Fading To Black


Last week was dark for me. It rained every day but one last week and the police killed a few more black men in the United States. It’s just so confusing to me how we can disarm a person who bombs half of New York and take them in safely but we can’t take an unarmed black man into custody without putting a few bullet holes in his chest from point blank range.

I was in dire need of a respite but work called. Now I’m a little tired but I feel like work usually keeps me busy enough that my wheels don’t spin more than they should. If you know me and you’ve ever seen me, I get this look and you can tell that my mind is moving 100 miles per minute. I arrived at work today optimistic about having a good day until I started today’s lesson.

Today we looked at Census Data and population trends to help us understand how various demographics vote during elections. Population trends of course help us prepare for things we need to have in the future. We made it through the major demographics of people and one of my students picked up on something that I was hoping that I wouldn’t have to address. 

He said: “Mr. S., I’m looking at the population trends since 1970. The White population has gotten considerably larger, the Latino population has doubled, the Asian population has quadrupled. Why has the African-American population stayed the same?”

Before I could get anything out of my mouth one of the kids in the class yelled, “It’s the Police.” I raised my hand and said, “No son, its bigger than that. Let me explain.”

I get very few chances to give a history lesson on African Americans in my class but when I do, I go all in because for many of them, its the only time in their lives they will ever hear it. I start with the 1960’s, before the 1970 census was taken and talk about the Civil Rights issues that our country is facing at the time. It’s a good time to talk about drugs and guns and how they were both used to destroy the only real anchor of the growth of black people in American society. (The Black Panther Party).

We tend to forget that blacks don’t have the same access that white’s have in America, so how do the weapons and drugs end up in our communities when we can’t travel to the places where they are produced and bring them back to the hood, because we don’t have those types of resources.

By the time the 1980’s rolled around things weren’t getting any better. The first wave of mass incarceration began to destroy the ability of the black community to survive and the new wave of project housed centralized us to communities that would help promote black on black crime. They were called projects for a reason. We fell victim of low cost living and expectations as well as conflict resulted in our suppression.

The 1990s rolled around and people thought things were getting better and then a new epidemic hit the black community. Crack cocaine and H.I.V. Crack cocaine was an affordable drug that would change the face of the black community and HIV which was thought to be a homosexual disease became rampant in the black community. Even today, its the most prevalent in cities that are more than 50% African-American.

By the time 2000’s rolled around, the economy was so screwed, so many black men had been locked up, or black on black crime had created a surplus of murders in the black community that black women were subjected to raising young children by themselves. So gangs resurfaced and started claiming our kids. Gang activity has broken communities even more because now the black man is fighting wars on two fronts. He has to worry about being killed by racist white men, and his own people with an agenda.

So the population control of black men and women is real. The numbers aren’t growing like the rest of the demographics, because the rest of the demographics don’t have as many hurdles or variables to deal with. Maybe I gave the kid too much information and maybe it wasn’t enough but I’m sure he’ll never forget asking that question in my class.



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