African-Americans embrace all that is negative and destructive

They walk down the path of self-destruction...obliviously?

I was reading Clutch Magazine and was struck by an article talking about a writer at Grazia Daily UK describing afros as "ghetto fabulous." I hate hate hate when the word "ghetto" is used as a synonym for African-Americans, and even though I felt motivated to lash out at Caucasian ignorance, I realized that we share a significant part of the blame. It has become part of our culture to embrace and internalize negativity. It is as if we have a campaign to "claim" everything that is bad. We were called "nigger,"so instead of stomping our foot down and proclaiming, "No, I am too a man" we feel the need to "take back" the word. American's dehumanization of us caused us to be in poverty, but instead of saying "I am going to fight out of this quagmire," we accept the ghetto as our home and see it as something to be celebrated. I searched "ghetto" under song title at and found 108 songs glorifying life in the ghetto! Dang, it's like James and Florida fighting their whole life to get out of the projects just for J.J., Themla, and Michael wanting to stay in. How African-Americans have become so content with being third class citizens is beyond unsettling. How can we get ahead when we glamorize poverty and crime--when we don't even see that we are in trouble in the first place? That is what separated the African-Americans in the 60s and earlier from us today. They recognized they were drowning and were desperate to know how to swim. People to day have their head underwater but are too ignorant to fight to keep their head above. It is as if we look at others, such as our president and the prominent figures in African-American History Month, and use them to delude ourselves that we have equal status. Is it that our eyes are so focus on the past that we cannot see where are today? Has the illusion of a post-racial America made us believe that we are at dead end-- that there is no more to achieve? And most importantly, how can we slap ourselves out of this fantasy?


Anna Renee said...

Hi there Black Bot! I don't think its that we "embrace and internalize negativity" as much as we redefine the meaning of the terms used as weapons against us. We have a knack for taking those negative words that come at us from outside and turn them around and reuse them. Because in truth others have and still do call us those negative words and always try to crush our spirit and self respect and sense of unity. So its actually ingenious for us to destroy the negative and destructive meanings and crush the negative intent and turn it into something "ghetto fabulous". We actually arent as stupid, confused, debased, pathological, evil, and whatever words one can use against us as others would have us believe about ourselves. For many, the "ghetto" is where they live, not how they live. In the "ghetto" there are many many hard working families and people actually holding their heads up. I think you'd be surprised at the campaign of negativity thats waged against us on a regular basis. Its covert and overt. And many folks outside the ghetto are the ones who internalize black self hatred. We cant stop others from trying to use those negative words against us. Never will be able to. So to change the meaning of those horrible demoralizing words is a touch of genius, and we have perfected that art! Believe me, most of us dont want to live in poverty and are doing all to figure a way out of poverty. There are those who glamorize crime, but they exist in EVERY community! Especially the community of Wall STreet! How many Al Capone type movies are there? We African Americans are anything but content with third class citizenship! The blogosphere will certainly attest to that! I dont believe that there is a separation of African Americans today from those in the 60s, just that times are different so the fight is different, less glamourous. Its a very very dangerous thing to define oneself by what we see in the regular media. Because they display prominently the negativity and obscure what is positive. And for themselves, they obscure what is negative and display highly what is positive. They downplay Jihad Jane, and the man who ran a plane into a building, yet they display everything they find thats negative about us, 24-7. We end up with a skewed understanding of ourselves and start believing that we're just damned stupid. Remember Black Bot, we have to search out very hard for our triumphant stories in the face of brutal psychological warfare waged against us! Come to my Black Culture blog and check out the link I provided of a "CNN" story where a brother imagines how whites would look in the media if their negative stories were broadcast constantly before the nation, as ours are. They look quite depraved to me.
dated 2-27-10

The Black Bot said...

Thanks for commenting. I partly agree. First, I believe that AAs should have more pride than to use words that were designed to dehumanize us to uplift us. We should define ourselves on our own terms. Not take others' weapons for own own identification. Secondly, where has this gotten us so far? I don't see how the destruction has gone at all. How has calling ourselves niggers and celebrating ghetto-hood uplifted us at all? Accepting this has only taught that our place is under the foot of the rest of American society and made us content with that.

"We actually arent as stupid, confused, debased, pathological, evil, and whatever words one can use against us as others would have us believe about ourselves."
I absolutely agree with that. I'm not saying that we are all doomed, but there many of us have been trained to think an a self-detrimental way. We must confront that so we can correct it.

"In the "ghetto" there are many many hard working families and people actually holding their heads up."
I'm not disparaging people who live in the ghetto. I know many are hard working, but so many don't see how terrible it is for them to be there because ghetto life has been so glamorized in recent days. That must stop.

"So to change the meaning of those horrible demoralizing words is a touch of genius, and we have perfected that art!"
It is only a subtle way of training people to accept their low status in society. Word always retain their negative connotations. Why would one desire to cling to words that were designed to tear us down in the first place?! Also, whether others glamorize crime doesn't negate the effect of it in our communities.

"We end up with a skewed understanding of ourselves and start believing that we're just damned stupid."
Absolutely! Unfortunately, because we have been trained to accept the negative about ourselves, I don't think we recognize this.

Anonymous said...

Hmm, I seemed to have stumbled upon a very interesting discussion. Being an African American myself, I feel as though I must add my 2 cents..

Nothing inhibits growth more than conflict. Be-it friction within ones own mind or full scale conflict between societies or nations. Your not "moving forward" when...well...your not moving forward!


"Actually, thats not what we are, we are actually so beyond that mindset, that we do not even give the energy of struggle toward it."

We are this: A Loving, Joyous, Powerful, Graceful, Smart, Creative, Highly Highly Knowledgeable...race of people, and we simply do not choose the old axiom of being such the opposite.

Anonymous said...

Yes, we need to stop glamorizing the negative(sigh--as soon as integration happened, the drug scene took off with our spirit; starting with cannabus!!) and STOP PROTECTING OR MEN!! since theyre men, they could protect themselves and us when needed---thats what men do!! Once we learn these things, I think it would improve

Anonymous said...

'Black America' is DEAD. Save yourselves. The Gypsies of the west have arrived and very soon nothing will matter any more. They have sealed themselves into a box. The so called black academics are mentally disturbed individuals who have utter contempt for black males, right along with ill black American women. Black America is DEAD. Save yourselves.

Anonymous said...

No, the word ghetto is used to replace niggers. Because there are decent black folk, which are complected fine and have learned to live life just as everyone else, then there are niggers that think its cool to sag their pants, curse a lot, do drugs, blare rap from their overly modified cars,while being nothing but a burden to society and the human race as a whole.

Anonymous said...

Why do we have to embrace or accept stereotypes?

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, what you said is true. Most Black American males and Black American females are dbr (damaged beyond repair). Bill Cosby has been telling these folks the truth about themselves for years, but they'd rather stay in victim mode and listen to Al, Jesse, Maxine, and the NAACP (one of the most useless organization in existence).SMDH

Anonymous said...

You said it all.

Eamonn said...

Don't blame yourself if you're white and you see the black sub-Saharan Africans experiencing many trials
in the United States. They ALL are a lot worse off in MANY other nations other than the US.

The African people have their own Karma to burn - just like WHITE Northern Europeans, Chinese, and other people of color..

Stop blaming white people for what is essentially God's karmic force of justice - the Black Africans are decendant from the Egyptian Blacks of the Old Testament. They were very proud, worshiped false idols and fell very short of God's grace. STOP BLAMING WHITE PEOPLE FOR THE TRIALS AND BAD KARMA OF SUB-SAHARAN AFRICANS!!!

Anonymous said...

We need to realize that we are truly God's chosen people to enlightened and spiritualize this world. We fell short of obeying God so we are paying the price as a race of people but in time God will deliver us from our afflictions once we separate ourselves from sin within ourselves and realize who we are and teach our children who they are and who God is. Then we will be delivered from our oppression and returned to the land that we were taken from. Africa and what is now called the middle east.

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