same ducks”

From growing up in a poor black household, Coleman’s criminal pursuits to begin with had nothing to do with wanting to choose a life a crime, but rather it materialized from economic necessity to survive. Upon leaving jail, Coleman quickly finds himself in the same social situation. Prisons are less about reform, and even after leaving jail there have been no job training programs to steer him in the right direction. Coleman states, ”Either I’mma go to jail or get murdered, but do I deserve it? All I tried to do was live the one life that I got but it seems like I can’t get a fair shot.” Coleman was never given a fair shot due to one basic fact: he was born black in a white supremacist system and, like so many other black youth, either felt he was going to be killed xewk23at a young age or go back to jail.

When it comes to black-on-black crime, the conservative media often attributes it to bad behavior, a lack of morals, or the influence of Hip-Hop. They call for self-responsibility and simply saying blacks need to will themselves into doing the “right” thing. In his song ”Street Struck,” Coleman advocates self-responsibility for black youth in an interesting manner, stating, ”Some of my peeps are still in the game sellin ‘caine. If that’s what you gotta do to maintain, go ‘head and do your thang. But with the cash profit make an investment. And try not to go to the grave like the rest went.” Essentially, he recognized the inevitability of black youth turning to the drug market for survival, but encourages them to use profits from drugs and to turn it into a legitimate enterprise.

 

Tbig4544he real question is: when will whites began to take responsibility for the unjust social system their forefathers created that has resulted in the drug economy being the only way for black youth to have basic needs? When will whites take responsibility for having created the unjust prison industrial complex, partaking in redlining, and the discriminatory loans that targeted blacks and led to the subprime mortgage crisis and causing a crisis in the black community. The calls for “self-responsibility” among blacks by whites is a way in which they can absolve themselves from having to challenge the white supremacist power structure that they continue to benefit from; essentially, blacks must exercise supreme levels of discipline and responsibility, as they pull themselves out the hood by their boot-straps. Such a discourse also neglects that fact that due to institutional racism, whites who partake in self-destructive behaviors (alcohol, drugs, etc.) are less likely to be harmed by it than blacks due to their extensive social safety network developed from institutional racism.

In the midst of oppression and white scapegoating, Coleman – with no formal study of sociological issues, critical race theory, etc. makes a profound statement:
“In the ghetto, all you can wish for is a better tomorrow. It ain’t getting no better, it’s only getting worse, word up.”

Effectively refuting the myth of black progress in the Post-Civil Rights Era, for black youth, the conditions are only becoming worse.

 

 

 

 

 

The Street Scriptures

The Street Scriptures

The vast majority of blacks across inner-cities find themselves born into violent, poverty-stricken neighborhoods, and everybody is struggling to make it out. Kids die young; crying mothers watch in horror as the carcasses of their dead sons, deformed by bullet holes, are hauled off. The face of desperation is illustrated on the face of disenfranchised youth who look to crime as the only way to have what others are given at birth: food, clothing, and shelter. Many don’t expect to live past eighteen years old. They live a life of brutality and profound misery; in the wealthiest nation on earth, they live in utter poverty. Hip-hop emerged within these impoverished social conditions and reveals vividly the plight facing these youth. Nas remarks, “Street scriptures for lost souls in the crossroads.” His one-time rival Jay-Z remarks, ”Never read the Qur’an or Islamic Scriptures, only Psalms I read was on the arms of my niggas.” In these oppressed neighborhoods, the music often conveys both the conditions of the people and the morals which come from the laws of the streets, not religious textbooks.

The album Illmatic served as a street scripture. Coming out in the year 1994, it combined profound lyricism with great vocabulary, a nasty flow, and stories conveying the realities of the streets. In “Represent,” Nas spits, ”Straight up shit is real and any day could be your last in the jungle. Get murdered on a humble, guns blast, niggas tumble. The corners is the hot spot, full of mad criminals… who don’t care, guzzling beers, we all stare.” The line, ”Anyday could be your last in the jungle” refers to the low life expectancy in the hood -many youth don’t see themselves living past 21. .  Nas further illustrates this with the line,” like “crews without guns are goners” demonstrating how difficult it is to survive without resorting to violence.  In the neighborhoods, the drug economy serves as the main source of employment due to the lack of job opportunities.  The hood is called the jungle because of the bewildered, sporadic nature of life there – gun fire, police brutality, and fist fights can occur at any time. There is no source of stability. “Guns blast, niggas tumble” refers to the dead bodies piling up from the various street conflicts. “The corners the hot spot, full of mad criminals who don’t care” is, of course, describing the mentality of the youth on the corner that live with no source of social mobility, causing their source of consciousness and ethics to dissolve.They can’t survive holding onto morals, so they simply don’t care who their violence or behavior affects.

98188-stashIn the classic intro to Stillmatic, Nas spits, “Stepped over dope fiends. Walking out the door, all of us poor. I learned the difference between the snitches, the real ones, and whose soft and the murderous hungriest crews, people jumping from roofs, shotguns pumpin, made it through my youth.” The hood produces many dope fiends – addicts to heroin- many turn to drugs as a coping mechanism for the pain and anguish they face every day in the hood. “All of us poor” refers to the ubiquitous nature of poverty among black youth living in these neighborhoods. Nas proceeds to distinguish between the various personality types he witnessed in the hood from the “snitches” to “the real ones.” Snitches are informants to the police who report drug dealing and crime activity – these individuals are not liked in the hood because their actions often result in youth being victimized by the prison industrial complex or police brutality. “The real ones” refers to the full-time gangsters who truly embody the laws of the streets; despite what was said earlier about “those who don’t care,” within intra-gangs (or the hood in general), attributes such loyalty and bravery are often promoted. The murderous crews Nas speaks of refers to various gangs who have entered into the drug economy seeking to protect their territory via the barrel of a gun.

In “My Block,” Tupac Shakur further elaborates on the social conditions in the hood. He begins saying, ”On my block, it never fails to be gunshots. Can’t explain a mother’s pain when her son drops.” In these neighborhoods, gunshots are not a rarity, but rather something to be expected. Further, Tupac goes on to say, “No rest forever weary. My eyes stay teary for all the brothers I buried in the cemetery. Shit is scary how black on black crime is legendary, but sometimes necessary.” In such impoverished living arrangements, though black on black crime is recognized, youth are pitted together as their only way to survive. Tupac makes this point when he states, “God help me cause I’m starving, can’t get a job. So I resort to violent robberies, my life is hard.” The chorus of the song simply states, ”hard times is all I see,” which demonstrates the ubiquitous nature of struggle that they are in. Then Tupac makes a very profound statement: “From the Start, I felt the racism cause I’m dark.” Nas makes a similar statement: “It seems like the darker you are, the bigger your problems.”

Though they have no degree in sociology, no knowledge of the scientific studies conducted on the correlation of skin color to social The Third World Inside of America: A Critical Look at the Southside of Chicago PT 1standings, nor have they have read a paper on the still prevalent nature of institutionalized racism (even in the age of Obama), they are largely aware of racism in our society because they are the ones who endure it. Indeed, all of the abhorrent conditions described in the street scriptures above are not the result of innate moral defiance within the people, rather, they are created by the legacy of Jim Crow and on-going institutionalized racism. In this society, which creates conditions in which crime is the only way to survive, the young black’s access to social mobility is severely hampered. These street scriptures spread awareness of the on-going legacy of Jim Crow and the systematic structural violence affecting black youth. By calling attention to these narratives, we can challenge the erroneous notion that the end of legal racism and the end of Jim Crow laws led to the end of “institutionalized racism” or real material benefit in the lives of African-Americans.

Rahm’s Re-Election? Does Rahm care about black people?

Rahm Emanuel’s Re-election

rahmemanuel

I met Rahm Emanuel while I was in high-school along with the other mayoral candidates.   I told them that I wanted to be a social activist and they subsequently encouraged me to enter Law-School. Of course, Rahm Emanuel ended up winning the election but the critical question after his term is: does Rahm Emanuel care about black people?

Rahm Emanuel  speeches and policies have demonstrated a gross ignorance of the on-going plight of black youth chicagoin the the South-Side of Chicago.  In the face of gang violence that has been terrorizing Chicago, he had this to say,“Our streets are for our children and for our law-abiding parents. Our streets do not belong to gang-bangers.”

Yet, Rahm Emanuel never asks himself,”What created the gang-bangers?” Indeed, what about the children who are gang bangers such as Robert Sandifer who at only nine years old,  had already been in and out of jail multiple times, deeply involved in the South Chicago street life, committing a series of armed robberies and arson. Yummy, hadn’t even reached his teenage years before he began carrying out murders for his local gangs. Worse yet, he didn’t even live to reach his teenage years before he was shot and killed himself.

Chicago Gangs & Their Origins

chicagoChicago street gangs are a product of social conditions created by institutional racism, police brutality, and white vigilantism. Chicago’s state-sanctioned racism produces “thugs” and systematically strips the morality from people, replacing it with a stone cold heart that is seen as necessary to survive on these mean streets. The obstacles that were, and still are, put in place to halt black socioeconomic aspirations has resulted in black youth acquiring detrimental social, economic, and political habits that are exemplified in the gangs that roam Chicago’s streets.

The White Circle League, formed with the mission of “keeping white neighborhoods free from negroes,” regularly chicagoraceriotsterrorized African-Americans in Chicago.  Between 1917 and 1921, the bombing of African-American homes occurred once every twenty days on average. In 1919, an African-American boy who was swimming was killed as a result of whites throwing heavy rocks at him. When blacks sought to report the incident to police, they themselves were arrested while the white individuals who had killed this young man went unpunished.   As African-Americans began peacefully protesting, whites began to violently assault them, forming mobs that eventually sought to harm African-Americans through various avenues, from attacking patients in black hospitals to setting fire to the homes of blacks. The Irish Hamburg Athletic Club was among the groups who made an effort to kill many blacks; a man who would eventually become mayor decades later – Richard J. Daley – was an active member of this group. These violent attacks left many African-Americans homeless, causing them to lose the relatively small amount of wealth that they had come up north to accumulate. Furthermore, the Irish gangs who carried out these brutal attacks would in mass numbers be recruited to the Chicago Police Department.

The Chicago Housing Authority also implemented the “Neighborhood Composition Rule,” which ensured that blacks would be segregated and confined to housing in the black belt. The housing for black Americans lacked plumbing and was routinely neglected; the neighborhoods did not even receive the benefit of regular garbage disposal services. In addition to being near toxic waste dumps, the decrepit housing set aside for blacks drastically increased the levels of infant mortality.  Even after the neighborhood composition rule ended, whites would take to violence to ensure segregation.

In Englewood, the  birthplace of rappers Chief Keef & Lil Reese, was once a bastion of white supremacy. After lilrees2African-Americans had   merely visited the neighborhood, due to fears that a home was going to be “sold to niggers,” neighborhood associations campaigned with slogans like “America for whites, Africa is the onl y place for niggers.” One white person being interviewed argued that, “We don’t want them, we don’t want to live with them. I think they’re savages. ” With protest signs stating, ”Negroes Invading,” whites began the ‘Englewood Race Riots of 1949,’ not only carrying brutal acts of violence against African-American citizens, but also finding black residential homes to arson, which left many blacks dead, homeless, and losing all of their property. All of this set the precedence of the creation of the ghettos within the city due to the huge wealth loss that black families had struggled to gain. White Flight  took place and years later Lil reese would rap,”I lost so many niggas, turned into a savage. In real life, no movie shit, bitch we clap. Where I’m from? Chiraq.”

The linguistic choice to dub their areas of the city “Chiraq” by Chicago’s youth conveys a fundamental reality about the status of black Americans; it reveals that they constitute a segregated space in  the United states, effectively challenging the commonly held belief in the post-Civil Rights era of America in which  institutional racism is said to be gradually fading as we move towards a  more progressive society, heading more towards  accomplishing  Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream with every passing year. After the death of Chicago public school student Hadiya Pendleton, President Barack Obama made the tragic death a mere issue of “gun-violence” and utilized it to advocate tougher gun control legislation, without acknowledging the oppression that went into creating the violent conditions in her community.

The name Chiraq, which is frequently employed the black Chicagoans, has attracted much criticism, wjojoripeith some arguing that its utilization glorifies an urban culture of violence. Lil Reese, who grew up in the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago, describes his upbringing by forcefully testifying, “I lost so many niggas, turned into a savage […] Where I’m from? This Chiraq.” In numerous rap videos, these self-proclaimed savages residing within the enclave of Chiraq appear brandished with weapons that are suitable for military combat. Their T-shirts often have insignia that reads ”R.I.P______,” with the blank filled by the names of deceased peers.

  What has Rahm Emanuel done to address institutional racism?

He has not addressed institutional racism but only continued it. Rahm Emanuel  closed down numerous Chicago Public Schools with aims of pursuing his “neoliberal” school policies. The problem with that is the redistricting of the school zones will cause students to cross rival gang territory on their way to their new school. This means that for those whom have been lured into gangs through an oppressive economic system, and even for those not in gangs, traveling to school every day will be a life or death gamble as the gang members protect their territory and children abstinent of the gangs are caught in the crossfire.

These gang members have been systematically disenfranchised and instead of working to rehabilitate gang members into society, they have only responded through increased police occupation of black neighborhoods and have failed to implement policies of social justice that confront the legacy of past and systemic racism.  Rahm Emanuel’srahmmmmmhakeem decision to close and redistrict schools despite overwhelming evidence that it will increase violence  raises any interesting question. Does  he want to see black kids die? The continued segregated status of black Americans, which separates them from white America,  protects white Americans from the social problems, drugs, gang wars, and violence, which are a result of an unjust social order. The complicity and perpetration of this racial segregation includes both conservative right wing forces, many of whom deny racism is even a viable factor in the social mobility of blacks, often blaming “immoral black culture.” Also complicit are  liberal left wing forces seeking to liberalize America while  reinforcing the violence against African-American  by spreading the narrative of “steady progress” for blacks and thus obfuscating their true plight and the desperate living conditions they live within.

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 References

Racial Oppression in the Global Metropolis: A living Black in Chicago by Paul Street.

American Apartheid, Segregation and the making of the Underclass by Douglass S. Massey A. Denton

Making of the Second Ghetto, Race * Housing in Chicago 1940-1960 by Arnold R. Hirsch

Black Literature of Revolutionary Protest from Chicago’s South Side: A Local …By Michelle Yvonne Gordon

Watching Your Back: Black Life in Chicago (The Hood Series)

The Hood Series

                The Hood Series will comprehensively analyze, dissect, and convey the social plight of black youth throughout ghettoes in America. It comptongang4will investigate the on-going institutionalized racism ubiquitous in city-planning, resource allocation, development strategies and a wide variety of methods that are strategically utilized to create, maintain, and exploit the hood. Furthermore, to keep it authentic, the local Hip Hop scene will be juxtaposed with the latest statistics and research related to the status of black America. In each article, we will tackle common myths that are widespread in America that serve as proof of black progress in the Post-Civil Rights era, such as black politicians , elite/upper class blacks, and classism being a more pervasive oppressive structure in America than race. These myths in Post-Civil Rights America, that serve to obfuscate the plight of black America. In the Hood Series, the following regional areas will be examined:

  • Chicago (Chiraq)
  • New-Orleans (Chopper City)
  • Philadelphia (Killadelphia )
  • Baltimore
  • Compton
  • Detroit
  • Atlanta
  • Harlem
  • New Jersey

Hood Series: The True Meaning of Chiraq p1

mlkrock1In 1949, a mob of 2000 irate whites galvanized in Park Manor to scorch crosses as they passionately chanted, “We Want Fire, We Want Blood” as they organized their next move. In their eyes, they faced a catastrophic social problem which justified violence: a black family had the audacity to ‘step out of their place’ by infesting this all-white neighborhood with their presence.[i] In an effort to prevent this from happening, this group of whites set out to destroy their home.   Dr. Martin Luther King came to Chicago in 1965, seeking to make a change. His goals were to protest the segregated public school system, along with the discrimination in housing, which resulted in dilapidated black slums. During his march, white protesters gathered around him, one with a sign that boldly stated, “King would look good with a knife in his back,” while another protester threw a heavy rock at him which caused him to fall to the ground. [ii]

King stated the racist violence he endured in Chicago was more hostile than anything he experienced in the south. In order to show his chicagopolice3solidarity to black ghetto inhabitants, he stayed in an apartment on the west side. Eventually, Mayor Daley, annoyed by the protests in Chicago, came to a compromise with King by promising to provide fair housing if he would cease marching. Though the Fair Housing Act was passed, whites would resort to redlining, blockbusting, and other mechanisms to maintain segregation that rendered the legislation useless. Douglas S. Massey concluded in his study on housing discrimination: “Since the passing of the Fair Housing Act, the level of black-white segregation has hardly changed.” [iii]Indeed, if Dr. Martin Luther Martin came to visit Chicago today, he would find blacks living in the same appalling social conditions that he came to protest against; he would come to black areas of Chicago still living in slums with cameras on poles utilized to monitor high drug trafficking areas.

bibby34Growing up in one of these segregated areas, Chicago rapper Lil Bibby states, “Came a long way from duckin’ shots in the field.” The Hip Hop industry is often viewed by black youth in war-torn inner-cities as the quickest route to transitioning from rags to riches. Lil Bibby, in particular, through his lyrics explains to his listeners that his life growing up in Chicago consisted of having to continuously dodge bullets, but now he seeks comfort in the Hip Hop industry. The field that he calls attention to is the same place where wars occur; being involved in the drug trade comes at a hefty price. Discrimination in pervasive in employment, and is a huge factor that lures black youth into the underground drug trade. Even in the Post-Civil Rights era, black children living within Chicago’s ghettoes are isolated within peripheral enclaves and, as a result, they have minimum access the language, businesses, and activities of the rest of society. Blacks constitute a segregated group that is Third World Status, which is why the average black male youth throughout disadvantage neighborhoods of Chicago have a lower life expectancy than adult males in Bangladesh.  The now destroyed  Rockwell Garden housing projects, once had  infant mortality rates that rivaled that of third world nations.[iv]

A study by the NAACP found that Chicago Public Schools are still in a de facto state of segregation[v]; four of every five black students wouldchicagowearareyou have to transfer schools in order to be adequately integrated in Chicago’s school system. Within these black schools, the majority of students are low income; the schools suffer from unequal resources when compared to majority white schools. In an interview with Sway, Lil Bibby is asked what is it like being in Chicago to which Lil Bibby responds, ”You always have to watch your back.”[vi] In contrast to when Dr. Martin Luther King visited Chicago and was threatened to be stabbed in the back by whites, blacks must now watch their backs to defend themselves from other blacks in these violent neighborhoods. It was an exhausting effort for whites to continuously bomb, terrorize, and keep blacks separated, thus the consciousness of blacks would be manipulated, and exploitative social conditions would be imposed upon them so that they would carry out acts of violence against themselves.

essexBlack deaths resulting from race riots and lynchings (which were often made to be an entertaining family event for whites to attend), and bombings of black churches are replete throughout the history of America. The overt acts of racist violence in the modern era are continuously condemned and seen as a thing of the past. Yet, what is not properly analyzed and condemned is institutional racism. Black babies in Chicago have infant mortality rates rivaling third world countries, and they continue to die due to racial disparities in health care services; they are continually subjected to poor housing, real estate agents who partake in racially discriminatory practices, and oppressive economic conditions that laid the foundation for today’s gang violence. Despite the high levels of food insufficiency, poverty, and inadequate social services in the black community in Chicago, millions of dollars were spent to build and renovate  Millennium Park, Soldier Field, McCormick Place, and other touroist  attractions. Moreover, Chicago spent $2.5 billion for their share in the cost in the imperialistic Iraq war – money which could have been utilized to provide basic needs for black families. [vii]This is the institutionalized racism which is often more deadly than personal acts of racial violence because it is invisible and ignored.

In the next article, we will look at the on-going instances of institutionalized racism in Chicago which maintains the ghettos within the city.

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[i] Racial Oppression In The Global Metropolis: A Living Black Chicago History by Paul L. Street. (pg 103)

[ii] King Brings His Protest to Chicago, http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1997-09-16/news/9709160108_1_king-marquette-park-demonstrations

[iii] American Apartheid, Segregation and the making of the Underclass by Douglass S. Massey A. Denton

 

[iv] Racial Oppression In The Global Metropolis: A Living Black Chicago History by Paul L. Street. (pg 140)

[v] Racial Oppression in the Global Metropolis: A Living Black Chicago History  By Paul Louis Street (PG 91)

 

[vi] Lil Bibby, And Sway, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27Vn-myn-FY

[vii] Racial Oppression In The Global Metropolis: A Living Black Chicago History by Paul L. Street (pg 8)