Friday, February 27, 2009

From your Black Grandma

I came across this site because of a political cartoon I liked, and I'm a little appalled by some of the articles. The site is called Black Commentator and you can check it out for yourself. The link will take you to an article called "Republicans Refuse Stimulus for Citizens Deep in Poverty". They were referring to Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour. I don't know him and can't speak to his objections, but this stimulus isn't the end all be all to everyone.

What struck me MORE though about the article was how the Black Commentator described the poor in this community.
For example, in Lambert, a community of 1,700, we found many people experiencing grinding poverty - living in ramshackle houses built nearly a century ago, with rampant unemployment, scores of young people with nothing to do but make babies, trash and stripped cars all over the place, people with serious health needs, cut off from mainstream services for the lack of public transportation.

Although the local mayor said the “people wanted to live that way,” in a dramatic moment of repudiation at the food pantry, people were asked what they wanted. They launched into a chorus of, “jobs, jobs, library, decent houses, food, transportation, health services!” In other words, people had gross needs that were not being served by state, county and local leaders.

I have to stop here to make a point, although there is plenty more to say about the article. Right here, I see blatant untruths and contradictory logic. I've never been to Lambert, Mississippi, but let's take inventory, I can see the town in my mind's eye. I understand the depression that comes from poverty or needing a helping hand to jump start a new direction.

1. Ramshackle houses
2. Trash
3. Stripped Cars
4. Unemployment
5. Young people
6. Sick people
7. Lack of Transportation

Knowing only that much about Lambert, I know that if I dropped my 2 sons off in Lambert, I would bet my life that they wouldn't be "stuck" in poverty for very long. They would find the owners of the ramshackle houses and fix them up for money or barter. They would force a contract with the city of Lambert to pick up the trash if the city doesn't know how to get that done. They would take the parts of the stripped cars and barter til they had a few working. I could even see them grow big enough to hire the lazy young people who only have time for sex. I could see them open a grocery store or bus service to towns that have free clinics or other services.

Of course the article doesn't recognize the description of Lambert as having any opportunity per se, they continue to argue that the residents couldn't possibly turn it around themselves.
Their poverty is not merely that shaped by the lack of money, but a poverty of the spirit shaped by the oppressive forces that have robbed them of hope, such that many cannot conceive of leaving or don’t know how to manage the transition to a new reality of living. They do not fit the model of Harriet Tubman, they fit her model of those who do not yet fully know they are free.

Stay with me here, cause it gets better. I want to remind you also that this is a Black Commentator talking about a black community with a black mayor. What is his answer to the problems of Lambert?
There needs to be a new Poor Peoples’ March today while the attention of the nation is being socialized to the damages that can result from an unregulated economy. But this time, it should deal with those who have been ravaged for decades with no one coming to their aid because those in power were allied with their oppressors.

Does the Black Commentator really believe that Governor Barbour (white) benefits somehow from continued poverty for the people of Lambert? It's possible I suppose, but doesn't the Governor benefit more by having communities thrive? Does he have give no blame to the mayor (black) who so arrogantly said “people wanted to live that way.” Who exactly are the oppressors here if not the black leaders and commentators?

Well just pretend I'm a Black Grandma, with slave roots and sleeves rolled up.

Shame on you Black Commentator! Shame on the mayor of Lambert and the black leaders and the black preachers of Lambert.

Don't listen to your leaders and your brothers who want to keep you in poverty. Don't believe them when they say you need to wait for the "Massa's crumbs." Don't listen to the anger they spew and the lies they tell. Keeping you down apparantly makes them look taller. Not only are you free, but you have been given the greatest gift of all. Like Joseph, who was sold into slavery by his own brothers, he trusted God in all things, and God turned what men had intended for evil to save his family, even those same brothers, in their time of need.

Don't settle for the Lambert that exists today. Mothers of Lambert, get those kids back in control. You teach them how to clean up their town, paint their homes, and take responsibility for their actions. You take a switch to them if you have to, and you remind them of their rich heritage and how your grandparents didn't have the choices and the opportunities that they have. Don't allow the leaders to go to Washington and let you settle for crumbs...take control of your kids and you teach them how to bake their own bread.

Teach them to NEVER take a handout, just a helping hand. Teach them with a broom and paint brush and get your homes in order. The enemy of poverty isn't the white man or the rich man...the enemy is anyone who tells you that you need a handout. Anyone that tells you that you can't make it on your own, the scars are too deep, those are the real oppressors, the liars and the snakes in the garden.

Get rid of the leaders around you who are not working on your behalf. Don't wait for the jobs to come to you...create the jobs, give businesses a reason to come to Lambert. Force your local mayor to provide the transportation service that your town needs or get another mayor who will. Advertise for what you need by showing off the pride you have in yourself and your community. Remember that
"all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness."

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