Tuesday, August 05, 2008

The Reality Of Hopelessness.

"Got my glock cocked, runnin this thing, ya understand We be steamin.. blazin.. nines, pumps, and K's, and Holly Grove 17th, (what) tha hood where I (what) was raised in (what)Niggaz bustin heads and, runnin duckin Feds and rocks under they tongues and, ki's under they beds and Hood fulla real niggaz, twenty-four seven hustlers EHHH, until we shove a barrel down ya pipe suckers Ain't no love for no busta, no fear for no coward No respect from no stunt, and no money without power" ~ Lil Wayne~

"You ever been hungry lawyer man?"

I had to think about the question for a minute....no, I had never been hungry. Not unless I chose to be. But I have met people who were. I lived in a Third World country, so I saw real poverty first hand. The truth of the matter is, I never really imagined real hunger being a problem in A-merry-ca. And I never imagined poverty here in A-merry-ca being real poverty. Poverty, after all, is a relative term.

But as I looked around this Southwest Philly neighborhood, I could never have imagined that a place like this could exist in the land of the free. It was, in a word, hell. Every other house was boarded up, graffiti was on damn near every wall, and I am thinking that when Bob Marley sang about "concrete jungle", this is exactly the type of neighborhood he was talking about.

Still, I felt somewhat comfortable here. I had done wills and other forms of transactional legal work for quite a few grandmothers in the area. And I had represented a few of the grandsons with criminal cases; including the young buck who was running this particular set a few years ago.

I was leaving the home of a client, when, as is always the case, I was approached by one of the young heads from the area. They always like to mess with me, and pick my brain about legal issues. I, in turn, try to counsel them about life, and quiz them about school and getting their life in order. It's a shaky truce that we have, and everyone knows the rules. I won't charge them for legal advice, and they will (at least pretend to) listen to me.

"Naw man, I don't think I have ever been hungry". "I have". He said. "I remember when I was in foster care back in the day. Man I used to put toothpaste on writing paper and chew it for candy. I swear some nights I would go to bed and my gut would feel like it was going to explode. I don't ever want to feel that shit again."

Why was he telling me this? I knew there was a point, but I couldn't figure it out. Was he trying to confess to a crime, and justify why he did it because he was hungry? "Well you not hungry anymore right?" "Naw, Mr. Lawyer man, I can eat now. And I got a young jawn (That's Philly speak for any pronoun you want it to be. In this case he was talking about his child) I gotta feed too. I ain't trying to go to child support court." I knew what the answer was going to be but I asked the question anyway: "Do you have a job?" "Naw Mr. Lawyer, not no nine to five jawn, but I do alright." At this point he was laughing with me , but I didn't feel like laughing back. "You know you are probably going to be calling me one day right." "Naw lawyer man, not unless you do federal work." I couldn't resist. "Oh that's the kind of weight you moving around here?" "Naw not yet, but soon. I mean you cool and all lawyer man, but when I go down it will be for some big chumpy (another one of those Philly words) type shit. I will need a lawyer that stays up in federal court." ....I started to try and preach to young blood, but what was the point . Besides, it was starting to get late, and while some folks in the neighborhood might have some love for the field, it's still Southwest Philly.

"Alright young blood. I am out. Try to settle down with your shorty though and think about your little one. You won't grow old and get a pension running these streets. " "Yeah but I am young lawyer man, I got time."

Amazing, his ambition in life was to get a lawyer who specializes in federal cases, because he plans to move enough drugs to get the federal government on his case. But he was hungry once, and he doesn't ever want to feel that way again. To him, selling drugs and living a life on the street is the only way to keep money in his pocket. Most of us know that it won't last, and he probably does too. But to him, tomorrow doesn't matter. There is no future. And that little "jawn" he just brought into the world, will have to live the vicious cycle all over again.

President Obama. It has a nice ring to it. I wonder if he will come to Southwest Philly?


Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden said...

08 05 08

Hello FN:
I feel you on this one. We seem to live on the periphery of poverty and riches in the Black world. We must continue to do what you are doing and not lose sight of the fact that we are all people with fundamental needs. It breaks my heart to know that anyone is starving, but just around the corner makes it even more jarring. Keep up your inspiration, you are positivly affecting lives more than you know.

rainywalker said...

Sad story Field, but you already know that. I say alot of starving people around the world in poor countries. Our youth needs to break out while they can. They will be running this country soon.

Jody said...

How to end this... I just dont know, but I sure would like to....

Kit (Keep It Trill) said...

That was so real, Field. I've worked with youth like this for years as a social worker and later a therapist.

When a person grows up with no control over their lives from one day to the next, such as dire poverty, or total family chaos, or crappy negligent foster care or relative placements, they are consumed with getting through the day. Living around violence compounds their deprivation, leaving them with little psychological energy left over to invest in tomorrow. This makes stuff like homework low on their list.

One of my two adopted children came to me at age 3. He was so severely malnourished that his hair was red. He'd also been emotionally neglected from his foster home. Poor thing had been signed into FC at 3 weeks and been thru two hellish foster homes.

He may not consciously remember what he went through, but had learned the lesson of living one day at a time, and is one of the bravest (and stupidly bravest) people I know.

The teens in these kinds of situations often make great soldiers (if they respect their sergeant and can take orders), fire rescuers (some of the California prisons started training some of them, and guess what? They're perfect for the job), or gangstas with dubious futures.

The challenge is to redirect those early ingrained values that tomorrow may never come into a socially acceptable avenue. I have a real love most of these young black males and feel for them. Every now and then I run into one I knew who found a good path, thanks to me and many others who worked with them, luck, and their own inner strength. Some were too damaged; the one that makes me saddest couldn't leave the streets alone ended up in wheelchair. He wasn't even violent, but I can say that his foster family never cared about him beyond the check that came with him. Kid lived with them from the age of 7 and they never even put his photo with their family photos on the TV, and ignored my suggestion that they do this. I don't want to leave the impression that most foster homes are bad; but I wouldn't leave my dog in some of them, including the clean ones where's there's no affection for the child.

Sorry for the long comment. Your post moved me. I hope Obama, if elected, will move many of the young ones to not give up. He did a lot of good work in South Chicago before and after Harvard, and he didn't have to do that. He's not perfect but it's one of the things I really respect him for.

Anonymous said...

"The Revolving Door" :

hennasplace said...

It's me, the nerd, but it's an occupational habit working for public radio, but I read a book a few years ago entitled "Growing Up Empty: The Hunger Epidemic in America" by Loretta Schwartz Nobel where she does numerous interviews from Marks, Mississippi to the Suburbs to army bases. Some people do not believe that almost enlisted men in the service are eligible for food stamps. The book is a study of the hidden epidemic in the country, but it goes largely underreported. Does anyone remember that the Friday before Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans that was a rise in poverty? Yes policy makers need to wake to this problem because it's their policies in that are in larger contributing to the problem.

Another good book is "The Working Poor: Invisible in America" by David K. Shipler, and "Class Matters" by the New York Times that did a series of articles about class in American and how is still important in our culture. What was really enlighten was three heart attack victims through very different recoveries and one can see the impact of class.

This has always been my theory, people are moral when it's convenient. We all are capable of good and evil, in fact it's constant inner struggle we all have, and Batman shows that us truth within all of us. Bruce Wayne could have chosen a different path in life after seeing the death of his parents, and fortunately his father instilled within Bruce the sense of responsibility and honor. However, look at Batman nemesis the Joker who commit evil acts at random. You do not know if the Joker is going to kill though chances are he will, but he is difficult to read me and he does not have any boundaries. He does things because he can. The Joker is the opposite of Batman in that has he have the ability to self-regulate and sets boundaries. That is not an easy task, it is very thin line and doesn't take much to cross it.

I think environment does to large extent drive our decision making. Let us be honest with ourselves that some of us would do something desperate to fulfill our base needs if they go unmet for a period of time. You can afford to be good when things are going well for you, but when hard times hit, it is a completely different story. This goes without saying that we do not have any control of what happens in our lives, but circumstances have an impact our decisions. I most crimes of that of opportunity, however, I do think there is a difference between someone stealing a loaf bread to feed him/herself or a family than an CEO who steals money from a company and have a $2MM party. There are shades of gray in life and that is an example of one.

Field, that guy just may do what he thinks he needs to do survive, and what's say he does not seem to see any other choices. He continues to make bad choices because does not see any good choices which if you think about is a form of depression. Can you imagine that you want to do the right thing, but somehow doing the wrong seems to be your only choice? This is really something to think about, and think our politician should live in some of these impoverished neighborhood for a month, and may see some policy changes, but that's a long shot.

GrannyStandingforTruth said...

Whelp, I guess those poverty folks out my way should count their blessings, because our projects look nothing like that. I remember visiting New Orleans back in 1999, and that shocked me. Never before had I seen projects in that condition.

Our projects are in good condition, and the tenants take pride in keeping them that way. However, housing has strict re-enforcement rules to make sure that they do. The lawns are well kept, the yards are clean, and the buildings are in good condition. If something is broke, they get on it right away. You won’t catch them hanging out selling drugs in them either. We even have job-training programs for the tenants, and it helped a lot of them get jobs. Also, they have a neighborhood council, which consist of some of the tenants where other tenants can voice their complaints.

In fact, when my relatives came out here to visit, we passed by some of them and I told them that those were the projects; they couldn’t believe it. However, after what I saw in New Orleans, I can understand why. Now, you might find something similar to that picture more in residential areas where people live in tract homes which are 75 years and older, and maybe, a few apartments, which depends on the area, but not in our projects.

Our city renovated many of the projects years ago, and it was well worth the taxpayer’s money. The renovation project even gave jobs to a lot of the tenants, and most of them that were hired are still working. We even have a summer program that gives young people jobs painting seniors houses that are in need of paint, yard work, and it gives young people experience for occupations as painters and gardeners. Most people that are poor want to live in decent housing too. However, when the city doesn’t care, more than likely the tenants won’t care either.

Swiff said...

phew, I feel you on this. If you think that Philly 'hood was bad you need to ride through Camden sometime. There are sections of that town that look like Sadr City or Mogadishu. When I was little, I assumed World War II was fought in South Jersey. Shit was *THAT* bad. I was lucky to have good parents with good careers. Other people I knew was stuck with they Grandma since their parents were strung out or locked up. 3 guesses what they grew up to be...

p.s - Old school Wayne, nice. I always liked that album. Mannie Fresh in his prime. But when I think of people like the Young Boul in your post, "Thing Done Changed" is my song of choice.

GrannyStandingforTruth said...

That picture does look pretty bad, it looks more like a junk yard or homeless camp. That's terrible and it's that people have to live like that. I wouldn't be surprise if diseases like TB and yellow fever in epidemic proportions were to start popping up again. Because that picture is very unsanitary.

GrannyStandingforTruth said...

That picture does look pretty bad, it looks more like a junk yard or homeless camp. That's terrible and it's that people have to live like that. I wouldn't be surprise if diseases like TB and yellow fever in epidemic proportions were to start popping up again. Because that picture is very unsanitary.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

hennaplace, I read that NYTs article as well. People like to pretend we don't have class issues here but we do.

I used to volunteer at Hollygrove which was a group home (ages 6-13)close to Paramount studios. It's most famous resident was Marilyn Monroe. It's now closed as L.A. is moving away from group homes.

Most of the kids at the home were black and latino. If you were in Hollygrove you have already been through a few foster homes. They gave us a few case reports to read (changing the identity of the children). I am a grown woman. I don't think I would've be able to live through what these kids have gone through.

over 90 percent of the kids had severe behavioral problems. The sad thing is the kids at Hollygrove were lucky. They had therapy, shelter, food etc.

I wonder what would happen to the other kids in the system once they turn 18? Many will be homeless and/or turn to crime as they are just trying to survive each day.

L.A. has some of the richest areas in the country if not the world. That there should be such poverty and despair a few miles away from Bev. Hills/Brentwood is inexcusable to me.

A true measure of a society is how it treats it's most vulnerable. I know there are groups out there doing good work but I feel sometimes in America (esp. per GWB gov't) that poor people are viewed with contempt. Like what's your problem this is a America clearly you messed up.

Bob said...

That guy won't make it to age 35 He'll be in prison or dead. He can't see 35. He doesn't even think about 35. All he thinks is that something he does today leads to something else tomorrow & something else & maybe somehow out. But he knows hardly anyone in his lines of work who are 35, then maybe only by reputation. He has a city view of the horizon. His "dreams" can't be measured or judged by standards other than the ones he lives with, at least not until he's up against the "feds" in their world. I stay out of his world.

This comment has been removed by the author.
blackwomenblowthetrumpet.blogspot.com said...

Hey Field Negro!

That is really a sad, sad story....there are so many thoughts running through my mind...

I remember going to a prison for women and seeing so many promising black women on lock down...why... because their "baby daddy" was into some stuff and they didn't put him out of the apartment...when the house was raided by the cops...their future was shot...they were implicated in the drug trafficking and they had to take the plea deal...

Very sad....

That photo you put up...it looks like post-massacre Rwanda...

If black men were in the home and married with their children under their watch...these neighborhoods would not look like they do...

Black women can "talk smack" all they want to about not needing a man for their kids and naming kids who turned out fine who were in single-parent homes....but THAT is not the norm....and when a black man is NOT heading his household and leading the black family....there are all sorts of issues in the neighborhood...

The neighborhoods that are controlled by these adolescents...that mess WOULD NEVER occur if the entire block had a black men in every house who was actively parenting...

That is why I wrote a post a month ago, "Who's In Charge? The Mantle of Black Leadership" and sistas got upset when I started talking about a black man leading his family.

In that movie, "Jerry Maguire", there was a football player who had a bossy wife who was all up in the contract negotiations with Jerry telling Jerry what to do...but in the game, he was knocked on conscious and she fell apart and she started crying and telling Jerry, "this family does not work without him!"

It's time we went BACK to basics...
two parents in a stable marriage rearing their children...


Before the Mayflower said...

You may ask for a thousand years, but if you believe there's nothing to be had, nothing is what you'll receive.

You may seek around every corner, but if you believe there's nothing to be found, nothing is what you'll find.

You may knock on a hundred doors, but if you believe there's no one to open them, the doors will remain forever closed.

This young brother sees the world as a closed door, an empty box, and a wild-goose chase.

He believes that the world has let him down, and that the only way up is to keep going down.

Christopher said...


Have you been to Africa?

Now, in Africa is where you can see utter and complete poverty.

Grinding, unrelenting poverty in places like Malawi, where people earn $20 a year, and HIV/AIDS has ravaged generations of people.

I thought I had seen poverty before in places like Richmond, CA or South Central Los Angeles or even Rochester, NY but until I saw parts of Africa, I hadn't seen poverty. The poorest, most desperate places in the USA seem like Malibu by comparison.

field negro said...

Thanks for those comments kit...we need to be aware of the foster care system, which is really f****d up in a lot of places. (Philly being one of them)And way to practice what you preach. I try too, but it's so hard sometimes.

Like beforethemayflower says; a lot of these kids think that the only way up is down. Granny you must be from the leftcoast. I used to be amazed at some of the houses and areas out there which people chracterized as ghettos.

Blackwomen....I have a similar experience when I go to the prisons. It can be so depressing.

Chris, never to Africa. But I have been to Haiti, and places in Mexico and Central America which I am sure were just as bad as the worse parts of Africa. And I grew up in Jamaica. I could take you to some places in West Kingston which....let's just say that they bring new meaning to the word "hood".

swiff, I could have used so many lyrics there. But I just happened to be listening to the "block is hot" on my ipod when I was writing the post :)

Bob,I can't stay out of this young bucks world. Whether I like it or not, he is in mine.

Anonymous said...

Don't worry........I'm sure Obama can fix it.........

Anonymous said...

we can all talk/play politics all we want...until we(each and everyone of us) get off our butts and help these kids (in some way)they don't stand a chance and this country is going to fall like Rome

NSangoma said...

Book deal and accompanying movie in the bank?

Anonymous said...

Hoover Digest 1997 No. 4
1997 No. 4
Table of Contents

A Black Man Confronts Africa

By Thomas Sowell

Hoover fellow Thomas Sowell examines a new book, Out of America: A Black Man Confronts Africa. The book is honest, Sowell finds, a quality that by itself is enough to render the volume "almost shocking."

"Honest" is the word that best characterizes Out of America: A Black Man Confronts Africa, by Keith Richburg. However, honesty seems like too homely a virtue to stress for a book that offers much knowledge and insight about Africa and about reactions to Africa among both black and white Americans. Unfortunately, just as common sense is not common, so honesty is a rare and startling, almost shocking, quality in a book dealing with race.

Keith Richburg is a foreign correspondent for the Washington Post who spent three years in Africa, covering Somalia, Rwanda, and South Africa, among other places. Beginning his assignment in Africa as someone eager to see his new territory and the lands of his ancestors, Richburg ends up saying, "Frankly, I want no part of it" and "Thank God my ancestor got out, because, now, I am not one of them."

In between are stories of hideous and indiscriminate atrocities, mass starvation, gross inefficiencies, and a pervasive and suffocating fog of lies. Among the cast of characters are African dictators and the thugs who keep them in power, guilty whites in the West who supply foreign aid, and visiting black American "leaders" who fawn over the despots and use double standards in judging black and white governments in Africa.

Running through all this are Richburg's accounts of his own agonizing and changing feelings as a black American. He confesses to being one of those who used their position in the media to propagandize for American intervention in Somalia and who then saw with their own eyes the tragedies that ensued. He ended up, he says, hating the Somalis "because they betrayed me" and hating himself "for having been so wrong, for setting myself up for the betrayal."

If Somalian intervention began with "the upbeat, feel-good atmosphere that surrounded those first days" and ended with soldiers from the U.N. rescuers being killed and their bodies dragged through the streets, Rwanda was a horror from day one. Richburg's initiation included seeing bodies floating down a river at a rate of one every minute or two--some corpses whole, some with missing limbs or missing heads.

"Here the militias wouldn't shoot you in the head, Somalia style," he said. "They would carve off your arm first and watch you bleed and scream in pain. Then, if you didn't pass out, they would chop off your leg, or maybe just a foot. If you were lucky, they might finish you off with a machete blow to the back of the head."

The chronicle of horrors goes on, including the AIDS epidemic and "the relative nonchalance about AIDS across Africa," where more than half the world's cases occur. Then there is the pervasive corruption, seething tribalism, and highly developed excuse-making, which blames all the continent's troubles on long-departed European imperialists, on a lack of natural resources, or on the failure of the outside world to help enough.

Reacting against all of this, Richburg throws the excuses back in the face of Africans and of their apologists in the West. Why has imperialism not stopped Asian nations from rising economically? Why has a lack of natural resources not prevented Singapore from developing?

He reacted especially strongly to a meeting in Africa in which Jesse Jackson and other visiting blacks "heaped a nauseating outpouring of praise on some of Africa's most brutal and corrupt strongmen" in a display of "the complete ignorance about Africa among America's so called black elite." Indeed, he suggests that there is considerable fantasy about America among those blacks who believe increasingly bizarre conspiracy theories and who "labeled me as a traitor, working for the ubiquitous 'Them.'"

That this book comes from a black reporter for the liberal Washington Post is especially surprising and adds to its impact. Moreover, Out of America offers thoughtful insights as well as facts and outrage. Yet, because it represents its author's coverage of horrors, rather than a balanced survey of sub-Saharan Africa as a whole, the overall prospects for Africa may not be as unrelievedly hopeless as what emerges from this book, though even a balanced overall picture would still be appalling enough.

In narrowly economic terms, even though it is true that too many African nations had their standards of living fall below where they had been under European imperialists, still the 1980s and 1990s saw some turnarounds. The economies of Nigeria and Ghana, for example, began to grow after the statist regimes began to allow freer operation of the marketplace, often under heavy pressure from international aid agencies that finally stopped accepting excuses and started insisting on performance.

Comparisons with Asia are less apt than comparisons with the Balkans would be, both historically and currently. The clearest parallels in sickening atrocities and blind ethnic hatreds are those between the Balkan wars and tribal warfare in Africa. But there are other parallels. Historically, both areas have been culturally fragmented by their geography, even though the geographic specifics have been quite different in the two regions. The resulting poverty and disunity of both regions likewise made both vulnerable to the outside world and sources of slaves--the Balkans supplying Europe and the Middle East with slaves for centuries before the first African was taken in bondage to the Western Hemisphere.

Geographic handicaps do not merely limit economic opportunities or inhibit political consolidation, they limit the development of the people themselves by isolating them from one another and from the outside world. Such isolated peoples are almost invariably backward and often brutal, whether they are isolated in mountainous terrain or on small islands scattered across vast reaches of water or--as in sub-Saharan Africa--isolated by a painful combination of geographic handicaps, ranging from a dearth of navigable waterways to debilitating diseases that weakened men and made draft animals virtually impossible to use over large regions.

None of this is an apology for the current behavior of African leaders or African mobs or militias, though it is part of a causal explanation of the background from which such things have arisen. On the contrary, if historic and geographic handicaps are to be overcome, excuses must not be accepted, much less be allowed to guide policies. Above all, the fantasies which play such a large role in racial issues, whether in Africa or America, need to be challenged and realities faced. A book like Out of America can make a contribution to that process.

Phil4Real said...

Living in a world with blinders. We see our nice cars and houses. Who are those people over there? Ah they're just our local poor people. Don't mind them? Let's talk about the perennials I planted this year. Aren't they beautiful? We have no time for those people. They're wasted lives. I'm an American, protecting my freedom while ignoring the glaring poverty in my country. Why don't they just get a job? McDonalds is hiring. Those lazy people, they just want welfare. Sorry people always looking for a handout. Well I'm moving to North Philly where it's quiet the streets are clean and my kids can go to a nice safe school.

Carinthia said...

Field, you break my heart. People in America try so hard to pretend places like South Philly don't exist. While we spend billions of dollars playing elaborate chess games in the Middle East, Americans are living like this. Same situation here in LA - the poor in New Orleans are forgotten. No one gives a shit because there's no profit to be gained from the inner city. Thanks for this post -

Randi523 said...

Henna: thanks for suggesting those books. I'm going to read them soon (I have a loooong reading list-I'm a 'nerd' too LOL!)

Field: that post was a good indirect response to those that come to your blog and think you've "forgotten where you come from," "you don't care about everyday people since you've made it as an attorney," etc, etc. IN THEIR FACES!!

I sympathize greatly with the young man in the story (and ultimately, his girl and child), but he can still "not go hungry" without resorting to illegal activities. What is his girl and child going to do when he's locked up on federal charges?? Like you told him, no long-term benefits come from street hustles. Some of a working person's net worth is in the form of 401(k), stock plans, life insurance, etc, all benefits of working a REAL JOB. I've been hungry growing up too, but it made me work hard in school, go to college, get a degree, and find a career. Even if he doesn't go to college, there's always honest work for someone that wants to work for honest pay.

No long-term vision is the best way to sum it up.

Anonymous said...

This average White Guy from L.A. thanks you for the story---sitting here behind the "WSZ", it's really difficult to image the life of that young man you so poignantly describe.

It brings to mind the words of that song:

'Horror grips us as we watch you die...all we can do is echo your anguished cry... stare as all human feelings die...'

I don't know any pat, short answer---I suspect the solution requires a whole lot more than just a presidential visit by Mr. Obama.

WNG said...

I'm glad you're out there Field, I wish more people were.
Even the worst neighborhoods around here aren't that bad, but I still don't stay after the sun goes down. I volunteer at a food bank in the 'hood' twice a week and I try to talk to the young women I meet...

My father says that the worst thing to happen to lower middle class and poor blacks in the last century was the desegregation of the schools. He sees it as the time when the class issues inside the Black community became more important than the fact that we all had to stick together. Actually, what he says is, "We abandoned them." I think that what is needed is for each of to turn around and go back.
We can read books and we can write papers and we can make documentaries, but what we really need are more people who will go to the projects and the houses and the churches, the storefronts and the corners. We need to be willing to invest in the people we left behind in those neighborhoods - whether it's a conversation like you had or something more.
We have to stop turning our backs.

Phil4Real said...

Easier said than done Randi. Whens the last time you lived in a young black mans shoes. You've been given the benefit of a doubt your whole life. Unfortunately that option isn't given to men in urban areas. They're all looked at as thieves, drug dealers, and pimps. As soon as they walk in these honest jobs, they're given a mop and a garbage bag. Reality is that they've had money(illegal) and to start from the bottom up is makes no sense. Even though these gentlemen live in low poverty, they do have some form of pride. I know, they have a child to be respsible for. Well how can you feed your child, yourself, and baby mama making $8/hr. Yeah he probably should've stayed in school, but mama got laid off and somebody had to make some money. Daddy been gone a long time. We gone get out a this mess, he tells himself I'll sacrafice my life to get my baby out this place. Unknowingly he's putting his seed back in harms way, cause he can only sell crack. Crack dealer on his second strike. What is he to do? Baby and mama screaming. Bills gotta get paid, aint no assistance for the young man. He's his father, mother, and educator. What else does he have other than the other mates in his click and the grind. Of course there's a better way.

I suggest every urban community open an outreach center for young males with vocational, real estate, construction, machinery, and other courses to teach a skill. At the same time provide courses to help cop with life and parenthood. Also create focus groups that will provide support, emotional support, encouragement, and mentorship. We're losing the war on the young black man. I can confirm that he's hopeless in America. Most hate the country, cause no one cares for them. Of course there are a few foudndations, but most don't relate and they don't reach enough. We must all contribute to the cause. If you're a school teacher, volunteer your time to convicts. They need education too.

Big Man said...

Good post man. That needed to be said. I don't condone selling dope, shit dope probably is the reason why that kid grew up in foster care. Yet, I understand why somebody could get into that lifestyle. Partially it's the environment they live in and partially it's just human nature to seek the easiest road to what we believe is success. For most cats in the hood, becoming a college graduate seems far less likely than becoming the next big time dope dealer. Plus, it's easier to get involved in the dope game then the college game.

RisingTide said...

This here goes out to the sista that blows that trumpet:

You're right, black men should be makin' a family, not bein' out in the street with a gun.

You're wrong, there are other ways that this can be fixed, maybe even simpler ones, and possibly more effective for the kids. Why not encourage more women to form partnerships? Two women, some kids. It's impossible to do everything alone, but you gotta find someone who's willing.

vdubjb said...

Legalize drugs. Would turn the game upside down over night... btw, whats up w/ this Obama lovechild foolishness?

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Anonymous said...

Pride, or arrogance.

Most folks start at the bottom. Especially with no HS degree. That means you get a mop and a garbage bag and then show what you have. Oh wait, that only applies to black women.

If Obama can come from nothing and run for President, why can't the inner city youth get off their @ss and look for honest work? Nearly every other ethnic group is doing those crappy jobs..in Philly, no less.

Hell, I had a neighbor who was a 1st generation immigrant. Both parents came here after Nam fell. With the clothes they were wearing. Now they have Mercedes autos, a surburban home, and two college graduates. Wasn't easy. Took loads of work and sacrifice. Thick skin too. I've been there when the McLosers called him a "gook".

So take that old tired racist plaint that the Man keeps them down.


Randi523 said...

Phil4Real: no, I haven't lived in a Black man's shoes, but I've lived in a poor PERSON'S shoes, all of my childhood/teenage life. My dad wasn't home with me either--so what? I had to not worry about my circumstances; I just worked to make them better. If people can come over from other countries and succeed, we can too-it requires HARD WORK, AND SACRIFICE.

There comes a time when we have to stop making/accepting excuses for illegal behavior. I think of plenty of jobs this young man could get; however, they require you to have a clean (or at least decent) record and clean urine/blood. Is that SO HARD?? No, what's so "HARD" is having to wake up early (or go to bed late), getting somewhere on time, and actually WORKING for your pay. Slinging drugs is the easy (and dangerous) way out-I can't and won't respect it or accept it.

Randi523 said...

BigMan: I agree, college is not the route for everyone; at times when I was in college and times/classes got difficult, I wondered if it was for me LOL!

But you can still make a decent living and future for yourself by just working hard at whatever you do with honest work, without resorting to illegal activities. I know some people out there shun some jobs, but they are paying jobs regardless.

Afrodite said...

AM I SUPPOSED TO BELIEVE that this gov't can find Saddam in a hole in the ground on the otherside of the world but can't keep drugs off the street in their own damn country?...Just proof that gov't is involved in the drug trafficking that tore up & continues to tear up our neighborhoods. Anti-drugs laws are just a ploy to justify imprisoning men and women of color... who just so happen to live in the impoverished areas that they just so happen to target. If they gave a sh*t about drugs then they would be going after ALL drugs...but cocaine is used primarily by the rich and powerful so no luck there...but crack?... cocaine's butt-ugly sister? shhiiiiiiit that's a goldmine...crack provides this government with a new justification for its new kind of slavery...before it was the color of our skin, now black men and women belong in chains because they sell drugs to support their habits. they sell drugs because they see it as the only way in a society where the color of your skin is equivalent to having a federal conviction...

Afrodite said...

It doesn't take an Einstein to know that if you cut school budgets,(to mentally cripple the children) throw in some highly addictive substances(to physically and mentally cripple the adults)...then control all images they see of themselves(making sure most if not all images seen are negative) then the children are unlikely to get out of the ghetto because all they see are broken homes, bad examples, they have low self worth...but what they do see is a way to make fast money...

You dont have to physically enslave ppl if you can mentally enslave them...infact the latter is more powerful. This Government knows what its doing. The prison industrial complex is no joke...

Jibreel Riley said...

Field: You live there so FIX IT YOURSELF!

What do you think all of America supposed to look like, sunshine and lollipops? That might be the Democrat Energy Policy however inner city slums are a culture waist land of the fallers of Black People, not the City of Philadelphia, State of Pennsylvania and the Federal Government. The mayor of Philly is a Moonbat Democrat along with Fast Eddy Reandel is the Democrat Gov because I dont see President Bush on his weekends tagging up a abandon row home off of Broad Street with "GOP block son WHAT!"
I love when you cry poor about poverty in America when America's poor is the richest in the world, yes thats the whole world. You never seen a family of 4 on the streets of Rio or Paris or London and Europe is supposed to be better than us ugly Americans. Take a trip down that PA Turnpike and I'll show you some good ole Appalachia poverty. Stop crying for those who fail to plan.

p.s. Looks like this could be the year that the USA mens team in BBall brings home the gold.

mellaneous said...

Brother Field this is a great post because it highlights one of the realities of life in America. Its almost surreal that a young person in the richest and most technologically advanced country in the history of the world feels that he can't really get his needs met without turning to petty crime.

Of course some would say go get a job. However its much easier said than done, but I agree that he should make the effort even if it seems hopeless. But he knows that most jobs he is qualified for will pay only a pittance and thats even if someone will hire him. Now he is ironically put on a path of amorality, much like the folks who run this country. He will have to feed off and exploit someone elses misery so that he can thrive. The only difference between him and the ruling class is that they do it willingly and with a smile, the young man is almost forced into it.

I have had similar conversations over the years as the "activist" who got lots of respect for standing up to the man on their behalf. But it always just broke my heart to know that their reality included a lack of hope fueled by what they have seen and been told.

I think that the sister WNG nailed it. We are class divided brother Field and as the sister pointed out "we have abandoned them." But its not just the Black middle class that has abandoned them their government has abandoned them as well.

Its popular now to just tell everyone to take "personal responsibility," but what about goverments responsibility to "all of its citizens." Conservatives love to beat up on the poor but they are mainly dishonest because they know what we all know, and that is there is not equal opportunity for everyone in this country.

Since we know whats going on, that Johnny's inner city Philly schools are not on par with Ralph's suburban schools then why don't we do whats needed to bring them up to par thus giving Johnny equal footing in the world.

We know Johnny needs job training and then a job that will afford dignity and that pays a living wage.

We know that folks are drug addicted so why don't the government open up treatment centers in mass to take away the customers.

We know that poor folks use the emergency room for medical care so why doesn't the government provide universal health care. I know, I know the rich folks who benefit from the present system and their supporters including the presidential candidates tell us we can't have universal health care. But if other even capitalist countries have it why can't we.

We know that racism is pernicious and has a debilitating affect on the aspirations and growth of much of our population so why doesn't the government just outlaw it. We can't change peoples minds but we can sure take the profit out of discrimination, by applying behavior modification.

But the government won't do right by its poor and black because there is no will. There is will to spend or even borrow massive amounts of money to fight wars which keep the wealthy in power while we the people sit around and watch.

These things will change when "we the people" "will" them to when we the people have enough guts and compassion to stand up for all of our brothers and sisters. These things will cease when "the" government becomes "our" government. Right now its theirs and they do exactly what they want.

Sorry for the all the words Brother Field but our willingness to "turn away" is heartbreaking.

liberation then peace

Natalie said...

I used to work with people who had spent the majority of their lives in foster care. The ones I saw were primarily in group homes or program sponsored apartments about to be "emancipated", isn't that in interesting choice of words. They were going to be emancipated and the homes they had been provided with and the food they had been provided with was about to be gone. Many of them went hungry, lost their homes, couldn't find work, and that was their freedom.

mellaneous said...

Darryl Green one of the most talented and successful pro football players ever when inducted in the Hall of Fame last week said,"there's two things that I know: Number one, no matter how gifted you are, or how hard you work, if there's no one willing to give you an opportunity, it doesn't mean a thing."

So folks like anonymous and others can go on comparing apples to oranges. What I mean is that one cannot compare immigrants story with the story of the home grown black. The majority of immigrants have a healthy sense of who they are; pride in their culture; pride in they are many were even successful in their native countries. Many others were simply poor in their home country among a majority of poor folks but they felt good about themselves as human beings.(Its interesting how folks whose sole aim is to make poor black folks look genetically defective leave out that important tidbit)

These folks don't have the experience of the American Black who is constantly presented negative images of themselves, left out of history and any significant contribution to the world, and never really totally accepted as American because no matter how successful many are still looked upon with suspicion and sometimes unearned disdain.

The point is not how some folks have jumped over hurdles the point is eliminate the hurdles. Only a callous fool would watch a race in which one runner is jumping hurdles and the other runners run an unhindered and unencumbered straight line and criticize the runner jumping hurdles for not being able to finish in the top echelon. Ironically, even some of the ones running the straight race finish far behind.

bean twn chica said...

This is for Randi and all people that say just take any job.

I was raised in a middle class family, my parents were divorced when I was very young. My father retired at 47! He gave my mother $30 every two weeks for child support for two kids. I was in special classes and schools, I was always a head of everyone in my classes, and was I should be an engineer since I was in elementary school. I always got straight A's. When I was a senior in high school my stepmother pulled me to the side and stated I was a user, all I called about was money, my father sat silent while she spoke. My father and stepmother made enough money to disqualify me for student loans, but they stopped speaking to me once I entered college. My father adopted my sister and my stepmother told her she was not really apart of this family so they did not pay for her college.I was always made to feel borrowing money made you a user or leech so I did not apply for student loans. I received $500 as a scholarship, many weekends in college I would starve for my father and stepmother signed me up for a meal plan that only included weekdays. Tuition then cost $800 a semester. I had worked since I was 15 and paid with the aid of my mother the first year of college, my father was forced to pay for my room and board ( he had to keep up appearances for his firends, since he was kinda rich).He never helped again after my first year, subsequently I ended up dropping out. I did apply for one student loan, again I felt stigmatized. OMG I owe $1,000.I worked through school I couldn't pay and didn't eat many a day. I ended up dropping out. I ended up homeless and pregnant until I was eight months pregnant. My father's side of the family is pretty rich and I was treated like the black sheep because I was poor, I was blamed for my circumstances. I raised my son by myself,yeah I picked a winner. I always made sure my son ate many times I did not. After much urging I applied for welfare when I was homeless and pregnant, my mother's boyfriend thought I should get a job at eight months pregnant but i couldn't stay with them. I never went to the doctor until I was eight months pregnant, I did not seek help (welfare) because of the negative stigma. Food stamps and health insurance helped me for two years, I never wanted to give my son to the public education system because of their horrible treatment of black males. I did what I had to.

After many years I eventually went back to school I graduated. I can't find a job. Right now I'm low on food, gas, and need to pay the electric bill before it gets shut off. I GRADUATED,I HAVE A DEGREE.I'M ABOUT TO BE EVICTED. I have looked every where for a job. I want to say it's the economy, even though every job I apply to the only minorities I see are the receptionist, cook, maid, I arrive with a suit. I have taken so many tests at each of these jobs, Microsoft Excel, Quickbooks, data entry, math, phone test,etc I always excel. I get that " oh don't worry I didn't do very well on my math test" I love math I always pass these tests with high scores some of the highest they have seen I am told. everyday I have applied to at least four jobs for four months now. Nothing, so now what? I have a degree, I'm hungry, I can't even get a job at an entry level. I have been to job fairs, the only job I have been offered is for financial planner, but you have to take a licensing exam before you can even start, costing $1500, I don't have that.After passing all these tests with plying colors, spending over a week at three different agencies I am told I do not have a high enough score on the personality test. I don't have the personality to be a financial planner, I can do the work, but I don't have the personality. Now what, I want to go on and get my Master's but right now I can't think pass today and my electric bill, my rent, and my gas bill, but there is little food in my house. I'm going tohave to move soon, but my options are limited since I will have to break my lease and the only place that will accept me are weekly apartments (las vegas, projects) I miss those food stamps, they sure would be helpfull right now, but the application is worse than applying for a job with the FBI and the way they treat you like you are shit onthe bottom of a shoe. I did the right thing and I'm still hungry, real talk.

BTW I need to get a job in my field , so I can sit for the CPA exam. I need 1,000 of public accounting so taking a job in any field is not moving me forward. I do work at HR Block four months out of the year.

My point- the answers to poverty are not simple, the reasons for poverty are not simple just saying get a job and degree are simplistic and judgmental. Mentor, volunteer, do something positive, have positive words for people.Crack killed our neighborhoods, we in Amerikka are so addicted to drugs, why our country? what can we do to stop the misery and desolateness people feel that leads them to drugs. Some days it's hard to get up because the bills never stop coming.

Randi523 said...

This is for bean twn chica and anyone else that thinks I'm being "judgemental":

Since I've gotten my degree and a job, I've been in trouble with rent too (and when I was in college, with NO SUPPORT from my family-either they couldn't or wouldn't). Been evicted too. My point is: you can pull yourself up, with hard work. No one is guaranteed to have a problem-free, stress-free life while here on Earth.

I know managers of several, several companies (mine included) that are desperate for hard, honest workers, esp. men, and they're not mop and a garbage bag jobs (UPS, flight schools, Pop-A-Lock, and many more). And these managers are willing to give anyone a chance, but they WILL NOT accept "riff-raff." Don't apply for a job and show up to an interview inappropriately dressed, and saying a lot of "you know" and "um", and you can get hired (and pass a drug screen).

Bean twn chica, I pray that everything works out for you somehow, b/c I'VE BEEN THERE.

freemanpress said...

I grew up in Compton and know what's its like not to have. I am a lawyer now and run business too. The conversation comes from a willingness to survive, not from ignorance. So he is saying to you he is going to go all out so he needs a federal lawyer.

People forget what it's like to be hungry and to be willing to do anything. They want the guy who has a 5th grade education, living in sub par housing, eating sub par food, and having sub par options in life to think like a lawyer.

See he is just saying to you. I am willing to take it to the limit to survive this stuff. I can understand because to me when I got out of Compton I had the same mentality about everything and still do to this day. If I am in it, then I am in it to win it. I still think in terms of life and death even though I am far removed from that being my everyday.

By the way I used to live in North Philly near Temple for a couple of years. Some of those row houses look like Godzilla took a bite out of them.

Anonymous said...

I posted that other ethnics in Philly were doing the crap jobs, because they are. I spoke with a young lad from Eastern Europe who was cleaning tables in a WSZ eatery. Tell me again how he had it so much besser than home-grown 'Mericans. Oh, he speaks at least two languages..one of which is English. He wears clothes appropriate to work and does the job. Funny how some blackmenz can't do the same.

I read the alleged 'graduate' post. Sorry, some of us have graded papers for freshmen. Your post would not pass. Hell, I'd fail you in High School English. If you wish to pretend to be a dog on the Internet, learn to 'arf'.

It isn't easy. Racism is endemic in Pennsyltucky. Daughters of corporate executives have spoken about those "lazy urban dwellers" and how "those people" thrive like rats on welfare. Ni**er jokes abound north of I-80. That does not give one permission to give up.


Anonymous said...

grew up in North Philly so I feel you. Brilliant piece.

- Tom Outter
The (Uncle) Tom Wars

A2daK said...

Bean Twn Chica.

I feel ya. But, what's the alternative? Sitting and waiting honestly will only produce the results that it has given you. You have to do something different if you want different results.

I have family members with more degrees that can fit inside the Empire State building. Some are doing okay in other fields. Some are unemployed because they don't want to work outside of the field in which they studied. Only a few are actually doing what they went to school for. I know people who have graduated cum laude with 3.8 GPA throughout. Unemployed 4 years.

A degree is no permission slip for a good job. It's surely no guarantee. There is no magic pill. It's all about paying the price.

You have to do what cha gotta do. In contrast, after I left school, I scrubbed toilets, washed dishes, McD's & BK at the same time, waited tables etc. Now, I'm much better off than all of those folks that I mentioned. BTW, I have less than two years of college and make more in a month than most make in a year.

You just have to go get it. Once you're willing to do anything to make it and pay the price, you won't have to pay it any longer.

Have a little faith and a lot of effort and you'll be cool.

Randi523 said...

What a2dak said is what I've been trying to say all along. You don't have to get a degree to be successful, or even be able to provide for yourself.

bean twn chica said...

I never said I was just sitting on my ass, I put it at least four applications a day. I also graduated with a 3.8 the second time around. If I want to be a CPA I MUST get a job in the accounting field. I didn't just bust my ass in accounting not to follow my dream,, one day I will have my own business. I started H & R Block as a receptionist, then went to tax preparer.

Anon-I received all A's on Every paper, Every class. I have received A's most of my life. I went to Boston Latin Academy, one of the top 100 high schools in America. I was sharing my story to state every one unemployed is not just a high school dropout, some us us have degrees. POVERTY IS A COMPLEX STATE EASY CURES AND SIMPLISTIC ANSWERS ARE NOT THE WAY. I am human as I have stated before I have many typos, I didn't know I was getting graded by anonymous posters.

bean twn chica said...

I meant posers

La ~ msviswan said...

Phil4Real said...
”Easier said than done Randi. Whens the last time you lived in a young black mans shoes..... We're losing the war on the young black man. I can confirm that he's hopeless in America....

sigh... All you're missing now is the violin.

"Yeah he probably should've stayed in school, but mama got laid off and somebody had to make some money."

Somehow a black female always has to be a scapegoat in this.

"If you're a school teacher, volunteer your time to convicts. They need education too."

They had their chance, they can read books in their libraries, in between the three meals a day. Black society need to expend their time and focus to keep black children in school. These children need those resources to compete with today's educational/economical market. Forget the raping murdering stealing fighting drug pushing criminals.

I don't mince words a long day at work.

Anonymous said...

Enron? Kenneth Lay? Worlcom? forget who, the rapist who was raped as a kid? Cold hearted world makes cold hearted neighborhoods

hennasplace said...


Perhaps one day you would like to give a lecture on the power of positive thinking. I have had conversations with individuals on topic of poverty who do not understand that poverty does not only exist in the inner cities, but in pockets across the country. For instance, Marks, Mississippi if most people do not remember or know, but Martin Luther King, Jr. visited the area before his death. Marks, Miss was poor then, and it has not changed in over 40 years. Not only do I believe that racism is part of the problem, but classism. People do not like the poverty stricten, and cannot understand why they would continue to live in those conditions year after year. For many families poverty is generational and a cycle. We do not want to see poor people because it is reminder that some of us are not far from being in the same place. Some bad breaks like a medical condition that could ten of thousands of dollars, and some of us will be wearing a pickle barrel as an outfit, and living in a cardboard box. The prospect of being poor terrifies some of us, therefore we criticize them and promote stereotypes as we do with race, gender, and sexual orientation.

Jibreel, Europeans have a lower number of individual living below the poverty level because it managed to have programs in place to help people. I have always believe that in addition to public primary schools, secondary education should be free as well. Also, giving the fact that the United States seems to brag about being the richest country in the world, we should not have poverty period. I do not know if you ever traveled outside the country, but I will never forget when I vacationed in the Bahamas, a native man asked me if I lived in the projects. There is a preception around the world that all black people are poor and live in the projects. Of course that was some years ago, and many of the projects have been torn down, but that he asked me spoke volumes. It's a great paradox in this country, and people outside and living her does not understand why it exist.

In Marks, the biggest business in the area are the casinos and that's a 100 miles away from the town, so getting there isn't accessible. Welfare office is more than 50 miles limiting one's ability to receive services for healthcare or food, and education well let's just say it's lacking as well.

The Heckler said...

You finally get the point. Good for you. For a minute there, I thought you didn't care about black folks anymore.

Don said...


Very insightful words there. I can relate to the dialogue because I once lived as the young man who spoke of never wanting to be hungry again. I even accepted the fact that 'the inevitable' was inevitable and I even looked past that risk as being worth it - that's pretty much the sentiment of many who are just tired of struggling and not really wanting to go through the proper steps (which you and other have) in order to make a true change in their lives and communities.

Also, great point about the children who suffer the most when it's all said and done. They have not been taught how to properly deal with poverty, so they repeat the same 'emotions' of the ones who never took the time to school them on how to really eat.

field negro said...

Yobachi, I am honored fam.

field negro said...

Yobachi, I am honored fam.

Anonymous said...

field, things like this break my heart. as a Black American it pains me to see this same thing in southwest GA, West B-more and D-town. It's sad and what makes me even more upset is that I don't know what I can do about it on a large scale. Even though many of our brothers and sisters in the west indies or in africa don't understand that coming to america is all good but there are many black people who cannot live this american dream you guys might come here to chase.

A2daK said...

Anonymous at 6:16. Please explain.

Is it that they cannot, will not, or don't know how? I'm not convinced that they "cannot live this american dream". Why not? Why can't they? If they worked hard, stayed clean and educated themselves, why can't they achieve for themselves what's out there? Others are doing it. Why can't they? There are only a few Bill Gates. But, anyone can take themselves from where they are to bigger and better things.

For what it's worth, I believe that black youth mainly lack good examples on what's needed to fully reach their potential and achieve in this country. For years, wealth wasn't available to us. Therefore, as a whole, we never really learned how to develop and keep wealth.

Not sure what's possible on a large scale. But, IMHO, being a good example, creating experiences and helping those within your reach is a good start.

Rain said...

I am always at the tail end of the comments (sigh . . . )

but Field . . . did you or did you not just drink the Obama-ade??? and hardly anybody noticed?!

I do agree that "just" having Obama as president isn't going to solve things--yeesh, nothing's going to help this messed-up country--but nevertheless, I know it's way better than the alternative.

Anonymous said...

I hate to tell you this but your post reads as grade inflation. Normally I would not point out the glaring inconsistency between what you purport and what is visible. There are trolls for this sort of work and they are very proficient.

Think of this as a gentle nudge to achieve.

If you would like to see actual writers may I suggest the eminent Field, the atheist PZ Myers, the femme blogger Pandagon and Badtux. Each of these is far superior to my scribblings and would give you the template for success.


hennasplace said...


I think what's currently happening is ever widening gap between rich and poor. I am suggesting another book entitled "The Two Income Trap: Why Middle-Class Mothers and Fathers Are Going Broke" by Elizabeth Warren and Amelia Warren Tyagi writing in 2003 that discuss the problems along with writing about bankruptcy and rising rates of foreclosures, and that was before any mention of the sub-prime scandal. During the 50s and 60s, many blue collar workers made good wages which pushed into into middle class. Unfortunately, manufacturers are closing factories. Look at what's happening in Michigan which the three auto makers who were the big employers in the state are now laying off thousands of workers and the idea of the middle class is shrinking.

In this current climate, it's going to be difficult to do and I am sure anyone who are writing comments agree that times are tough. We are spending more money on gas and food. Imagine living in a rural area where you need a car to get to work, and you cannot afford go because of price of gas. Most people who are working and poor, I know it's oxymoron but it's a realistic paradox there are people out there who are working and are barely making it. The government has not changed of what is considered living on the poverty line. $18,000 for a family poverty is considered above the poverty line, an amount that has not changed in 30 years. Technical, the government does not have defined what is considered middle-class in this country. A single person making $45,000 is consider middle-class, but so is a a family of four. Amazing.

The American Dream is an advertising concept created in the 1950s to get consumers to purchase goods such as home appliances and automobiles after WWII, and people were suckered into buying things because we deserved, consumerism at it's best. It's really kind of scary that I know this, but there was a great documentary on the history channel called the 1950s where the author David Halberstam discusses the idea of the American dream.

Anonymous said...


This article is total bullshit. If these children are hungry I know one place which will feed them both in mind and stomach, this place is called School. Last time I checked our schools served both breakfast and lunch. Two out of three meals are totally free. In addition, these children can gain an education which will enable them to remain “fed‘ the rest of their lives. Black children will remain hungry as long as its culture continues to promote poor education and a lack of a work ethic. As for poverty in this country there are plenty opportunities to raise oneself out of poverty without selling drugs as your teens aspire to do. In order for black society to advance we must embrace the values of an obama versus jesse Jackson and al sharp ton. Obama believes in hard work, sacrifice, and personal responsibility instead of demagoguery and propaganda. One could argue Field is dishing the same propaganda that Jackson and shaprton are serving Federal prison is hardly something to aspire to. I hate to say it field but if this teen is accepting your advice chances are he will be a lifer. Field I hate to say I don’t believe your free advice because pro bono is one concept you are not familiar with. For real change we need Obama 08 because YES WE CAN!

Black Rose said...

Thank you for an important and poignant essay on the conditions of Black America's poor and hopeless...

It lays bare the iniquity that America wants hidden. You write the truth. It must be told.
Keep Writing.

From the Field,
Black Rose

GrannyStandingforTruth said...

Whelp, I've read just about what everyone has to say about this topic. Some of the arguments were pretty good in behalf of the poor.

The only thing that Granny has to say to those of you who have made it and think that since you've made it, everyone else should be able to make it too. All that's fine and dandy, but I just have to remind you that your paycheck is not guaranteed with the way things are going right now and with economy as fragile as it is at this present time.

Sometimes I wonder if anyone has even given this some thought, you know, the fact that we're headed towards a paperless society where money will be worthless and won't do you no good.

We all can say what we would, or what we wouldn't do, or what we should do, but you really don't know what the future holds for you, and yes, what you might do to survive. An illness could strike, or lost of a job, or the company could be outsourced, or layoffs, etc.

The banks are folding,the stock market is very unstable, and face it the economy ain't looking so hot, you really don't know what you'd do or wouldn't do or how you would do it, until that times comes.

I've witness people riding high and living good in my life time, and in a blink of an eye, they lost everything they had. Yup, stripped down to nothing, but the clothes they had on their back. The odd thing is that it was those same people that they looked down on that came to their rescue. Don't think for a minute that some of your relatives or friends that are prospering will be the ones to come to your rescue. Nope, because those will be the very ones that will surprise you and feel just like you feeling now about those less fortunate than you.

Life is strange sometimes when you look at it. Poor people will give a person their last to help someone in need or each other, but people who have it will act like they deaf and dumb when you need a helping hand and going through hard times. Yup, those will be the very ones that will turn their back on you, including your relatives.

Yup, I live on the leftcoast.

heartsandflowers said...

1. The guy is assuming he'll still be alive to potentially be prosecuted.
2. He seems to think he's an actor in a gangster film.
3. If he thought more positively he could use that focus and commitment to crime to say going to business school and running a company [of course a lot of those CEOs are crooks too].
4. What is wrong with people today?

Randi523 said...

Granny said:

"The only thing that Granny has to say to those of you who have made it and think that since you've made it, everyone else should be able to make it too. All that's fine and dandy, but I just have to remind you that your paycheck is not guaranteed with the way things are going right now and with economy as fragile as it is at this present time.
Sometimes I wonder if anyone has even given this some thought, you know, the fact that we're headed towards a paperless society where money will be worthless and won't do you no good."

Interesting statements. Yes, we all know our paychecks are not guaranteed-heck, nothing in life in guaranteed. But I'm sure the guy in this article didn't go out and get a nice job and get laid off after 15 years, had a mortgage, car payment, and bills, and THEN decided to sling drugs. I'm willing to bet this guy hadn't had 2 jobs, and is probably not even 21 years old. Has his WHOLE life ahead of him to try many things to achieve success, but he gave up and started slinging drugs. I've lost a couple of jobs, been hungry, catching the bus, etc. I NEVER entertained the thought of selling drugs, and I'm sure many, many, many other people facing financial hardships haven't either. NOT A GOOD ENOUGH EXCUSE.

You mentioned a paperless society, where [cash] money will be worthless. Well, that spells doom for a drug dealer, right, unless he gets a portable credit card reader?? STILL NOT A GOOD ENOUGH EXCUSE.

Like I said in a previous post, please do not mistake my not condoning the selling of drugs for elitism, or looking down on anyone. I grew up in one of the toughest neighborhoods in Mobile, AL, and my mother still lives there. I have no reason to cast judgement on anyone. I'm just tired of everyone making excuses for these able-bodied Black men out here that would rather resort to crime than go out and make an honest living. All of us have to start somewhere, and more than likely, that start is not at the Fortune 500 company as the VP.

And, I AM NOT one of those people that looks down on poor people/people needing a helping hand. I volunteer with child advocacy programs (CASA), homeless shelters for women and children, and food kitchens, and I'll be applying for Big Brothers Big Sisters soon. So I'm not one that's just talking the talk and not walking the walk.

Randi523 said...

I am in total agreement with Anon 9:25 PM's statements.

A2daK said...


Just as randi523 said, there are no promises. We all know that. I've made preparations in case of an unforeseen emergency. However, if I need to go work at Wal-Mart or go back to McDs to feed my family, you better believe that I'll be working both at the same time while trying to get back on my feet.

The problem is that a lot of people refuse to EVER work at a place or a job that they believe is "beneath them". They can make make more money selling drugs, so they do that instead. However, we all know that is short lived. By the time they're locked up, I'd have another job.

Anyone can achieve in this country if they are willing to pay the price. We have to stop telling our young men what they cannot do.

Randi523 said...

a2dak makes a poignant statement: "Anyone can achieve in this country if they are willing to pay the price. We have to stop telling our young men what they cannot do."

Because, really, if one thinks about it, by just accepting the excuses made for Black men selling drugs, under-achieving, shunning education/knowledge, etc., it is like you are indirectly telling our young men that they cannot be successful in this life unless they sell drugs.

But if a non-Black person even insinuated that a Black person could not succeed in America by hard work and education but by selling drugs or relying on the 'system', we'd be up in arms! Very contradicting.

GrannyStandingforTruth said...

randi523 and a2dak:

I need to clarify something with both of you to avoid a misunderstanding. I wasn't referring to the drug dealer. I understand that this article mentioned one, but that is not what I had in mind when I wrote what I did. Because I am totally against drug dealers bringing poison into our neighborhoods, and I'm just as much against those politicians and big wheels that smuggle it into our neighborhoods and get away Scott free with it, while our young black men waste away in prison doing both of their time.

In my opinion, drug dealers are not using their head and misguided, because the outcome of selling drugs only leads to two outcomes in life—death or prison. It's just another form of genocide in which our young black men are caught up in a game that is bringing death to our neighborhoods in three ways—the users, dealers, and innocent victims caught in the crossfire of their drug wars. In addition, it has made people prisoners in their own homes decked with bars on the windows.

Granny has attended four funerals in one day before a few times behind what crack does to a neighborhood. I hear of kids killing kids on a regular basis. Granny has even witnessed a young person being shot and take their last breath as death took over their body at all places, a funeral repast. What makes it even worse is all of these kids killing each other parents were friends, grew up together, socialized together, and imaginary boundary lines didn’t exist back when they were coming up.

GrannyStandingforTruth said...

randi523 and a2dak:

However, a lot of it has to do with kids raising kids, and fathers who enjoyed making babies, but deserted the mothers when it came time to raise them. Half of the kids living today have more brothers and sisters who by the way are by more different mothers than I care to mention. However, we already know that it’s usually the females who get all the blame for it and the short end of the stick. Nevertheless, some of these men need to keep their penis in their pants if they’re not ready to honor their part of the baby making process.

There is one particular neighborhood out here where I live that was so bad, until the police wouldn’t even go out there. Drug dealers had shot out the streetlights and kept shooting them out. It took an acid spill for money to, finally, be poured into that neighborhood for redevelopment, in order for the streets to be cleaned of the crime that went on out there. It was one of those areas that looked almost like the picture on this topic. You go out there now; you wouldn’t even recognize it because of redevelopment. The majority of the bad element out there is either dead or in prison.

We had a two other ones that was so bad, until they resembled New Jack City, because the drug dealers had took it over. People couldn’t even go visit their friends without being stopped by drug dealers, and basically, no one wanted to because they didn’t want to get caught up in the cross fire. Laying face down on their floors became a daily habit and way of life because of the drive-bys and walking around in their living rooms or sitting down on their couches was too dangerous. Redevelopment changed that the same way it did in the area I mentioned above in the prior paragraph. Granny just thanks God daily that I never had to live like that or in those three areas.

However, we not just going to put the blame on the drug dealers, because our government has a lot to do with it too, and it’s enough blame to go around from the drug dealers, parents, government, schools, poverty, and the list goes on.

The thing is what are folks who are concerned going to do about it besides complain about the problem? I talk to young men and women every change I get and have even wrote young men in prison to get them to turn their lives around when lead to and have had success in reaching them and getting them to change their lifestyle. I have some peculiar methods sometimes in grabbing their attention at times depending on the circumstances, but so far it has worked and they call me Granny too.

When you can walk into a place where young men have guns piled high on a table getting ready to go and retaliate, get them to change their minds, break down and cry. Then you come back, holler at me, because I've done this before. You see, Granny is not only talking the talk, walking the walk, she is living it. I don’t feel that all kids are lost, because they can be persuaded, it just takes some effort on people who want to see a change behalf, love, and respect. In addition, if given a chance, the majority of those drug dealers would make great CEO’s. I totally agree with you there.

BTW, most girls choose to do what is right, with the exception of those ones who get tied up with the wrong male living the fast life,and even most of them want to do what is right. They just weak.

Constructive Feedback said...

FieldNegro - before I start bashing you, your ideology and the situation that you present to us - DO YOU AT LEAST FEEL SORTA CHEAP after this experience? I mean hear you are "sellout out" your life for the machine, the ideology and the prevailing economic force that dominates the City Of Philadelphia and seek more national entrenchment and all the while in front of you are the FRUITS of what they have delivered to you! This 85% Democratic city of Philadelphia.

What are you and other operatives ultimately working for Field-Negro? If you claim that it is on behalf of the streets of "SouthWest Philly", "West Philly" and "North Philly" - you are LYING!!

It pains me to see my home town having degraded to the extent that it has. Those houses in SouthWest Philly have been in a massive state of disrepair for more than 20 years. What you need to focus on is either MOVING the people out to places around the country where there are "CONSUMERS OF LABOR" who can purchase that which they have to sell in the way of their skills OR lobby for Philadelphia and other urban dinosaurs to drop their HOSTILE POLICIES which drove the "consumers of labor" out in the first place.

What good is THEORETICAL union benefits and protection......when you don't have a DAMNED JOB to express them on?

(Please note Field-Negro - I now use your blog as the official murder count of the City of Philadelphia. Thanks for keeping it up to date.


Constructive Feedback said...

[quote]Got my glock cocked, runnin this thing, ya understand We be steamin.. blazin.. nines, pumps, and K's, and Holly Grove 17th[/quote]

Interesting that the key talking point by many is that "today society is civilized enough for us to not need guns". Field-Negro - you call me a "suburban dweller who is unattached from the streets". It is clear based on these lyrics that you and others are clueless as to the realities in these particular people's lives.

And I had represented a few of the grandsons with criminal cases; including the young buck who was running this particular set a few years ago.[/quote]

Field-Negro - as a defense attorney who is listening to this - DO YOU EVER WONDER ABOUT THE VICTIMS of these criminal's actions? Do you know if they received JUSTICE when this "Thug In Training" assaulted them?

But as I looked around this Southwest Philly neighborhood, I could never have imagined that a place like this could exist in the land of the free. It was, in a word, hell.

Last time I was in Philly, Field-Negro I walked up to the original duplex that I grew up in in the Overbrook section. It was for sale. I approached 3 young boys who were sitting outside as if I was interested in purchasing the property. I started to talk with them about what is going on in the community (which was obviously declining). It was clear, Field-Negro that these parts of Philly are suffering from MENTAL UNEMPLOYMENT among the people which is the basis of their LABOR FORCE unemployment.

You really need to challenge the POPULAR IDEOLOGY that you favor regarding its indoctrination of these people which told them that outside benefit was going to RAIN DOWN UPON THEM as their RIGHT to "SOCIAL JUSTICE".

Now you all (your ideology and party) have absolute control over the city and the prosperity that people VOTED FOR remain elusive. That same EXPANSIONARY CHASE which kept them UNITED and NOT ASKING QUESTIONS is being used again to allow the political force that is using them to EXPAND once more.

And I had represented a few of the grandsons with criminal cases; including the young buck who was running this particular set a few years ago.

Again - do you ever think about the VICTIMS of these people's antics? Here you are seeking JUSTICE for the assailant. Who provides JUSTICE and RESTORATION for their POOR VICTIMS who's only crime is that they are trapped in the same neighborhood as this thug criminal element? Don't they deserve a piece of your justice?

It's a shaky truce that we have, and everyone knows the rules. I won't charge them for legal advice, and they will (at least pretend to) listen to me.

Field-Negro in this TRANSACTION that you had with this young man who is poised to spread more death and destruction.......You provided HIM the benefit of FREE LEGAL ADVICE. What did you ASK OF HIM to complete the transaction among EQUALS? It appeared that you received the benefit of LISTENING TO YOU. When you learn to ASK SOMETHING OF HIM in the display of the VALUE OF YOUR TIME he will gain respect for you that he does not have. Instead he now figures that YOU ARE GOING TO BE THERE TO PROTECT HIM from his LATEST ASSAULT ON THE BLACK COMMUNITY - dealing DEATH one kilo at a time.

[quote]Was he trying to confess to a crime, and justify why he did it because he was hungry? "Well you not hungry anymore right?" "Naw, Mr. Lawyer man, I can eat now. And I got a young jawn (That's Philly speak for any pronoun you want it to be. In this case he was talking about his child)[/quote]

Clearly "WRAP IT UP" DOES NOT WORK. The cycle of human destruction within the Black community continues. Here we have a young Black male armed with sperm but not skills. He doesn't have his own life together and is on the verge of destroying other life within the Black community and yet he has a new life that he has added to the mix. In order to feed this new life - he, a predator, needs to DOPE UP some other vulnerable set of Black people to feed his own.

Is this not like a hyena on the plains going after zebra and gazelles Field-Negro?

"Oh that's the kind of weight you moving around here?" "Naw not yet, but soon. I mean you cool and all lawyer man, but when I go down it will be for some big chumpy (another one of those Philly words) type shit.

I can only guess that your "lawyerly commitment" to this distributor of death is worth more than the CONSPIRACY that he just told you about to kill Black folks by dealing death?

Field-Negro - I can understand why you and I differ so much on the issue of so-called "Torture". Here you had a Thug In Training tell you exactly what he was going to do (ie: There is a bomb planted somewhere on a subway that is going to kill many people). Where as in the question of torture in your abstract theory this person telling you this has RIGHTS and you should exert no force upon him
because his rights trump the consequences that his actions are going to do to the other innocents....in this case HE TOLD YOU IN ADVANCE what he was going to do. You are able to walk away from him with this critical information but not do anything in conjunction with the AUTHORITIES. Thus when his kilo arrives he is going to distribute time lapsed death in the community and you pride yourself that you did not lay a hand on him - physically or legally - via passing even the slightest information to those who are charged with keeping law and order WITHIN the community - doesn't have to be a COP but even a Block Captain.

This is the reason why you are forced to shoot for "BOIL THE OCEAN" societal change POLITICALLY. You and your ideological soul mates are so averse to "going RIGHT" and squeezing out the CANCER CELLS one bit at a time that you must always go on the EXPANSIONARY, control the entire society and DISTRIBUTE RESOURCES per the government and all will be healed.

It is those of us who RESIST your national confiscation so that SouthWest Philly can be patched up to a point which THEIR INTERNAL ECONOMY DOES NOT PROVIDE FOR THEM who are the reason why SouthWest Philly is the way it is......in your perverted way of thinking.

Amazing, his ambition in life was to get a lawyer who specializes in federal cases, because he plans to move enough drugs to get the federal government on his case. But he was hungry once, and he doesn't ever want to feel that way again

HOW did he get such ambition Field-Negro? Was he told that he was intelligent, EQUAL, competent and that HIS ACTIONS of HIGH INTEGRITY were necessary for the entire community to prosper? Or was he told that by VOTING and staying UNIFIED that the people outside of the clutches of Philly will be made to SHARE, even if it is unwillingly?

President Obama. It has a nice ring to it. I wonder if he will come to Southwest Philly?

He does not need to go to SouthWest Philly. He needs to go to Chicago and see what the imposition of ACORN POLICIES have done. This is the group in which he was a COMMUNITY ACTOR-VIST for years ago when he wanted to "get in touch with the Black community". This group is a CAPITAL DESTRUCTION group.

Obama and the MACHINE that he is a part of does not need to go to SOUTHWEST PHILLY Field-Negro. They need to be HELD ACCOUNTABLE for these wastelands!!!

Junior said...

And now you have the previous "quarantine" of broken down, impoverish, under-educated ghettos seeping out into the suburbs. Oh just wait. America is going to flip the hell out.

Previously, these sorts of conditions were tolerable by the general public and politicians because they didn't have to look at it or deal with it (except for us brave urban warriors who walk through it every day) - now with systemic crisis causing ripples in public service funding (or, as in the case of California, state default), the suburbs are about to get a whole lot less American dreamy moving forward.

Good. We had this coming. We should have treated our own better.

And now we ALL have to pay the piper. Wooo, doomsday is going to be a BLAST.

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