The other day was Veterans Day, or as I like to call it, Spit on a Soldier Day. As part of the festivities, I read a story somewhere that said that the Army is having a hard time convincing black people to sign up to go over to Iraq. I found this fascinating.
Since this is a relatively recent phenomenon (black people used to stay up in the Army), it’s yet to be determined why this is so. It could be the case that word has gotten out that black folks are being sent over there primarily as cannon fodder (either because black people refuse to get it together education-wise even if it’s a matter of life or death, or because the Army is racist like that – take your pick!), or it could be the case that black people refuse to enlist because they find this war unjust.
Since black people are maybe the most liberal group of people in this country (even well-educated people don’t vote Democrat at a higher rate than black folks), I’ve heard it suggested by a few people that it’s the latter. But I wonder if this could really be the case given other recent developments – namely, black people’s ridonkulous fixation with gangster films, as evidenced by the staggering success of both the film American Gangster and the Jay-Z album of the same name. If you notice, black people don’t seem to mind very much that this guy Frank Lucas killed so many people.
Based on the commercials I’ve seen for the film, the key seems to be that he was a great businessman. When he was at the top of his game, he was more powerful than even the mafia. And I could see why that might be appealing. In an age when we’ve got racist-ass scientists like James Watson suggesting that the reason AIDS is so rampant over in Africa (where people still eat “bush meat,” and where people have recently begun getting high off their own shit) is because black people aren’t as smart as white people, it’s nice to know that a black man can succeed at something.
If black people could justify gangsters dealing death in their own community, you wonder why they wouldn’t be able to justify the military-industrial complex dealing death over in the Middle East, where people don’t like us anyway. Part of the problem could be that at least a black man can get paid for selling drugs. Nicky Barnes was said to have a closet full of fur coats. Kids in the Army, meanwhile, don’t get paid shit. Oddly enough though, thanks to President Sieg Howdy’s neoliberal economic policies, it’s becoming increasingly true that this is no longer the case.
Your average soldier may not get paid very well at all, but private contractors are getting paid out the ass. Many of them are making more money in a day than I make all month long (i.e. $75). And I’ve heard that there’s more private contractors over there than there are actual soldiers anyway. Why do you think this war is costing so much money? It doesn’t cost that much to bust a few caps in innocent women and children. This is basically a scheme to shift a huge amount of wealth out of the hands of saps like us and into the pockets of Dick Cheney and his people.
Regardless of where you stand on the war, you have to wonder if black people aren’t missing the boat on this one yet again. While we’re sitting at home striking a self-righteous pose (and yet bobbing our heads to the new Jay-Z album), cracka-ass crackas are making off with all of the money. And I don’t mean the kind of money it pays to be a pretend drug dealer and a black cosigner for various white business interests. I mean real money.