The Cancer in our Soul
We may not admit it but we know it. We never discuss it, yet nevertheless feel it. Something has gone horribly wrong. There is a sickness deep inside, a disease of the chi; a malignancy of the soul. It is the leukemia of cruelty, the dearth of class and dignity, an absence of kindness and nobility, a corruption that is most evident in how we treat each other. This evil has not infected us all yet affects us all. There is something very rotten is Denmark and the signs of this cancer are palpable, the symptoms unmistakable.
The most obvious boils are the fratricide, infanticide, patricide and matricide which permeate our community. The black on black crime, the self-destructive behavior, the willful ignorance, negative messaging and intentional aimlessness are so visible, so obvious as to require no further discussion.
Then there are the more subtle signs of soul sickness, symptoms which are often overlooked if not deliberately misdiagnosed. One of the more distressing yet telling indicators of our sarcoma is the fad that will not die, i.e., ‘saggin’.
Walking down the street with one’s draws showing serves no useful purpose. Still, it is a spectacle that continues some 30 to 40 years after its inception in substantial part because ‘saggin’ is neither a fad nor a fashion statement. ‘Saggin’ is a commitment. ‘Saggin’ is a lifestyle. Simply spell the word backwards and the odiousness of the practice becomes all the more clear.
Or ponder the waste of middle-aged men fitfully chasing the rap game, the shame of those who can work but won’t or the damage done by intimate yet destructive relationships. The harm and abuse we routinely inflict on ourselves is nothing short of astounding.
Many would attribute this self-destruction to racism. But while certainly a contributing factor, this diagnosis is far too convenient and much too self-serving. It is the equivalent of a medical quack telling a cancer patient to take two aspirin and call him in the morning. Blaming others even if others are to blame may temporarily make us feel better but provides no lasting cure. It merely hastens our demise by justifying our failure to address the sickness within.
We need no further sociopolitical malpractice. What’s required is a second opinion from those with the wisdom to reveal what we need to know rather than parrot what we wish to hear. What is obliged is someone or something to make us believe in ourselves and our ability to change the world.
This is a perilous and difficult assignment of which we can expect little from the usual suspects. Cushy college positions, six figure TV contracts and millions earned from speeches and book sales have persuaded our most heralded advisors to not make waves. And many of us are uncomfortable with the unvarnished truth. Mention our obvious shortcomings, suggest that we take responsibility for improving our lot and the dogs of retribution shall be unleashed.
But we can and must do better. We are our brother’s keepers whether we like it or not. We are responsible for each other whether we realize it or not. The goal is to move beyond the nasty compromise of mere survival, especially when it comes at the expense of everyone else. The regime is to love and support one another by deed as well as words. The therapy is to be good people even if imperfect ones. And the cure is to stop killing each other; to stop dogging each other out.
It is a prescription Blackacre has written in the past. It is a standard, a message and a banner we shall carry until the day is won.
In conclusion, we have abandoned the wisdom of our ancestors. We are not the stuff of our predecessors. We fail to make the world a better place, have not advanced the cause and our attitudes/conduct is anything but helpful.
We are instead lost at sea, floating on an ocean of self-induced dysfunction. What is happening to and in our community is heartbreaking and it’s largely our fault. Absent an immediate and drastic change of direction, our prognosis is grim.
When it comes to the sickness in our souls, we are the pathogen. It is in our best interest to realize that we are also the cure.
Leo Barron Hicks, Founder and CEO
Blackacre Policy Forum