Shirley Johnson
by on October 13, 2020

There is a social annihilation occurring across communities throughout the United States, however, for the purposes of this series, I will only be focusing on the social disintegration in the black community and the perils of losing vital systems that establish and ground us as a people. When measuring the changes to the social structure of the black community, I am specifically examining these changes based upon alterations to religious belief systems (practicing of faith); negative influences of the entertainment industry on social thought/behavior, and the disappearance of a sense of community obligation.

Faith has always been a rock for us even back to the early days of our American experience. Our faith in God provided spiritual strength during the most tumultuous and uncertain times. Church not only provided a place to worship and fellowship but also a place to organize. Songs and hymns were often a vehicle for communicating messages and instructions for insurrections, protests, and other acts of civil disobedience. Moving forward from the Civil War through civil rights—faith was the candle that burned steadily—lighting our pathways to a better life. God’s faithfulness was evident in the black experience as social conditions and attitudes changed and became more favorable for blacks overall. Blacks were able to attend educational institutions and break into employment fields that were once prohibited. We were able to live in communities of our choosing and become entrepreneurs and business executives. Glass ceilings were shattered in many industries and the sky became the limit. An interesting observation of the black experience is that it is reminiscent of the Israelites. We were connected to God more consistently during times of oppression but seemed to rely less upon God’s guidance when the hand of the oppressor was lifted. There seemingly is a greater reliance on our own ability to be and do, than the need to seek God’s ways—this has been a major detriment to the black community. Faith provided a moral compass that guided decision making, behaviors and actions. It gave a moral mindset and created disciplines that resulted in people having respect for God, the house of God, our elders, ourselves, and one another. As the fabric of faith in the black community became tattered and frayed—the moral fabric within the community completely unraveled.
An old strategy in war when conquering a land was to kill the men first, then enslaving the women and children was easy because the defenders had been eliminated. If you want to devastate a community then eliminate the men first—the destruction of the women and children will be inevitable. The entertainment industry has been one of the biggest culprits in destroying the moral fabric of the black community. Music for example, changed from sweet songs about love, innocence and revolution/awaking to songs with hyper-sexualized lyrics, degrading and disrespectful messaging, anarchy and murder and death. As the lyrics changed, so did the attitudes and behaviors in our community—by our community and towards our community. Take rap music (mostly sung by black men) out right disrespecting and demeaning black women as “b*tches” and “h*es;” –merely sex objects for their use, pleasure, and discard. I hear young girls and women, sing these songs with elation like it is a badge of honor. It grieves my soul in an unexplainably way to hear young adults and women proudly say, “I am his main h*e” or “main b*tch”—what does that even mean? What kind of mindset makes a woman comfortable with and accepting of sharing their man with another woman, as long as she can be the “primary?” Our young girls are looking at strippers and scandalous reality stars as role models because these are the images pushed and pedaled by the entertainment industry as successful. In their desire to become Insta-famous, they see their bodies as a commodity—sold to the highest bidder without regard of the mental and emotional scars that result from a life lived without value. Our young men live life in the fast lane trying to build street cred through gang violence, drug dealing and having a slew of “baby’s mamas.” They seek a rap career (many are successful) where these messages of nothingness and negative imagery will be perpetuated. Others seek a professional career in sports—many successfully attain, but few give back or reinvest in the community in a tangible way. This is what social annihilation looks like lived out—instead of totally killing off men—make them part of the weaponry used to destroy their own women and children—extinguishing their own communities. Making it so that the people in the community are just as much a shell of themselves as the dilapidated buildings.
There becomes a diminished responsibility to community—we are no longer our brother’s keeper—it becomes every person for him/herself. The disadvantage to this mentality is that we are only strong when united—it was in unity that we were victorious in civil rights, voting rights and changing employment and living conditions. When divided, we can be picked off and conquered. In part 1, we briefly touched on the issues with extremely successful members of the black community selling us a bad bag of goods that encourages us to look at others for an excuse to be complacent, unproductive, and unsuccessful. Whether it be the fabricated “white privilege,” fizzled out white supremacy or cooperative “systemic racism” (as it cannot occur without our help)—these messages are needed to allow the wealthy to maintain their positions and keep the rest of us in our places. They too are tools of the system, but because they have lost their sense of community obligation, they, with ease push the agenda that keeps us struggling and feeling helpless and hopeless—feeble and fragile. Even President Obama and the Black Caucus (BC) joined in the kumbaya moment as he increased welfare benefits supported by the BC, rather than pushing jobs for people of all educational levels. It sends the message that the government will take care of you because you have been so crippled by the aforementioned nemeses, that you are just incapable of overcoming these obstacles and reaching your full potential. The irony is that the suggestions come from extremely wealthy black people, which begs the question—how did you make it? If Obama could be president of the greatest country, Oprah, could be (possibly) the biggest media mogul, LeBron could have multimillion-dollar contracts so much so that he attended the NAACP Forum on Systemic Oppression in a Ferrari—then what’s holding you back from your success? They are! Unlike the trail blazers before them, paving a way forward for all blacks, they have decided that it is better to crave out a slice of paradise for themselves, which can incrementally expand by keeping the masses out. They move out of the communities and make sure not to invest in their communities, which assures it will go under. Every other group reinvests in their community and those communities flourish. The problem is that these blacks superpowers do not see themselves as actual members of the black community—rather they are guardians of the black community—designated to make us feel like we are all in this together; while doling out their propaganda from their ivory towers. Social annihilation does not have to continue, we as a community can turn back to our faith—the only guiding force that has worked consistently for us, reclaim the minds and souls of our youth and call the social propaganda pushers bluffs and demand they show up in the community as they pretend to instead of hiding out!
Next week, we will discuss family, educational and financial annihilation.

Posted in: Education, Society
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