Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Black Flight from Urban Decline

This morning, I was on Think Tank with Garland Robinette,  a leading New Orleans radio show, discussing Black flight from urban decline. It's a rarely discussed topic, overshadowed by the White version. An article written by Ed Pratt, a writer for the Advocate, a flagship Louisiana newspaper, initiated the episode. Pratt articulated middle class angst felt by Black expatriates who flew away to escape urban decline. It was a short interview for a lengthy subject, but I did hit a few salient points:

* Black flight is a direct response to ( shhh! ) inner city crime. This fact isn't openly admitted but often quoted as the number one reason why those who can afford it sprout proverbial wings and escape the Hood. 

We aren't a monolith and consequently all don't support the vile, violent place which is now the inner city. Black flight says more about the current inner city than all the pundits from outside our community. I cited the SWS method of addressing this inconvenient truth by uniting prevention and protection perspectives as the necessary first step for real change.

* Black flight is a state of mind. Geographic relocation doesn't equal ethnic dislocation unless one chooses so. Mentor programs abound where Black men who've escaped the Hood unite with youth to fill in much-needed developmental blanks. New Orleans has the Fatherhood Roundtable, among many other organizations, which daily fulfill this strategic role.

National Black male-led mentoring programs include: Concerned Black Men; Mad Dads; PeaceKeepers and 100 Black Men. The same social media and automobiles which allow virtual mobility and transportation enable these brothers to " fly back "at will to communities which need them.

* Often, Black flight participants need look no further than family for inner city hostages to help.  Taking flight from urban decline is a highly individualized matter. Your income doesn't magically share itself with less advantaged family left in your wake. The only barrier to this most intimate outreach is in ones mind.

I stated on air that I don't criticize those escaping urban decline. My long held position is there's no special obligation upon individuals to help the community. It must be freely chosen or else is doomed to fail. 

The right to be safe is the most basic human right and includes American Blacks too. The inner city is a profoundly unsafe place. Admitting this inconvenient truth is the first step in truly helping its hostages. I commend Garland for his usual prescience in having a conversation few dare openly discuss.

Black flight proves urban decline has forever divided a group once involuntarily united by segregation.

Admitting that violent crime prompts Black flight from urban decline is the only way to honestly address it.

-Nadra Enzi aka Cap Black, Your UrbanSafetyist and SWS: Security Within SELF Urban Fellowship founder. @nadraenzi on twitter. Bro Al Mims, chaplin.

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