Sunday, April 21, 2013

He Needs to do a Tour of the 'Hood: Ruslan Tsarni Reminds the American People That Shame is a Social Force Which Gives Us Meaning

Powerful truth-telling.

One of the questions we have grappled with here on We Are Respectable Negroes is the relationship between the politics of respectability, the public sphere, and social morays.

Given the war zone that many of America's central cities such as Chicago have become, I have returned to those concerns in my writing about "black nihilism." Of course, this is not a problem exclusive to the African-American community. As such, I have called out the problem of nihilism and degenerate culture across the colorline.

"Shame is dead" is one of my favorite phrases. The death of shame has enabled any number of socially deleterious, maladaptive, negative, and destructive behaviors. Of course, material realities influence culture and life chances. But, the ability to understand the origins of these behaviors ought not to be an excuse for said behaviors.

Following the Boston Marathon bombing, Tamerlan Tsarnaev and Dzhokar Tsarnaev's uncle gave an interview to the press where he publicly shamed and disavowed his nephews who have been accused of committing that heinous act.

Shame is not dead in Ruslan Tsarni's house. He had a community's honor to defend; he stepped up appropriately.

Thus, some questions, about his wisdom and feelings and how it may (or may not) apply to other communities in these United States:

Where are men like Ruslan Tsami in the black community, where on a weekly, and almost daily basis, young people are killing each other by the bushel? Are those men present--as I would suggest they are; I know some of them--but has American society become so immune to black on black violence that it no longer merits an interview or media attention because it is the new norm?

Bill Cosby told the truth about ghetto underclass culture, poor life choices, the triumph of an ill-equipped and poorly trained underclass youthocracy, and the failings of parents and communities as they excuse-make for bad behavior. Ruslan Tsarni is feted. Why was Bill Cosby railroaded for daring to make observations that are driven by the same sense of public shame?

As I have discussed here on more than one occasion, the mass shooting incidents by white men in the United States have been examples of a crisis in white masculinity, and also evidence of how white privilege hurts white people in this country.

Here, Adam Lanza and his ilk are taken as "individuals" who are not representative of "white men." Ultimately, white privilege and Whiteness in tandem create the freedom for white folks to be individuals whose behavior never reflects negatively upon the broader group.

White mass shooters are psychologized as the white public searches for explanations and answers for why their "good" and "normal" kids went and killed dozens of innocent people.

When will the broader white public publicly shame and call out the Adam Lanzas, Columbine murderers, and James Holmes's without equivocation or soul searching?


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chauncey devega said...

Dyson, who is cool people, is also a shrewd businessman and admitted as such on his book tour explaining why he went after Cosby. As I say, yes structures matter. But "institutional white racism" is not keeping you from raising your kids properly, teaching them a sense of honor and personal responsibility, keeping them from being predators, etc.

You can create a home environment, as difficult as this may be for some to accept, that can be an antidote or at least a protective against some of the poor social capital and degenerate culture many of our young people, and their 30 year old grandparents take for granted.

Is life fair? No. Can we do better? Damn Right. Cosby told a basic truth that anyone taking mass transit home after school gets out would see. There are many folks invested in denying that truth on a professional level. These same people do not live in those communities or deal with the ign't factor on a day to day basis.

Yastreblyansky said...

Huh--I thought you were being snarky about Cosby. To this white dumb-liberal man what was wrong with him was get-off-my-lawn alienation from the community he was talking to, the assumption that your father yells at you and you pull your pants up and that's all you need to get a PhD and your own TV show. Public shame is in general to be encouraged, I think every murderer's uncle should be on TV, but I think everybody should be psychologized too.

chauncey devega said...

I am complicated ;)

CNu said...

Measurable moral poverty is the 800lb gorilla about which none dare speak for fear of being called a racist.

Yastreblyansky said...

Shocked-shocked to hear it!

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