The Results of Internalized Oppression

A colleague of mine notified me about what is happening in Cincinnati regarding the violence in the city’s urban communities. In many ways the issue is an old one, yet I would like to give my opinion on it nonetheless, as my younger brother was murdered back in 1995 in Baltimore, Md. He was shot to death and as yet no one has been apprehended or charged with his death. All that is known for certain is that a young African American male shot my brother and fled the scene with gun in hand.

It appears that last March eight African American men were gunned down in 10 days in the city of Cincinnati, Ohio.  These shootings prompted the United Way and other non-profit agencies to respond in a serious way to quell the violence.

According to journalist Mark Curnutte of the Cincinnati Enquier, of the “86 homicides since the beginning of 2009, seven out of ten were young African American men were shot, the majority of them in their teens or 20s.” Yes, there are many societal reasons for this anti-social behavior.  Drugs, unemployment, lack of education, wanting so called, “street cred”, which in my opinion is another way of saying that a functional definition of manhood is sorely lacking. Not to mention the apathy of society at large where many believe this does not concern me as long as it does not happen in my gated community. Many young men join gangs for a sense of family and a yearning to belong to something greater than themselves. This list is not exhaustive by any means. Nor is it meant to excuse criminal behavior. However, it is deeply disturbing.

Admittedly, it does tick me off when these crimes are labled, “black on black crime”. I do not hear this term used when others groups of the same race or ethnicity commit crimes against one another, but no more of that. When African American men (or anyone for that matter) but I am specifically speaking to this group, kill one another we have bought into the stereotype that we are indeed hyper sexual and violent. We have been taught to hate each other since slavery.  We have internalized this hatred . Therefore, this is not an inner city problem but an American problem. We forget this at our peril. The last plantation is the mind!

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