Monday, February 22, 2010

Rules Of The Tough Streets: "Don't Back Down"

Chicago Tribune: "Lessons From The Street: Don't Back Down"
(Hat tip to Black Electorate for this article - and so many others that they dig up which I forget to acknowledge them for)

Pride, violence permeate culture in Chicago’s toughest, poorest areas

Take a look at the videos that I have posted earlier this week on the sister blog "Within The Black Community" which came from the "Hoodz" DVD.  They give voice to what this article details:  A misdirected sense of machismo work to effectively grind Black men down when they operate in the context of "grinding up" each other.

The Article:
Brandon Barnes and Derri Enoch squared off in the center of the street, their faces knotted with anger. Barnes, tall and slender, raised his fists and promised to level his close friend with a shot to the jaw. Enoch dropped his hands and dared him to do it.

The fight, which began as boyish horseplay outside a West Side community center, had turned serious.

A crowd of friends tried unsuccessfully to intervene. The grabbing, choking and slamming continued, neither Barnes nor Enoch willing to let it go. After 15 minutes, the pair settled against a parked car, their heavy breath sending clouds into the icy air.

Later that evening, sitting together in the community center's computer lab, Barnes and Enoch said they never considered walking away. The teens, students at Marshall High School, have learned a maxim on the streets: Back down at your own peril.

The drive for "respect" and not being "disrespect" lest they be "punked" has caused many people to die an early death.

When a person that you are beefing with pulls his gun and then you taunt him to "use it" lest he be a punk as you maintain your own fake front of strength.......when he does "use it" it is you who has just lost the game of "chicken" that you were playing.

I know of no other group of Americans who need a strong intervention of "conflict resolution" than the people broadly described in this story.  I would love to see some of the "international peace theorists between nations" apply their brilliance to the people who are a stones throw away from them.  Except they are not "throwing stones" any more.  They are pulling triggers.

As is the case in prison, so it is with certain communities that have a "prisoner" mentality:

Among the challenges officials face is reversing a culture of violence that pervades Chicago's toughest, poorest and most desolate stretches, where pride is a fiercely guarded commodity and showing weakness just invites more trouble.

This mentality, shared by many teens, helps explain how something as minor as a bump in a hallway or a hard stare can escalate into a brawl — or even a murder.

"Sometimes you just can't walk away because it causes more trouble," explained Barnes, 17, a basketball player. "By walking away, you'll probably end up in a lot more fights."

With the frequent admonishment of "Darwinistic culture and economics" it seems that those who fear that this nation might apply it to the "Least of These" need to start looking at Darwinism in effect among "the Least of These" as they crush weakness while respecting the sword.

Children learn the tragic paradox early.

"If you run, you look like a punk," whispered 11-year-old Kameron Autman. "Everybody is gonna start messing with you. Ain't nobody gonna respect you."

And in this world where violence often regulates the social order, reputation is currency.

"If they walk away from a fight, their fear is that they're going to lose any status they had," explained Deanna Wilkinson, who researches urban youth violence as an associate professor at Ohio State University. "If they lose that status they're potentially way more vulnerable because the next guy is going to think they can walk all over them."

To beat another member of your own community with a baseball bat is not "Post Traumatic Slavery Syndrome". Instead it is ignorance, violence and disrespect that is allowed passage across the "generational synapse". In this case father and mother inculcated their child with a harsh lesson of violence. Our "Community Cultural Consciousness and Competence Domain" has been abandoned far too long. More unchecked civil rights violations happen within our communities than most others:

He recalled the story of one of his students who was arrested for slapping a girl.

When he met the boy in the police station, he asked him where his parents were. The student told him both were in jail, having been arrested after beating a man to death with baseball bats in their home — in his presence.

"A lot of these kids are backed into a situation where they feel there's no other way out than to resort to violence, which is what they've learned in the community and from their family," he said.

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