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Social phenomena The occurrences of modern Black social phenomena's reflect Black people's history in America; they are byproducts of a social system that has neglected their equality, liberty, justice, and needs. Most Black social phenomena are ironically misunderstood by the very system that help creates them. Along with being misunderstood, Black social phenomena's are also blamed for many of society's ills. The present welfare system was not created by black people but they receive the blame for its inefficiency. A vicious cycle has been created. Black social phenomena's occur with little control by black people, but the negative effects and consequences are blamed on Black people.
The Social phenomenon of Black Rage as depicted in Nathan McCall's Makes Me Wanna Holler Has numerous causes and repercussions. The opening scene of the book is a description of a random white boy being beat senseless by Nathan and his friends. Nathan recalls the incident: "I gritted my teeth as I remembered some recent racial slight: This is for all the times you followed me around in stores... and this is for the times you treated me like a nigger... and this is for G. P- General Principle - just' cause you white.' The oppressive way of white society was the cause of this senseless beating.
The white boy came to represent white society. Much like the beating of Regional Denny, black people's frustration found an outlet. One effect of the Black Rage depicted in McCall's book was a sense of satisfaction. "Fucking up white boys like that made us feel good inside" (McCall 4). The oppressed beating the oppressor was a liberating experience it made them feel powerful and free. Black Rage also helped fuel the stereotype that Black men were of a violent nature and libel to snap at any time.
Retaliation and reaction by the system that helped create Black Rage was common. The Black Panther's Party, one of the most significant symbols of Black Rage was undermined by the Federal government. The social phenomena of the Black Communities are quite different from other ethnic communities. Black communities are different because black people had little or no control over their location.
In most cases black communities were a result of economics; black people created communities where it was affordable. Nathan McCall gives two opposing reasons as to why his neighborhood of Cavalier Manor was built. To inspire pride and help the lot of black people was one view. An opposing view was that Cavalier Manor was built to encourage blacks to move there instead of white neighborhoods. Black communities have advantages and disadvantages.
The fact that they represent the clientele in their communities forces businesses to cater to their needs. Politicians representing districts with large percentages of black people must appeal to their needs. These communities have also been able to flex their political and economic muscle with boycotts and demonstrations. The fact that most of these communities are located in inner-city areas with little economical growth or opportunity is a severe disadvantage. Lack of economical opportunities in black communities has severe consequences. Economical dependency in the form of welfare runs rampant in these communities.
Lack of employment leads many to pursue any means necessary to survive. Nathan McCall turned to a life of crime. There is no question that the amount of crime, specially drug-trafficking is directly related to the lack of quality opportunities in black communities. All society does is point the finger without truly understanding the whole situation. Black people and their communities become scapegoats for societies' ills. The social phenomenon of Black-against-white crime in many instances is motivated by a need to lash out against the system that has taken its toll on black individuals.
Some black people are generally fed up with trying to become members of the white mainstream. A mainstream that judges them on the basis of skin color rather than merit often causing disillusionment and a life in crime. Black-against-white crime can also be symbolic. The thought of robbing "old Blum's" in Richard Wright's Native Son served such a purpose. "They had the feeling that the robbing of Blum's would be a violation of ultimate taboo... , it would be a symbolic challenge of the white world's rule over them.' The fact that old Blum was white meant two things, although a successful heist would mean more because it is a white institution, the punishment would be more saver.
Bigger stated " If old Blum was a black man, you all would be itching to go, cause he's white everybody's scared." The repercussions involved with Black-against-white crime have always been harsher than those involving Black-against-black crime. "I shot and nearly killed Plan, a black man, and got a thirty day sentence; I robbed a white business and didn't lay a finger on anybody, and got twelve years. I got the message. I'd gotten it all my life: Don't fuck with white folks" (McCall 144).
Bigger Thomas's murdering of Mary in Native Son received an extremely large amount of public outcry. His slaying of Bessie was never really made into an issue. The only time Bessie was even brought up in the murder hearing was as evidence. Black people have more incentive to prey on their own; it is more acceptable to white America. The lack of faith black people have in America's legal system is a direct result of the treatment of black people by the system.
Racial discrimination in the courts dates back to days of black enslavement. Enormous injustices were inflicted on blacks over the years, and not just in the South, where blacks accused of attacking whites were almost automatically convicted. Bigger knew that nobody would believe that Mary's death was an accident, that explains his hopelessness when discussing the case with his lawyer. Statistical evidence shows that black people receive more jail time than white people; "51% of blacks received a prison sentence compared to only 38% of whites" (Langan pg. 1). A consequence of black people's lack of faith and fairness in the legal system is race-based jury nullification.
"In 1991, a visiting Jewish scholar, Yankee Rosenbaum, was fatally stabbed by a black mob outraged that a black youngster had been run over and killed by a religious Jewish motorcade. Rosenbaum lived long enough to identify Lem rick Nelson Jr. as the stabber, but a largely black jury did not convict Nelson. Later, some jury members went partying with Nelson to celebrate the acquittal" (Leo pg. 1). The Rodney King incident and the riots that followed are a perfect example of black people's frustration with the legal system.
Nathan McCall states that members of his community rather than call the police when a fight or some other disturbance occurred would deal with the situation themselves. Both Native Son and Makes Me Wanna Holler contain strong black males who are struggling to find their place in a society dominated by white people. Their hate, discontent, and frustration are byproducts of a society that neglects their equality, liberty, justice and needs. I am not saying that the violent acts committed by Bigger and Nathan is justified, by the way black people are treated in this country.
Society must stop pointing the figure at black people or whoever the scapegoat at the time is and takes responsibility for what it has created. Instead of crisis control we should invest in preventive programs and policies. Bibliography McCall, Nathan. Makes Me Wanna Holler: A Young Black Man in America. Random House: New York 1994. Wright, Richard.
Native Son. Harper and Brothers: New York 1940 Leo, John. "The color of Law. "U. S News & world Report", Oct 16. 1995, pg.
24. Langan, Patrick A. "No Racism in the justice system. "The Public Interest", Fall 1994, pg. 48.
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