Early in March of 2010 Nelson Mandela’s former bride, Winnie, spoke to a crowd of well-wishers in Birmingham, Alabama. Spewing the normal platitudes about the Civil Rights movement, the former Mrs. Mandela stated:
"Birmingham has always been an extension of our struggle," Mandela said. "I was stunned by the similarities of the methods of oppression . . . The apartheid regime must have come here to take notes."
Birmingham, Alabama is a favorite city of SBPDL. Once the jewel of the South, it is now one of the first major cities on the verge of bankruptcy and insolvency in the United States. All of this – like South Africa now – is thanks to the glories and sound leadership of Black people.
Jefferson County, Alabama was once (like South Africa) a city comprised of visionaries, men and women who worked hard together to build a community and municipality that the entire world envied.
However, white flight – coupled with Fortune 500 companies fleeing – turned Birmingham into a city with far more similarities between what South Africa has become now than what it once was so long ago.
Sadly, South Africa never became the beacon of Democracy so many thought it would when the Black majority was handed power from the white minority who created the nation. In fact South Africa got Democracy good and hard, showcasing how this form of government offers no inspiration when it is implemented, but an ongoing tragedy that is uniformly ignored by the nations of the world.
Birmingham is much the same way. Once, a magnificent train station was in the center of the city acting as a foundation for commerce, business and personal travel: a signifier that the city was a thriving metropolis. The station – Terminal Station - has since been torn down, as it was a horrifying reminder of past discrimination to those Black people in power now that were denied entry into the building when it stood.
Like South Africa, the city of Birmingham is plagued with the pernicious element of Black criminality and this infection strikes politician and commoner alike. Indeed, the governmental buildings in Birmingham have installed a revolving door directly to the state penitentiary where mayors, city councilmen and women and other officials routinely venture during or after their stay in office.
Most notably, ex-Mayor Larry Langford was sentenced to jail for bribery, among other charges. Jail has become a long-running traditional post-mayoral residence for Black mayors in Birmingham. The blame for the sewer crisis that threatens the solvency of the city rests squarely on the shoulders of the Black leadership that turned the so-called “Magic City” into the “Mundane City”.
The Birmingham News has compiled a study entitled “The Killing Years” which helps articulate what Birmingham has become since the advantageous creation of Black Run America signaled the need for white flight from the city:
When people are murdered in Jefferson County, chances are the killer was a male under 25 using a gun.
More than half of the accused killers in the county were 24 or younger, according to a Birmingham News analysis of homicides from 2006 through 2009.
Nine times out of 10, the victims were shot to death.
The percentage of homicides with defendants under age 25 who used guns in Jefferson County substantially exceeds the national average, statistics show.
In Birmingham, where nearly three-quarters of the county's murders occurred, the disparity was even worse from 2006-2009.
Ages 16 through 24 are the killing years here.
The toll was especially harsh on black families. A substantial number of young black men in the city and county wound up in prison or a coffin.
>> Black males were 80 percent of the homicide defendants in majority-white Jefferson County and 89 percent in majority-black Birmingham. The national average was 57 percent.
>> More than 70 percent of the victims in Birmingham were black males, versus 43 percent nationwide in 2007, the only year a comparison was possible.
>> Guns were used in 86 percent of Birmingham homicides, and 83 percent in the county as a whole, versus 68 percent nationwide. Birmingham's rate is higher among defendants ages 16 through 24.
Some families suffered both ways in Birmingham and Jefferson County. Otis Towns, 18, was gunned down in 2006. In March his brother, Cortez Towns, went to prison for a murder committed when he was 17.
Murder rates are dropping nationally and locally, including a 39 percent decrease in Birmingham 2006 through 2009.
Homicides by white offenders also dropped substantially in Alabama and the nation from 2000 through 2007, according to a study by Northeastern University professors James Allen Fox and Marc L. Swatt.
But the rate of homicides involving both black male offenders and victims under age 25 rose in the nation and state in that period, the study showed.
“The Killing Years” – perhaps the finest piece of journalism published in The Birmingham News ever depicts the morbid world of Black criminality with utter finality. When crime is committed in Birmingham, you don’t even need to turn on the local nightly news to know the offender was a Black male. Strangely, the rate of violence perpetrated by white offenders is dropping everywhere, but Black crime is rising with the rapidity of the oil spill that endangers the gulf area.
One study on Chicago crime and media coverage stated that the constant images of Black criminality on TV creates a false reality between white criminals and Black criminals:
Chicago’s television news programs feed racial anxiety and antagonism by giving dramatically different treatment to African-American and white criminal suspects. While white suspects usually appear on the news as individuals, black suspects often appear as the incarnation of a threatening and anonymous underclass, according to a new study by a Northwestern University researcher.
The Chicago Reporter obtained an advance copy of “The Images of Blacks on Chicago’s Local TV News Programs,” a study by Northwestern University Associate Professor Robert Entman that was commissioned by the Human Relations Foundation of the Chicago Community Trust.
Entman, who specializes in communications and political science, found racial bias in local television’s treatment of criminal suspects; his report suggests that TV stations encourage what researchers have called “modern racism” – the continued, though muted, antagonism between races. In their attempts to overcome “traditional racism,” stations actually sustain racial hostilities, the study concluded.
However, the white crime rate is plummeting (indeed, looking at the photos The Birmingham News published has 11 white people out of a sea of Black faces and these white faces appear to be shielding brains with obvious mental retardations) and Black crime is rising.
Indeed, Black youth have three potential outcomes when they grow up, and two of these are incredibly tragic: jail or dead. The other, thankfully, is a scholarship to play college football or basketball at a Predominately White Institution (PWI).
We at SBPDL think it is time to institute the Michael Oher Act now, before this generation of Black youth makes Birmingham and many other major cities unlivable. Plus, like Michael Oher, major colleges need Black players to sustain their prestige and power in college football. White players aren’t as talented as Black athletes and even though they might not be able to produce sufficient grades to warrant enrollment, Black players sure can run the football with gusto.
After all, without sports, where would Black people be?
The Killing Years can be viewed here at The Birmingham News. We do not live in "The Wonder Years" anymore.
South Africa has rugby. America has college football. South Africa and Birmingham are more alike than the former Mrs. Mandela could ever imagine.