The Undeclared War in America There is an undeclared war raging in America. In every urban city across this country, young black males are being murdered at record numbers, not by the police, nor by the government or the Ku Klux Klan, but by their peers. From 2001 to 2010, there were 996 American deaths in the war in Afghanistan. In that same 9-year period, there were over 1,000 murders in the city of Oakland. The violence in the black community has reached epidemic proportions and has spread like a tumor. Yet this problem is largely ignored. Although overall crime is down all across America, the murder rate remains high. It seems that acts of violence perpetrated by members of the black community against our own have become all too common and with each new generation the shooters are getting younger and more brazen. But how did it come to this? How has the violence become so common, how has it spiraled so far out of control and why is there not a mainstream, public outcry? How have so many of the black youth of today developed this total disregard for life, which allows them to wage open warfare against each other, often resulting in the killing of innocent bystanders; including women and children. To answer these questions requires an examination of the root causes of this massive problem and of our countries involvement in the creation of these problems. We must look deeper than individual accountability and start to look at this problem from a larger social context. Our governmentâ€™s social and economic policies have created urban ghettos in America that are plagued by drugs, poverty and joblessness. The US Government is complicit in the attack, discriminating practices and the impoverishment of Black America. In this pamphlet, we will dive into some of the root causes and possible solutions.
ENDANGERED SPECIES White Flight vs. Black Plight There are many factors that have led to the current state of black America. During the postwar era, Oakland was one of the cities hit hard by job flight and the redistribution of federal money, which followed white flight into the suburbs. During this time, black neighborhoods were carved out and redlined by private banks and government agencies that dictated where blacks were allowed to live and what schools they were allowed to attend. Restrictive covenants and discriminatory lending practices by private banks and federal government agencies kept blacks from moving to the suburbs with their white counterparts. These factors made it extremely hard for blacks to own a home and kept them boxed in, in neighborhoods with limited resources and a rapidly declining job market. Robert O. Self, a professor of history and urban studies at the University of Wisconsin states: “Urban history was characterized by deindustrialization and ghetto formation…the federal government did not stand idly by…its housing policies helped to develop some places and under develop others. Programs like urban renewal subsidized the accumulation of wealth and other resources among some groups, primarily white property holders, and denied those subsidies and protections to other groups-primarily African Americans.” To put it plain and simple, African Americans were systematically and economically oppressed by the white power structure and forced to live in underdeveloped neighborhoods, which have degenerated to the poverty-stricken ghettos of today. These racist tactics along with many others were used to keep African Americans at the bottom of the social structure and locked out of the American dream. This, in essence was racial and economic warfare waged on African Americans living in the city of Oakland and it was these policies and others like it that created the concentrated poverty we see today in neighborhoods like East and West Oakland. This is in sharp contrast to the white 2
GENOCIDE IN AMERICA communities of Oakland and the surrounding areas who were experiencing tremendous gains with home ownership, income and wealth accumulation. The postwar era was filled with systematic inequalities that gave whites economic advantages and denied blacks those same opportunities. Robert O. Self goes on to say, “Oakland embodied the seeming contradictions of the postwar American metropolis. It was characterized by poverty amidst wealth; racial apartheid at the heart of liberalism; and high unemployment in periods of growth.” Later on, in the late 1960’s and 70’s the further decline in the job market and closing of the majority of factories in Oakland would be another blow to working class people of all races, but particularly people of color. Masses of people were laid off in Oakland and all across the country and found it extremely difficult to continue to support their families. It was this ghetto formation and concentration of poverty that eventually helped to create the violent landscape of Oakland we see today. Combined with the racist practicing of redlining, which designated where blacks could live and buy property which effectively boxed them in to these segregated neighborhoods which we now call the ghetto. These racist tactics by the hands of city planners took place in East Oakland, West Oakland, North Richmond and basically every major metropolitan city with a high concentration of blacks. White flight started in cities like Oakland when blacks began to move into the city from down south seeking employment with the Port of Oakland and the many factories that used to employ local residents. These were jobs that didn’t pay great, but families were able to scrape by and make a living which enabled the black family to remain intact. Whites moved to the outskirts and suburban areas like Antioch and Brentwood and took with them the resources and federally funded programs that were put in place to help citizens achieve the American Dream. Unfortunately, the American Dream 3
ENDANGERED SPECIES was only designated for people of European decent and excluded the black and brown citizens who were considered second class citizens and undesirables. City planners made a conscious decision to section off blacks in segregated communities and give them little to no resources while pouring all the resources and jobs into the white suburban communities where they managed to purchase homes, land and build credit. Because of these programs that they denied Blacks, whites today have been able to pass down property and wealth to their children while African Americans are still struggling, financially, mentally, and spiritual because of the appalling tactics employed to keep them at the bottom of the economic ladder. FBI COINTELPRO The infiltration and disruption of black organizations under the FBIâ€™s Counter Intelligence Program or COINTELPRO, played a huge role in destabilizing black communities. The assassination of some of the most effective and influential black leaders such as Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Bunchy Carter, Fred Hampton, and a sixteen-year-old, unarmed Bobby Hutton by racial terrorists and certain government agencies as well as the framing and jailing of black activists crippled black communities. Leaders and organizers such as Mumia Abul-Jamal, Geronimo Pratt, Mutulu Shakur and Afeni Shakur were targeted and neutralized by any means necessary, which included witness tampering, planting of evidence, false statements and trumped up charges. The leadership of the Black Power and Civil Rights Movements were decapitated, cut off from the community it represented, leaving the people voiceless, powerless and vulnerable. The Introduction of Crack Cocaine The final blow came in the 1980â€™s with the introduction of crack cocaine and automatic weapons into urban communities with the aid of the US government. At the same time, while then sitting 4
GENOCIDE IN AMERICA president Ronald Reagan was launching his highly publicized “War on Drugs”, cocaine was flowing freely into the US under the protection of clandestine CIA programs in an effort to raise capital to fund covert US wars in Central America, since congress refused to fund any more wars. Nicaraguan nationals known as Contras or counter-revolutionaries, were given immunity to move across borders and set up major cocaine distribution networks, in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Oakland. They created a pipeline that unloaded tons of cocaine into urban areas, mostly black and brown communities. Gary Webb, an investigative journalist for the San Jose Mercury News uncovered the conspiracy and wrote about it in a series of articles entitled “The Dark Alliance.” In this 1996 article he states: “For the better part of a decade, A San Francisco Bay area drug ring sold tons of cocaine to the Crips and Bloods street gangs of Los Angeles and funneled millions in drug profits to an arm of the Contra guerillas of Nicaragua run by the Central Intelligence Agency…The cocaine that flooded in helped spark a crack explosion in urban America, and provided the cash and connections needed for L.A.’s gangs to buy weapons and expand their operations all across the country.” The poverty and high unemployment rates created by our government’s economic policies left Oakland and other black communities weak and vulnerable. The US Government and Contras saw this as an opportunity and the perfect drug market to raise money for their operations. Former LAPD Narcotics Detective Mike Ruppert, who was forced out of the LAPD for investigating police ties to CIA drug trafficking, also blew the whistle on the governments drug operations. In a 2002 documentary called Crack the CIA, Ruppert states, “I saw the hands-on working relationship, the interface between local police departments and the CIA. What we saw was a 5
ENDANGERED SPECIES deliberate effort by the agency to make sure that large quantities of the cocaine got into the inner cities.” A chosen few became millionaires overnight, but ultimately, the drug trade became the main factor in the destruction of black families and communities. According to Oakland Tribune journalist Scott Johnson, “Within a single generation, national homicide rates for young black males more than doubled, foster care enrollment rose and families fell apart. A steady course of African-American progress was essentially halted in its tracks as the crack epidemic escalated, peaked and finally in the late 90’s began to subside.” The close-knit family, which has historically been a cultural feature in the African American community, was decimated in a short period of time. The introduction of military grade weaponry and crack cocaine into the black community was like pouring gasoline on a forest fire and disenfranchised people of these oppressed communities were quickly engulfed in the flames. The floodgates of cocaine and machine guns that was opened by the US government created a volatile climate in the urban ghettos of America and we are still feeling the aftershocks. Entire communities become devastated by the drug trade which the US Government fully endorsed. CIA planes, piolets and operatives had their boots on the ground getting their hands dirty in this deplorable scheme that lead up to Oliver North and all the way to the top up to Ronald Reagan Himself. Our Current Dilemma To some it may seem African-Americans have made tremendous progress in this country but when you take a closer look at the trends and statistics it begins to paint a bleaker picture. According to a report by the Justice Policy Institute, the number of black men in prison has grown to five times the rate it was twenty 6
GENOCIDE IN AMERICA years ago. Today more African-American men are in jail than in college. According to the latest figures from the Rand Corp in parts of Oakland, black males are at least 16 times more likely to die from homicide than their white peers. The kids of today face almost insurmountable obstacles and the odds are stacked up against them. Those obstacles include avoiding the school to prison pipeline that is built into the fabric of the justice system, and how to survive in their own neighborhoods that have become war zones. The social and economic policies of our government, both local and federal, that has led to ghetto formations in Oakland and cities across this country have created a toxic landscape within these urban communities. Poverty, joblessness, drugs and violence have taken its toll and the worst affected more resemble a warzone in some foreign country than a major metropolitan city in America. Award winning author Sebastian Junger who wrote War, a book about the war in Afghanistan pointed out that, “You’d have to go to a remote firebase…to find a level of risk that surpasses that of simply being a male adolescent back home.” Junger also found that, according to the Centers for Disease Control, statitically it is safer to be deployed to an American military base in Afghanistan or Iraq than to survive unprotected in many parts of America, including some of the worst parts of Oakland. For kids growing up in these communities the stress can be toxic and the psychological effects detrimental. James Garbino, an expert on trauma at Layola University in Chicago has worked in warzones like Bosnia and Iraq. According to him, “Children in these neighborhoods get assaulted, shot at, traumatized, and then swept up in this arms race of escalation… fear leads to action, which leads to pre-emptive assault.” This explains why the shooters are getting younger and more violent. It is a natural reaction to avoid the trauma of becoming a victim. Children grow up in these conditions and are forced to 7
ENDANGERED SPECIES survive and adapt, and like soldiers they cope by overcompensating. John Rich, a physician and trauma specialist at Drexel University in Philadelphia refers to this cycle of increasing vigilance and violence as â€œhyperarousal.â€? Rich and his colleagues did a study with innercity kids in Philadelphia. These kids were from neighborhoods that were similar to some of the worst parts of Oakland and they found that kids who feared for their lives on a day-to-day basis had low expectations for their future. The dilapidated schools and limited to no resources that are accessible to these kids leaves a lot of them with no positive outlets and even fewer options. The consequences of this can often be catastrophic and for many of them, this may affect how much they value their life and the lives of others. It is these grim conditions combined with social stress and a lack of hope that desensitizes a child and makes them more prone to violence. Without the history of racism, discrimination and the decades of inequality, ghetto formation and influx of drugs, these social problems that kids face today would be few to non-existent. There are many other factors that have contributed to this huge dilemma and to deny that would be oversimplifying the problem. There are also many different angles from which to approach this issue, but the evidence and history proves that US government policies, both past and present have created huge social problems that has resulted in black on black violence on a nationwide scale. These facts certainly are not excuses meant to free the individual from personal accountability. But rather a critique of the social constructs of our society, which are perpetuated by the US government and certain private institutions that leads to the creation of these domestic war zones. Many of todayâ€™s younger generation do not identify or may not even be aware of the political and economic struggles and sacrifices their ancestors had to endure in the past. They are oblivious to the great deal of time and money that powerful politicians and city planners put into constructing their neighborhoods to be prisons 8
GENOCIDE IN AMERICA without walls, designed to segregate them from whites, limit their resources and over all minimize their life potential. All they see is the consequences that have come out of that. The poverty, hopelessness and violence that permeate their neighborhoods, to them are normal. The cold reality is that too many of them do not have the necessary tools to navigate themselves out of their circumstances and end up being casualties or falling victim to their environment. Create Our Own Narrative There were many triumphs that came out of the civil rights movements, which resulted in positive racial change. Its 2018 and we now have had our first black president. We have programs in place such as affirmative action and scholarships designed to get disadvantaged youth into college. We have a new phenomenon called Hip-Hop that has spread to every corner of the globe. Black moguls such as Jay-Z and Rick Ross run their own companies and employ their own people. They rank high on the Forbes list, having an estimated worth as high as 500 million dollars. Hip-Hop has emerged as the dominant culture of the day and has enormous influence over the youth. But unfortunately, Hip-Hop has been saturated with images that reinforce stereotypes and promote misogyny and violence. Too often rappers glorify the killing that is going on in these neighborhoods and there are not enough positive messages in rap to counter the negative and give a more balanced representation. Of course, this negative imagery has always been a part of Hip-Hop and has historically served as a mirror to hold up to America to show the masses the harsh realities of urban life. But today it has been hi-jacked and commercialized by white corporate America for a profit. It seems we are systematically being force fed one aspect of Hip-Hop that glamourizes a lifestyle that is neither realistic nor attainable to 99% of the people that listen to it. The picture that 9
ENDANGERED SPECIES the Hip-Hop culture paints on a broad scale is not accurate and depicts only a small fraction of the black experience in America. Although the artists create jobs as well as benefit financially, they make nothing in comparison to the corporate bigwigs that target and exploit both the artists and the consumers. This glamorization of an unattainable lifestyle achieved though illegal and unlawful means benefits corporate interests and serves an even more sinister purpose by subliminally distracting the people from the real issues that affect their daily lives. It reinforces a lifestyle that will streamline them straight into private prisons that are being built right now for our youth. Private profiteers benefit from prison labor which, in essence, is modern day slave labor. Rappers like to say that they are not role models; on the contrary they are indeed role models and the most influential leaders of our community today. They need to stand up and take some accountability for the content of their music and the message they are sending to the youth. They have an incredibly huge opportunity to use their influence to inspire and educate the youth. Not just the rappers but athletes and entertainers alike all have a platform which can be incredibly effective if harnessed for the right purpose. The youth of today know all too well about the guns, drugs, and crime that plagues their communities; they see it first-hand every day in their own neighborhoods. What a lot of them donâ€™t know and donâ€™t see, is the other side of the coin--why there is so much violence and poverty around them or how to transcend their current situation. As black men and women, we need to step up and start taking more responsibility for educating our young. We can no longer depend on a public school system that teaches them history through a European perspective, a history that has been re-written and redacted in an attempt to hide the true history of the world, a world where Africans created the building blocks for civilization and a melanated world that was highly evolved, both mentally and spiritually. 10
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What is Your Purpose? Is life worth living when living it without a purpose? Barley scratching the surface of what life has to offer Without money and material objects Do you feel unworthy or worthless? We measure success by how much material objects one can obtain Instead of measuring it by the health of oneâ€™s mind, body and soul and the level of spirituality one can ascend to and attain Weaponizing your own status and wealth to elevate yourself With the intent to demean your own people Ancestors suffered through the most inhuman forms of physical & mental anguish We inherited that trauma and internalized that evil Now it is easy for us to kill our own Cause weâ€™re instilled with a deep sense of self-hatred Release your mind from its current paradigm and you shall find the glitch within the matrix Recognize your allies and identify your common enemy The ultimate purpose is to be of service to your community Uplift your people spiritually, physically and mentally What is your Purpose?
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A real look into the inner-cities of America and the violence that is plaguing our communities. In Endangered Species, I take you back in ti...
Published on Apr 17, 2018
A real look into the inner-cities of America and the violence that is plaguing our communities. In Endangered Species, I take you back in ti...