Sunday, July 29, 2007

Thoughts from a Philly funeral home director.

I caught this story in my hometown paper, The Philadelphia Inquirer:

Her name is Charlene E. Wilson-Duffoney, and she is an African American funeral home director here in Philly. Sadly, few people are in a better position to see the effects of violence on our young people out here than she is.

Anyway, here are a few quotes from Ms. Wilson-Doffoney which I think are noteworthy:

"At the service for a teenage boy,someone decided to play a rap song calling for avenging the dead. The teenagers stood up as if it were the national anthem." She went on. "Mothers stood and swayed." She said that she, along with the clergy, and the school district officials present, were "all shocked at what they saw."

She also says that she remembers a funeral "where gunmen opened fire outside the church. People hid under pews." She said.

"And she has a friend whose son was shot, and to this day won't tell his mother who shot him." She said that "'she finds that unbelievable.'"

"She says that 'some deaths get to her more than others'. One friend was murdered in the 1990s at a bar. He had told her that he knew he would be shot to death one day. It was eerie when he wound up in her funeral home , having died just that way. "

"'He died on his birthday' she recalled, a tear running down her face. She buried him."

Mothers stood and swayed for a rap song avenging the dead? WTF?


D.R. Scott said...

Sometimes I think "Gangsta Rap" is a racist construct designed to methodically decimate the African-American community.

Other times, I think Hip-Hop culture is a do-it-yourself system of genocide invented by black people who hate themselves.

Either way, it's a lose-lose situation.

Bygbaby said...

That rap song scenario is all to familiar. I have heard f similar things occurring in Detroit. The fucked up part is when parents join in. No wonder morals & values are compromised & missing.


The Angry Independent said...

And there are still folks out there who are saying that Rap culture is not a problem.
I can't see how these Black apologists can keep defending this sickness.

Are you still defending & making excuses for this Rap culture Field?????

Some folks will never come around. I posted a report a couple of months ago called "The Rap On Culture", which looks at the influence on this culture on Black youth, and its impact on education in particular. The "Rap on Culture" report stated that the problems in the African American community, particularly in inner city schools, cannot simply be attributed to poverty/economic conditions alone... that something else is playing an influential role on the negative outcomes for students in these schools.

Yes... there was a time when Rap culture was a symptom of a more serious social condition.... but today it seems to be more of a core problem rather than just a symptom.

And yes, poverty plays a large role in this, but this can no longer be the only explanation for this madness. It's a cultural issue. There have been other poor groups of people in this country who never engaged in this kind of self destruction.

Poor Irish, Polish, Vietnamese, Koreans, etc have immigrated to this country.... and many work their butts off to overcome their conditions....and many go on to be successful.

The excuses for Black folks are getting old. Yes...the so-called "man" is real and although he no longer has his boot on our necks, he still kicks us around on occasion...but the point is, it no longer stops us from getting up and doing something.

The problem for Black folks is that there are not enough brave Bill Cosby's, willing to say what needs to be said. Instead...the ones doing most of the talking are the Michael Eric Dysons in the so-called "community" who are telling folks that there is no problem with their culture and behavior... that it is the "White Man" who is doing all of this to them.

And Field... if this doesn't turn you around about the Rap culture... then I don't think your mind can ever be changed.

WildMagnolia said...

Rap music, hip hop culture, whatever you choose to call it isn't the cause of anything. It's the result of it. It just happens to be an easy target for all the problems in our culture. So how does one explain the same problems in other poor, uneducated peoples? The media would like to continue to point the finger at rap music. Why do we let them? We know first hand what is happening in our communities and yet we still fall in line with those old racist thoughts. It's an easy way out. These same problems existed before rap. When will we stop being led in the wrong direction?
My personal belief is that our problems result from the breakdown of the family. Our mothers and fathers, the true core of the community, need to take control and set an example. For some reason they have handed that over to the media.

field negro said...

"Are you still defending & making excuses for this Rap culture Field????? "

A.I., I am. But not the "rap culture" as we now know it, because I am hoping that can change. But there is nothing wrong with hip hop in its purest form. Some of tha shit is genius, and we have to encourage our young people to channel that genius in a positive way.

Sorry, like common sasy; "can't leave rap alone the game needs me.." Now the cooning and ignorant ass lyrics, I despise, and I wll shout as loud as everyone else for us to stop playing that shit and holding record execs accountable.

BTW, I hope you realize that poor Irish kids, Asians, Hispanics (Reggaeton) and new immigrants, are all embracing rap.

But anon, is right, the problem isn't rap, it's parenting, community responsibility, and a host of other problems, which time doesn't permit me to get into right now.

The Christian Progressive Liberal said...

Okay, Field, I'll go one story better.

I grew up in Oaktown (that's Oakland, California for you East Coasters, LOL), right at the height of the drug gang wars going on out in East Oakland. In the late 1980s, a drug lord by the name of Felix Mitchell, was locked up in Leavenworth on interstate drug trafficking charges. His case was on appeal, and while he was in jail awaiting a hearing on his appeal, he was killed in jail.

The Feds had to give his mother back all his ill-gotten gains because his case was on appeal when he was killed.

She used the money to give him a funeral worthy of a dead Foreign official. A sold-gold casket, and a horse-drawn funeral procession from downtown Oakland to the East side, complete with police escorts, and the main drag (E. 14th Street) blocked off.

Second story - one of Felix's successors got killed, and they had the funeral at the funeral home where my mother was being prepared for burial. Some rival gangs showed up at the dead drug dealer's funeral, snatched his body out of his casket, put him in his mother's lap and tried to shoot him...AGAIN.

Just to make sure he was dead, because several dealers turned snitches on everyone else, and the government had to place them under witness protection, which meant "faking" their "deaths". So, they wanted to make sure that this particular drug dealer wasn't going into witness protection - they tried to "glock" him in his mother's lap.

Thank God the gun jammed, because the bullet would have went through his body and probably injured his mother.

As always, Oaktown's "finest" were a day late and a dollar short getting to the party to catch the perps. And my ex-boyfriend worked the narcs task force to catch these guys for the FBI.

Which is why I don't date him anymore - trying to catch these guys was like trying to empty the ocean with a shot glass.

Remember what Chris Rock said in one of his concerts talking about mothers who knew their sons were crack dealers: "You know, Ronald has his own crack house now. There's my baby's crack house, right there!"

Funny, but oh, so true. None of these mothers complained when their sons had them bling-blinging, regardless of the fact their sons were nothing better than bloodsuckers in peddling filth that Reagan and the contras used to infiltrate and destroy our once vibrant communities.

You have to place values on some things for people to realize what they jeopardize by losing them. And our people need to realize that we are a valuable people; we are rich and wealthy in ways that do not owe to money or material possessions. Character is what makes us; is what will continue to make us as a people. What you posted is a glaring example of the failure to teach our children where to place their value.

Sorry for the long post.

Tired of being broke said...

When the parents are standing up and swaying along with all the other hoodlums that is the problem right there. The family has broken down to its core. There is no longer the 'it takes a village', mentality. Some think as long as it is not happening in my back yard I do not need to be concerned. Well guess what, Philly might as well be your back yard even though you do not live in the state of PA. As a people it affects us all. I am scared to look one generation down the road and think what will happen to our people. All other groups seem to be preparing thier kids for the future, to compete in a global economy, to be a better citizen. What are we doing?

Woozie said...

Man, this is depressing. Will there ever be an end to this cycle of ignorance?

Anonymous said...

Can you please post a link to the article? Thanks.

Chris in DC

field negro said...

Chris in DC, here is the link:

Sorry about the cut and paste job, I am so not a techy :( (I hope you don't think I make this shit up)

This crap is seriously depressing, and it's getting worse. The shit I am hearing at work from cops and prosecutors would turn your heads. In fact, I need to update my "Killadelphia" murder count which is something I will do when I get home fromt the plantation.

But folks, I am telling you this cycle of ignorance has got to stop, because we are self destructing for real. That story from christian prog. from Oaktown was too sad!

I bet we could go all day one upping each other with this shit!

rikyrah said...

Mothers stood and swayed for a rap song avenging the dead? WTF?

These aren't parents. These are sperm and egg donors. And, it's because they are little more than sperm and egg donors, as to why they're going to funerals.

There are those that are 'innocent', and are the unintended victims, but THIS?

Oh no. They're not innocent...THESE are the kinds of ' parents' that drive their children to drive by shootings and killings in parks.

Denise said...

yep, Rikyrah...

And, unless you're offering to babysit, these same self-involved sperm/egg donors cop a 'tude when you talk about the library, museum, or a show on PBS.

The sad part is that all of these activities are FREE .

Liz said...

That's really sad...and you're right, we all have our stories.

Been at a funeral where folks played music that was inappropriate? Check. Been at a funeral where someone spoke of getting revenge? Check. Been at a funeral where folks started shooting? Check. Not attended a funeral because of rumors that a shoot-out was going to occur? Check.

This post really breaks my heart.

Homeland Colors said...

Cops need to knock corners in Philly. If you're a young man who fits the profile in that area, and you're just standing around or if a group of guys are just standing around. Cops need to check their id's and frisk them. It sucks, but when you have a community with that high a murder rate, and people refuse to so much as call the cops, you have to do what you have to do. Anyone who wants to say cops doing that would be harrassment in Philly under these circumstances doesn't value African American lives

The Angry Independent said...

Homeland.... you know that Black folks would be up in arms... shouting about racial profiling (even in majority Black areas where police would obviously need to interact with Black residents), racism, harrassment, and all the rest. That dead Civil Rights group...the NAACP would be all over it.

Black folks would fight to keep the status quo, and would keep the "no snitching" culture going.
Although an anonymous tip system (if not already in place) could help to combat that. As well as better PR to educate the people in these communities.

Black folks in these communities are creating lawless areas for their children to grow up in.... where police have been neutralized.

The biggest weapon for police is not their firearms... it is "information". And when you have a culture that promotes locking the police out of the community via non-cooperation... it just creates a Wild Wild West atmosphere which allows criminals to feel safe and more comfortable pulling the trigger....even in broad daylight and even with witnesses.

If I were the Mayor or Police chief of Philly, I would be a lot more aggressive. You can't eliminate all of this...but you can reduce it if you are aggressive enough. In fact, you can reduce it quite a bit.

But when you have a Mayor that is more concerned with hanging out at a store all day in order to buy a Toy.... it doesn't provide much hope or confidence that the situation is going to improve anytime soon.

field negro said...

AI, and homeland colors, that day is closer than you both think, as the incoming Mayor does support a "stop and frisk" policy for the police.

Now as someone who does criminal defense work, it makes my job a lot harder; but hey, if it means we will get some of these thugs off the community means more to me than my livelihood.

Some groups, as to be expected, are up in arms about the thought of "stop and frisk". But a surprising amount of people-including many people in the hood are starting to support it.

It's easy to say that the "stop snitching" culture should stop. But our DA's office needs to put more resources into the witness protection program etc. No fun getting your home burned down or your children shot in front of you, because you went to the po po.

Kitty Glendower said...

Really sad. Were the fathers not swaying, or not there?

Jolli said...

we cannot look to the police to solve our problems...they are an extension of this think they have our best interests in mind? why don't we just start relying on the prisons to educate our distance relatives? ya'll be spouting history, history, history...but historically the police are not our protectors. here is a tip. stop talking (writing) and do something. can't think of what to do? okay...start with forming a small group of MEN that investigates claims of molestation and when you find that these men are guilty, you castrate them then blind them. notice in none of this did i mention the government or police. but if you feel bad for the molester the government can help the guy out with disability. start there. and when you've got that running smoothly, we'll start on the drug (hip hop) problem. funny how molestation is step one and degenerate behavior is step two...i think there is something to that.

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