Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Homicide, Lil Wayne, and Christ.

       Working at Orr Academy High school has been a great pleasure thus far. While grading papers today, a multitude of sirens blasted past the school heading North on Pulaski. I turned around quickly and looked out the window. Seeing ambulance, fire trucks, and police race down the road.When I say race, I mean these sirens were going like someone just got shot. I turn back around anticipating the students to be looking out the window as well. These kids get distracted so easy from their work, I just knew they would be. I mean how could they not, it was extremely loud and its not like you hear that all the time... right? Wrong, they did not turn around in fact no one even mentioned like "oh sirens" or "hope they ok"... Nothing. For those who grew up in Hermiston, Oregon, like me, I remember that being a huge occasion. You didn't hear sirens often. I know this isn't a far comparison. Chicago is way different then a small town in Oregon. True, but why? Size for one. Demographics, Of course. Amount of poverty? Yes. Other then that, how is the west side of Chicago so different when it comes to how children react to hearing sirens? The only explanation I could think of was, they are used to it. 
     Before I jump to conclusions... lets be realistic. Those sirens could of been for anything, car crash, old man fell, house fire, etc.. Or they could of been for a shooting, stabbing, etc. Back in Hermiston, the latter is more expected. But in the west side, it is the other way around. So far in the year 2011 there has been 392 recorded homicides in Chicago. That is not 392 shootings, but 392 people dead from either a shooting, stabbing, or assault. In my neighborhood alone, West Garfield there has been 12. West Garfield's official boundaries stretch from Kenton  to Hamlin east to west which is almost exactly 1 mile. North to south being, Kinzie  to about Taylor, roughly 1.3 miles. 12 homicides in that small of a radius, in one year? The numbness of the students in the class room to sirens sparked this thought process in my mind today. Why so many murders here? Why is this a reality for urban, African American, and Hispanic communities in the United states ? Before you make assumptions, follow me through why I think it is. 
    Ask yourself what has killed the most people worldwide recently?  The answer would be infectious diseases,  Leprosy, Cholera, Typhoid, Small pox, The Plague, and Violence (war). All of these things have over whelmed us at one point in time, yet have been over come the first set for the most part. The reason we have over come those diseases is not because of general progress or the right choices, but of scientific research. We at one point thought those who had these diseases were evil and made the wrong choices in life. At the time it was looked at as it was in their DNA, not a passing disease.Also these people who had the Plague were set a fire or sent into dungeons, and in contrast People who didn't have the disease did not want to grow through the neighborhoods where this disease was in full effect. Why did people react to people with this disease respond like this? Because they did not know what was going on.They didn't know why because they couldn't see it. the bacteria that caused the disease was invisible. At the time they didn't have the technology to see bacteria, something that was invisible to the naked eye.I think we can draw a connection between extreme cultural violence and epidermic diseases. Extreme cultural violence spreads like an infectious disease throughout communities and is learned as a way of life. I am not making the direct connection to The Plague and a singular homicide or the root of violence, they are different. Violence itself is in our DNA, it is our human condition. Who taught a 2 year old to hit the other 2 year old because he took his toy? No one did, it is natural. Humans knows what is right from wrong, but some peoples levels of moral consciousness are not as black and white due to their ecosystem. Patterned Behavior is developed by what we see has humans. It is copied unconsciously by what is around us, what is molded. If a person is raised in this area where they're in this cloud of Extreme cultural violence, they will come in contact with it. If a person comes in contact with extreme cultural violence from a young age and matures through it, they themselves will become a part of it. This idea of behavioral pattern making needs no book to tell us how to follow. It is natural. The maintainer of this behavior pattern is what other people expect of you. This would lead to the thinking that the main cause of cultural violence is that someone in your peer group expects it of you. The principal determent of behavior is what you think others expect of you. In the same sense the principal determent of violence is what others expect of that person who commits the violent act.  This extreme cultural violence is learned by watching and encouraged by norms set by peers. What escalates these norms are outside social accelerators. My students listen to lil wayne all day long. Lil wayne is an outside social accelerator to violent behavior. Lil wayne is just product of this behavioral development. Lil wayne is a outside social accelerator because he has a huge platform and people unconsciously copy his words in their minds and their actions. Here is an example of some lyrics from a song called."Grove St. Party"

>Gotta kill the witnesses cause Birdman car red
Hollygrove Monster, Eagle Street preacherCome to your funeral, kill everybody but the preacher

 Kids who are already susceptible to violence have this put in their head all day, how can anything good come from it. 

     So is Lil wayne the cause of extreme cultural violence? No. The Human condition causes violent nature + Environment in which we grow up in = Extreme Cultural Violent tendencies. These patterns of violence will continue, if not interpreted. There needs to be an intervention. No physical, educational, or no amount of resources can change the root of violence. If we want to get to that, we must look at the human soul. It is depraved and in need of renewing.  The environmental changes are much harder and broad to fix. We need to forget the environment and fix the person. If you fix the person, the environment changes.  The only thing that changes a person is Christ. 

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 cor. 5:17

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. 
Romans 12:1-2

Christ is the prince of peace. Even in the hood. 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

What's up, pops?

  I am no expert on urban America, in fact I am not an expert about anything. I have lived in inner city Chicago for a little more than five months now. This blog is a breathing Ethnography (from Greek ἔθνος ethnos = folk/people and γράφω grapho = to write.. Thanks Mr. Z) directed at giving some insight on things that are in an inner city neighborhood, I hope I do it justice.

    I really enjoy culture and history of neighborhoods. Being an aspiring historian living in Chicago is like being a kid in a candy store. There is so much history and manifestations of human intellectual achievement, culture. I specifically live in West Garfield Park, which is a historically poor part of town.This is a small neighborhood in comparison to other Chicago neighborhoods. It is neighbored by North Lawndale to the south, Austin to the North and West and East Garfield to the East. All of these neighborhoods are not just majority African American, but predominantly. For some perspective, there are a little over 69,000 African Americans in the state of Oregon. There is over 1 million African Americans in the city of Chicago. I would dare to say the West Side of the Chi, has a higher African American population then the whole state of Oregon. Chicago has a rich and a proud African American culture. This is a tough people, whose will is hard to break. Chicago's West side is a gritty, punch...shoot, first ask questions later part of town. Blow, rocks, and dro would be my block's number one commodity. Illegal drug sales are the life blood of my neighborhood, and I assume have been for a while. The biggest employer on my immediate block would be the illegal sale of drugs. These employee's of the streets are in fact people. People who work 12 hour shifts through the scorching Chicago sun, to the piercing wind in the winter. So many times when you hear about drug operations being busted on the news, it is distant, and so are the people. For me, that world is next door, and across the street. Is this a problem? Yes. Is there a solution? Hard to say. You can get into the whole... it's the capitalistic system, it's welfare, it's the man! I would agree it does have to do with the man, or rather the absence of him. The systematic reform that needs to take place in American is not occupy wall street, but actually being occupied by being a dad.
      The epidemic of Fatherless-ness is staggering. This is the number one problem in the American Inner city. Those hard working drug dealers, would be hard working aldermen, principals, teachers, engineers, or actual fathers to their kids, if they had a dad at home. Children need both a mother and a father. If you want to know what a society is like where Mothers, and Grandmothers raise their kids, come to inner city America. A child who is a victim of being fatherless is 15 times more likely to have behavioral disorders. 15.3 times more likely to end up in prison while a teenage, and is 6.6 times more likely to become teenaged mothers.73% of adolescent murderers come from mother only homes.
      As Americans, when we see a problem we try and fix it, right? If it's caner, lets find a cure. But what about fatherless-ness? Are we trying to find a cure? Our system of relativism is leading us to destruction. When lawmakers no longer believe in a moral truth where will that lead us? We have bought into a lie, that there is no such thing as an absolute truth when it comes to God. If that were the case, then there is no absolute truth when it comes to law making, and if that were true there would be no true guide on how to raise children. Fatherless-ness is a problem. The solution is MEN being dads. But if we live in a world where two moms can be a dad, are we solving the problem? God instituted marriage for a reason. Children need a mom and dad. If we continue in this pattern, we will look less and less like the world we were intended to be.If we continue disregarding truth, we will continue to raise our children the wrong way. Statistically speaking, that really is a problem. The best cure for crime is not the electric chair, but the high chair. We need fathers in America.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Maiden Voyage

This would be the very first blog I have ever wrote, I know I got into the game a little late. I plan on writing on things I live while inhabiting the Westside of Chicago. The Mind of Mitch is  something that is experiencing new things everyday, in a foreign land to many, the Hood. Living in, and among America's less fortunate is an ongoing mind changing experience. I am thankful for it. I hope this Blog can be insight into my daily life, my mind.