Originally Appeared on The Daily Voice
"It gets deeper than depression/ The power of suggestion awake a sleeper, peep the lesson."-
-- DOOM, Microwave Mayo, Born Like This (2009).
"You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them... And it's not surprising then, [that] they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."-
-- President Barack Hussein Obama, San Francisco, 2008.
"Hollywood threw acid in both your eyes before you were seven years old. You're blind, that's the first thing you realize is that you're blind. Later on, you begin to see""something. And, then, you begin to see why you couldn't see."-
-- Baldwin, James. Just Above My Head. New York: Dell Publishing, 1978, p. 529.President Obama was right, in his comments about xenophobia being an escape route for some financially challenged people, and those who accused him of "elitism"--Clinton, McCain, etc.--ought to be at their knees right now, begging for his forgiveness, and that of the more than a dozen people killed last Friday, at the Binghamton, NY American Civic Association center. According to police reports, 42-year-old Jiverly Voong, a Vietnamese immigrant, had just been let go from his former job at IBM, recently. This, undoubtedly, though not justifiably, puts his rampage in context. Obama explained at the San Francisco fundraiser that the disappearance of jobs "through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration" had failed to "regenerate" those communities. His honest and candid remarks seemed to fly above the heads of his then-opponents, who were hell-bent on having no parts of the truth. The McCain campaign railed against this brand of "elitism and condescension towards hardworking Americans that is nothing short of breathtaking," which, as they saw it, made it "hard to imagine someone running for president who is more out of touch with average Americans." Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was just as convinced that Obama was in running to becoming "a president who looks down on" the "resilient" positive [people] who are rolling up their sleeves." Where Do WE Go From Here?
The media, unfortunately, followed suit, and helped out in promulgating the notion, fueled by McCain and Clinton's camps, that such comments reeked of a firm disconnection with the reality facing small towns. The media successfully brainwashed economically disenfranchised people into thinking ill of Obama's statements. The media, our media, failed us woefully. Where Do WE Go From Here?
The Black Community's hate/hate relationship with mainstream press has long remained firm--and for the reasons outlined above. Black folks have long questioned commercial media's interest in their affairs, and as more unravels in its interaction with--demonization of (subtle and forthright)--First Lady Michelle Obama, the level of distrust is expected to pick up new heights. Where Do WE Go From Here?
Documentation of the hazardous effects of unregulated TV-watching is in no short supply. For decades now, psychologists have discovered that the effect of a TV-screen flickering induces a mild-hypnotic state in the viewer, and consequently, switches the brain-wave from a Beta state to an Alpha state. With the Alpha understood as the perfect state for education and indoctrination, we must begin to question why TV News and TV advertisements utilize so much rapid-paced images and colorful graphics in their broadcasting. We must start interrogating the impact our reliance on external sources of media, for information, is having on our psyche, and community at-large. Where Do WE Go From Here?
The death of 34-year old Jamaican native Jdimytai Damour, last November, at the hands of greedy Wal-Mart shoppers confirms my suspicion. Following years of commercial campaigns, these consumers had been reduced to lab rats, trained to chase after a poisoned-cheese--or discount products. Damour's body was rendered lifeless, in a matter of minutes, after the legion of buyers broke down the door he stood before, stampeding their way through the store. As eye-witness accounts revealed, the shoppers, informed of the consequences of their actions, shamelessly proceeded to their respective aisles, in search of the desired commodities. In spite of the reality before them, they neglected the orders of store-clerks, urging them to stop shopping. It is true that personal responsibility could have abated the horrific incident that took place that frigid November morning, but it's also true that corporate irresponsibility, run amok, played the largest role in that true-life drama. Where Do WE Go From Here?
It's no secret that we live amongst a generation unconcerned with the next man/woman's burden. Jesus' calls for a "love thy neighbor as thyself" philosophy must have skipped the consciousness of our most Christ-loving fellow men/women. It's hard to believe that the same folks affirming a devotion to biblical principles fail to adhere to the most solemn scripture commanding a practice of "thy brother's [and sister's] keeper." Pain becomes less afflicting when one is bound by the shackles of the reality we currently exist in. A reality wherein an unemployed human being can walk into an immigration center, park his car in front of the exit door, shoot two receptionists, and walk into several rooms, firing upon whomever he finds reason to. A reality wherein churches have become constant targets for the rage of folks with a corrupted philosophy of political conservatism. A reality wherein we witness talk-show hosts reveling in their ability to degrade First Ladies as nothing but drag-queens and fashion models. A reality wherein we remain trapped in the cage of indifference and cold-blooded narcissism. Where Do WE Go From Here?
Critics of rap music, and those quick to blame the genre for everything wrong with the world, are helpless in this scenario. Blockbuster movies like "Scarface" and "The Godfather" trilogy amply remind us of societies' deadly infatuation with violence. Video games are no exception. The surge of violence-centered video games like "50 Cent: Bulletproof," "Def Jam: Icon" and "Grand Theft Auto," reveal a trembling reality. It informs us that entertainment corporations are willing--indeed, eager--to slide down the age poll--long as it contains the guarantee of revenue. Psychologists Craig A. Anderson, PhD, and Karen E. Dill, PhD, who have conducted studies to determine the effects of these games on the minds of impressionable teenagers, concluded that "young men who are habitually aggressive may be especially vulnerable to the aggression-enhancing effects of repeated exposure to violent games," which could lead to the implementation of those graphic fantasies in "real-life conflict situations." Where Do WE Go From Here?
WE go from here knowing that we live in the most racist, sexist, classist, homophobic, xenophobic and prejudiced world in the entirety of humanity. We go from here confident of the future which awaits us--one of pain, possibility and pleasure. We go from here knowing that we come from the loins of a people so resilient in their struggle against White Supremacy/Patriarchy/Capitalism, that they were willing to, in true biblical fashion, lay down their lives on our behalf (1 John 3: 16). We go from here steadfast in our mission to make the world one inch better than the way we found it upon our arrival. And we go from here guilt-free, aware that we live in an imperfect world, but one, nevertheless, susceptible to change. That's where WE go from here.