‘SNITCHES GET STITCHES’: Yet another Sign of Our Cultural Dysfunction

The historical experiences of stolen Africans on the North American continent can best be summed up by the title of one of Jay-Z’s albums, Hard Knock Life. The treatment of African-Americans has served as the foremost indicator of American hypocrisy from the moment of their arrival in the Jamestown colony. America’s darker brother has been maligned, brutalized, raped, and lynched in ‘the land of the free and home of the brave’.

Considering their peculiar second-class citizenship status, African-Americans have become adept at responding to a hostile white community at a moments’ notice. Experience had taught every person of African descent on the North American continent that their time to deal with the hostility and brutality of marauding whites could come not only at any moment, but also without the slightest provocation. Considering such a context, African-Americans developed mechanisms to protect themselves and their loved ones from hostile outsiders. One of the most prominent adaptation was for them to become insular as a community; meaning that they closed off the hostile outside world in a desperate attempt to protect their own; particularly the men who were most likely to be seized and lynched by a white mob for a perceived offense or challenge emanating from either that particular individual or the community in general.

Unfortunately, the alluded to ‘lynch mob’ pursuing African-American males was often led by law enforcement officers; sheriff, police, patty rollers, constables, overseers, deputies. Hence, it should not be surprising that the average African-American male tenses up when in the presence of ‘law enforcement’ officers to this present day. Too often it appears as if the law that is being enforced is detrimental to our existence. Consequently, the staunch position of not cooperation that the vast majority of African-Americans assumed in regards to ‘law enforcement’ officers is absolutely understandable. One would be hard-pressed to convince African-Americans that ‘law enforcement’ officers are not continuing this tradition in the twenty-first century.

However, this tradition of not cooperating with ‘law enforcement’ officers has been seized by a criminal element within our community for opportunistic reasons. An immoral and unlawful element within our community has publicly demanded silence regarding their criminal activities and uncivilized behavior. I actually applaud this population for the manner in which they have been able to seize a historic cultural adaptation and use it as a cover for their evil doings; unfortunately, Hip Hop Culture has been the perfect conduit for this transference of misinformation.

Although their mantra that ‘snitches get stitches’ is rather poetic in a ghetto fabulous kind of way, it betrays the solidarity that generations of African-Americans displayed against a hostile external enemy. The actions and activities of the criminal element within our midst is having the same effect that marauding white terrorist had throughout the 19th and 20th Centuries respectively. The only difference is that the criminal element in our midst begs us to not report them to the proper authorities. However, one must take their hat off to this thuggish element when you consider that they have been able to get such values integrated into our cultural diet and belief system. We now find elementary school children attempting to “persuade” their peers to ‘not snitch’, often via violent attacks that they are amazingly filming and posting on the internet.

Obviously, the mantra ‘snitches get stitches’ has no place within our community and serves as yet another example of how we have truly lost our way. Of all the things that we need to be poetic about, lawlessness and criminality are not on that list.

This is not a call for the African-American community to abandon its vigilance against the virulent attacks that seem to follow them where ever they go, we must be vigilant against the evil-doers who are attacking our community and ‘bringing the community down’ from where ever they come from. A philosophy that should terrify those Negroes within our midst who commit crime and live in an uncivilized manner that is unreflective of how African-Americans have ever lived.

It may be time for law abiding African-Americans to counter the poetic ghetto phrase of ‘snitches get stitches’ with one of our own for the cowards who believe that their criminal exploits will be ignored by respectable, empowered, and righteous African-Americans. Maybe we should invoke a saying for criminal minded males who roam our community with crime on their mind and their pants sagging below any level of decency with a mantra of ‘In prison they make bitches, so be sure to lower your britches.’

Stop Black-on-Black violence, ‘by any means necessary.’ Our babies need a safe place to grow up.  #MRC

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

5 thoughts on “‘SNITCHES GET STITCHES’: Yet another Sign of Our Cultural Dysfunction”

  1. The “snitches get stitches” phrase seems to be a term used by African Americans to put on a person that “we are bad, we don’t play”. It’s like a bad boy image used by many but this slang is mostly used by the prison community and has trickled into the cities of America. That’s why our children today cannot speak fluently, dress appropriately and write in cursive because of the jargan that is being spoken by adults. How can we teach our children the correct way of life if we as parents are not setting the right example. When I was growing up and I passed an adult on the street I had to greet them by saying good morning or good evening sir/madam. Prayer was said before and after school. None of this is being implemented today in our schools and most of our own homes. If we want our children to be productive and have a better future, we have to to start being better role models.

  2. True, it’s not acceptable for African Americans to use the mantra “snitches get stitches” as a means to do wrong but that phrase is universal in all cultures. The early, twentieth century saw Black men in the South get lynched by criminal justice organizations and their ordinary FRIENDS,
    and have a lynching party. The racist White sheriff didn’t tell on Billy Ray Racist boyhood friends that was judge, jury, and executioner- Did they to the truest sense snitch on their friend’s for killing innocent Blacks.

    White Collar criminals don’t snitch; the MOB don’t snitch. The transmittal via Hip Hop, i laugh so hard. They have tactical hip hop police squads- watching. But what is really is that an artist would declare he sells dope for the world to know. If snitches get stitches; then, ALL HIP HOP should be in the emergency room right now.

    We can never realize the full extent of the brutality THEY felt. However, we should not to be afraid to protect our community via law enforcement but that institution has and continues to fuck us over. The more they do it, the less we telling. I ain’t telling?

  3. Growing up in the african American community I have grown to hear things such as “snitches get stitches”. Even when I was younger there was a phrase that was used for snitches. “Nobody likes a taddle tell.” It was told to a child who would be considered telling on another. In other words a child being a snitch. I dont really know what began this fear of not tellin but it greatly exist today.

  4. Dr. Jones,
    I completely agree with this article. Unfortunately, law abiding African American citizens have been placed in a precarious position. To turn over our own seems so wrong but to stand by and allow criminals to make us mute and afraid is even worse. “Black on Black crime” errodes the core of morality in our community. They just fear reprisal from their own people and are hestitant to “trust” Caucasin authorities to protect them. This is no way to live. One should feel safe in their community if for no other reason than protecting that community for the children. Communities become ravaged by the unchecked criminals that take. Businesses close down taking resources from us, making viability impossible. I hear the arguement all the time that our communities are not viable because of “White Supremacy”. I believe White Supremacy has a little to do with it but the major factor is that we hurt ourselves when we allow criminals to come in and steal and plunder. Again, a precarious situation. Until we, African Americans, can come together and protect each other in a right way, we will have two “devils” to deal with, White Supremacy and the black criminal that takes without conscious. Thank you for speaking on this sad issue

  5. Dr. Hall,
    I completely agree with this article. Unfortunately, law abiding African American citizens have been placed in a precarious position. To turn over our own seems so wrong but to stand by and allow criminals to make us mute and afraid is even worse. “Black on Black crime” errodes the core of morality in our community. The just fear reprisal from their own people and are hestitant to “trust” Caucasin authorities to protect them. This is no way to live. One should feel safe in their community if for no other reason than protecting that community for the children. Communities become ravaged by the unchecked criminals that take. Businesses close down taking resources from us, making viability impossible. I hearvthe arguement all the time that our communities are not viable because of “White Supremacy”. I believe White Supremacy has a little to do with it but the major factor is that we hurt ourselves when we allow criminals to come in and steal and plunder. Again, a precarious situation. Until we, African Americans, can come together and protect each other in a right way, we wll have two “devils” to deal with, White Supremacy and the blsck criminal that takes without conscious. Thank you for speaking on this sad issue.

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