Saturday, September 14, 2019

Sagging Pants: Dress Expression or a Crime

The sagging pants expression of many young Black males in America is still a phenomena in 2019 and continues to be controversial and debated. 



Back in 2008 inside the City Council Chamber of Pontiac (Michigan) City Hall there was a panel discussion debate ‘Sagging Pants: Dress Expression or a Crime’. 

The panel discussion was sponsored by the Greater Detroit Michigan Chapter of Concerned Black Men, it included community leaders: Bruce Turpin of Pontiac Youth Assistance, Quincy Stewart of Concerned Black Men, Poet Kenny Corr, Eugene Davis of Project HOPE, Kenny Anderson of Concerned Black Men, and Educational Consultant Richard Clay. 

The panel discussion was moderated by James Ellout of Concerned Black Men. The panel discussion empowered viewers with a thorough and diverse analysis of the sagging pants phenomenon that has swept across America. 

The real origins of sagging, the true aims of anti-sagging laws, controversial dress expression throughout Black history, and strategies for addressing the root causes of sagging are some of the many featured topics.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Black Folks Negative Beliefs

by KenRay SunYaru 

The destruction of Black folks mind 'mentacide' was a mindframe set in place by white supremacist plantation owners based on inferiority complex (self-hatred) and dependent personality to keep our enslaved Ancestors self-contained: from rebelling and escaping.
Mentacide was also 'cognitive distortion' that included psychological subterfuge and false beliefs. Mentally Black folks suffer from false negative beliefs that we have about society and ourselves that are untrue, distorted, slanted, and tainted; this warped thinking has limited us historically both collectively and individually.
Black people's negative beliefs are more likely to be reinforced by the prevailing negative beliefs support they receive from so many other Black folks in response to an erroneous belief or subjective opinion of theirs rather than by logic, objectivity, reasoning, scientific data, and historical facts.
On the plantation slave owners allowed slaves to spread false rumors to create confusion and discord. Today besides white propaganda Black folks through Facebook and Youtube saturate each other with confusing misinformation, slander, lies, half-truths, wishful notions, illogical thinking, false narratives, conspiracy theories, and negative beliefs.
The following our some current prevailing Black negative 'erroneous' beliefs:
*That whites are invincible
*That whites are the standard of excellence
*That whites want racial equality
*That in order to advance we need white support
*That in order to be successful you have to be recognized, certified, and endorsed by whites
*That we are our own worst enemy more than white supremacy
*That we are not from Africa we're Native Americans and slavery didn't happen
*That non-Blacks are really our allies
*That non-Blacks need our money more that we do
*That it's all about buying 'being a consumer slave'
*That you only have a real name when you have white designer name brands
*That voting will free us
*That white politicians will save us
*That Black politicians will free us
*That Black celebrities, actors, entertainers, rappers, and professional athletes will economically save us
*That Dr. King made us free forever
*That President Obama reflected a post-racial America
*That America is not racist - Donald Trump is causing racism
*That Black messianic leaders will save us
*That Black preachers are closer to God

*That Jesus alone is going to save us from racism, poverty, unemployment, homelessness, bad health, etc.
*That the religions of Jews, Europeans, and Arabs (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) are superior to African spiritual systems
*That constantly debating about religion is more important than building a united front for self-determination
*That practicing African-Centered culture and spirituality alone without power will save us
*That 'Black Lives Matter' without making it matter
*That getting college degrees is going to liberate us
*That economically all we need is a 'good job'
*That Black gangs and thugs run the streets of America
*That being called a nigga is okay
*That if you criticize Black criminals who exploit Black folks you're a 'player hater' 

*That shooting fire-arms, going to jail or prison makes you a man
*That being a Black man is all about the 4Ds: your 'dick', your 'dollars', chains your 'dangling', and what your 'driving'
*That 'knowing' is the same as 'doing'
*That 'talking' is the same as 'action'
*That 'others' and 'things' will make you happy
*That you don't have to change, accept me the way I am

*That as a Black woman there's nothing ever been wrong with me - 'I'm always right' (perfect) and Black men have been all wrong, I just need to meet Mr. Right
*That the only personal change I need in my life as a Black woman is a wig, weave, or plastic surgery (new booty)
*That same-sex relations are better, Black men are just sperm-donors
*That a Black man should not be strong, he should think like a woman and dress up like them too
*That strong Black women are too challenging
*That non-Black women are better
*That having a white woman makes you equal to a white man
*That Black women should only look good and be sexy
*That being obese aint unhealthy, to tell folks they should lose weight to better their health is 'fat shaming'
*That being healthy is just having a medical insurance card and relying on a doctor
*That it's not our unhealthy lifestyle choices that cause premature deaths it's God's will - we were called home
*That constructive criticism is wrong 'only God can judge me'
*That you don't have to reap what you sow
*That making excuses exempts you from being responsible
*That others have to tolerate your negative bullshit
*That the rampant individualism of 'you do you' and 'I'll do me' is progressive thinking
*That all ideas are equal in truth
*That beliefs and opinions are above facts
*That conspiracy thinking is the same as logic and critical analysis
*That just blaming others is a solution
*That everybody owes me 'sense of entitlement'
*That loving me is enabling my fucked-up behavior and feeling sorry for me due to my self-inflicting mishaps
*That 'tough love' is not love, only weak 'overlooking' and 'enabling' love' is true love
*That I'm your child and didn't ask to be here so if I become an irresponsible adult you have to take care of me forever

Friday, August 16, 2019

Not Like This: An Open Letter to Jay-Z

By Michael Harriot

Dear Shawn Corey Carter,
First, I would like to tell you personally that I believe you are the greatest rapper who ever lived. I’m sure you’ve heard this before and I know that it is useless to debate such a subjective topic but it is important to know that, aside from being my favorite rapper, you are also my favorite musician, period. 
More than John Coltrane, Jheri Curl-era Luther Vandross or that bitch-ass Beethoven who doesn’t have a single song with Mary J. Blige or DMX. Along with Miles Davis, you are the only musical artist whose entire musical catalog is on my phone. I rarely listen to anything other than hip-hop and, in my opinion, you are the G.O.A.T. and number two isn’t even close.
And that is all. 
As someone on the edges of what many people collectively refer to as “the media,” I am often asked which living person I would most like to interview. And, as much as I love your music, my stock answer is always someone else. I have learned that most of the people whom the public has placed on a pedestal are often shorter, less attractive and a lot dumber in real life than they are on movie and television screens. So, to maintain the idealized version of Hov that exists inside my pessimistic brain, I have removed any desire to interact with the celebrities whose work I appreciate. I love the Jay-Z in my headphones and that is all I care to know.
I do not consider you a prophet or a visionary. I would not like to have brunch with you and BeyoncĂ© to “pick your brain.” I don’t care to hear your opinion on global warming or the solvency of the international monetary fund. But, if I was being truthful, I must admit that it is impossible not to admire the way you climbed out of Brooklyn’s Marcy housing projects and—with your own words - constructed a machine that catapulted you to the position of the richest musician on earth. 
I appreciate your quiet activism that includes setting up a trust for the children of police shooting victim Sean Bell; bailing out protesters in Ferguson, Mo. after the death of Mike Brown; using your platform to tell the stories of Kalief Browder and Trayvon Martin and perhaps most impressively managing to get “chose” by BeyoncĂ©. Even with all of that, I didn’t put you on a pedestal or hold you to an impossible standard except the one that makes you rap your ass off.
So when I discovered that you and your Roc Nation company were partnering with the National Football League to consult on the Super Bowl Halftime show and collaborating with the league’s social justice campaign, I still don’t quite know why I was so disappointed to discover that you were the one thing I feared most: Human.
Let’s be real, Jigga.
The NFL has no interest in social justice. As long as they can keep their new-millennium Mandingos mute until the players’ repeatedly concussed brains and cartilage-less knees render them disposable, the NFL couldn’t care less about black lives. The only reason the cabal of billionaire owners are attempting to look like they give a fuck is because of one man: Colin Kaepernick.
Before Kaepernick took a knee to bring attention to American injustice and inequality, the NFL’s biggest and most visible charitable contribution to society was the brave act of wearing pink shoelaces in October to bring awareness to breast cancer, which is a noble but commercialized cause. And as a reward for risking the thing that he worked his entire life for, the NFL owners blackballed Kaepernick, the league passed rules to silence anyone who followed in his belligerent footsteps and the president of the United States of America called his mother a bitch. 
But that is how oppression works. The upholders of white supremacy rarely stain their hands with the blood of the righteous. There was no need for the NFL to bash Colin Kaepernick’s skull in when they could just strip him of his livelihood and make space for mediocre men who would happily “toe the line.” I don’t care to debate if Kap was still an elite-level quarterback but it is undeniable that there are dozens of lesser signal-callers drawing checks from the NFL who were rewarded for their willingly silent compliance. 
That is the message of systematic oppression—that talent and honor are less important than obedience. The cabal of powerful men who enforce the tenets of white supremacy will stop at nothing to ensure that no one escapes their foolproof system. They will gnaw at the flesh of the noble until there is nothing left to behold and then clean the spaces between their teeth with the remnants of bones. And this is what they tried to do to Colin Kaepernick. But try as they might, they could not make him disappear. 
He won.
Colin Kaepernick did not think that kneeling would stop disproportionate police killings or eliminate inequality. He wanted people to see it. To talk about it. To understand that America was, at once, the land of the free and the home of the enslaved. With all of the infinite power and might they possessed, they still could not silence Kaepernick’s message.
And if there was one person in the entire culture that echoed that same sentiment, it was you, Jay-Z. You were a living testimony to anyone who assumed that success equaled acquiescence and believed that they must comply if they want to conquer. You achieved billionaire status and used it to Free Meek, call for diversity, fight injustice and advocate for Colin Kaepernick. And you somehow managed to do it without wearing a MAGA hat, shucking, jiving or shying away from controversy. 
You were the hustler’s dream. You literally leveraged your street knowledge into a seat at the table. But capitalism is a marauding wolf. It can make mincemeat of morals and transform the word of God into meaningless gibberish. And now, we have seen the righteous forsaken and have witnessed their children begging for bread.
To be fair, you, more than anyone who’s ever spoken into a microphone, explained to us that you are a capitalist above all else. So I cannot be surprised at your entertainment deal when you explicitly said, “I love the dough.” Again, I am not holding you to a superhuman standard of perfection. 
I just never thought you were a thief.
Any social justice partnership with the NFL that doesn’t include Colin Kaepernick not only lets the owners off the hook and validates their shadow-ban, but it essentially profits from the movement that he started and hands the proceeds to the NFL. 
And for what?
For a few dollars more? For a few minutes on center stage under the bright lights of the white gaze sponsored by Pepsi and Cool Ranch Doritos? So white America can clap off-beat to a medley of white-washed, bleeped-out hits they haven’t heard since they screamed “Jigga my nigga” during the Beta Chi party their sophomore year at the Wypipo State University? 
And I know you said the only way to move forward is by “creating conversations.” You didn’t create a conversation, Colin Kaepernick did that. You hijacked it for a check.
And none of this negates the work you have already done, nor is it a condemnation. I’ll still mumble the lyrics to your verse in “The Watcher” when I’m making eggs tomorrow morning just like I did yesterday. In fact, I hope that, as you “move forward,” you are comforted by the jingling sound of the 30 pieces of silver inside the cupholder of your Maybach. I hope there is enough money to warm your cold heart and cool you down from the spotlight’s beckoning glare. 
I sincerely hope your venture with the men who blackballed Colin Kaepernick is an unmitigated success, even though I probably won’t be able to stomach the sight of my favorite artist dancing a jig inside the belly of the beast without wondering who they will devour next. 
I’d rather watch you sell crack. But, if there is one lesson I’ve learned from the ancient texts of one of my favorite philosophers (I forget which one), it is this: You can’t knock the hustle.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Grandfather's Duty To A Granddaughter

by Kenny Anderson

As a Grandfather with a new granddaughter I am ‘Thankful’ to the Creator and Ancestors to be alive and able to greet her! In the Afrikan Akan tradition we have the 'soul' (kra) indwelling of the God-force, the ‘blood’ (mogya) of our mothers, and the ‘spirit’ (ntoro) of our fathers.

As an Elder to my new granddaughter ‘Aliyyah’ I have the responsibility to teach her about the divine presence within, teach her about maternal bloodline ‘DNA’ to self-heal, and ‘Spiritualize’ her with the best of my spirit and the spirits of our Ancestors. 

I will teach my granddaughter the importance of living up to her name which mans ‘Loftiness’ - having a purpose in life and self-determination; having New Afrikan values and standards, understanding the bigger picture ‘vastness’ of life, nature, and the universe.

My granddaughter’s name must guide her to understand that she’s more than the racist propaganda stereotype of being a ‘nigga’ and pettiness; that she’s more than a sexual object and a consumer slave! That she’s a priceless sojourner in this life!

Unfortunately based on current data so many Black boys and girls are committing suicide, their taking their lives because of confusion and lack of self-worth; they don’t have a sense of ‘Roots’ or have ‘Wings’. There’s an Afrikan proverb that states “We desire to bequest two things to our children, the first one is roots and the other one is wings.”


Indeed Black history provides our children with a strong foundation, their culture provides them with resiliency tools to ‘elevate’ self-actualize themselves in the midst of racial oppression. Again it is my responsibility to my granddaughter as a grandfather as long as I have life to provide her with Roots and Wings – the spirit of ‘Sankofa’. Ashe!


“Granddaughter, through you I see the future. Through me, you’ll see the past.
In the present, we’ll love one another as long as these moments last.”
-Unknown


Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Modern Rap Music is Programming the Degeneration of the Black Nation

by Jason Williams

Mos Def once said that Hip-Hop or Rap music reflects the state of mind the people are in, what does Hip-Hop/Rap say about us now?

The real question should be, are these artists expressing the real conditions of their environment or are they creating a false reality based on what is in demand? It seems like every new song that gains notoriety in the Hip-Hop world is a melodic manifestation of absolute destruction. 

I’m aware there are many artists in the Hip-Hop/Rap genre that DO speak life, love, and revolution. My point is they are severely outnumbered by the artists spreading death and self-destruction.


“Black rappers today for the most part have to engage in verbal cannibalism to get paid; their word play must eat – destroy their own like savages; to get paid their lyrics must be laced with drug use, provocation, envy, hatred, violence, and, murder.” – Kenray Sunyaru
Typically the prerequisite for a ‘popping’ song nowadays is:

*Someone (probably Black) must be murdered for the slightest confrontation.

*Someone (probably Black) must have sex with someone else’s (probably Black) significant other.

*Someone (probably Black) must steal someone’s (probably Black) money or property.

*Someone (probably Black) must avoid any healthy or constructive method of gaining a livable income.

*Someone (probably Black) must be completely intoxicated at all times and under no circumstances is sobriety acceptable or favorable.

Who decided this was the best kind of music Black people should be making and promoting? I’ll tell you who, the system of white supremacy. That system creates an environment that encourages the youth to create self-destructive music by offering lucrative opportunities to those who follow the program. 

We are literally being massively rewarded for broadcasting words and imagery that promote the genocide of the Black nation. We are being paid to destroy our own minds. Making positive, powerful, enlightening, revolutionary music for the Black community (particularly) in America is not a profitable venture. 

The powers that be must have realized that the music of previous generations, that promoted self-love and cultural integrity, was dangerous for the system of white supremacy which aims to dominate all people of known the universe in all areas of people activity. 

It is a lot harder to dominate a people that value themselves and are equipped with an ingrained obligation to the betterment of their community. So in order for the system of white supremacy to continue its campaign for world domination it became absolutely necessary to ruin the “Black is beautiful” self-image we had as a collective and replace it with a destructive desire to be “niggas” and “bitches”.

We fell for the scam following the trend (which they control) and the money (which they control). We have to regain control of our culture, our people and our minds. At some point we have to choose the future of our nation over the white man’s money.

So what if record labels are paying top dollar for Black artists to spew destructive non-sense. So what if videos promoting Black on Black crime, drug usage, and the complete degradation of the Black woman are what goes viral. So what if you won’t get invited to clubs anymore because you speak life and instead of death.

It all comes down to a simple question: Are you willing to participate in the genocide of Black own. America by helping destroy the moral fabric of an already brutalized and recovering nation for a few inflated dollars, simultaneously becoming an active participant of the system of white supremacy?

We have the power to change it all, if we can resist the temptation to sellout our nation. Bring back self –love; bring back knowledge; bring back the revolution.

Friday, July 19, 2019

LET'S MAKE BELIEVE THAT DONALD TRUMP IS A BLACK MAN

by Quincy Stewart III, War Correspondent

Take a little trip with me now if you will. No drugs are needed, not even a drink. No hypnosis or fancy meditations from Depok Chopra. We won't even need an invocation by Jessie Jackson, Al Sharpton or your local pastor, rabbi, imam or priest.
Let's imagine that Donald Trump is a Black man - Not Obama Black...uh uh...nope. Yaphett Koto, Don Cheadle Black. Wider nose, thicker lips, coarse hair, unmistakably and un-apologetically Black. No white mother to parade around or a dad from Africa. His mother is from Louisiana and his dad is from Detroit.
Let's say he too has been divorced three times and had several girlfriends, publicly. Let's say he has been accused of groping women all the time and admitted so, unknowingly while being secretly recorded talking about grabbing white women by the vagina and sticking his big pink tongue down under-aged runway model's throats without permission. Now...let me remind you to keep the image of a dark Black man in your mind's eye here....
Let's imagine further that his father was a self-made Black man in Detroit who owned some properties but ONLY rented to Black folk and openly said he would never rent his buildings to crackers, grays, peckerwoods, honkies, ofays, and this was a matter of public record.
Keep walking with me now as we dive a little deeper: His father dodged the draft because he said he wasn't going to fight on the side of crackers in Vietnam who saw him as a nigger in Detroit. This too is a matter of public record. Come on, lets keep going....
Let's imagine this dark Black man put out a full page ad in the Detroit Free Press and the News to kill five white boys via the death penalty accused of raping a Black girl on Belle Isle back in 1986. Come to find out later that those white boys were totally innocent. It was five Black boys that did it. He doesn't apologize at all...no remorse.
Let's say that he was a crooked business man. He lied, cheated, stole and conned his way through his dealings and the whole city of Detroit despised him. Remember...he is Don Cheadle Black...Kunta Kinte Black.... 
Let's say that he put out the rumor and began making it a TV campaign that George Bush was not really born in America. That he was born in S. Africa and is not eligible to be president. Even when Bush presents his birth certificate, this Black man is relentlessly still calling Bush a liar.
Let's imagine that this Black man, let's call him a real Black American slave name like Leroy Washington- decides to run for president. Let's say he divorced his third wife and married....YOU GUESSED IT....a white woman! Not just any run of the mill white woman like many of these brothers date and marry...uh uh... a fine ass white woman who stayed on this man's arm like he had the cure for cancer on it.
He is campaigning with her everywhere he goes and she has that, "I'm gettin' it good every night on the campaign trail" look on her face in front of campaign rallies in Iowa, Montana, the Upper Peninsula, Mississippi and Texas. He flaunts his wealth; he had a local TV Show in Detroit....he is a celebrity of sorts with absolutely NO experience in politics, foreign affairs, and was a lousy businessman to boot.
Stay with me...He is Black, handsome, confident and loquacious... He runs on a campaign to, "Make America Black Again." He is referring directly to the period between 1865 and 1880 when Blacks made tremendous strides in every area of activity during Reconstruction. 
This Black man is running on a ticket to make us feel nostalgic for those times when the government instituted the Freedmen's Bureau and gave out land, grants, and enormous hands up to level the playing field and right the wrongs of the past. That's his ticket that he is running on.
He makes speeches where he is referring to Timothy McVeigh and the domestic terrorism of white men in this country as a threat to American democracy as we know it. In a speech he said that, "white men are rapists, murderers and criminals, and maybe some of them are good people." He says that we need more border security along the east coast so that Europeans cannot be let in.
He even uses statistics to back up his claims such as: There were more white terrorists than all others combined. We found 160 individuals who fit the FBI’s definition of a terrorist, 105 of whom were white. White terrorists dangerous: While making up 65.6 percent of the terrorists, they represented (56.1 percent) in the number of terrorist murders and represented (79.6 percent) in the number of people injured by terrorists.
DATA: FBI, Department of Homeland Security, Mother the person presenting these stats is a Black man using Homeland Security information. Undeniable. He runs for President. He wins but only due to the Electoral College. He uses his bully pulpit to now disgrace the Office by calling white football players, "son's of bitches" because they are being gunned down by Black police officers in the streets. He likes to hang out with Black leaders of African countries who are ruthless dictators and calls them his friends. 
This Black man even hangs out with leaders in China, Russia as well and despite their acts of pure inhumanity towards their countrymen, President Leroy Washington is down with all of them. Yet, he insults American allies, pulls out of NATO and insults the United Nations. 
This Black president refuses white immigrants fleeing domestic terrorism in Kosovo, the Ukraine and other places and keeps them in what amounts to internment camps in deplorable conditions. They are mostly all white Europeans. Issues about him being a rapist, woman abuser, misogynist, and serial philanderer don't phase him. People he has hung out with in the past turn out to be criminals, rapists, liars and at least, unsavory.
People on his staff have to kiss his Black ass publicly to keep their jobs and lie for him right in the face of the American people. He insults war veterans of Hispanic origin and Native Americans by calling a white woman, "Pocahontas." KEEP IN MIND HE'S A BLACK MAN...DON'T LOSE SIGHT OF THIS.
The Republican Party wants this man not only impeached but drawn and quartered. They are outraged and call for his immediate removal from office as unfit. When they call on the Democrats to join them in removing an obviously insane president (particularly for calling White men terrorists) the Dems just sit there and twiddle their thumbs. They won't speak out when this jet Black president called four white congresswomen "haters of America, of Jews and ought to' leave the country." "President Leroy Washington is not misogynistic and racist", they say.
Jet-Black President Washington has a base of Black people in Detroit, Milwaukee, Chicago, Alabama, New York, Philly, Los Angeles, Tampa, Baton Rouge, Flint, St. Louis and a few other places that is rock solid no matter what he says or does. He goes there and makes speeches that are coded full of anti-white phrases. The crowd is waving red, black, and green flags and yelling, "Make America Black Again!" 
COME BACK TO EARTH NOW.....BE HONEST....if he were Black, COULD HE HAVE GOTTEN AWAY WITH 1/1000TH OF WHAT I JUST WROTE? How silent would Mitch McConnell's deprecated, Night of the Living Dead lookin' ass have been? How closed lipped would the Republicans be? A White Supremacist was able to get into office and stay there because America is founded on the very same ideas he extols.
Make believe is over. I now release you back to your regularly scheduled "programming."

Monday, June 17, 2019

Natahaniel Abraham The Criminal Ordeal of a ManChild

by Kenny Anderson

A report was release by a panel of experts appointed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Youths back in 2007 stating that youth tried as adults and housed in adult prisons commit more crimes, often more violent ones, than minors who remain in the juvenile justice system. 

Sentencing youth as adults have not deterred other youths from committing crimes, nor have they rehabilitated the youths sentenced under them, this lack of rehabilitation is personified in Pontiac, Michigan’s own Nathaniel Abraham! Back in 1997 Nathaniel gained national and international media attention as the youngest person age 11 ever to be tried as an adult in the US.

“Nathaniel Abraham at 11 years old was the youngest child in America charged as an adult for first degree murder. However, there are many more 11 year old Black boys like him growing up too fast; reckless; fatherless ‘Manchilds’; without discipline and direction headed to America’s racist criminal justice system. These Black male children have no clue of what they will be facing as they proceed through the various stages of the legal system. On several occasions when Nathaniel’s court session ended for the day, he would naively ask “Can I go home now?”; his boyish mind could not comprehend he was now state property - a little wild ghetto boy trapped in the legal circus , and he wouldn’t be going home to mama.”  - Cinque Kofi Kinaya
In 1997, Abraham shot 18-year-old Ronnie Greene outside a party store in Pontiac and was convicted of second-degree murder as an adult, but sentenced as a child. Abraham was sentenced as a juvenile and was released on his 21st birthday in 2007 but later returned to prison on charges for attempting to distribute the drug ecstasy and released in 2017. 

Recently Nathaniel was arraigned on multiple drug-related charges at two district courts. On May 28, 2019 Nathaniel pleaded guilty to these drug charges and will be going back to prison where he has spent most of his life; unfortunately it seems prison has become a default home for Nathaniel. 
“Nathaniel Abraham didn’t realize he’s been a ‘marked’ Black man since being tried as an adult when he was 11 years-old. When Nathaniel was released from prison local law enforcement would have him under surveillance; they were waiting to re-arrest a high-profile ‘Black target’. Nathaniel naively thought he could bypass his moral development while in prison then be released and remain under the radar engaging in illegal activities; he thought he was unseen but he wasn’t out of sight of the police.” – Cinque Kofi Kinaya
Indeed Nathaniel Abraham is the poster child of the failure of deterring youthful offenders for recommitting crimes by trying them as an adult. Personally, as a community leader I was involved in Nathaniel’s case from the beginning, writing and protesting against him being sentenced as an adult on the grounds of racism and the fact that he was only a child. I knew that trying Nathaniel as an adult would continue to have negative rippling effects on his life. 

I knew what would probably – eventually happen to Nathaniel because as a social worker I spent a good chunk of my career providing volunteer services Male Responsibility & Fatherhood group sessions to incarcerated Black males; I heard stories repeatedly from session participants saying they had been locked-up constantly since a juvenile; they had become institutionalized! 

Being institutionalized basically means that the norms of prison life has become internalized into one's habits of thinking, feeling, and acting; as psychologist Craig Haney stated: 

“The process of institutionalization is facilitated in cases in which persons enter institutional settings at an early age, before they have formed the ability and expectation to control their own life choices. Because there is less tension between the demands of the institution and the autonomy of a mature adult, institutionalization proceeds more quickly and less problematically with at least some younger inmates. Thus, institutionalization or ‘prisonization’ renders some people so dependent on external constraints that they gradually lose the capacity to rely on internal organization and self-imposed personal limits to guide their actions and restrain their conduct.” 

Understandably Nathaniel became institutionalized, as an 11 year-old child he had some emotional impairments and learning disabilities entering into and compounding the prison institutionalization process. Though Nathaniel is now 33 years-old he still has child within issues of prison arrested development and is still irresponsibly dependent on external constraints. 

Black men suffering from prison institutionalization like Nathaniel along with paroling back into crime facilitating poverty stricken Black communities filled with drugs, hustling, and raw survival almost guarantees they’ll be back in prison. 

From my perspective the Black community still has not grasped the psychological consequences of institutionalization on so many Black males like Nathaniel Abraham reintegration ‘revolving door’ back in and out of our communities. 

Sadly and apathetically, this revolving door of Black men being in and out of prison like Nathaniel has for some time become normal; you know what most of us say this that “it is what is, aint nothing you can do about it anyway.” 

An attitude of “it is what is” is fatalistic and defeatist and it’s unacceptable! Our community churches, organizations, and groups must do a much-much better job providing Black male prisoners returning to our communities with ongoing support and insight into the changes brought about by their adaptation to prison life. 

They must be given some understanding of the ways in which prison institutionalization changed them negatively and the tools with which to respond positively to the challenge of reentry adjustment. 

New Ebook on Nathaniel Abraham

Click on link below to order