Every time I hear someone say African-American people – children and adults – sell drugs because schools didn’t adequately prepare them for the workforce so they can’t get jobs paying at least a decent wage, I just want to scream. This is not to say the education of African-American children in far too many schools is not substandard or that limited and low-paying employment doesn’t make it difficult for people to take care of themselves and their families. I want to scream because I know far too many African-American men, women and teenagers, some of whom grew up in Robert Taylor, Cabrini Green, Ida B. Wells and other public housing developments with single mothers who earned minimum wage, worked two or more jobs and still struggled to meet their basic needs who wouldn’t even think of dealing or selling drugs. On the other hand, I know and know of African-American people who grew up in two-parent families in solid middle and upper middle class communities where parental support was beyond adequate who sold drugs just so they can buy the latest hot non-essential item.
Selling drug to feed one’s family is, in my opinion, an excuse, not a reason. I don’t doubt that drug dealers/sellers buy an occasional box of Captain Crunch, bring home a couple large Domino pizza on a good night, and give the newest “baby-momma” some money. But, I believe Notorious B.I.G. (Biggie Small) tells the real truth in “EVERYDAY STRUGGLE.” “http://.justsome”>http://.justsomelyrics.com</
Having said that, I acknowledge that a number African-Americans I know, some African-American politicians, noted community leaders and authors are certain this is the case. My close friends who believe I’m wrong about this say I don’t understand. I’ll be the first to admit they could be right but more importantly, there no way we can disagree about the negative impact this entrepreneurial approach to family support is having on children and adults who live in African-American communities famous for their drug activity. And, since there is no short-term solution to the systemic educational and employment problems, we need to brace ourselves. Drug dealers/sellers will continue to need money to care for their families. This means we can probably look forward to more weeks that end with ten or more of our people murdered or shot. And, even though “mandatory sentencing” is no longer a threat, the number of incarcerated African-American males probably won’t decrease so neither will the number of children who’ll see their fathers only on visiting day. This seems to be a trap and a tragedy for everyone.
This isn’t ok with me and at the very least those who support drug dealing/selling in certain communities must be torn because African-Americans living in communities traumatized by drugs cannot, in all consciousness, tell their children not to get involved with drugs because someone needs to use Crack, Heroin, Meth and other drugs so those who deal/ sells can feed their families. Given this, I am proposing that we implement The CWR (Collective Work and Responsibility) Initiative, named for a principle of Kwanza that means working together because “we have a role to play in our community and in the world.” CWR will be a partnership between African-American drug dealers/sellers and African-American Communities. The purpose is to make sure the burden of helping drug dealers/sellers support their families is not on the shoulders of just a few African-American communities. Here’s how the Initiative will work. African-American Communities across the United States will keep up a database with the following information.
1. The names and contact information of every resident who believes people deal and sell drugs to support themselves or their families. 2. The names and contact information of African-Americans who are currently dealing/selling drugs in the African-American communities that are hardest hit by drug-related activities. (3) All of the community residents listed in the data base will agree to buy enough drugs so dealer/sellers in the database can earn the salaries needed for their families to have nutritious food, affordable housing and other necessities such as movie size flatscreen TVs, big expensive cars and trucks, jewelry, multiple pairs of athletic shoes and the latest cellphone.
Not only can this make our drug dealing/selling brothers and sisters feel understood but they might be motivated to stop fighting over territory and killing their African-American competitors along with other African-American children and adults. But if they don’t the people who are murdered because they are, as we like to say, “In the wrong place at the wrong time” will live in African-American communities in various parts of the city.
I’ve also heard some white people express this same belief so they can participate too. Explaining their participation to white drug dealers/sellers might complicate things but it probably won’t stop these understanding, compassionate white people from participating. They will, without a doubt, make sure every one of the white residents in surrounding areas understand the purpose of CWR so when they see those African-Americans dealing/selling drugs in their communities, they won’t panic and called the police.
Being a member of the CWR is a selfless thing to do. The acceptance and understanding of drug dealing/selling is expressed in statements such as, “he just sells to his teenage friends to earn extra money” for shoes and basic things his parents can’t afford, or selling drug is not a violent crime,” makes me think CWR members might need to talk about three realities that are a part of living, raising kids and working in a community where a few people hold families and neighbors and business owners hostage as they walk up and down the street dealing and selling drug as freely as kids use to sell newspapers
1. Packages of Crack, Heroin, Meth, etc. do not have triggers but they do as much damage in drug-ridden African-American communities as an AK-47.
2. African-American drug dealers/sellers do not sell Crack, Heroin, Meth and other drugs to trees. They sell those drugs to other African-American people. Some of these African-American people pay for those drugs with Pamper money and rent money and food money or the few dollars they get after they steal and hock the family TV or their toddler’s only toy or their teenager’s favorite tee shirt. They pay for those drugs with the $10.00 and the bus pass they got out of the purse they snatched from a working single African-American mom’s coming home from her minimum wage job, or the $256.00 they stole after they knocked a 71-year old African-American man who had just cashed his social security check at the currency exchange to the ground.
3. And, like the predatory payday loan industry, dealers/sellers do not play. They extend credit to their customers who need a fix or hit or whatever they call it but don’t have cash. When customers cannot pay their debts on time, these family oriented dealers/sellers will demand collateral which could as easily be selling that customer’s per-teen African-American daughter for sex as easily as they might take that customer’s State ID or LINK Card. Or, they might shoot in a living room window, kill the whole family or shoot a Bro in the back to make sure he spends the rest of his life a wheel chair – little stuff like that.
What to do with the drugs you buy? Give them to your children or other members of your family so they can learn the tricks of the trade. That way, those who live in gated communities or on tree-lined streets can have drug-related experiences similar to those of brothers and sisters who live on or near busy thoroughfares decorated with liquor, cellphone and payday loan stores, storefront churches and other businesses hiding behind bulletproof glass and prison bars. Or, freeze them like some people do Girl Scout Cookies.
The CWR Initiative is not intended to be a permanent solution but at least nobody can accuse us of not doing anything while we wait for the school system to get fixed and beyond minimum wage job opportunities to increase. So, With everything laid out, The CWR is a go, right? Unless what you really mean is:
“I understand why you deal/sell drugs and I will gladly explain and defend, if I have to, what you’re doing and why as long as you do it over there where BaBa lives. It’s all right to sell to BaBa and her kids because she “ain’t done nothing with her life and, no matter what you do, her kids ain’t going to amount to nothing either. Since they’re going to use drugs anyway they may as well buy them from their undereducated and unemployed African-American brother and sisters.” The CWR Initiative – Silly? Maybe. Worth thinking about? Definitely.