The following is an excerpt from my forthcoming new book, which as yet is untitled.
“Denial is not a river in Africa,” as the saying goes, but it is potentially the “longest” road away from success (no pun intended). That said, you can pour a case of Shalini perfume (one of my favorites for women) on a dead, maggot-infested carcass; but when you are done you are still left with a dead, maggot-infested carcass. Only difference is it has a small fortune of expensive perfume poured on it.
Crystal Lewis, a WeNews correspondent, said: “Once black girls wind up in juvenile justice schools it’s hard to find the path to financial stability. Research has found that black girls are more likely to be punished for being ‘un-ladylike’ and seen by teachers as ‘loud, defiant, and precocious.’” (3/24/14)
From my perspective, I say, “if the shoe fits.”
What Lewis writes is true, but that truth is about to be spun in the sphere that encompasses accusations of “racism and they (read: whites) don’t understand black culture.” The problem is that those accusations are both lies and denials of the factual reasons. And specific to same, those lies and denials further exacerbate the real problem by trying to culturalize it.
Monique Morris, co-founder of the National Black Women’s Justice Institute based in Oakland, California says: “Black girls are getting into trouble at school for just being who they have to be.” “HAVE TO BE?” Are you kidding me? She and the encomiastic hordes who line the sidelines acclaiming her views as coming from on high could not be more anti-modernity.
But Morris doesn’t stop there. She continues: “The majority of black girls who have been suspended got kicked out for being loud, even if they weren’t being disrespectful. It’s cultural for black girls to speak up, and they are going to fight back if something is wrong.” Remember what I said earlier about putting Shalini on a dead, maggot-infested carcass? That’s exactly what the attempt is here.
Little girls should be taught to be ladies in addition to being given absolutes pursuant to expectations for academic excellence. What Morris and Lewis are arguing is that being loud, boisterous, unruly, and unladylike are permissible because the girls are black and that makes it a cultural “thang.” I argue that the refusal to address said behavioral issues is in large part why black women are leading the nation in abortions and single parent homes.
This conjoined with the reanimated corpse that once again argues classrooms are racist and biased toward black males is nothing more than a new attempt to extort money in exchange for failure and to blame whites.
Children become what they are taught and/or encouraged to be. I’m a people watcher. I’ve observed the behavior of the black girls—whose behavior Lewis and Morris would have us accept as cultural—in stores where they work. The belligerence and disrespect shown to customers, especially white customers, are as inescapable as are their lack of social skills. A good example would be Rachel Jeantel of Trayvon Martin fame, but I digress.
The behavior that Lewis and Morris argue as a cultural norm is a primary factor that contributes to rappers, actors, and athletes with seven and eight figure incomes changing neither their mentality nor behavior.
What about self-respect? I argue that it is the lack of self-respect that contributes massively to the defiant behavior. Little girls, like all children, should be taught self-respect; and that comes by having adults who understand the need for positive nurturing, strict guidelines, expectations, and absolutes.
I’ve observed black children laugh and belittle other children for having proper table manners. I’ve observed black women who are virtually clueless pursuant to how to behave in public, both professionally and socially.
Anti-social and aberrant behavior are not cultural norms. They are self-limiting patterns of behavior that ultimately contribute to low self-esteem, which is acted out by inappropriate life choices. Until said behaviors are corrected, the black children in question will never step into modernity and prepare for culturally inclusive life.
Mychal S. Massie is the former National Chairman of the conservative black think tank, Project 21-The National Leadership Network of Black Conservatives; and a member of its parent think tank, the National Center for Public Policy Research. You can find more at mychal-massie.com.