Rites of passage, escaping danger, gangs, tribes, sectarian violence, the quest for manhood, the quest to survive. The ghettos of Chicago are more complex then some doctorate student writing a dissertation in urban planning. The ghettos of Chicago are deeply rooted in decades of segregation and racism as it relates to Blacks in Chicago purposely being locked out of affluent neighborhoods and middle class jobs.
The backdrop of slavery, the fleeing from the South (Egypt) only to be covertly discriminated against in the North (Babylon). The late, great Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., called Chicago one of the most racially segregated Cities in America. From 1865 to 1965 Blacks in America lived in legal segregation i.e. Jim Crow. The 1970's brought about the age of pimps, the 1980's brought about the age of rock cocaine thanks to the Reagan/CIA Iran Contra plot of introducing drugs to inner Cities of America which were and are predominately Black and Brown.
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But was I mislead, was this my Sparta, was this my rites of passage no matter how wayward and crooked it may have been, was this my Agoge, was this my military training, was this my road to manhood? Looking in hindsight none of my male friends father's were around. I didn't see a successful Black man until I was around 17 years old in college after making a double out of high school.
Yes, please understand children of the ghetto aren't ignorant nor are they lazy. It takes wit and quick thinking to count money in fast transactions. It takes hard work to stand on street corners in below zero weather selling drugs. I was involved with an outfit that made 20K a night selling pounds, kilos, and regular street sales of drugs. To see successful White men drive up in their Benz, Lexus, Jaguar buying drugs from us just before they went to work on LaSalle street or after work.
However, Sparta isn't always fair. Just as King David of Israel plotted and murdered his servant Uriah for his wife (2 Samuel 11:14) so will Kings, Elites, Incas, Dons, Governors abuse their power when they become covetous. Many good men lost their lives in Sparta due to political mistakes and jealousy. Then there's the revolving doors of recidivism, the rape in prison, the many Black men living on the down low because they were raped or molested in prison...
"this is Sparta in all its
splendor, ignorance, bestiality and glory."
Chiraq/Sparta has produced million dollar artists, athletes, politicians, etc., this doesn't mean all were members of particular gangs/tribes it simply means (some) escaped by avoiding participation; however, their experience rather indirect is still considered surviving Sparta and at times were a bit rougher than those who participated because they didn't have the protection of gangs/tribes. They were on a constant run...
This isn't to glorify gang violence, this isn't to take violence lightly. The truth remains this is cultural, its ethnic, its deeply rooted in all societies rather ancient or modern. The will to survive within a created and maintained situation. There remains invisible hands suppressing and depressing those in the ghettos of America. Ask yourself how is it the West Side and South Side of Chicago doesn't remotely resemble the North Side or Downtown Chicago? It's called strategic planning, its called disenfranchisement, its called discrimination.
President Barack Obama understands Sparta in Chicago and around the Country which is why he personally initiated "My Brother's Keeper" program to help at-risk Black and Brown youth. Will it work? Well, guess we'll have to wait and see. Until then I say to the youth of Sparta...continue to survive the ghetto by any means necessary!
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