Presidential Debate: Romney, Gun Control, and the Culture of Violence

Source: biography.com, new yorker.com, hiphopdx.com

The presidential debate has come and gone. President Barack Hussein Obama showed up and showed out to let Romney know he is a force to be reckoned with. The president was on his game, calling Romney out for his lies and fairy tales. And giving us a glimpse of what his legacy may look like with slight overtures to the need to end discrimination on all basis and for more opportunities and better education for inner city youth. Candy Crowley deserves recognition as well for her attempts to reign in the arrogant and impertinent Romney and her live fact check.

Voters didn’t gain much insight from the forum, we’ve heard most of it before. Romney’s alleged 5-point plan that lacks specifics and credibility. And president “Great O”, defending his economic plan, attempts to convince people of it’s worth. What most people walked away from the debate with was that Romney has “Binder’s Full of Women.”  This definitely went over my head. While everyone was so caught up on the contents of Romney’s binder, they missed the fact that he suggested violence is a result of single-parent households, directly targeting the Black community. I think this was the biggest disgrace of the night and the point everyone should be most offended by. But of course, this comment is receiving little attention. No facebook page (Binders has 348k likes) or tumblr, nor any backlash in the media.

Not only did Romney condemn single-parent households, he also stated “But gosh to tell our kids that before they have babies,they ought to think about getting married to someone, that’s a great idea.” I didn’t know that’s why gun violence was so rampant. I didn’t realize that John Holmes ran up in an Aurora, CO movie theater because he was raised in a single-parent home. The reference to single-parent households and teen pregnancy is an implicit attack on the Black community. It was good to hear President Obama and Candy bring up mass killings, which implicitly indicted the white community. All of that coded language had my head spinning. Every white person is not some crazed psycho scouting possible terrorist attacks against their fellow countrymen, nor are all minorities seeking to unleash chaos and confusion on their communities. And most parents encourage their children to be financially stable and emotionally and mentally prepared before having children. Generalizations are a negligent and lazy line of reasoning that absolves the speaker from acknowledging the facts, the system, and their complicity in the oppression of others. It’s easy to blame parents, that way you don’t have to admit that the prison industrial system is modern day slavery, wealth disparities are growing at an alarming rates, and school segregation today is similar to the Jim Crow era.

Prison is big business and our government is in bed with some of the most notorious gangsters; corporations. Matriarchal Black families are more prominent because the prison industrial complex can afford lobbyists who help get legislation passed that gets Black men locked up for the slightest infractions, thus leaving mothers alone to raise their children. Yes, it is an epidemic but don’t overlook the root of the cause. And who said a female headed household is a bad thing. Throughout history and today, Black women have been maintaining their household and running after white people’s privileged snotty nose kids as well, remember “The Help.” They were good enough to cook , clean, and raise their kids, but I guess their messages got lost in translation with their own kids.

But back to the real issue, gun control and violence. They both agreed AK-47’s shouldn’t be on the street, and Obama proposed a reintroduction of a previous ban. Not only should we discuss how youth get access to these weapons, we also need to understand why. Youth begin seeking solace and protection in the streets because some think that’s the way of the land, which perpetuates the cycle. Look at the psychology of gangs, it’s not a violent culture initially. First and foremost, it’s about protection and family, not to negate the other things that come along with the territory. What do you expect when people  have been pushed to the economic, social, and political margins of society. And their families and friends are stripped from them daily?  When they see few people who like them achieve success without being attacked every turn of the way. We need to change police mentality as well and their image in Black communities. Police officers are supposed to be seen as protectors and law enforcement, but as a Harlem resident I am all too familiar with their menacing and antagonizing presence.

Black American’s finally have someone who looks like them, himself the product of a single-parent home, representing the entire nation. But to see the constant and daily attacks against his character and humanity does not leave us much hope that we can achieve the same, without a fight. Maybe that’s one reason why haters are so angry and upset about President Obama. When not viewed as an exception he has the ability to debunk many of the stereotypes historically wielded against black people. But most of the time Black people who “make it” or seen as the exception, which is why it is so difficult to transcend the stereotype.

The President is not blameless when it comes to gun control. We have been waiting the entire summer for him to speak out against the escalating violence and killings in his own city Chicago. I understand these are critical times, but we need to know that guy who walked the streets of Chicago and organized locals is still in there, fighting to defeat injustice, racism, and discrimination on all levels. A few of his comments left me hopeful, and of course I’m giving him a second chance. But come 2013 we need to see a drastic change in his approach to minority issues and the Black agenda. You can’t pretend like you don’t see Detroit and Chicago sinking. I know he’s not Superman but a shout out would mean a lot. Just let us know you still care. Obama’s reference to discrimination and education equality hints at the plans he has for his legacy, which I believe will truly make American history. Looking forward to the next and final debate, and ready to get this over with so we can get back to the real issues.

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