Friday, May 13, 2016

Do U.S. blacks face "genocide"? (rap videos)

Robert Johnson, Paul Leighton (Journal of African American Men via via; Seth Auberon, Pat Macpherson, CC Liu (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly

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Black Genocide?  Thoughts on the Plight of USA's Poor Black Men
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ABSTRACT: This article aims to offer an examination of the claim that poor African American men are subjected to conditions of life that are sufficiently destructive to amount to an instance of genocide. Genocide is defined as grossly disproportionate death rates, which are examined as one of many products of social deprivation. This is indirect genocide (which involves creating life conditions that destroy a group and promotes black on black violence) making the inference of direct intent difficult because of ideological racism.
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“Not since slavery,” notes former U.S. Secretary of Human Services Dr. Louis Sullivan, “has so much calamity and ongoing catastrophe been visited on Black males” (Majors & Gordon, 1994:ix).

The calamities and catastrophes to which Dr. Sullivan alludes fall disproportionately on poor black males, especially the poor young black men who inhabit our nation’s ghettos. This has led many observers to characterize poor black men as an endangered species (see Gibbs, 1988).

Mortality data and other social indicators, discussed in this article, suggest that Dr. Sullivan’s observation is fundamentally correct, particularly when it is applied to the plight of poor black men.

The notion that these men comprise an endangered species is, however, a misleading and ultimately counterproductive one.’ A more accurate view, though we can offer only tentative proof and argument at this juncture, is that such men may be victims of genocide.

(We believe this claim holds for poor black women as well, but that takes us beyond the confines of this article).
Those who identify poor black men as an endangered species do so out of concern, to raise an alarm and move society to compassionate action.
The term "genocide" is thus used with the best of intentions. The very notion of an endangered species of people is dehumanizing. Referring to any group or subgroup of people as a “species,” let alone as one at risk, sets them apart, implicitly, as less than fully equal with others.

Such labels may inadvertently reinforce harmful stereotypes of poor black men. And this may make it harder for outsiders to fully appreciate the scope of the pressures affecting black lives, pressures that may well be reaching genocidal proportions.
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As a general matter, people are strongly inclined to deny genocide wherever and whenever it occurs, and to do so firmly, and even passionately, when the group at issue can be readily dehumanized (see Chalk and Jonassohn, 1990:7).

This is clearly the case with the black men in our inner cities.

It is a bitter irony that, for many in the larger white society, they comprise not only different species of men but a distinctly predatory group that is largely if not entirely responsible for their impoverished, violent, and shortened lives.

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Few care to invest time or money in the preservation of this endangered species. It is to be expected, then, that the subject of black genocide has not been assessed in objective or dispassionate terms. White scholars have essentially ignored the issue, viewing the claim as a type of lunacy.
An earlier black scholar named Patterson formally charged the United States with the genocide of blacks in the United Nations during the 1950s (see Patterson, 1970, 1971). Later black writers have tackled the issue (Weisbord, 1975; Welsing, 1974), but they have done so in a piecemeal fashion and have failed to ground their arguments in the intellectual tradition of genocide research.
There can be no doubt that many African Americans sincerely believe that the more marginal members of their community, if not indeed all black Americans, are actual or potential targets of genocide in America today....

Several instances of man-made famine have resulted in genocide. These famines are man-made in the sense that they were created or tolerated as a matter of policy.

The indirect violence of policies that allow the ravages of famine “combines advantages -- for the perpetrators -- of costing very little while at the same time putting physical distance between them and the victims” (Jonassohn, 1992:23; see also Smith, 1987:35).

If creating or tolerating a famine is genocidal, why it is not genocidal to create or tolerate multiple destructive life conditions for blacks? This includes
  • high infant mortality
  • limited access to health care
  • crushing poverty
  • inadequate schools
  • crime-racked neighborhoods
  • presence of toxic waste
-- all conditions that apply to the daily existence of poor black Americans (see, Reiman, 1995).
An obvious case of indirect genocide occurs when the perpetrator creates a condition (such as famine) that destroys a group.

Irish potato famine example

The Irish potato famine of the nineteenth century comes readily to mind. Policies set in England resulted in shortages of food in Ireland; hunger, aided by diseases that run rampant in malnourished groups, terminated lives on a large scale.
Throughout, destructive policies were left in place, even as the dead accumulated (see Woodham-Smith, 1980; Rubenstein, 1987 2S7).

With the creation of more amorphous conditions such as poverty, however, genocidal results may be achieved through self destructive adaptations to those conditions. The link between policy and outcome remains but is less obvious.
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In America, at least, poverty rarely kills directly. Few people drop dead in the streets from hunger or exposure to the elements.
But poverty does produce a range of physical and psychological stresses, and some reactions to these stresses are expressed in behaviors that destroy life.

We therefore suggest that destruction need not come only from outside the group. Members of the disadvantaged group may contribute to their own victimization through adaptations to bleak life conditions that include violence directed at self or others (e.g., suicide and homicide) as well as self-destructive lifestyles (notably addiction to drugs and alcohol).

Williams, in his classic Destruction of Black Civilization, writes:
They, the so-called criminals and their youthful followers, expect nothing beneficial from the white world, and they see no reason for hope in their own. Hence, like caged animals, they strike at what is nearest them -- their own people.
They are actually trying to kill a situation they hate, unaware that even in this, they are serving the white man well.
For the whites need not go all out for “genocide” schemes, for which they are often charged, when blacks are killing themselves off daily on such a large scale (1987:325).
Adaptations that produce high rates of such destructive behavior, such as intra-group violence, suicide, and addiction, may thus serve as vehicles of genocide.
Indirect genocide, then, can be expressed in part in the self-destructive adaptations of victim groups to the deprivations of life inflicted upon them by the larger society. More

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