Jamie Mayes, AOE

Archive for April, 2016|Monthly archive page

Black Crime, Black Self Hate

In Culture, justice, life, media, News, prison, Race, reality, Uncategorized on April 14, 2016 at 7:38 pm

wpid-20150828_191001.jpgLast weekend was filled with tragedy in Louisiana. At least 3 African Americans lost their lives due to violence. Emotions were charged as people took to social media to voice their frustration over such unfortunate events in such a short period of time. However, it was not the reply of my white counterparts that made me cringe and grit my teeth. My people pulled out a phrase that burns my ears worse than nails on an old school chalkboard, “How can we keep crying about racism when black people kill each other every day?” Several thoughts ran through my head every time I saw a status update, tweet or post implying that racism in America is excusable because a certain portion of a population’s race is involved in violent acts. I suppose these are the same type of people who say that slavery could not have been that bad because black people sold other black people and there were black overseers and slave owners throughout history. Their justification for injustice is justifying the acts of the unjustified against an unjustly subjugated people. Read it twice. Read it slowly.

I guess what frustrates me the most is the alarming amount of evidence we have which dispels the myth that black on black crime is the biggest crime problem in America. Yet, people fail to research information for self and, instead, believe the skewed information presented by the news and media. According to the FBI website (link below), in 2013 white people accounted for 3799 manslaughter and non-negligent crimes, while black people accounted for 4,379 of the same crime. However, that gap widened as I continued to research. White people accounted for 8,946 rape crimes, while black people only accounted for less than half of that number at 4,229. White people accounted for 183,092 arrests for aggravated assault arrests, while black people accounted for 98, 748. As matter of a fact, white people exceed black people in criminal arrests in nearly every single category, sometimes with double or trouble the number of criminal acts committed. The total criminal arrests for white people were over six million, while black people had 2.5 million total arrests. Yet, the news and media outlets and society places primary focus on incidents by black people in black neighborhoods. We, then, ostracize and criticize our own people without being properly informed. Do not worry; the link for the website is below. Let your jaw drop a little; the numbers might shock you.

Do not fully rely on statistics for a full justice report, though. One astounding lesson I have learned over the years is that there is huge number of unreported crimes within the white community. Time after time, I have gotten vicarious information or heard stories about violent incidents within my community that were “taken care of” financially or through some other type of agreement. Within my professional experience, I had been told stories by individuals who committed offenses, but were “let off” several times because of family connections or racial advantage. I know I am not the only one who is privy this information; however, many who know this information ignore it and deny its relevance to the inaccurate portrayal of blacks in America.

Instead of treating the unfortunate incidents of last weekend like two isolated cases in two different cities, many people passed judgment on a race. They pulled a race card, but not a king or queen; it seems more like the joker. As much as individuals claim to hate being judged and stereotyped, so many fellow black Americans did both as soon as news of these fatalities was released. What used to create a sense of compassion in me now causes me to seethe with frustration and anger. I keep wondering when the black population will stop believing the labels and stereotypes that have been attached to our people by people who feel threatened by us. We have such a lack of self love individually that we are willing to accept what others say about us collectively. The truth is that we can never expect to see justice from the system if we do not see the value of our own race and culture. We have to start having a better attitude towards and about our people. We must make an important realization: when we support stereotypes and negative assumptions about our people, we as individuals are included the number. Agreeing with the derogatory statements made about our race does not make us an exception. Speaking against these misrepresentations of our people is the only way to combat the problem.

For many, the argument that black people are America’s biggest problem and that the black race is violent angry race that is destroying the country with crime seems small. However, it is this belief that has contributed to the alarming number of hate crimes against black people, prejudiced attitudes and biases, lack of cultural empathy and respect, and discrimination in work places. In essence, supporting a negative view of our culture has prohibited all of our people from receiving fair and equal treatment more often. One clichéd quote is true; we cannot expect others to respect us if we do not respect ourselves. We must change our perspective of our own people, research and information others of the truth and become positive advocates for changes in policies and attitudes.

There is an important lesson I have learned over the years, and it’s that numbers don’t lie. Educate yourself, people.

FBI Website:

https://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2013/crime-in-the-u.s.-2013/tables/table-43

 

 

Choose to Start Each Day with Optimism

In Uncategorized on April 8, 2016 at 4:30 pm

optimism“Sister, there are people all over this planet who went to sleep last night…who will never wake again. Their beds have become their cooling boards and their blankets have become their winding sheets, and they would give anything for five minutes of what that person was complaining about.”     -Maya Angelou on wisdom from her grandmother Ms. Henderson, Moyers& Company, 2014

There is a list of things I wish I could control: how my hair behaves in Louisiana humidity, the constantly fluctuating price of gas, the number of students in each of my class periods, the amazing rate at which my son grows (Can he stay a little baby for just a few more months?); the list could go on for days. However, the lesson I have learned is that I control absolutely nothing about this life. I am living because of God’s will, and I am fortunate to be under His grace and mercy.

It took many years to learn such a lesson, though. I was convinced, for a long time that I had control of nearly everything about my life, even though I knew and loved God. I told myself that proper preparation and making all of the right decisions guaranteed me a life of few struggles and constantly abundant blessings. Yet, being human meant I was still subject to err and that difficulties were a part of living and learning. While it is most important to live life righteously and to do what is right as frequently as possible, this does not guarantee a life free of struggle, worry and disappointment. In the midst of trying to control my uncontrollable life, I learned a most important lesson. Life is about how one chooses to start each day.

Every individual is bound to experience difficulties; some difficulties are long term and some are short term. Though we cannot control what we experience, we can control how we cope with each day. A conscious decision must be made to start each day with optimism. Yes, I can. Today will be a great day. I am blessed to be alive. I am grateful for another chance. All of these phrases must become regular daily affirmations not only to survive, but to enjoy life. I discovered that when I let life’s difficulties control how I felt, I was hardly ever joyful and happy. My focus was constantly on my problem instead of on my problem solver and my future.

Each night, I take a moment to clear my mental pallet of all worries. I pray for God to not only help me to overcome obstacles, but to remove the stress and worry that cloud my mind and can interfere with my rest. Each morning, I try to rise with remembrance that I am seeing a day that someone else did not get to see. I am getting opportunities that someone else did not get to have. I am getting to touch and hug and snuggle with my son; somewhere, someone else did not get to do that this morning. I try to envision all of the good things that will happen during my day no matter what bad situations are ongoing. Life is not about my situations; it is about my attitude and, so often, situations change when we change how we view or perceive them. Ultimately, I have chosen to enjoy this life even during the hardest times by starting each day with optimism. Remember, Psalm30:5 says, Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. That joy belongs to you.

%d bloggers like this: