Pop Culture, Race & Politics

The Black Man Is An Endangered Species (Or At Least Close To It)

[Today, I’m handing the reigns over to friend, politico, commentator, event host, and fellow radio host on The Blaqout Show, S. Malik Husser. He had an essay he wrote about the Trayvon Martin verdict that he wanted to share with the VSB fam. It’s all still relevant and will be for quite some time. Here’s the essay. Treat him like family and welcome him to VSB. – PJ]

photo(5)The Verdict for the case against George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin is in.  Not Guilty. 

But you already knew that. 

And you, much like me, have probably gone through a series of varying emotions. Disgusted. Frustrated. Angry. Confused.  Another young life taken, senselessly.  Because he was walking home, late at night, appearing to be out of place in the neighborhood his parents provided for him, as home. 

Let me be very honest before I continue.  I did NOT follow this trial closely.  So, outside of the facts that have been reported in the media, I do not contend to know every detail of every second within the context of this trial.  Facts aside, I do have an opinion. Facts aside, I do have an issue with the outcome of this case.  And facts aside, I have very strong feelings for things to come for young, unassuming black men in America.

Notice in my list of emotions experienced since the verdict was released Saturday evening, Shocked was NOT one of them.  And quite frankly, neither were you.  I mean, yes, you were hoping, wishing, praying for justice to prevail, but in the deep recesses of your consciousness you KNEW what the outcome was going to be.  Haven’t we been through this enough to prevent our hopes from rising to heavenly expectations, only to be hit by hellish flames of reality? 

No?  Well, let me help you, I have, and here is my solution.

I would like for the Black Male to be listed on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.  According to our friends at Wikipedia, “there are currently 3079 animals and 2655 plants classified as Endangered Worldwide” [Wikipedia. Search Endangered Species]. That makes 5,734 organisms on Earth that are “endangered” or “threatened” by extinction.   Extinct. Obsolete. Died out. No longer.  I would ask the members of IUCN to consider making an addition to this list, the Black Male, bringing your complete number to 5,735.  Too much you say? Absolutely not.  It may be the only way African Americans are able to remain relevant for generations to come. “Protect us NOW” will be the name of the intended campaign as to emphasize the urgency of this request.

Did you know that if you capture or kill an American Bald Eagle there is a possibility of a fine up to $250,000.00 and/or a maximum of 2 years?  Oh yeah, and it’s not a misdemeanor, it’s a felony.  Still consider my request too much?  Oh, I hear what you are saying?  The Bald Eagle is a symbolism of strength, recognized by all Americans of our ability to be strong, courageous and bold, even in the wild.  Well, have you been to the Urban Centers of America like Chicago, Washington DC, Newark, and witnessed first hand what our young, black children must over come to be successful? I’d say their efforts and achievements resemble strength, courage and boldness in an environment that is too often compared to the Jungles of our world.

I mean, really, I’m not asking for much.  “Threatened” actually has three subcategories, ‘Critically Endangered’, ‘Endangered’, and ‘Vulnerable’.  Let’s just start with ‘Vulnerable’, because if young black boys like Trayvon are allowed to be murdered in cold blood, without arms to defend himself, even when their killer remains on the scene of the crime, and our justice system says, “Not Guilty”, what are you asking us to accept?

My heart weeps for the parents and family of Trayvon Martin.  In the cases of violence where someone ends up lifeless, he or she is not the ONLY victim.  I have no words that can adequately describe my disappointment in the returned verdict.  We now must remember Trayvon and honor him by protecting those around America that look just like him.   We can no longer accept that taking the life of a young black male comes without consequence.   We must demand more from our legal system so that it works equally for all ethnicities, cultures and people. 

Finally, I’d like to add, if anything ever happens to me where I should be on trial somewhere for something, (those of you who know me, knows this is COMPLETELY possible), I’d like the lawyers for the prosecution to be the ones to take me trial.  They wouldn’t be able to make a parking ticket stick, with photos and time stamps

-S. Malik Husser

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Panama Jackson

Panama Jackson is pretty fly (and gorgeous) for a light guy. He used to ship his frito to Tito in the District, but shipping prices increased so he moved there to save money. He refuses to eat cocaine chicken. When he's not saving humanity with his words or making music with his mouth, you can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking her fine liquors. Most importantly, he believes the children are our future. You can hit him on his hitter at panamadjackson@gmail.com.

  • JahRW

    My heart goes out the family. They lost a child and now one should endure that. A terrible loss, as are the many lives of black children around this country.

    Lets not forget that black people are 2nd biggest group of people in the world behind Asians. So we’re not a minority. We just have to figure out how we can make the world work in our favor. Because mentally, they got us right now. We need a global black enlightenment.

  • Sahel

    We have to be united as a collective first then face the world. They take advantage and apply simple divide and rule tactics,we had blacks agreeing with the verdict and being apologists for racism. When this changes then we can face the world and overcome it all.

    • Kozy

      I think there are two sides to that. there are those who completely agree with the verdict and reasoning behind it, finding nothing wrong with the outcome. But then there are those who agree with the verdict based on the reading of the laws, while acknowledging this horrendous tradegy and that the way the system is set up to deal with it is pretty f’ed.

      I see myself in the latter.

      As the judge was reading the law and the justifications and allowances in them towards the conclusion of the trial, my heart sank. I saw, plainly and clearly, that he’d moonwalk out of that court free as a bird. As upset as I am about it, it made me realize one thing:

      justice being served and the law being followed aren’t always one and the same.

      • Todd

        I so agree with that last sentence. Once I did my homework on the case and saw all the evidence, my heart broke for Trayvon’s parents. I’m not sure I could have been on that jury, because the distance between justice and the law was far indeed. I think the best take moving is to fix the law so that this doesn’t happen again.

        • Yoles

          which is why for the life of me i couldn’t understand the charges in the first place… i have never been to law school but i thought it should have been manslaughter in the 2nd degree..

        • Dignan 2

          Florida government is Republican and It’s gonna stay Republican. They’re not gonna fix that law. Maybe we can fix it in some other states.

  • Tia_Sunny

    We need to take action instead of just talking!!! I plan on joining this program called peace in the streets. I know our ancestors, MLK, and Macolm X are greatly disappointed in us! We all should be a shamed!

  • Val

    I think perspective is always the key to understanding any situation. If we view what happens today without any perspective or true understanding of history then any solutions we have to current problems will be knee-jerk solutions.

    The first thing that we have to understand is that in the game of “America” we are not the ones who made the rules. Nor were the rules made for us to have a chance to win. The opposite is true, the rules were devised so that we are more likely to lose than to win.

    A good way to think of it is how gambling works in Las Vegas. People keep playing the game because every once in a while someone wins big. That’s the incentive to play the game. But, if one were to take a step back and observe, they would see that most people lose in Las Vegas.

    The same applies to Black folks playing the American game. Every now and then one of us will win big. Oprah, Michael Jordan, a couple of fortune 500 execs, a few doctors and lawyers, etc. So, we see them and think we too have a chance to win. And, we play the game.

    The key to winning in Vegas is not to play. And, the key to winning as a Black person in America is not to play the game. Because collectively we can never win at that game.

    There was a time, before desegregation, that we began to win. We had strong communities with Black owned businesses and Black children were taught by Black folks in that community. After segregation our communities began to fall apart as we fell all over ourselves to give Mr. Charlie our collective money and as we did everything we could to go to school with his kids and live next to him.

    We have to get back to playing our own game. We have to be taught to remember who we are and what we’ve done. We have to make the rules for ourselves and quit playing a game that was made for us to lose.

    • Abu Husain

      An older gentleman I know mentioned that to me as well. He could give a damn about sitting in a restroom stall next to a white person. He said all he ever wanted was justice… Seems like that’s still a long way off.

    • Jim L Fultz

      I’ve been saying for the longest that the focus of the civil-rights movement on intergration has done more harm then good. The focus should have been equality and justice. I don’t have any desire or need to live in an intergrated community. Don’t even get me started on bussing. The notion of it offends the shit out of me to have people think I need to be around white people to be or appear to be successful.
      But that being said we are here. So the big question remains can we get or groove back or what do we do next? Cause the status-quo at workin!

    • Todd

      So instead of submitting to the power of Mr. Charlie, we need instead to submit to our better Black elites. Yeah..miss me with that. That strong community you speak of didn’t have room for a lot of people, and the elites within that scene abused their power just as much as Mr. Charlie. Perhaps the key to having a Better Tomorrow without some people getting fat off of others is to get rid of as much concept of a system as possible.

      Then again, we’d then see the true colors of our so called heroes and release that a pig is a pig is a pig, no matter what the skin color. If the key to winning is called owning our own casino, I say screw it and let’s go to the strip club and pay for someone of our choosing to objectify themselves for us. At least we’d get something out of the deal. :)

      • Sahel

        Shots fired at Air Jordans

      • Val

        I’m not sure what your beef with affluent African Americans is really about but, would you rather deal with affluent Whites? Anyway, I hear your gripe, but what’s your solution? To just keep playing a rigged game?

        There were thousands of Black communities and towns around this country that thrived beginning in the early 1900s until integration, Todd. Why are you so willing to ignore that?

        • Todd

          I’d rather deal with…whoever I want. And so should everyone else. A community that exists by gunpoint isn’t much of one. Yes, I get we need police and armies to maintain the peace. But those valued communities you lionized existed only because non-trivial numbers of people were kept there by force. If that is what “freedom” entails, I don’t want it.

          I’m not saying that there weren’t vibrant communities before integration. My problem is that I value freedom of choice and association more than vibrant communities whose boundaries are enforced by guns. If that means certain communities die, so be it. I’m against the idea of power broadly. It’s a necessary evil at best, and flat-out evil at worst.

          • Val

            Okay. So in other words, let’s do nothing and hope for the best?

            • Todd

              If the only alternative to doing nothing is to ask a new group of people to oppress us, then yes. I do think there are other options though.

              • Val

                I’m not sure why you equate thriving Black communities with oppression but okay.

                • I think its internalized racism that causes Black people to be immediately suspicious of Black empowered communities. Why do you prefer to keep asking a group of people in power to give you some of their power? That means they lose power. Why would they do that? But you keep beating your head against the wall hoping the (inherently good) white people will come to their senses and continue neglecting the (inherently bad) Black people around you. You see the problem here?

                  • Val

                    Exactly, WC. You would think I’m advocating for some sort of Black run hate group. Black folks are always talking about how other non-African American POC groups thrive because they have their own communities and I mention we should have our own and all of a sudden it’s a bad thing.

                    • Todd

                      You’re right, but the key thing there is CHOICE. Yes, other groups tend to stick together, but the key word is tend. There are plenty of people who walk out to be on their own and assimilate with other groups. This is good and proper, and having the rest band together is good and proper. What I have an issue with is that what existed before integration was somehow voluntary. It wasn’t by any meaningful sense of the word.

      • 321mena123

        Du Bois didn’t have many of us in mind when he spoke about the talented tenth. I wish people understood that. Classicism exists in every community and i don’t care what color you are, if you think you are better than me, i don’t want to give you a dime and keep your help.

        I’m in agreement here. We need to stop living under this pretense that all blacks have other blacks self interest at heart and that every single white person is out to get you.

        I agree with community but i don’t think that it needs to be separated by race.

        • True indeed. Some of the most vicious experiences I’ve faced were at the hands of another minority. Generalizing based on race will never get us anywhere. Ignorance knows no color, and neither does hatred.

          • 321mena123

            Yes. People need to read up on the elite communities that blacks had back in the day. That little 10% made sure to separate themselves from the other 90% who were struggle to make ends meat. They also fed the line, “we need to help our own” as they gave themselves more and more privilege while looking down on the rest. I’m not saying they didn’t make huge contributions but many looked down on the rest from their homes on the hills.

            • Val

              What elite communities are you talking about?

              • 321mena123

                Read Our Kind of People.

                • Val

                  I read it. That book doesn’t talk about “elite communities”. It talks about the social structure of affluent African Americans. Which has nothing to do with what I’m advocating for.

                  • 321mena123

                    That book absolutely talks about the elites and elite black communities. He even goes into whos who and in what areas of the country. When was the last time you read the book?

                    • Val

                      Name a community that was talked about in the book. And, Sag Harbor doesn’t count.

                  • Todd

                    You’re right in that it doesn’t explicitly talk about elite communities. That said, pretending that it does otherwise is being disingenuous.

                    • Val

                      I still don’t get what advocating for thriving Black communities has to do with so-called “Elite” African Americans? I never mentioned “elite” African Americans in my main comment.

                    • Todd

                      You’re right that you didn’t mention elite African Americans in your main comment. However, those communities were dominated by an African American elite, whose interests often were to the detriment of the mass of African Americans living within those communities. They often used segregation to exercise economic power over the common Black man to their enrichment and the mass’ endangerment in both real estate and common commerce. Heck, the settlement of Harlem as the Black Mecca was one massive, decade long real estate scam that subprime mortgages ain’t got nothing on, but who cares, since the people who got rich off of it all moved out to Long Island, right? ;)

                      They also used arts and letters to judge and often control folk tastes in music, art and fashion. For example, Black elites campaigned heavily against jazz in the 1920s, even to the point of founding record labels to shove classical music and spirituals down the throats of their “less enlightened” brethren.

                      My point is that the segregated communities of the past were not some halcyon past for Black folk, and that the Talented Tenth did the rest of the Black community so dirty that even W.E.B. DuBois abandoned that idea in his later years. You’re also conveniently forgetting about the Black folk who aren’t African-American, which as of the latest census is ~15% of the Black population in this country. What are they supposed to do? Hope they marry into the right family and hope for the best?

                    • Val

                      You really have some strong anger against these so-called “elite” Black folks, Todd. Affluent Blacks certainly had their faults. But, conflating thriving African American communities with the oppression of the elite seems like reaching to me. And, if there were to be intentional communities of Black people then I’m pretty sure that it would be dominated by middle-class folks anyway.

                      I think the conversation you are wanting to have is valid but, I just don’t think that what I’m talking about has much of anything to do with elitism. In fact it has everything to do with creating a level playing field.

                    • 321mena123

                      He talks about the black elite in every major city and how they set up organizations just for themselves. That to me says community. Community isn’t just about 1 neighborhood or where you vacation. It’s about protecting the interest of those within your group.

                    • Val

                      Yes, the book talks about the Links and Jack and Jill and other groups. But, those are networking organizations not communities.

        • Val

          So, you think communities aren’t separated by race now? The only difference between what I’m advocating and this country now is that Whites are the only ones actively working to maintain White communities. Which leaves successful African Americans dispersed amongst White communities rather than in communities where they can pool economic and intellectual resources.

          • 321mena123

            I honestly don’t care if people in my community do or don’t look like me. I care that my community is safe and respectful and we pull in resources to protect our community.

    • esa

      i’ve been thinking about how the nature of America is assimilation into “whiteness” in its most mayonnaise state. lots of white folk who come over extra ethnic give up their cultural markers over a couple of generations in order to blend. i’ve known Latino folk who dont know Spanish because their parents didnt want them to be “different.” i see it with Asians, second and third generation, like Korean girls with Bronx accents who marry white men and make their parents all kindsa happy.

      not everyone does this, but it is highly encouraged and organized movements against assimilation, such as the Black Panther Party, are destroyed by government agents. i agree, the system is rigged from start to finish and part of the way it creates complacency is to create the illusion that “you too can have the American Dream.”

      but systems are constructions, which means they can be destroyed. i like what Nilla said about bombing the system by going after the criminals who run the legal system and exposing their lies. like Yaslin Bey’s expose on force feeding in Guantanamo during Ramadan. like Somaly Mam walking into a brothel unarmed and rescuing children enslaved. we have the power and agency to effect change without having to assimilate—or separate—but rather use the tools of change to our advantage today.

      • Val

        Yeah, one way to change a system is to work from within it. I think that’s been the philosophy of the generation before ours, Esa. But, that’s a very slow process. It’s taken decades for minute changes to occur. So, the question becomes how long are we willing to wait?

        • ED

          I believe change happens exponentially. Once one thing happens if we don’t see it as a “we’ve arrived moment” then we can continue to build on it and effect other changes much faster

          • Val

            I think exponential change only happens through revolution.

          • esa

            i think waiting is a state of mind. while i am learning patience i am also actively balancing that with strategy. i like to move. forward, ideally, but truth is i bunny hop. that’s human nature. we even made a dance for it.

            i see so many people so much bigger than me making the impossible a beautiful, positive reality in ways that last for years, even generations. things take time but i have faith. we always going to be fighting something. we are, after all, simian. and me ima be on my bonobo and spread good vibes ~*~

    • h.h.h.

      “There was a time, before desegregation, that we began to win. We had strong communities with Black owned businesses and Black children were taught by Black folks in that community. After desegregation our communities began to fall apart as we fell all over ourselves to give Mr. Charlie our collective money and as we did everything we could to go to school with his kids and live next to him.

      We have to get back to playing our own game. We have to be taught to remember who we are and what we’ve done. We have to make the rules for ourselves and quit playing a game that was made for us to lose.”

      if that’s the case, then there may be a process.

      i’m throwing out general ideas, but hear me out.

      first, is a community effort to either work together to build these all black communities you seek, or move to different locations where there isn’t anyone. for example, what if a black venture captialist company bought…oh…950 acres in South Dakota? for around 2 million? and built it up? networked with Google to get Google Fiber? turned it into a wired, tech based economy where coders have room to breathe?

      why south dakota? because it’s the #1 state for doing business:

      i remember going to a seminar on energy (side note, shoutout to anyone in philly for urban league) and more than one person on the panel stating that the well paying industrial energy jobs, will most likely be in the Dakotas. (I’m presuming this was before that shale-oil-line debate). but what if we capitalized on that? what if we encouraged our young sons to head out there and make an opportunity for themselves where they don’t have to worry about doing the Neo dance to dodge some bullets?

      unfortunately, America is still the superpower, and sets the trends for the rest of the 1st world/western society. we might not have to leave the casino, but we can catch on, learn how the hands are dealt and pull the game in our favor.

      • Val

        It can definitely happen in the form of a planned intentional community in South Dakota or New Mexico or Montana or 50 miles outside of Chicago. Wherever it is it would require the type of planning that you speak of.

        And, picking a particular industry to anchor such a community would absolutely be a good idea.

  • nillalatte

    I’m gonna start rambling here, so y’all can either skip my post or read, but I likely won’t be able to respond later. So, apologies in advance of anyone wanting to engage.

    I have a lot of emotion/wonderment myself about this case. It ain’t all ‘black & white’ to me. To me, it’s screwed up legislation that was never fully vetted and a screwed up court system that is skewed from the git go; Rules of the criminal justice system that keep jurors blind to pertinent facts about the defendant while smearing the character of the deceased. Folks putting a lot of focus on this case when hundreds of others across the nation NEVER receive this much public attention. If folks really had a clue how much injustice occurred in the court system, not just through statistics, it would literally make folks realize what a rotten damnn country we really do live in. Because of my experiences, no one will ever make the mistake of saying to me, “you have no faith in the system.” No, I don’t. Not one f’n ounce! ‘The system’ failed me and my kids at a time when we needed the system to support and protect us. ‘The system’ violated any amount trust I might have had at one time.

    But, I learned a very valuable lesson about ‘the system’; I am responsible for fighting it, disproving it works, and working to change the law and the rules. I also learned to attack those who attack me, and I’m not speaking of violence. I’m talking about hitting lawyers and judges where it hurts, like they did me. Try to destroy my credibility? Try to make my life miserable? Okay. Let’s see what dirt I can dig up on you! Who contributed to your election campaigns? How did you use that loophole in the rules to get elected to office? Violate a Cannon of office? I know how to log a complaint and show evidence against your arsse. I WILL make your life just a miserable as you attempt to make mine. I will work to change things from within the system and have incompetent lawyers and judges removed from practice. I have done it and will do it when I need to in the future.

    And, with that I say, work within the system to change a system you don’t like. It’s HARD work. It takes persistence and perseverance. The rewards do not come quick, but they will eventually come. I ask, do you have what it takes to start and see that work through? I know some who do and in them I have faith they will (and they know who they are).

    • wonderful comment, Nilla. I agree that it takes a lot of hard work and genuine commitment to change a system that fails us daily. It happens everyday overseas. Nations with citizens who are sick and tired of injustice, and do not sleep until there is change. Was it the movie Armageddon where they had to fly folks up to an asteroid headed towards earth and blow it up from the inside? Maybe? I cant remember….point is, revolution comes in many shapes sizes and colors. Sometimes the best way to rebuild a system is to destroy it from the inside out….knowing your rights, knowing your politicians and major stakeholders. I used to work in the court system, and from the inside, its mind-blowing how interconnected everything and everyone is. Its all two degrees of separation or less; commissioners giving shady judges leverage to be appointed, lawyers being protected from disbarment….its scary. Cant fight a war without weapons, and knowledge is our first line of defense.

      This was a great guest post. Happy Thursday ya’ll.

    • 321mena123

      This will probably be the most thought out and honest comment that we see today. I wish i could like it 20 times.

    • ED

      I couldn’t have said any of this any better

      • goes to show that race has nothing to do with understanding or acceptance or support. Those are traits ANYONE can have or severely lack

  • RewindingtonMaximus

    One thing I’ve come to terms with is learning human history. If you pay attention, you can tell when humans stopped killing other humans simply out of competition, and learned to dehumanize other people. Once this happened, things escalated beyond a superiority complex. (for instance, think of weaponry from the Civil War vs. WWI. Civil War had bayonettes, pistols, and cannons, while WWI had fighter pilots, tanks, and mustard gas…all completely more destructive and meant to create suffering as opposed to just killing).

    With that said, I wasn’t shocked or surprised by the verdict. I didn’t expect it either though. I just learned somewhere down the line to not be surprised that the majority is ready to be pushed out the way yet. They don’t want to lose. They will defend what they have,no matter the cost because they can’t fathom the CHANGE coming now.

    As far as Black people being extinct…what’s more important; teaching our youth to stop the cycle of violence against each other or still fighting against the majority for civil rights? I think teaching the youth to break the cycle is ultimately our best chance at fixing any of this. We aren’t going to win this fight if we keep making the same mistakes. Our previous generations fought like hell to get a chance at equality, and as soon as they got it, they dropped the ball. Our parents dropped the ball. WE ARE DROPPING THE BALL. So what other choice do we have now than to screw up again? I don’t want to be a part of that self-fulfilling prophecy. I want to help these kids out before its too late.

  • omgohm

    Well played satire!

  • I Am Your People

    Random thoughts:

    * Based on the headline -WE DON’T DIE – WE MULTIPLY!

    * The bald eagle thing – you can also get arrested for harming a DEAD bald eagle. I remember a story yeeeears ago where some high school kids broke into a rival high school and beheaded the taxidermied mascot. They faced more time for that than breaking and entering and graffiti

    That’s all I got for now. If I think too much more about Trayvon Martin I’m liable to slave cry.

    • Sahel

      That bald eagle thing is no joke. Native americans cant even conduct their rituals that involve the bald eagle without informing the wildlife guys

  • Damn, you trying to put a ninja right between the manatee and the platypus(not really endangered anymore, but used for comedic effect). :-). I feel where you’re coming from. For real though, there is no one under greater attack in THIS country than the young, black male. This is not debatable. It isn’t about Oppression Olympics. It’s not about dismissing the experiences of others. It’s just a statement of fact. A cursory review of wellness indicators will bear this out. To be honest, the black man has no allies here. There is nothing designed to help us succeed. Damn near everything is designed to encourage and/or profit from our failure (from the dysfunctional home life to the school system to the court system to the…). It’s just one crap sandwich after another. Unfortunately, we aren’t ready or able to turn it around. At this point, I don’t think anything less than a system wide reset would be sufficient. I can tell you that it won’t be pleasant, but it’s already unpleasant so we have that going for us.

  • Craig and Dem

    The outcome of this case wasn’t shocking at all. Everything you said was on point to a T. What’s worse is we live in a country where they want everyone to be accountable but let stuff like this fall through the cracks. And then act like they can’t believe the outrage that has come out because of this.

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