By BARUTI LIBRE KAFELE
One of the most debilitating and corrosive problems in the Black community is the intra-group conflict that resonates among our ethnic enclave. The intragroup conflict usually exacerbates to familial disunity, racial anonymity, homicide victimization, gang criminality, broken homes, and incarceration, among other outcomes. We also see the glorification of violence in the Black community because of the demandable and consumable propagation of images of Black gangsterism and thuggery that compliments the grotesque realities of many of the inner cities where African Americans predominate. Unfortunately, the gang criminality, the internal bellicosity and intra-group violence are viewed as signs of vigorousness, strength, honor and even masculinity. What I’ve noticed as a male of African descent in America who was socialized in the inner city is that Black males and females have the proclivity to resort to emotionality instead of rationality when it comes to conflict resolution. Resorting to emotionality usually leads to the imposition or infliction of harm, which subsequently leads to continuous combative relations among the Black community. These combative relations diminish the social capital of the Black community, which thereby aggrandizes the steps of backwardness and obscurity for Black progress. Additionally the commercialization of the niggerish behavior of the Black community reinforces the propagandization of these divisively aggressive behaviors that we exhibit. It has been an urban myth that the “gangsters”, the “thugs”, the “convicts” and the “baby mothers” are the strongest members of the Black community. I, on the other hand, am under the thought that the concept of strength is relative and concomitant, and that exerting force or fraud onto another person is not an indication of strength. What is occurring within the Black community is the glorification and militarization of sensitivity in the Black community in response to actions that are popularly coined as “microaggressions.”
Microaggressions, according to psychologytoday.com, are the everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, which communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon their marginalized group membership. During the rudimentary years of my life when I first started attending school and interacting with others in my age bracket as a youngster, I remember getting derogatorily “name called”, however none of these terms offended me. I would simply respond witty-infused responses or simply ignore the remarks because of the confidence infused in myself that fortified me from being emotionally affected by the pejorative terms of others. Unfortunately, the competition of either exchanging witty pejorative or even ignoring degradation sessions could enhance one’s vulnerability to become involved into physical and unfortunately sometimes fatal altercations. I am definitely not the only one who has been socialized quickly into knowing that rationality is stereotypically not the standard of strength and importance in urban circles of the Black community but instead emotionality veiled with bellicosity and aggression.
What has happened in the Black community is that we typically have the propensity to respond to microaggressions with “macroaggressions” which are the imposition of bodily harm on someone who you subjectively feel offended you. “Macroaggressions” are nothing but an infliction of harm onto someone as an alternative to utilizing the means of conflict resolution to solve problems, which include reconciliation, negotiation and others contingent on the circumstances. If the Black community had more of a cognizance and recognition of conflict resolution, then the juvenile detention centers, jails and prisons would have less African Americans since we are about 13% of the population and 48.7% of those arrested for murder. It is unfortunate that there’s a high probability that if one disagrees or engages into a debate or polemical discussion with another person in the African American community that it could lead to injury, fatality or even incarceration. From my perspective, the aggressive or confrontational characteristics that resonate in the Black community do not exemplify strength but instead psychological deficiencies, emotional erraticism and ultra-sensitivity, which are all weaknesses! Hence, in the Black community we often see the glorification and militarization of sensitivity countenanced as militancy, gangsterism and strength. These perennial behaviors are dangerous and will continue to be detrimental towards the progress of the Black community in the nine areas of human activity including economics, education, entertainment, law, labor, politics, war, religion and sex. In conclusion, if us Black people are going to excel and advance socio-economically, then we need to prioritize rationality over sentimentality for purposes of conflict resolution. Furthermore, if we are going to interpersonally engage in polemical discussions, debates, and degradation ceramonies (joke contests), then we need to enhance our vernacular, intelligence, awareness, wit, cognition, erudition and all elements involving the mind. This is critical because it is through intragroup and friendly competition that we can intellectually ameliorate and sharpen ourselves so that we can excel within our respective endeavors individually and collectively as a culture.