Reflection on the Genesis [Genesis of a Nemesis Series]

Jose Vilson Jose

I had a few thoughts about my Genesis of a Nemesis series that I jotted down on my iPod Touch on the way back from Washington, DC, as the Smithsonian Institute gets ready to unveil plans for a new African American History and Culture Museum.

– Some of you may ask yourselves: “How does he know what it’s like to live that life?” One could make the argument that, because I never got into any major trouble or never actually experienced it, that my writing of these dire straits is a bit deficient. To that I argue that I’ve actually lived in the hood pretty much all my life. And not part-time, but full-time. From all the things I’ve witnessed and continue to witness plus all the reading and studies I’ve done, I’m sure I speak from an experienced point of view, despite my lack of actual participation in the culture.

– I wonder why, despite these discussions constantly coming up with educated circles, do we not have and / or share good and solid solutions. Could it because, even if everything else did work, the system itself was made for certain groups to fail or is it something else?

– Some might also argue that there’s a personal choice about things. One could choose to not do / sell drugs, to not shoot / kill people in their neighborhood, to not join a gang, or even to not live in such impoverished conditions. My rejoinder to these myopic statements is that this capitalist system is meant to build a group of winners and losers, so the “everyone getting wealthy” theorem is debunked there. Secondly, when one feels disempowered, whether it’s through their government, their economy, or their living situation, they become hopeless. Thus, they find power in things that may even imperil their own lives, as long as they have “ownership” of something or can survive, even at the hands of people just like them.

– Despite the picture I painted, it’s not all bad. We have pockets of strong and impoverished communities. This also means that we don’t have enough of these communities being reported. Communities with underrepresented people don’t always have to have strife and disillusionment attached to them.

– Lastly, I also think we need to develop a bigger base of change agents and resources for our disposal. Too often, people who care about these situations don’t feel like they have anyone backing them up, either. Some of us are fortunate to work in social services and those are our agencies for change.

Feel free to drop a comment on any or all of these topics below.

Jose, who enjoys a little R&R …