Op/Ed By Wallace Mabry
The Center for Public Safety Initiatives (CPSI) issued Working Paper #2015-15, June 2015 (which recently floated in the emails of the Monroe County Department of Human Services), in which summary considerations have been forwarded to inform the recommendations of the Safe Neighborhoods Working Group of the Rochester/Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative.
The paper reports it represents some “research” of the questions of the nature of the relationships between crime and poverty, and crime and poverty as they relate to predominately black neighborhoods.
There is a particular discussion around social, legal, economic, and political ramifications, vis-à-vis black versus white neighborhoods, and how much more efficiently white residents interact, socially, in their neighborhoods, which offsets high costs of town and county services.
The paper’s ‘research,’ however, does not go far enough to explain the social, economic, educational, and political causes that underpin the struggles and conditions black people are confronted with, not only in black neighborhoods, but in America in general.
This writer has done some research on the questions as well, to focus future considerations.
The struggle for black survival in America has a long history. At whatever level it is studied, it is a struggle of black people endeavoring to be accepted, fully as human beings, with all the rights and privileges white people enjoy, and believe they are entitled to, and which white people are afforded.
It is a struggle that requires the whole of the American society to be changed “from the bottom up.”
The reality of black on black violence is understood in the context of blacks knowing, instantly, the consequences of acts against those who are denying them those basic opportunities of equal citizenship and recognition, open access to good jobs, and decent wages to enable them to feed and provide adequately for their families.
In frustration, because they have been told daily, in word and deed, that they are not worthy of equal citizenship and recognition, they frequently strike out against one another, transferring all of their built up animosity, and pent up anger, onto any black person whom they perceive as disrespecting them.
Research shows that the great majority of black people view the police, both the white and the black police, who are whiter than the whites, as having the right to assault and murder them, while in the act, the courts say, of performing their legal duties.
There are a plethora of criminal cases where black people have been charged, convicted, sentenced, and languished in prisons for a decade or more, until some appeal process has finally taken notice they did not commit the crimes for which they had been charged, convicted, sentenced, and imprisoned.
In many of those cases, the police were found to have coerced confessions out of them through sophisticated methods of torture, or just plain trumped up evidence.
Crime and poverty are inherent and distinguishable components in the social and economic relationships between those who control the institutions of America, and those who are controlled by those institutions. They represent a symbiotic relationship.
The quintessential factor in the relationships, where black people are concerned, is racism. However, the paper fails to discuss or mention that fact in any succinct detail, which makes its purpose suspect.
What black people might be more informed to know is, “that historical law that lays down that certain concessions (by those in control of the institutions) are a cloak for a tighter rein” on the black mind.
The system, i.e., the institutions that represent it, never gives away anything for nothing. There is always a price to be paid. An increase in taxes here and there, additional surcharges, fees, buyouts, sellouts, and any number of other and sundry outlays. The price is always greater than the perceived opportunity.
One may be moved to ask, is this a criticism of education? Is there not a correlation between a lack of education and poverty? And, does it not follow that, where there is a lack of education, and the presence of entrenched poverty, criminal activities abound?
To fully understand the questions, one must have a perspective constructed on historical facts.
First, those who control the educational system control the minds and mindsets of the people.
Secondly, poverty is not tempered, nor derived from some mystical, societal manifestation that sets its sights on a particular segment of the human race. Poverty is derived from one man’s quest for the greatest profit, whatever the costs to others.
Thirdly, a great many of the world’s celebrated criminals hold PhDs, master’s degrees, and no small number of B.A. and B.S. degrees. The lack of a formal education does not, per se, necessarily promote criminal activities.
What is of paramount importance here is that the black poor and impoverished do not begin to wave flags solely because of the influx of millions of dollars earmarked to aid in the eradication of poverty in a select area of the city where there is a concentration of poverty, nor to be taken in by meetings that profess to seek their input on strategies to move the poverty initiative along.
Yes, some will get a job. Some will get job training. Some may well get to live in a home that is not infested with cockroaches and mice. A great many more will remain where they are until the next wave of poverty money, based on the sociopolitical crisis of the time, rears its head, and makes extirpating poverty a top priority, again, to distract a potential urban crisis and to further the political careers of certain politicians.”
And likely, also, more papers will be produced and flow from RIT that read like some college assignment on the merits of and requirements for bringing the black poor into the ranks of the Great Society.