I was in Los Angeles on the corner of Vernon and Central the other day, just after school let out. If it hadn’t been for the fact that I grew up in that area and recognized my surroundings, I would have thought I was in Mexico. What use to be an almost exclusively Black community was now filled with happy, playful – and mannerly – Hispanic children coming home from school, and as I looked around, I saw thriving Latino businesses being patronized by poor, but thriving Latino patrons. I was intrigued, so I decided to take a detour through the neighborhood.
Now, I don’t know whether the area is primarily Mexican-American, but what was clear was that the area was changing. There was a new vitality there. I saw fathers and teenage boys in the yards, both at home and enjoying the love of family rather than hanging out in the street. I saw a neighborhood free of young men glaring at me, or waving me over as I drove by. The neighborhood was no longer threatening. It was a neighborhood that now said family, instead of gangster. It was a neighborhood that was clearly trying to make a comeback.
It felt good to see my old stomping grounds rejuvenating itself, but I also felt a twinge of both guilt and envy. I felt guilt because my own teenage antics contributed greatly to dragging this very neighborhood down to its previous state, and envy that what comes so easily to most cultures seems to be so elusive to my own. I also felt more than a tinge of fear, because to anyone who’s familiar with Charles Darwin’s theory on natural selection, it’s clear that the Black man is swirling around the event horizon of a massive black hole. If we don’t do something to get our young people’s attention real soon, at best, the Black man is going to become irrelevant, or at worst, the new Neanderthal.
According to Darwin’s theory of evolution, which at this point is considered more fact than theory to most scientists, nature is in a constant process of selecting which groups or species will survive to perpetuate itself, and which will die out. The concept is called natural selection, or popularly known as the survival of the fittest. In order to ensure that only the best, most adaptive, and strongest life forms populate the Earth, nature eliminates the weak to insure they won’t procreate and contaminate the Earth with their weak offspring.
The process of elimination starts even before an individual is born. Every individual starts out with as many as 40 million potential brothers and sisters, all scurrying towards their mother’s egg. But most die off before they reach the mother’s egg. Therefore, just the fact that you were born means that you’re not just one in a million—you’re one in 40 million. You were the strongest and most viable of over 40 million others.
And nature takes the survival of the fittest very seriously. Anyone who has ever watched a dog or a cat give birth to their young have probably seen first hand how brutally serious nature can be in this regard. If you haven’t, just ask yourself, when was the last time you saw a puppy born with a birth defect. If you have, it’s very rare, because if an animal is born defective in any way, the mother will kill it on the spot—and in many cases eat it. Nature doesn’t provide animals with a welfare office, so they know by instinct that they, and their young, must to be able to hold their own weight in this world, or die.
But a life form doesn’t have to have a physical defect for nature to weed it out. Nature will also weed out things that are maladaptive or have an inability to adapt to its environment – like many of us, for example. God made birds to fly, fish to swim, and man to think. If a bird refuses to fly, it cannot survive. If a fish refuses to swim, it will not survive. The very same rule applies to man. If a man refuses to think, he will not survive – and that has become a serious problem in the Black community. Many of our young Black men simply refuse to think.
It’s as though we’re on a mission to ensure our own extinction. While the men of other cultures seem to have no problem in stepping up to the plate to solidify the family unit and ensure their children get a running start in life, we’re abandoning our children, and referring to the very womb of our culture as “bitches and hoes”; and if we’re not killing other Black men over drugs, we’re killing ourselves with drugs – and then struttin’ around braggin’ about it! And even when we aren’t killing ourselves, we’re making dumb decisions that’s causing us to have to spend years at a time locked up in jail like animals. Many of us have embraced a philosophy of manhood that enforces a moral obligation to be stupid. It’s like, you’re not a true Black man unless you take a pledge to remain ignorant.
This is a sad state of affairs, because nature is already hard at work weeding the Black man out, and we’re giving her all the help that she needs. Every time one gang member or drug dealer kills another, that’s nature at work upgrading the gene pool. Every time someone dies of an overdose, nature’s right there – “well, I don’t have to worry about him fathering anymore weak-minded people.” And when you go to jail, that also takes your seed out of circulation.
But the biggest impact is right around the corner. Look around you, Black man. While you’re acting a fool nature is also selecting traits in Black women that’s allowing them to do without you. Notice that while you’re out there saggin’ and getting dumber and dumber, Black women are becoming better educated, and getting good jobs. That’s right, brother – nature is rendering you irrelevant. You are no longer a suitable mate, so nature is preparing the Black female to do without you – and it’s happening right before your eyes.
So if you’re a young brother, you can just standby. That pretty young lady of yours may think your droopy pants are cool now, but as she becomes better educated and gets that good job that you’re too maladjusted to be considered for, she’s going to begin to see you for what you really are, a looser—and a broke one at that. She’s going to realize you’re not a suitable mate. And she’s going to recognize that saggin’ (spell it backwards) doesn’t make you a man. In fact, it makes you an embarrassment in the world she wants to move into – and it’s not because she’s getting uppity, it’s because it’s true. She wants to live, and she wants her children to live and prosper, but she can’t do that with you, because you’re a dying breed. As a direct result, their very survival is going to require Black women to go outside of the Black race to find suitable mates.
That’s right – that beautiful young sister that you love so much is going to have to go out and find her a real man, one who’s capable of survival in the real world. Then once that starts to happen, what was once a proud Black race is going to become less and less Black with every generation that passes, until the Black man, at least, as we know him, will only exist as pictures on the wall of natural history museums–a relic of the past.
I can hear the anthropologists discussing us now – in the past tense, of course. They’ll probably give us a scientific name like “Africantus Americana Fool”. They’ll be in the museum looking up at some brother that they found dead of a drug overdose in the snow and then had stuffed. Then the anthropologist will say to a class of visiting students, “You know, it’s really amazing when you think about it. They had the intellectual potential to thrive, but they just didn’t have any common sense. The major downfall of ‘Homeboy’ (a nickname they assigned to our species) was that he lacked a sense of community, and had less than rudimentary coping skills. But there’s one thing you’ve got to give him – he was the coolest thing on the planet, while he was around. He didn’t have much common sense, but the brother could sho’nuff sag.”
The upshot will be, we’ll finally get the attention that we so passionately craved. But the downside is, it’ll be on the History Channel.
I Bear Witness .
I sit, I watch, and I grow ever more obsolete as I bear witness.
. I bear witness
to a once vibrant people greedily gulping down society’s hemlock. Even as they claim to be “keeping it real,” they continue to maim, kill, and despise their own in hot pursuit of the prime directive with the passion of a sheetless Klan. . I bear witness to Black fists in the air in false solidarity promoted by self-serving poverty pimps as the world looks on and giggle at crooked fingers pointed elsewhere. . I bear witness to the superficial attempt to ban the “N-word” while the new “un-niggas” stand around watching children killing children and fathers drugging sons, as they celebrate, lionize, and enrich those who denigrate the very womb of their culture with impunity. . I bear witness to a generation of lost knowledge, cut off from its roots by Ronnie’s “Just say no” generation of crack, greed, death, and political corruption; A generation where the new N-word is pronounced “Responsibility” and the keepers of the flame completely ignore the destructive power of bitch, slut, whore, and tramp. . I bear witness to the reckless disregard of the words uneducated, irresponsible, and classless. Should we not ban these words as well, or should we ban banning words altogether as we celebrate their meaning? . Yes, I do bear witness. I bear witness to a new world – a world where gross ignorance comes disguised as enlightenment, and funky sneakers look down with disdain upon the sweet smell of Florsheim; a world where saggin’ pants and gaudy glitter enable country bumpkins to masquerade as elegant, and the exquisite surrender of eloquence is the very essence of what it means to be hip. . Where’s Langston? Where’s Baldwin? Where’s Oscar Brown, Jr.? We need you stormin’ this beach, because . . . . I now bear witness to a world where motherhood stands alone, to be “dope” renders a smile, and posterity is forced to embrace the wind for paternal sustenance; A world where the walking dead strut about rapping the wisdom of idiocy, and we praise the illiteracy of vulgar nursery rhymes as profound; a world where the mother of salvation’s final gasp is compared to the pigmentation of brown paper bags. . Malcolm, Martin, where are you? I once stood with a crowd.
Now seemingly alone,
I’m forced to bear witness – horrific witness . . . to the imminent demise of our people, .
And my heart bleeds.
Eric L. Wattree