What do we do about the Ghetto Mentality – that all-encompassing mindset of ignorance that has grown out of street life? The “get over anyway you can” mindset. That, more than anything else, underscores the essence of the Ghetto Mentality.

What do we, as black folk, do about it? All that is negative represents the Ghetto Mentality. There’s nothing positive, enlightened or uplifting about it. Yet too many black folk live and die by the Ghetto Mentality. It replaces social consciousness, if it ever existed in some folk’s minds at all.

What kinds of thoughts permeate the Ghetto Mentality?

Referring to every black woman not as black women but as “bitches and hoes” is an example of the Ghetto Mentality. Calling all black men “dogs” is another example. And these same folks defend the Ghetto Mentality at all costs.

Smoking, drinking and/or whatever are, at the very least, things grown folk might do every now and then. For folk afflicted with the Ghetto Mentality, this stuff is part of everyday life. It shouldn’t be, of course. But don’t tell that to the preachers of the Ghetto Mentality, which sucks all common sense from the brain.

That lady riding on Amtrak recently and talking loud on her phone during a double-digit-hour trip demonstrated the Ghetto Mentality. Even when passengers asked her to talk softly – a reasonable request for people riding in the “quiet car” – she got mad and cursed them out. How dare they ask her to show a little respect to other passengers? That’s how the Ghetto Mentality works.

People afflicted by it have no regard for others’ feelings, opinions or needs. But as soon as they’re confronted, they scream about being disrespected or mistreated. Get over any way you can.

The Ghetto Mentality should never be confused with the concept of “Keeping it Real.” The mentality blurs the clear lines between the two. Remember, it destroys common sense.

That’s never truer than incidents involving so-called “snitching.” If you “snitch,” according to the Ghetto Mentality, you’re doing something wrong. So some black folk keep their mouths shut when crimes are committed in our community. That’s the tragedy involving Devin Dyer and many other innocent victims of violence. Devin, 18, was shot in the face while attending a nighttime party in an apartment building in Austin. The shooter is still at large. Devin died. According to his family and police, Devin was not the intended target. The innocent rarely are in our community.

The party was heavily attended. Yet no one has come forward. If people are afraid to because they fear retaliation from the shooter or his/her crew, then that’s one thing. But don’t forget the Ghetto Mentality, which translates calling criminals to account as “snitching.”

Let’s look closer at how perverted the mentality is.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Freedom Rides. Civil rights activists – college students and young people of both races – traveled on buses throughout the South during the summer of 1961. They rode to protest segregation.

Hate-filled racists, American terrorists if you will, attacked, beat up, and tried to intimidate the Freedom Riders. To this day, there are still unsolved crimes against many blacks at the hands of whites who lived in the South. In other parts of the county as well. But they’re not unsolved largely because the killers are unknown. In fact, the killers not only were, and still are, known, but all of them but bragged about their crimes – crimes involving keeping black folk in check, even if that meant killing them.

In that sense, isn’t the Ghetto Mentality akin to White Supremacy hatred? The killer wouldn’t get in trouble. In fact, the killer/s would be protected. You know what that’s called? Insanity. But those who believe in and practice the Ghetto Mentality can’t put all that together. Takes too much right-thinking and brain power. But if someone killed a friend or relative of someone afflicted with the mentality, it’s all-out war. They’ll do whatever they can to find out who did it – “get over any way you can.”

Victims of violent crimes in our community deserve better. Devin Dyer and his family deserve better. Some black folk want to spend energy trying to ban or bury certain words like “nigger.”

But what are we going to do about the Ghetto Mentality?

CONTACT: tdean@wjinc.com

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