As we were rolling through the East Side of I-35 in the capitol city of Texas, to my surprise, he was really shocked at the amount of gentrification that has occurred in that part of town. I wasn’t, because I’ve been tracking it since it started and I must admit, it is eye-catching and very interesting.
While he was digesting the gentrification buffet being served, we actually developed a real appetite. Interesting enough, we both thought of the same place, but had to find its new location. Upon arriving, I was excited to see the new location and the upgrade. Seeing another Black business making progress always give me a sense of pride. We placed our order, then went outside and waited for the food.
The food arrived and we continued our conversation as we consumed our delicious fried catfish. As we we’re finishing our meal, a recognizable and familiar face appeared, so I had to stop him and we exchanged our normal greetings. Since he is a native of the city, I posed some questions like never before. My initial questions were regarding the gentrification and certain quality of life issues in East Austin. However, I posed a more serious question regarding the lack of the Black Community to embark upon joint entrepreneurial endeavors and unite for the GOoD of OUR COMMUNITY.
His remarks stunned me for two reasons. First, because his response reminded me of something I already knew, but I never viewed it from that perspective and secondly, I have never heard it phrased like that before. He started by talking about slavery and its devastating and lasting impact it has had on the Black Community. Now, I used to feel that slavery impacted us, but it should NOT have impacted us the way it did, UNTIL I heard his statement. This is what he said and I paraphrase, “normally after every shooting or traumatic event that happens in America or elsewhere in the world, most of the time, a trauma team is usually sent in to help the surviving victims cope with the aftermath of the extreme events. After slavery, the trauma team never showed up and what the Black Community suffers from is a dysfunction that can be directly attributed to the results of slavery. Basically, were are a dysfunctional community.”
Honestly, this was a serious moment for me, because it made me think about what he said and the condition of my community in a way I have never done before. You see, I’ve always associated behavior with the knowledge of right and wrong, however, if something was passed onto an individual, proposing it as the right way or the way it is, and that way is never corrected, there is no possible way to determine or measure its detrimental impact on the future of a community, especially when there is no authentic concern for that community in the first place. All that is known is the impact will be detrimental for years to come!
So, as my Frat and I started our ride home, we discussed his comments and enjoyed this new insight about our community. But, another thought consumed me. For me, looking at dysfunction, it is a double-edged sword. On one hand, you have those who have been victimized and the other, the one who attributed to the dysfunction. So, if the architects of this dysfunctional environment continue to perpetuate a landscape for its existence, they must be somewhat dysfunctional themselves!
Now that I know part of the problem, I offer this solution. If we are to going send in the trauma team, both communities, the victims and perpetrators must receive help! But if the perpetrators won't accept the help, the victims must! If not, this cycle is never going to end!