When is enough enough?

By L.A. Batchelor, BASN Staff Reporter
Updated: September 7, 2009

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article first appeared on BASN in September of 2009. While the events surrounding this piece are a bit dated, the message and its meaning are timeless.

Plaxico Burress

Plaxico Burress

NORTH CAROLINA (BASN) — It’s 2009 and the country hasn’t changed for black people.

I say black people and not the politically correct “African Americans” because I am not from Africa and if you talk to a lot of Africans from the “Homeland”, they are glad me and other black Americans are not from there.

Having said that, I was very disturbed by the recent indictment and conviction of former New York Giant wide receiver Plaxico Burress for gun charges after he accidentally shot himself in a New York City night club.

Burress received two years essentially for being stupid by caring and unregistered loaded gun with no holster into a club in his pants.

No malicious intent, no desire to kill anyone or “shoot up the spot,” just being “Billie bad ass” or should I say “Burress bad ass” and now because of his idiotic behavior, he will have to sit in a 6 x 6 cell away from his family and surely away from football forever.

This on top of the Michael Vick conviction for running a dog fighting operation, lying to federal investigators, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and anything else they wanted to throw in and throw at him.

Well, they “threw the book” at Vick to the tune of 23 months in federal prison and now as a free man he still remains confined to the “prison of public opinion” and public denouncing and because of this moral stand by Vick haters such as PETA (an animal rights group),

“Master Goodell” imposed a conditional reinstatement that is not only unfair but unrealistic for Vick to get any real opportunity this year to be a starting quarterback for any team in the NFL.

Additionally, because of opportunists like PETA with their racist and political agenda, Michael Vick continues to be verbally attacked, his character has been assassinated and his livelihood has been compromised.

These are two examples that are disturbing to me and have become common place in black society. The hatred for black people by white society still runs deep in this country.

They hate to see successful black men and women so when they have an opportunity to “nail us to the cross” they take advantage of it.

Don’t get me wrong, if you break the law, then you have to pay for your crimes but in these cases, the punishment surely doesn’t fit the crimes. Especially when you can look at other cases that can be deemed as double standards.

For example, Matt Jones, a white player who at the time was employed by the Jacksonville Jaguars, was caught in his car doing a line of cocaine by police and was arrested.

After pleading guilty, he was suspended…I’m sorry, given a three week vacation and fined by “Master Goodell” and in the criminal courts was ordered to do 30 days of drug rehab.

After his 30 day rehabilitation stint, he was reinstated by Goodell and the NFL Players Union fought for and won the money he was fined by the league. Jones is currently eligible to play in the league and reportedly has several NFL teams interested in signing him.

Vick was suspended before he pleaded guilty for dog fighting and conditionally reinstated by the league after serving 23 months in federal prison and reportedly had little interest from NFL teams for his services before he signed with the Eagles.

Burress got two years for shooting himself and his football career is likely over.

Let’s look at these incidents from a different angle:

Jones was caught with an illegal substance. A substance that if a black man was caught with would definitely get him or her some real time behind bars based on the amount Jones was caught with and the discrepancies in prison sentences of black people as oppose to white offenders.

His crime is consider very serious by law. He got a three-game suspension, a fine that was later overturned and 30 days rehab. Keep in mind, Jones was not suspended while his criminal case was pending either.

Vick killed dogs and lied to prosecutors. Yes he committed a crime and yes it was punishable with jail time but 23 months in FEDERAL PRISON? Keep in mind, he was also suspended by the NFL while his case was pending, had to give most of his salary back to the Atlanta Falcons, his former team.

He also continues to be ridiculed and attacked by various organizations like PETA and the racist main stream media. He didn’t kill a human being, he killed some dogs.

By the way, does anyone get upset when red neck white boys go out and hunt and kill deer? Or where is the outrage when animals are slaughtered for feeding or scientific experiments?

Where is the denouncing of animals who are killed to make fur coats or leather shoes. To me, there shouldn’t be because they are ANIMALS PEOPLE!

Say what you want and present every reason why I should be outraged and I will always answer you with this: No animal life is more important than human life!

Vick took an animal’s life not a human life, so 23 months in prison along with all the money and ridicule he’s endured is far too excessive especially compared to the Jones situation.

Burress shot himself and should be punished by law but again, he didn’t harm anyone, he didn’t intentionally fire the weapon and when the gun did fire, he shot himself. A crime but certainly not worthy of two years in prison especially when comparing it to the Jones situation.

By the way, Burress was fined and suspended by the league while an indictment was pending, released by the Giants, lost millions of dollars in contract money and is suspended by the league indefinitely. All that for shooting himself?

The Vick and Burress attacks are the kind of blatant attacks black people in America suffer at the hands of white society and white law daily. Just think if it can happen to high profile athletes like Vick and Burress, then it certainly can happen to me or you who make less money and have less celebrity status.

Instead of whites showing their hate wearing white mask dealing out justice by hanging us, they sit on a bench with a black robe and gavel and lock us up. Instead of racially biased laws on the books filled with racism and bigotry, they hide their hate with home loan denials, job rejections and school and neighborhood segregation.

Thus the comment, the more things change, the more they stay the same. There is another side to this attack on our people. In many cases, we are our own worse enemies..

As much as black people prosper, the more they suffer whether the culprit is white America or our own. We take two steps forward and five steps back. We either “work hard to pay bills” with nothing to show for it because we live for the moment and have no financial vision of the future, or we “make big bills” and work “hard” to distance ourselves from our community and our people.

This is the vicious cycle we live in and it’s so bad, you have to thank Willie Lynch and his ancestors for being visionaries. There is a lot of blame to go around on this issue.

Yes white people, in particular white men, live to oppress us with jobs, education and opportunity and suppress us with the truth of their evil deeds to the point that some of the greatest black scholars and minds are numb and immune to such diabolical acts.

We know the hate, jealousy and envy come from those white devils who wake up every morning feeling a sense of superiority, priority and entitlement which leads to the heinous acts bestowed upon black people. We get that, we know them and we understand they only change when they are in the sun.

What I and many like me don’t get is black people. Those that want equal justice, but are not willing to fight for it, speak about it and take action to obtain it.

Or those blacks who reach a level of material, social and financial success and feel “they made it” and proceed to isolate themselves from other black people just as hungry and eager to have a taste of similar success for their family.

We are our own worst enemy and I know this because I meet those “black enemies” everyday..

The:

“I got mine so you go get yours black!”

“Pull yourself up by your boot straps and do it black person..”

“Why do you always have to bring race into it?” Black person.

“I have to cater and pander to white society black person.”

“I’m so ashamed to be black that I demean them anytime I can black person.”

“Only care about black issues and black people when it suits me black person.”

“Can we all just get along black person.”

“My white friends are not racist black person.”

“If you work within the system, things will turn out fine black person.”

“If you just pray, things will turn out fine,” black person (I do believe in prayer, but not prayer alone without action).

Stop blaming the white man for all your problems black person.

I care about superficial things like watching women shaking their ass in a video, laughing at Comic View, American Idol, Flava of Love and other entertainment shows.

“Clubbing, hanging out, partying and having sex with as many people you can black person” (this applies to men and women).

“I don’t care about black people, the world or anything of substance because I am the all of the above black person.”

ENOUGH! This is the kind of “divisional cancer” that spreads among us from generation to generation in every street, city and state in America and we MUST find a “mental cure” to stop this deadly disease before it annihilates our entire race.

Now some black women make it difficult for us because some of them have the mentality that so many black men had the misfortune of meeting.

The:

“I don’t need a man to do anything for me” black women.

“Maya Angelou “Phenomenal” black woman (Although I agree with some of what Maya says through her poetry).”

“All a black man can do for me is pay my bills” black woman.

“All a black man can do for me is give me some d**k” black woman.

“All black men are dogs” black woman.

“All black men are lazy” black woman.

“I am a lesbian because I’ve been treated wrong” by a black man.

“I date white men and other nationalities because I was treated wrong” by a black man.

I don’t date black men because they have too much “baby mama drama” black woman.

“I don’t date black men because they are lazy and have no ambition” black woman.

“I don’t date black men because they are either in jail, gay or on the down low.”

“I don’t date black men because too many of them cheat on me with white women.”

ENOUGH! I admit some if not most of these stereotypes apply to SOME black men but unless you’ve met every single black man in this country BLACK WOMAN, labeling all “the brothas” under this negative umbrella is unfair and unrealistic.

There are black men who take care of their family, care about their friends and community, work hard, love God and do it the right way every day because I know and respect them.

So don’t say ALL BLACK MEN when you get on your proverbial “black men bashing” tirade, just say SOME BLACK MEN and have the belief your GOOD BLACK MAN is still out there, you just haven’t met him yet.

The bond and love between a black man and a black woman is so special, incredible and unbelievably choreographed like an orchestra performing in concert with every instrument in perfect harmony making beautiful music.

Pray for that orchestra and know it exists rather than falling into the “divide and conquer” work white society wants.

Black men………whew! Where do I begin. We have a lot of work to do ourselves and I am not excusing any of us including myself. I’ve hurt a lot of people in my 39 years of living on this planet .

I’ve hurt myself, my family, friends, relationships with black woman and I turned my back on the most important friend you can have……..God.

Like many black men, I had no real mentor as a child growing up with a hard working mom who died when I was 11 trying to raise 6 kids and a “sperm donor” AKA dad, who was absent.

It was tough growing up in public housing (the projects) trying to find your way through a clutter of poverty, drugs, alcoholism, gangs, death and other negative influences surrounding you.

Although I never experienced drugs and stayed out of trouble as a child, learning about some of the other negative influences was something I had to battle basically on my own.

My sister Frenchie was the oldest sibling of the “fam” and she did her best to keep the family together and was tough, strong and supportive despite raising five other siblings while trying to work, get married, buy a house and raise a three year old of her own all at the age of 22.

I don’t know where I or my sister Barbara (12 at the time of my moms death) would be today without my “big sis”. Words could never describe the love and gratitude I have for my sister for accepting the challenge and responsibility of taking care of us and keeping us safe in the midst of what had to be a scary time for her although knowing Frenchie, she wouldn’t admit it.

She’s 50 now and has traveled a tough road in terms of her health but through God, prayer and her natural ability to be tough and fight for her life, she made it through and we are better for it as a family. I love you Frenchie and thank you for everything.

I share this piece of my world with you because Frenchie shouldn’t have done all the hard work and heavy lifting alone. There were black men who fathered us yet chose not to help raise us.

They thought it was cool to lay down with my mom but not help my mom and eventually my sister with the responsibilities of raising a child. I feel sorry for those men and pray they came to some of piece with themselves and ask for forgiveness from God.

There are many black men unfortunately that fit that category across the country and have for many decades. Some of us make babies and leave it to the mom to take care of it both financially and emotionally, we take, take and take on the way up the ladder of success and never give back and we end up in the criminal justice system with so many self-inflicted wounds that hurt our families and leave them feeling abandoned.

Some of this occurs because like me, we lack mentors, role models who don’t see the importance of giving back to the community who in many cases supported them on the road to success.

I am not saying this is an excuse of why some black men fall into the traps I previously mentioned because God has given us the power of choice but it is problematic in our community.

Young black men can choose which path they want to travel but it helps to have an older and experienced black man to help guide them down the right path of life.

Some black men need to be better leaders and be strong in their convictions. A leader in my opinion is someone who has the ability to guide the masses to positive results in life while having the ability to take the negative of a situation, manage the crisis and make the best out of the bad situation.

He or she must be calm in their demeanor and give the sense that everything is going to be alright. That’s my definition of a leader. Take that definition and multiply the responsibility and accountability times 10 when it comes to black men!

We must be 10 times smarter, responsible, accountable, dedicated, hard working and make good decisions. Whether we are trying to become leaders in politics, religion, sports or any other walk of life, we must be the best we can be and then perform to an even higher level to prove to the “other side” we are worthy and formidable as leaders and respected men in society.

No disrespect to our black women because they exemplify true leadership at home and in the workplace, but it is the black man that has to step up his game and lead us out of the dessert to the promise land like the biblical days of Moses.

We talk about how white people hate us and love to see us implode on a daily basis in our jobs, families and communities and we always see them as the ultimate threat but the biggest threat to our existence is the black man and woman who work within the system and in that same vein, work against us.

Armstrong Williams, Larry Elder and Clarence Thomas are just examples of how you can be an “insider” but not have “insight” in the plight of the black community.

Sports “jokers” like Jason Whitlock, are perfect examples of career opportunists who don’t give a damn about black people only in the sense of degrading and denouncing them to further their agenda and to “tap dance” for his white master by writing deplorable articles against our people.

There are many other self-hating Negroes (I call them) we can mentioned that makes me upset to the point of nausea but I digress.

The point is these men have reach a level of power, success and social status that has led them to fame and fortune but hasn’t led to any mentoring or giving back to young and older black men striving to do the right thing and who are hard working, dedicated and want to be honorable men in society but lack the proper guidance from those black men who have supposedly paved the way to success for them.

Our communities fail because our black men fail. Our families fail because our black men fail. Our dreams and desires to be successful and prosperous as black people in this country fail because our black men fail.

I am a product of this failure both as a young black child with no mentors and now as a black man just finding my way to help my own and other young black children.

Yes, white America continues to attack us as black men and women racially, economically and even mentally and they will continue to do so until the end of time because of their hate, ignorance, sense or feeling of entitlement, superiority and greed of money and power.

That’s why we have to do better and have a better sense of awareness.

We must strive to be smarter (And not just in higher education but smarter in making better decisions), tolerant of our own people, love our kids and take care of our families.

We also must seek a higher power and learn to develop an inner strength from that power because the spiritual connection with a higher connection through meditation and some form of prayer guides us in making sound decisions.

Let’s take away the self hatred and learn to be proud of who we are and that starts with each and every one of us looking ourselves in the mirror and saying to ourselves ” I can be better and do better” because the other side is hoping for our own self destruction.

They want us to continue to be “DESTRUCTIVE” instead of “CONSTRUCTIVE” and I myself will continue to fight and care about black people and hope we all come together in solidarity and love black people too.