Thursday, October 8, 2009


Hey y'all, don't worry I haven't missed my deadline. The challenge is for 30 Commentaries in 30 days. So even though I'm forty minutes past midnight, I'm still on track.

So this afternoon there was a stabbing on my street. I live in the South End of Albany, NY. The victim was a young man that I've seen around. I don't know him but we have talked before. He is in critical condition right now.

Anyway it's gotten me thinking about the connections between violence and poverty. I think when it comes to inner-city violence, people often fail to look at it's source. I think generally many of us understand that violence comes from systemic problems. It's when it happens close to home (like half a football field from where your kids play) that we can't clearly see the local connections.

In Albany, we have a deplorable inner city education system. The district has simply failed at properly educating black and latino youth for the most part. Unlike, Harlem, Albany has no coherent programs that are implemented by people of color to successfully address these inadaquecies. So what we are left with is a population of young people without a good education and few legitimate employment options. Of course in situations like this, many young people resort to under-the-table incomes. These are dangerous fields because of tremendous competition.
The end result is often violence. The culprit is poverty. If you eliminate the poverty, you eliminate a good percentage of inner city violence.

I'm not saying that today's incident was a result of poverty or illegal entrepenurship, I'm not aware of enough details to make that assessment.
I do know that the majority of the violence in our community is a result of poverty and the enterprises that sprout up as a result.

If you want to see it change, than you have to be working on true community organizing under the leadership of people of color from the neighborhoods that are most affected by poverty. Otherwise, ,in some way, you are part of the problem. Capitalism works in such a way that their is not enough pie to go around. If you have a slice, that means someone else doesn't. I'm not saying give your slice away, I'm just saying use some of the energy provided by said slice to help change the distribution of pie. If that's what you do, than you are involved in the solution and than I will listen to your complaints. However if aren't really doing jack and your doing well for yourself, I don't want to hear you complain about violence in the community. I'm sorry. I'm just not the one.

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