Black People : PROJECT(P.J.'S)PRIDE...

Discussion in 'Black People Open Forum' started by Isaiah, Apr 14, 2005.

  1. Isaiah

    Isaiah Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    What is it about these rectangles of hell that would make one feel that by proclaiming they grew up in one gives them a reason to feel such puffed-up pride???

    What is it about growing up in these government-sponsored concentration camps, with the irredeemable urine and excrement stench on the back staircases so strong, the Housing porters fear to tread there -even when there are lights(rare) - would make one proud to say they grew up there???

    Is it to say that, now that I am middle-class successful, I can proudly say that I have come from the lowest of the low, and managed to succeed against all odds, or that I am tough like an old rusty nail, because I survived the PROJECTS?!

    I have heard this kind of fake-assed front from so many African Americans over the years that it actually makes me laugh that these middle, and upper-middle income folks still feel the need to associate themselves with their lowly past, and probably pass that garbage mentality on to their children... This is why you see so many middle-class African American youth trying to be like their ghetto brethren, as if GHETTO is the standard norm African people should aspire to... It is pure garbage, it is utterly and absolutely destructive, and wholly counter-productive and retrograde thinking... It aint got jack to do with what our ancestors fought for, and continues the cycle of degradation and pain so many of us have fought, and continue to fight, on a daily basis...

    Granted, many GREAT, and many not-so-great, but mighty fine, Africans emerge from these environs, but why are they a source of pride to so many folk??? I, for one, can describe for hours, the craziness and pain I bore witness to as a child, a teenager, and a young man coming of age in Brooklyn's Brownsville/East New York sections, but **** if it fills me with pride - and no, I don't feel I am any tougher than the next guy for it either... I feel that I, like millions of other Africans in America, got dealt those circumstances because the powers and principalities that be had a genocidal plan to murder me long before my last birthday, and FAILED!(smile!)

    That, however, has nothing to do with growing up in the PROJECTS!!! That has to do with God, African Family Values, and Zeke(that's me)... Many African Americans seem confused... They believe the P.J.'s raised them, and maybe they did, but My African family, the African American Village of Elders and Guardians always kept me under the watchful eye of their protection, even after I ascended to young manhood, and began to "smell" and "flex" that manhood... They were always there with a word to the wise, teaching me, as a child, how to box, how to play my drums, how to kick it to girls, recommending books...

    This I am proudest of, that those mean streets did NOT raise me, or I'd be a knucklehead like all the few friends and enemies whose funerals I've attended, or who are somewhere nodding off in despair... Them cats got raised by the P.J.'s, SingSing and Attica and Greenhaven Correctional... And aint nothin' up in that to be proud of... Many of us seem to think it is, especially among our young, and that tells me that a lot of African parents are allowing BET to raise their babies...

    This whole long riff leads into another long riff I have against some of these African American Athletes, who are always talking about how lucky they are to have escaped the GHETTO - as if these protected GHETTO figures are more susceptible to it's dangers than the average cat... Man, Puhleeze, these cats were protected from the baddest by the meanest to the nicest of elements in my community... No one would allow these people to get "caught up" unless that is what they wanted...

    Mark Breland, Eddie Mustapha Muhammad, Junior Jones, Mike Tyson, Lloyd "World B." Free, Vinnie, "microwave" Johnson, Willie Randolph, and Dwayne "Pearl" Washington all came up in my neighborhood, and were looked upon like GODS in short trunks... I think today's athlete's are no different, and do our communities a major disservice by emphasizing how terrible they are just to show the world how "tough" they are... Self-serving and damaging to our image around the world... As Ralfa'il said a few days ago, African Americans need more conscious media to send out the the "PROPER" image of African Americans... Our children are telling us that we haven't done our jobs in preparing them for success...
    Peace!
    Isaiah
     
  2. 1poetsought

    1poetsought Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Great piece of factual writing here. Good question too. I believe that this tendency has something to do with our inherent tribal nature.
     
  3. Sekhemu

    Sekhemu Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    This is a very well thought out thread brotha

    peace and blessings
     
  4. Ralfa'il

    Ralfa'il Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Project = Experiment

    Experimenting on whom?


    While the projects have been one bad experience after another for AfroAmericans, I actually support the notion of government supported public housing.

    I just think it should be better maintained, secured, and regulated....but I still support the idea.
     
  5. Radical Faith

    Radical Faith Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Good Piece

    Good observation brother. Growing up on the southside of Chicago the projects were a familar sight going down the Dan Ryan Express way or State street. I didn't live in the project but I went to a Magnet School across the street from The Robert Taylor low income housing project. Over 20 blocks of of beige or brick red 16 story buildings, three per block, housing 100's of black people per building. Because the success of the Chicago White Sox the Mayor has been prompted to relocate the citizens of Robert Taylor and tear the eye sores down. So now days there isn't much left of old Robert Taylor. Gentrification in full swing. The current Mayor of Chicago's father Richard M. Daly created these monsterousities to centralize the undesireable element in one easy accessable location. By the buildings architectural design one can easy see the main purpose of these building was to imprison our people. The most noteable product of Robert Taylor is ex-NBA star and former coach of the Portland Trailbrazers is Maurice Cheeks. These buildings conditioned our young men for prison, in fact prison was like a retirement plan for some of our brothers. The only reason I can figure so many of our brothers and sisters celebrate this life style is sometimes we must laugh to keep from crying. As these building come down huge abandoned areas of cheap land is left. What the smart black developer would do is buy to that land from the city. Right now many historic areas on the southside are being bought by the Univerisity of Chicago and other developers. Two words why blacks cherrish the project life experience "Good Times". Though I and scores of others enjoyed and still watch this show when we think about it it really didn't paint a realistic picture of project life for blacks. It wasn't a parody either. It was more a commentary on how through tough times and bad conditions there are still times of happinest and joy. Yeah right.


    Peace
     
  6. Isaiah

    Isaiah Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Radical, another very famous and powerful alumnus of the Robert Taylor Homes is Sylvester Monroe, formerly an award-winning Journalist for Newsweek Magazine, and now Op-Ed Editor for the San Jose Mercury News... He wrote a powerful book entitled BROTHERS, about his experience in the Robert Taylor Homes, as well as, the experiences of his friends, and how they fared over the years... Your knowledge of the political machinations of Boss Daley are spelled out eloqently in a book entitled American Pharoah(author's names escape me, now)...

    Fact is, that pernicious kind of "benign neglect" was the purpose of The Projects all over the nation, to keep the flood of Southern African Americans as segregated from whtie folks as they'd ever been down south... New York recently replaced Chicago as the most Segregated City in America, something we here always knew about our fair "melting pot" of a metropolis...

    Ralfa'il, whew, I agree with you to some extent, but as you said, this EXPERIMENT went all wrong for obvious reasons, most notably, the lack of psychosocial caring and understanding that prompted these ******** to attempt to WAREHOUSE African people in tall stone fortresses of hell, where we would automatically be shut off from normal modes of social intercourse with one another...

    I remember one of my elder brothers, who was no more than 15 or 16 at the time, begging and pleading with my mother not to move into the Projects... He had hung out enough to know what time it was, but his urgent pleadings went unheeded... Point is, if a 15year old understands the consequences of living in that kind of environment, then highly trained Psychs and Sociologists should know, and probably did...


    BTW, Radical, ironically, Bernadette Stanis of Good Times also grew up in my neighborhood - in the projects no less(smile!) Sorry for my longwindedness...

    Peace!
    Isaiah
     
  7. Ralfa'il

    Ralfa'il Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Isaiah


    Ralfa'il, whew, I agree with you to some extent, but as you said, this EXPERIMENT went all wrong for obvious reasons, most notably, the lack of psychosocial caring and understanding that prompted these ******** to attempt to WAREHOUSE African people in tall stone fortresses of hell, where we would automatically be shut off from normal modes of social intercourse with one another...

    I remember one of my elder brothers, who was no more than 15 or 16 at the time, begging and pleading with my mother not to move into the Projects... He had hung out enough to know what time it was, but his urgent pleadings went unheeded... Point is, if a 15year old understands the consequences of living in that kind of environment, then highly trained Psychs and Sociologists should know, and probably did...



    I don't agree with the segregating of our people into high-rise horror houses either, but I still think the planning of government funded public housing is an excellent one.


    Most of the high-rises in Chicago have been torn down as is the case in Detroit where I came up at.

    Detroit tore most of it's projects down in the 70's and emphasized the "section 8" program which basically ruined the city.

    The goverment started subsadizing houses in middle-class and working-class neighborhoods to people who didn't have the money nor the "values" to maintain those houses and carry themselves well in those neighborhoods.

    Most of the people who left those projects and moved into those houses either didn't have jobs, or weren't making enough....couldn't keep the property and lawns up, couldn't afford decent cars and piled them up in thier yards and driveways, had more kids than they could manage and let them run wild in the neighborhoods vandalizing and stealing, and just brought the entire neighborhoods down with their "ghetto/project" mentality.

    This is real brutha....

    The government didn't subsadize for people in the projects to move to white neighborhoods in the suburbs, only other black neighborhoods of middle and modest income in the city.

    Detroit was a mostly black city but the blacks in the middle and working classes had jobs and values to maintaing their homes and standards of life and resented how negative elements moved into the neighborhoods and wrecked-shop.


    So I think people should have the right to safe, decent, affordable housing but not be given more than they can handle at the time.
     
  8. AHMOSE

    AHMOSE Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Thanks for sharing. This is definitely something to think about.