Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Black Nihilism Continued: Vice Visits "Chiraq" and the Ghetto Youthocracy Continues to Kill With Reckless Abandon

146 people have been killed in Chicago this year.

Thus, one more entry in the Black Nihilism series. I do hope that we can one day stop talking about such matters. Such a moment is far in the future.

The most recent episode of HBO's news-documentary series Vice focused on Chicago's gang violence. Apparently, Chicago has now been rechristened "Chiraq" by the gangs and those others who suffer from them as human collateral damage.

The day-to-day reality of Chiraq also echoes the findings of social scientists Sudhir Venkatesh and Steven Levitt who determined that being a street level drug dealer in Chicago during the height of the crack epidemic was more dangerous than being a soldier during the second Iraq invasion and occupation.

The indifference to human life on display in Vice's story on Chicago's gang violence is a function of many factors.

These include, but are not limited to, the following:

1. The drug trade;
2. The ready availability of guns;
3. A ghetto youthocracy where responsible elders and other parental figures are absent;
4. Broken homes and broken families;
5. Alternative social norms where murder, gun play, and going to jail are rites of passage;
6. Hyper-masculinity that is defined by violence and other negative social behavior(s);
7. Failed social institutions;
8. Limited life worlds where individuals find themselves normalized to violence, street culture, and death;
9. Poverty and unemployment;
10. An internalization of self-hatred that views the lives of other people of color as being less than human, meaningless, and uniquely suited for targets of violence and black on black crime.

Vice's story on Chicago's epidemic of street violence is solid. It is no "Interrupters". Vice does not reach for such heights.

However, Vice does an excellent job of highlighting how gentrification, Section 8 programs, and "urban renewal" took a more localized problem and spread it citywide like a virus, disease, or ant hill of pathology kicked over by an indifferent elephant.

As I have suggested earlier, Section 8 is a prime example of a public policy where good intentions have gone horribly wrong.

My claim is simple: Section 8 has helped to transplant what were local problems to other areas, rewarded absentee landlords, and hurt working class and lower middle class communities.

The solution to poor housing is that there should be fair housing for all people, anti-discrimination laws should be properly enforced, and that a living wage should be the law of the land. Vouchers are not a viable solution to the problem of inadequate housing for the poor.

Transplanting the ghetto underclass to healthy, functioning communities, is not a solution to the social ills of poverty and the truncated life trajectories among the poor. In all, programs such as Section 8--when abused--further disadvantage neighborhoods where upwardly mobile and dreaming strivers (and the politics of respectability) have a slippery and tenuous hold on life success.

I often wonder what would happen if the public policy experts, those others who advocated for the laws that created Chicago's gang problem, and then helped to spread it to other communities, had to live in the neighborhoods negatively impacted by their decisions.

Social distance creates indifference. Maybe social intimacy could create enlightened policy?


CNu said...

The solution to poor housing is that there should be fair housing for
all people, anti-discrimination laws in housing should be properly
enforced, and that a living wage should be the law of the land.

What is the incentive for rewarding dysgenic breeders with unearned largesse again?

Oops my bad, I keep forgetting the utopian, cornucopian first principle that;

racialized dysgenic fertility = the common good.

cmoon64 said...

I must tell you that your critique of what is going on in some of our
communities is exemplary. Before retirement; I've worked with various
populations trying to frame this phenomenon in terms of finding
solutions for families in crisis on a micro level. I've put this
article in my roundtable discussion on my sidebar. I'm a recent subscriber and I'm glad that I was introduced to your site by other bloggers. Peace....

chauncey devega said...

tell us more about your work if you would? what on the ground insight do you have?

glad to have you here on WARN and commenting.

Michael Varian Daly said...

Practically no mention was made of the thing that funds thegangs; drugs. The War on Drugs causes half the gun related fatalities in this country.

But don't try to stop that mofo. The Drug War Lobby makes the NRA look like a Mid Western Moose lodge.

jimA thompson said...

So, So So pathetic we have reached a unimaginable low having hipsters define our reality. Once you take out the real history of social f'd up policy what explains the bad, genocidal behavior, please don't insult the the generations who were poor, or the fathers&mothers of the working poor who rose above, took care of their home, kids without this BS of degrading of-self. I've for decades have been shouting that until the social scienctists get there solutions in-place there has to be a "word on the street" that lets the sociopaths know you will not be allowed to just freely roll-up on the block blow someone who is potentially are best and brightest away and causally walk off: think of the "fruit of Islam" the men of Louis Frakkhan as a meme, no one roll-up on his block with this. I'm glad you're staying with this nihilism , but waiting for the "other" kumbaya isn't going to happen. It's been made clear in New Orleans the lack of empathy from the mouths of the FBI ..."this wasn't a mass shooting or terrorist attack"... just simply another case of street violence, our lives have been reduced to "nothingness" there's no warm "n' fuzzy interviews with gunshot victims limping home for the long physical/mental recovery to take place in their own silence.

I want this insanity too recede when we allow ourselves to be ravaged by our own, game over. I applaud you for not letting this go.

chauncey devega said...

I have long supported that black men start street patrols like out Latino brothers in Cali have done to police the ign'ts and get them off the block. Vice is problematic. They also didn't talk about gentrification and the profit motive of getting rid of "vertical slum housing" here in Chicago and elsewhere.

There is a bit of slumming/cultural tourism voyeurism with Vice.

Black and brown life is not valued by the white media. Old story. Out of sight and out of mind in a highly segregated society helps with this dynamic too. White folks for the most part don't know real black folks except those they on TV. And they are caricatures.

chauncey devega said...

Cosign. Legalize, tax, and regulate.

Stephen Kearse said...

I agree about Vice being problematic. My feeling is that they picked this story up only because of Chief Keef, who is one of the rappers they idolize.

PDXJAME said...

That is BS lots of white people know plenty of black people especially when you grow up in a city and go to a public school. Black and Latino cultures have been valued and honored by white society much more in recent years and we give their cultures all the coverage and respect they need. Not all cities are as segregated as you believe but at least in my city (Portland Oregon, which is predominately white, the traditionally black hoods in our city are being gentrified and hipsterified) black people are a noticeable part of my life, especially when you have a media and public school system that integrate MANY cultures.