This will be a collaboration piece between me (Bam-Bam) and my husband (Fred) the reason we are writing together is because we both have life experiences that pertain to this issue.
For years the Middle and upper class have tackled issues affecting the lower class, with emphasis on inner cities and minorities, and for years they have failed. We have a theory that the issue lies not with race but with poverty itself. Many of the people fighting have not spent a day of their lives in and actual “ghetto”. They are strictly drawing conclusions based on hear say. To clearly understand the underlying issue, you have to have lived through it. To be able to fix anything you have to realize the problem isn’t because of race it is because of the vast differences in live lessons, and values that people who grow up in “ghettos” are taught.
[Bam-Bam] I grew up with a very “middle class” up bringing I don’t think, I know, I never stepped foot in an actual “ghetto” for the first 19 years of my life. The culture I was brought up in (and shared with the majority of my classmates of all races in high school) was based in respect. You respected your teachers, parents, elders, police officers, people in authority, you were given no reason not to. As a kid my main priority was going to school, getting good grades, graduating, and getting into a good college. Drugs were present (obviously) but not overwhelming, Shootings were rare and shocked the community when they did happen. Death as a result of violence was also very uncommon, Death of a young person in general was rare and affected us all on a deep level. Family was important, sitting down to dinner, talking about school. parents played a big part in a middle class culture. From enforcing curfews to meeting boyfriends before you went out, they showed interest and concern about who you were hanging out with and what you would be doing. The difference between right and wrong was emphasized on a daily basis and as much as we felt the consequences were unnecessary we saw the reasoning as we got older. Some may see the typical “middle class” culture as “sheltered” but it was simply parents trying to protect their children.
[Fred] We were broke, and by broke I mean “as long as there was a dollar in my pocket I ain’t broke” kind of mentality. My side of town had white people, black people, and Mexicans. Poverty does not discriminate. Growing up I was surrounded by dope, neighbors sold dope, brother sold dope, and majority of people did it too. Respect is not a given, children aren’t taught to respect authority (teachers, police officers). Simply because on my side of town it wasn’t the police you called when you were in trouble, police presence was non-existent. Not because they didn’t care but because they knew their lives were in jeopardy every time they entered. Because of this as a kid you were taught to defend your self and if you couldn’t you “associated” with people who could. Keeping a roof over you and your families heads was the soul purpose in your life, if that meant dropping out of school (like I did) to get a full time job, that’s what you did. If that meant selling drugs (like my brother) that’s what you did. My father was out of the picture and my mom was barely home, due to working late at night. Parental guidance and supervision were limited and seeing as I was the oldest of four it was my responsibility, starting at 8 years old, to take care of my siblings.After I was about 12 years old my mother had little to no control over who I hung out with, I had no curfew, and I made my own decisions with no knowledge of the possible consequences.
Death was a normal thing and is probably what led me to my view on it which is, everything expires, may seem harsh to some but eventually you become desensitized to it. Living in the ghetto you become accustom to a lot, gunshots don’t scare me, having your power shut off can be dealt with. I remember one time we were so hard up for cash we couldn’t pay to get our power tuned back on so we ran an extension cord from the neighbors house for 4 months, agreeing to split the bill with them. cops showed up and told us we couldn’t do that so we went and bought some cheap spray paint that matched the pole and the electrical wire so that the orange cord wouldn’t stick out.
You become desensitized to the horrible living conditions, which is why we would spend so much time outside the house. We moved once a year, my entire life, every time our lease was up. Houses were usually run by slum lords who had no interest in keeping up with their property, many probably considered uninhabitable by the state. Apartments were small, a one bedroom garage apartment for the 4 kids and my mom. The only time we were ever out of the “ghetto” was because of the new guy my mom would be dating, and that never lasted long.
We aren’t really concerned with people who do have money because we are too busy just trying to live, or worrying about where our next meal was coming from. However when people do come into large amounts of money (tax returns) they spend it on things like tvs, game systems, cars, we didn’t think long term. From what I have seen, if you don’t get out, or some how learn there is a better way to live your life, your children are more likely to live the same way you did. People who grew up like me their parents did too its a culture passed down generation to generation. Its not a black thing, its not a white thing, its a poverty thing. These people out marching for things like BLM aren’t people from the “ghetto” they are middle class people thinking they are making a difference for “the poor people”, you aren’t. while you are out marching and wasting your time the people you claim to be marching as are actually at home slinging dope to make money, they don’t have time to waste marching over bullshit you know nothing about. If you want to change something why not look into the violence that occurs in ghettos that has nothing to do with cops, that shit is killing more of us than any cop ever will.
Sure there may be “ghettos” that are primarily black people, however where I was it was every race. Every race was on food stamps and government assistance, Every race had issues with cops, and authority. As far as the cop issue, white people and black people in the ghetto are just as likely to get in altercations with the cops. we grow up constantly hearing “don’t trust the cops, the cops are dirty”, the cops constantly hear “don’t go there you will probably get shot at”. the issue lies not with black people hating cops or cops hating black people, it lies with neither side truly understanding what the other has been taught. When you have two sides coming together, who think the other side hates them there are going to be tensions and issues, people are going to get aggressive. The only reason you only hear about black people being shot by police is because its what the media wants you to hear to keep bullshit groups like BLM hyped up.
If you truly want to change anything don’t focus on the race just focus on the people. We need to change they way they view life, so they know living the way they do isn’t something that their children have to go through. I did that by leaving, joining the army, serving my country changed my way of thinking.
Bam-Bam and Fred