Category Archives: Crime

Steven Stephens: A 20th Century Bigger Thomas? (Black America’s Native Son)

Experience has taught me to expect the inquiry regardless of the venue or situation. Whether while being interviewed or in the aftermath of an exhilarating lecture regarding the dilemmas facing African-American males, someone will ask “What is the greatest issue confronting the black male today?” To the chagrin of interviewers and audience members, my answer to this poignant query is never singular as the foremost problems facing African-American males revolves around mutually reinforcing issues of mental illness and their adoption, due to both socialization and their environs, of what can only be termed a toxic manhood that possesses the ability destroy all that they contact.

The wicked cocktail of mental illness and toxic manhood is the only explanation for the actions of Steven Stephens, the African-American male who not only murdered Robert Goodwin Sr. (74), a defenseless elderly black male on a Cleveland, Ohio, street, but also uploaded his heinous crime onto Facebook. Although Black America reacted with horror to Stephens’ diabolical actions, the truth of the matter is that the vast majority of us know several black males whose existence mirrors that of Steven Stephens; a personable individual, who on the surface fails to exhibit the wear-and-tear of being black in America publicly, yet is privately straining under the weight of being a have not in the land of plenty. The alluded to frustrations feeds directly into the dawning of a daunting query of “Is life worth living?” Such internal strife has reverberating repercussions for all around them. Unfortunately, it appears that the appropriate motto for disassembled black communities in every inner-city may very well be “A place where life is not worth living.”

Considering the mantra that “you cannot change what you do not acknowledge,” it is past time Black America shed their thread-bare lie of being shocked by regarding the actions and activities of the Steven Stephens found within their environs. If we were serious about improving our community, we would stop feigning ignorance and acknowledge that we have normalized public indecency and uncivilized behavior toward within the black community. It is not accidental that Steven Stephens murdered another black man as a means of expressing his frustrations at the two black women to whom he was closest, his mother and a former fiancé.

It is imperative that we not miss this opportunity to at least examine, if not address the cause of the development of angry, brash, illogical, directionless, socially inappropriate African-American males whose moral compass is a toxic manhood possessing more power to destroy themselves and their community than Hurricane Katrina. We must face facts that figures such as Steven Stephens are a reflection of who we have become as a community; cold, distant, foreign to one another, combustible, and dangerous to ourselves. When considered in this light, it is clear that today’s troubled African-American male is a modern-day Bigger Thomas, meaning Black America’s Native Son. Such individuals reflect the frustrations, contradictions, and sadness that has been comfortably situated in our hearts for so long that we no longer notice its presence. For better or for worse, it is who we have become to each other.

And for that reason, we should all weep.

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

© Manhood, Race, and Culture 2017.

WHAT BLACK AMERICA SHOULD DO ABOUT THE 2 LITTLE BLACK GIRLS RECENTLY SHOT IN THE HEAD IN CHICAGO

As you well know, I have used this space to offer what I presume to be intelligent commentary regarding issues facing the African-American community. Although I would like to say that I rarely come across problems that infuriate me to the point that I have to tell many of my contemporaries to “shut the hell up!” The truth of the matter is that I frequently have such confrontations with other African-Americans who seek to offer excuses that explain away the deplorable behavior of many within our community that has consciously chosen to act uncivilized.

It saddens me to know that the plentiful reasons that seemingly sensible law-abiding African-Americans employ to excuse a lawless and immoral “ends justify the means” culture that has made many African-American communities analogous to war zones are omnipresent. Although the alluded to individuals may be well-meaning in their efforts to defend the criminal-minded in our midst, the truth of the matter is that their inability to stand on the side of righteousness reeks of cowardice.

It is the weakness mentioned above that serves as a crucial part of the wicked formula that led to the shooting of Takiya Holmes and Kanari Bowers, ages 11 and 12, in the head this past weekend in Chicago. Bowers was struck by a bullet while playing with friends at a playground, while a shot hit Holmes while riding in the backseat of a vehicle; law enforcement authorities attribute both shootings to stray bullets. Recent medical reports state that both of these children are in area hospitals in critical condition. Police report that there are no suspects in either of the shootings.

I long ago concluded that it was the time for African-Americans to realize that there are several different types of persons of African descent living in our communities. There are law-abiding, progressive African-Americans who are seeking to improve not only their lives but also those of others in their community ‘by any reasonable, honest means necessary.’ In many ways, the aspirations of this segment of Black America are indistinguishable from their counterparts of other races and ethnicities. They are in many ways pursuing the American dream via hard work and commitment to excellence within the confines of a beloved community. Unfortunately for Black America, the population mentioned above is not the only community found in our midst.

There is another sizable population within our midst that is not only hyper-aggressive but also determined to gain possession of material goods ‘by any means necessary.’ Trust me when I say that such people are devoid of a moral compass, a sense of decency, or any consideration for their fellow man, even if they share the same racial classification. It is a person from this segment of Black America that is responsible for not only the shootings of the two children in Chicago this weekend but also the vast majority of the carnage and criminality that occurs within our so-called community on a minute-by-minute basis.

As I have repeatedly stated in this space, it is the time for this cancerous element that no one on the face of the planet Earth desires to associate with is separated from our midst ‘by any means necessary.’ I pray that those within our community who exerted their energy and time protesting the latest Presidential election would turn their attention to removing what can only be termed a scourge from the black community. Trust me when I say to you that the disappearance of a population that can only be termed black barbarians would have a much more significant impact than any other occurrence.

In the words of Marcus Garvey, “Up You Mighty Race Achieve What You Will!!!!!” Even if it means cleaning up your communities “By Any Means Necessary.”

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

© Manhood, Race, and Culture 2017.