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Z-man & Skittle
Harm City Ethics 101
© 2013 James LaFond
Class, you will be quizzed just before the next apocalypse, as soon as we can dig up some stone-age astrophysicists to arrange it.
I do not have a TV and do not watch the news. I do this to provide myself with a filter to remove some of the brainwashing elements from the information stream that flows through my mind. I have grown weary with corporate, journalistic and government spin. Most of what I read was written by those who are no longer living. I understand that getting sucked into the news cycle is as seductive as being a sports fan; that I would just be being manipulated into a distracted state-of-mind by my unseen masters. Most of what I hear comes from the mouths of those I have contact with in my environment.
I could care less what is happening in Florida for instance. For example, say a zombie apocalypse hit Florida. I still would not buy the newspaper or get a TV. I am most interested in what the zombie apocalypse would be like when it hit Baltimore. To understand that, I need to pay attention to how my fellow Harm City dwellers regard the far away disaster. Because, when the zombies hit Harm City, their quest to eat my brains will only be half of the problem. The other half of the problem would be dealing with all of those other people who would rather have my brains eaten than their own less-substantial cerebral mass.
About a year ago a number of friends informed me that a shooting had occurred in Florida, in which a neighborhood watch member had shot and killed a young black man. My first thoughts were, ‘Cops in Baltimore aren’t even allowed to shoot people. What the hell is going on in Florida? I thought it was a retirement community. Maybe I should get a TV!’
They also updated me about how the press and members of certain political organizations were fanning this incident into a potential race riot. One man told me that the neighborhood watch person had been targeted for assassination and was being charged with murder. Another told me that the dead youth’s mother had copyrighted his name, looking to cash in as ‘the next Rosa Parks’.
Since then I have declined to follow the case, and have instead followed the commentary of those Harm City dwellers who have put forth an opinion. I have been moved to write this piece by three recent requests by friends to comment on the incident, the particulars of which I am foggy on. Before I comment I would first like to put the incident in context by quoting some commentators, and then examine the societal myths that I suspect facilitated the incident, and continue to fan the flames of hate that it sparked.
Beefy, deli clerk
“Oh that shit was so wrong! Brother got capped by a make-believe cop for being black in a hoody. Dude’s got to pay. To get away with that shit you need to at least be a real cop!”
Destarte, deli clerk
“He got to pay—no doubt. Neighborhood watch personnel can’t be dropping no bodies.”
Braidy, bus patron
“Shit, da butha jus’ up in dat whitebread joint fo some ice tea en skittles! Da govoment can’t be lettin’ niggas get kilt fo buyin’ skittles—lease not by some punkass phony five-O!”
Note the common subtext above, It is okay for certain persons to shoot people down on the street for various reasons, just not ‘Punkass phony five-O.’
Steve, business owner
“They doctored the photos. Z…….. had his face beat in. I could see how he had cause to fear for his life.”
Adam, college student
“I suppose the criminal aggressor ceases to become the aggressor as soon as he is shot down.”
Slam, former skinhead
“This is being blown out of proportion as a racial incident. The fact is, there wasn’t a white man present. The body is black and the shooter is some kind of Hungarian Puerto Rican mongrel. Who cares.”
Ooookay that is all I have from the Harm City peanut gallery.
Cultural Conditioning
It is my opinion that these two men were acting similarly, under the same virulent societal pressures, as the commentators above would in a similar situation. What you have just read are six prejudicial statements made with varying levels of passion. All of these statements reflect the extensive indoctrination undergone by Americans. When Z-man and Skittle met one life ended and the other life was ruined. These two individuals, however, were not the forces at work, but the implements. The forces at work were two curiously symbiotic mutually dysfunctional value systems with their roots deep in American history.
This is not the place to discuss cultural evolution. Harm City is an online magazine dedicated to urban survival, not pondering the mysteries of the universe.
In this Harm City segment I will only discuss the existence of, and self-defense implications of, this particular complex of racist beliefs.
When Z-man and Skittle clashed on that faithful night they were the point men for two myths, the white suburban American myth of the ‘Black Superman’ and the black urban American myth of ‘justifiable casual aggression’. Both of these prejudicial belief complexes grew from the evil seedbed of slavery. However, all that is important here, is their manifestation and effects.
Black Superman
When I wanted to get into boxing as an 11-year-old my family was horrified and sent me to a doctor. The doctor explained to me that the sport was too physical and too damaging to the brain to be engaged in by non blacks. To this day I know many people—including most of my black friends, but none of my black fighters—who believe that the black man is a eugenically bred super-warrior, who will naturally dominate any man of any other race in any aggressive or physical activity. On many occasions in security work, I have had black and white coworkers assign an extra measure of menace to a suspect based on his skin color. Apparently, a ‘big black man’ is more dangerous than a ‘big white man’, in the minds of most people.
If I have to stop him, my only concern is the 200 pounds I’m giving away, not the color of his skin.
When my doctor, a football coach, and every adult member of my family told me that I was a fool for thinking I could get physical with a black opponent and prevail, I knew then and there, that the adult world was insane. I was not a particularly bright kid. But telling me that I could not kick a guy’s ass because he had prettier skin than me made no sense at all. I could have understood if I was being discouraged from modeling body lotion. But telling me that I could not compete successfully against another fighter, who was my size and my age, just because he had a nice natural tan and I had blemished skin that burned in the sun, made about as much sense as saying that Sophia Loren [1960s Italian movie goddess] could outwrestle the Russian Women’s track and field team based on her lustrous complexion.
That wasn’t my first clue that the world of adults was nuts, but it was the one I needed to finalize my conclusion.
To this day, virtually every person outside of the fighting community that I know—including a professor—believe that black men and youths are unbeatable super-warriors that cannot be resisted without recourse to lethal technology. It might horrify some of you younger folks to know what I used to watch on Saturday and Sunday mornings with my father: Tarzan Theater, Jungle Jim, movies like Zulu, Pacific war movies, a slew of westerns depicting hordes of American Indians with bows and arrows swarming toward a handful of cowboys armed with repeating rifles. The subtext of almost every adventure movie I watched as a kid was that there were hordes of bloodthirsty black, red and yellow men out there who could only be stopped by the beleaguered white heroes through recourse to superior firepower.
Historically the facts were often far different, Indians being vastly outnumbered by whites for instance. And as far as the black super-warrior goes, where is he? If black men were naturally the masters of all things physically violent wouldn’t they be dominating combat sports?
Black fighters do not dominate boxing, wrestling, grappling or kickboxing. And the MMA top ten list looks like a UN photo op!
A man, is a man, is a man, no matter what color nature paints him.
However, considering the generations of cultural conditioning that has influenced the thinking of doctors, professors, and almost every person in our society, perhaps we can forgive Z-man for buying into the dominant belief that no man of a lesser pigment can expect to defend himself from Black Superman, unless he has an ‘equalizer’.
Justifiable Casual Aggression
Throughout the long and storied history of our great nation, it has never [in actual practice] been against the law to beat a black man. Unless you kill, shoot, or stab him, pretty much anybody who beats up an everyday black fellow does not have to fear arrest or prosecution. In fact, police have beaten black men on a regular recreational basis for over a hundred years.
In our own time, in modern urban America, what this means is that simple beatings, even brutal beatings, are routinely shrugged off and not reported by black men and children, and that law enforcement, from cop to judge, does not regard ‘battery’ as a crime even worth reporting, let alone prosecuting. Fists do not threaten the police, or the government. Guns and knives could.
Dave the Cop was an old time cop who worked Baltimore in the 1960s and 1970s. He patrolled ‘foot beats’ with a night stick, and had this to say about the fine art of protecting and serving the black community, “You must have their respect, and the best way to get it is to single out the biggest blackest back-talker and spilt his goddamn head wide open!”
The upside to this reality in the black community has traditionally been the emplacement of a vigilante system that punishes men who beat their black wives or girlfriends. You see, most black women, when beaten, will have a small army of willing male relatives to dish out punishment, men willing to go to prison to protect their sister, daughter, mother. White women, on the other hand, were brutalized for decades, afraid to call on their male relatives to defend them. In white society such violence against an innocent wife-beater would be punished by the law.
This devaluation of the black man by our culture and government has resulted in a fairly brutalized urban population. I have stood in public spaces and watched black women ball up their fists and punch their male children like I would hit a man in the ring. I have worked with numerous black men who think nothing of fighting it out with each other in the men’s room or lunch room or stockroom [I have refereed some of these combats.], and then going back to work together.
The Sorry Result
So, when an urban black man and a suburban white man have a confrontation you have, on one side, an acceptance of casual sub-lethal personal violence as an everyday reality, and on the other side a deep unreasoning fear of domination by a mythical boogieman. What you usually end up with is a dance of overreactions, converging into a disastrous downward spiral; aggression feeding fear, feeding aggression, feeding fear, feeding aggression, feeding panic.
Without a level-headed white trash person, such as myself, there to translate between the brutalized urbanite who has been assigned only menace as a social value, and the cowering suburbanite who has been conditioned to regard his antagonist with a paralyzing dread, you get predictably bad results for everybody.
This social dichotomy; the interplay between the wimpy whitebread geek and the black sports superstar, might seem cute in a Michael Jordon underwear commercial. But for two fools like Z-man and Skittle, conditioned to believe in two mutually exclusive ideals of superiority, with no cross-cultural social skills, nothing good comes their way.
Whitebread Survival Tips
When you fear a descent black man you insult him.
When you fear an indecent or immature black man, you encourage him to behave just like the brutal white cops that beat down his grandfather for the crime of being black.
Black Superman Survival Tips
The evil white society that bought and sold and raped and killed your ancestors has done everything in its power to encourage you to use violence as a first resort, so that you might justify your own mistreatment, past, present and future. Beating down some wimp that has been trained from the cradle to fear you furthers that end, and little else.
The Inappropriate Opinion
Recently my boss, who is aware of my writing, asked me how ‘I felt’ about Skittle being killed and Z-man possibly incarcerated for life. The response I gave was honest, was my actual heartfelt feeling, left him slack-jawed, and still feels kind of odd when I express it.
“A thug is dead and a wimp is incarcerated. That is a win-win for society; two small steps for mankind.”
Whipped!
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Charles Meisling     Mar 9, 2013

Great article J. I really enjoyed reading this.
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