8 Arguments Used to Blame Black People for Their Own Oppression — and How to Counteract Them

January 27, 2015

Black people are too intent on holding on to wrongdoings from the past. Therefore, they keep blaming someone else for their problems.

The list of wrongs done to Black people throughout their history in the U.S. that are still resonating in their lives today is extensive and extremely disturbing. As a result of hundreds of years of subjugation in an oppressive, racist system, Black households have one-tenth the wealth of white households in this country. While the Civil Rights Era enabled African-Americans to make great advances in the past 40 years — achieving high school, college and post-graduate degrees at accelerating rates — the disparities are still enormous and will take many generations to overcome without direct intervention. And by the way, the leveling of the playing field helps white people by enabling previously disadvantaged citizens to contribute to the nation’s economy to the full extent of their potential.

Outrage In Missouri Town After Police Shooting Of 18-Yr-Old Man

If Blacks weren’t committing so much crime, they wouldn’t get so much attention from police.

The common impulse of whites has always been to blame Blacks for pathologies that whites played a central role in creating. Criminologist Charles Silberman wrote in 1978 that “it would be hard to imagine an environment better calculated to evoke violence than the one in which black Americans have lived.” Pretending Black crime is a Black-created problem is like pretending New Orleans never got hit by a hurricane. Since the epidemic of unarmed Blacks being killed by police comes not when Black crime is high but when it is at its lowest level in generations, this argument that police are in Black communities because of the prevalence of crime appears not to be substantiated by the facts. Homicides committed by African-Americans declined by half between 1991 and 2008. Since the early 1990s, arrests of Black juveniles have plunged by more than half. In New York City, where Eric Garner was killed by police, the rate of homicides by Blacks is down by 80 percent. In Chicago, where most murders are committed by African-Americans, the number last year was the lowest since 1965 — and this year’s could be lower yet. And yet Blacks continue to be killed by police. Exploding crime in the Black community doesn’t appear to be the impetus.


Why don’t more Blacks living in bad neighborhoods learn to behave like sober middle-class suburbanites? 

One reason is the shortage of stable families, steady incomes, good schools and safe streets. If you grow up with those advantages, it’s relatively easy to do the right thing. If you don’t, it’s a lot harder. People trapped in a poor and dangerous slum can’t depend on the authorities to keep them safe. They face serious threats every time they leave home. But a young Black man who packs or uses a weapon to protect himself against gangs is committing a crime. Even motivated, well-intended kids can wind up in jail — something that happens all the time. Crime and poverty create a vicious cycle: A child raised in a chaotic environment is much less likely to learn the habits that foster success. Black children afflicted with these disadvantages often take the wrong path as teens or adults — and then white people act like the racist configurations of American society bear no responsibility. And when they turn out badly, people like former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani act as though whites bear no responsibility.

black-males reading

Young Black males are at greater risk for harm from their peers than from the police or white civilians.

There’s a lot we don’t know about how many people have actually been killed at police hands in the United States, thanks to woefully inadequate transparency and federal record-keeping. But there’s one thing we do know: Among those we know were shot by police, Black teens were 21 times more likely to be shot dead than their white counterparts. A report by ProPublica revealed that the 1,217 deadly police shootings from 2010 to 2012 captured in the federal data show that Blacks, age 15 to 19, were killed at a rate of 31.17 per million, while just 1.47 per million white males in that age range died at the hands of police. If whites were killed at the same ratio, there would have been another 185 white deaths during that three-year period, just in that narrow age range. In fact, Black people are much more likely to get killed in general, and not just by other Black people. One would think that African-Americans being at far higher risk for being killed in general would lead law enforcement to take pains to protect them fully and completely — not use this as a lame and non-factual excuse to justify having police do the killing instead of someone else.


Black people just want to live off the government instead of working.

The largest group of food-stamp recipients is white; 45 percent of all beneficiaries are children; and most people eligible for Medicaid are families with children in which at least one person in the household has a job. Despite ample and objective statistics showing that most welfare recipients are white families with children, the stereotype of the welfare queen persists. As for food stamps, whites made up 48 percent of recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in 2012, while Blacks were 26 percent of recipients and Hispanics were 21 percent. ”You’re talking about the working poor, and it’s a pretty sympathetic group,” said Tom Perriello of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. “They’re not welfare queens driving Cadillacs.  These are people trying to pay the bills and keep the lights on.” The connection of Black people to these entitlement programs by white elites has been an insidious and cynical way of building opposition to them among poor whites — the group who actually benefits from them more than any other group.


Black people aren’t interested in education.

Newly freed slaves were responsible for the creation of their own public education system in the South — a system that substantially influenced the separate public education system that developed for whites. In Georgia, when schools for freed people opened in early 1865, they were crowded to overflowing. Within a year of Black freedom, at least 8,000 former enslaved people were attending schools in Georgia; eight years later, Black schools struggled to contain nearly 20,000 students. This faith in education as a path out of poverty has not waned much over the years for Black people, though a lack of adequate funding by government for the schools of the poor has worked to sap the zeal for education in many Black communities. But for the most part, the lack of educational achievement of many Black children follows from the extraordinary rates at which their fathers are arrested and incarcerated, which means these men can contribute little or nothing to save their children from lives spent in poverty.


Black people don’t support their own.

Black history is replete with examples of the myriad ways that Black people have supported each other over time, such as the cooperative economic model that allowed places like “Black Wall Street” in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to thrive in the early 1900s — before it was burned down by angry whites in 1921. In Durham, North Carolina, Blacks came together to support each other in business to such a degree that their business district was also nicknamed “Black Wall Street.” In fact, in her book, “Collective Courage: A History of African American Cooperative Economic Thought and Practice,” author Jessica Gordon Nembhard, political economist and professor of community justice and social economic development at John Jay College in New York City, showed that Black history in the U.S. is filled with examples of Blacks supporting each other, such as the Colored Farmers National Alliance and Cooperative Union, which existed from 1886 to 1891 to aid Black farmers with challenges such as mortgage payments and marketing. At its height, it had more than 1 million members and branches/cooperative stores in the ports of Norfolk, Virginia; Charleston, South Carolina; Mobile, Alabama; New Orleans and Houston. In recent years, as the middle- and upper-income Blacks have dispersed, leading to the creation of many largely poor Black neighborhoods, the myth has taken hold that Blacks deny each other much-needed support. In many ways, it is a consequence of economic progress, where some Blacks no longer feel the same powerful pull of racial solidarity. But as the recent #BlackLivesMatter protests have demonstrated, Blacks are still bound to be there for each other when fighting outside foes.

Source: Nick Chiles

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