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Black Organizations May Impact Crime
7/23/2014 3:49:55 PM

By Barney Blakeney

Every now and then my editor breaches the subject of Black organizations, or the lack there of, in the Charleston community. Specifically he notes the absence of a Black business organization.

As a reporter, I feel the pinch of that absence when searching for authoritative sources for a Black perspective. For example if I’m writing about Blacks in the hospitality industry I’m out of luck.

The hospitality industry is one of the economic engines that drives the local economy and Blacks play a huge role in it. But there is no organization - that I know of beyond one or two labor organizations - which offer any unified or collective perspective on issues that impact the Black community.

There is a wealth of social organizations established in the Black community. We’ve got poobahs, sistas and church groups up the ying yang. But look for an organization of Black lawyers and you’ve gotta go somewhere else.

That’s perplexing considering we’ve got a lot of Black lawyers in town - some really unique Black law firms like the brother/sister Whipper team and the father/son Martin team. We’ve even had some dynamic female law firms. Heck if Black lawyers don’t know the advantage of organization no wonder the rest of us are out of pocket.

Anyway, I was all set to write about the need for more organization in the Black community when the incident of the young Black guy who shot another Black guy at a North Charleston gas station under the watchful eyes of a surveillance camera occurred. Local television news programs aired the footage which most found disturbing. I’ve heard all kinds of comments in response ranging from how cowardly the shooter was to how stupid.

A little later in the week there were two other murders - the Ravenel home invasion shooting of a mother and her fiancé and the North Charleston shooting of a woman in an apparent domestic incident.

The brazen gas station shooting trumps most other stories this week. We hear about the shootings and murders, but to see one played out on camera took most of us by surprise. However we shouldn’t be surprised. A lot of the shootings we read about are committed in similar fashion, just not on camera.

What stood out for me about last week’s violence was the shooting of the women. It seems our women are now becoming victims of the madness that is Black on Black violence. With every species of animals the males of the species protect the females of the species.

What is happening that Black men now will turn their violence on their women?

I grew up during the 1960s knowing that for generations over hundreds of years Black men in America had no real power to protect their women. White men could take them at will without resistance from the Black man. I once dated a domestic worker. I still wonder if her virtue ever was compromised by the white man for whom she worked.

To know that the women we once could not protect we’re killing, outrages me. I can never watch Samuel Jackson in the movie “A Time For Killing” because of the emotions it evokes, yet I read of a Black man who pumps four bullets into the body of a 24-year-old Black mother over some money!

We’re in a bad place. It’s going to take organization to move us from this place.

Sunday I watched Armstrong Williams’ talk show “The Right Side” for the first time. He interviewed two clergymen, Rabbi Dormon Aizenman and Rev. Norman Gamble. I had an earlier conversation with a friend who said the violence we’re experiencing won’t be stopped until it affects white people. Gamble later said something on Williams’ show that resonated with me. He said change will come to our community in 20-25 years.

Like most Black folks I want immediate gratification. I don’t want to wait 25 years for the violence to end. But realistically, we didn’t create this violent community overnight and we won’t end it overnight.

I think my editor’s probably right, we have to create more effective organizations in the Black community.

Our organizations have been good at putting on conventions, banquets and fundraisers, but they have failed at insuring there are quality schools, jobs and opportunities for our young.

Maybe if our organizations begin now to refocus their energy, we may be able to outbreed over the next 20 years the violence we’ve inbred over the last two generations.

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