They called it the big eighties—the decade of decadence.
This was the time when Africans in America officially embraced the dollar as god.
Negroes en masse first started internalizing Dollarism in the seventies and by the eighties, the new religion of the almighty dollar was in full swing.
Prior to that, we were mostly still playing a game our own way and the sixties had shown that it could work. There were always a few of us who sold out and we hadn’t fully punked out yet as a race.
But the eighties wasn’t called the “ME Decade” for nothing.
And the new religion of Money had already changed every game.
The new religion changed the way some Blacks thought of themselves with the illusion of inclusion.
During this time, we saw many so-called Black Republicans became such not purely because of politics, but because they assumed that there was something for them based on having money and/or privilege. This was the first time that large numbers of Blacks were open about separating themselves from other Blacks based on the pursuit of individual goals, which they placed above concerns for the race.
Of course, white people had been doing it, but as a race whites could fall back on being white and having white privilege. Without a community, what could blacks go back to? Slavery?
The new religion of Money even changed religion.
Those of us with independent thinking already knew that many religious figures were in it for the money, but with the new religion kicking in, we began to see more religious icons embrace their new god unashamedly. This is why today we see so many disgustingly huge mega-church structures in the Black communities and pimped out preachers, who don’t care about hiding their avarice.
As religious people go, many Americans pursue a relationship with a church that will praise them and promise to reward them with prosperity for being faithful to the church, as though they are better than the average person who may be a good person, but not dedicated to the church.
The new religion of money also changed the concept of being smart.
I knew that we were at a new point in time when people claimed that Puffy was smart–not because he did anything clever that they could point to, but smart because he had the aura of having money. Intellectuals be damned—people would rather take their advice from Cosby, Oprah and Wendy Williams, rather than someone who thinks and does research.
To celebrate the likes of Sean “Puffy” Combs is horribly backward. This is a man who rhymed about “money hanging out his anus,” yet had a roster of artists who were getting pimped out of their anuses. He is such an empty human. His real claim to fame is that everyone around him got killed, locked up or financially raped.
At least Suge Knight bailed Tupac out of jail, before using him to breathe new life into Death Row. Puffy used Shyne, then when trouble came, separated himself from the rapper and completely abandoned him to languish in prison after Shyne placed himself in harm’s way for Puffy.
For people to openly revere that kind of man, shows what a debauched world we are in.
But why wouldn’t people celebrate the likes of Puff Diddy? Even so-called “leaders” have shown that they are all about the money. Take one Jesse “Cut the nuts” Jackson, who discovered early on that he could get favors and Burger King franchises as a result of threatening to boycott. Now, we see that Civil Rights is becoming as big a career as preaching—wait—he’s doing both.
Someone sells out and dead brained defenders of sellouts are quick to exclaim: “At least he got paid.” I’m sure Dave Chappelle is living a tortured life if he really had the epiphany he claims to have had. He claims that he realized that he was being used and was being laughed at, not with. Yet, some silly Negroes are still quick to celebrate his success, while dismissing his negative actions, because “at least he got paid.”
It’s so sad and so ridiculous that people see very little pure joy without finance.
Now it’s all about celebrating the rich and crapping on the poor. Those of us who worship money celebrate the message of 50 Cents—get rich or die trying. Most will die.
The rich white establishment has one game and it always works. That game is to pit the poor against the not so poor in each race—poor white trash against white elitists and impoverished Mexicans hated by Mexicans who want to become white and rich.
Now, we’ve come in to that game, where wealthy Negroes hate poor Blacks. Many of us celebrated when Cosby blamed everything on the “lower economic people.” And why not? They are fair game during a breakdown of society.
On a human level, people’s lives and hearts were broken by social circumstances. Initially, it was by design, when crack cocaine was inserted into poor communities, but the worship of money found the crack epidemic affecting all levels who then became the new rich and the new poor.
Crack did what heroin could not do, because when heroin came along, the nation still believed in God. By the time crack came around, America had embraced money as god.
Crack cocaine created fake commerce in the urban communities across the nation, and even changed the pimp game. Where pimps previously preyed on the broken humans who had fallen, crack cocaine broke women and men, turning them into hoes without pimps who began to use their bodies as commerce in exchange for the addictive substance or a few dollars to make the purchase.
And since we have seen that anyone can fall, we celebrate those at the top, simply because they are at the top.
No matter how they come to it, people with money are taught that they are special. They are taught that their success is all about them, not about the backs of people they stand on in order to become what they become. They begin to believe that they garnered whatever success they achieved as special individuals and that those without success are lesser human beings.
We know that anything is possible in this society, so when someone poor rises, they no longer think about where they came from, they are taught to hate whoever they left behind.
Where we once aspired to become wealthy without changing, we now aspire to change even before we become wealthy, and/or even if we never become wealthy.
This is why we see poor people pretending to be of means. The goal is not really to work hard to get there anymore, if you can fake being there. Instead of “Fake it ‘til you make it,” the motto is now “Fake it.” Period. Even if you aren’t really trying to make it.
That’s also why now we have more people who crash financially and go absolutely buck nutty. Its one thing to crash and still have something to rely on, but when you crash and everything you have had has been empty, you crash and know that there is nothing left and nowhere to turn to. You lose touch with reality and freak completely out.
And that’s why we now have more Blacks who have become things we never thought we could become—mass murderers, hateful idiots, gangsters without conscience, criminals for nothing and hoes for free. We were once traditionally conservative, but now we’re all over the place depending on what we think we can get.
What was once a community that sought to rise itself has splintered into groups of people who use each other for what they are worth and then blame each other for what they can not have.
That’s why we see Black women blaming Black men for conditions they have inherited from people who did not care, including Black women who began to believe in money more than self esteem and self respect.
“Exotic Dancer” (Stripper) has become a career for women to pimp a bunch of horny idiots and then portray themselves simultaneously as victims of sexual stereotypes and strong independent women who are making bank, baby.
“Video Ho” has become a fake career for women who degrade themselves, often for nothing and then blame the powerless morons in the front of the videos.
But those powerless morons are also looking for someone to blame, claiming that conditions of their childhood environment, or the white man, or lack of opportunities or some other lame excuse “forced” them to sell their souls for a bad record deal.
These same powerless morons use the same excuses when choosing to sell drugs or participate in gang activity.
The bottom line is that too many of us would rather do anything than work hard and risk facing broken dreams.
Broken dreams are the legacy that many Americans from two and three generations ago have bequeathed to their children, having mortgaged the future of those children for their own selfish guilt-free pleasures.
Parents fail to plan for the future of their children, because they are too interested in planning for their own present. In the present, they want to look good and live happily, even though at any given moment, the house of cards they lived in may fall apart and leave their children with no house or home, no real family ties and no future to speak of, because they have been handed a bill for the follies of their parents.
In the age of money as god, family, friends and anything else previously held near and dear comes secondary to keeping up with the appearances of the Joneses who are faking themselves.
For more than twenty years, Americans have been witnessing the mayhem, destruction and social decay that occurs when God and love are supplanted by greed and money, which are now the American way.
Does anyone care?
Or all we all waiting to get down on our knees?
Darryl James is an award-winning author of the forthcoming powerful anthology “Notes From The Edge.” Discounted Autographed and Numbered Pre-Release copies can be ordered at www.darryljames.com. He released his first mini-movie, “Crack,” and this year, will release his first full-length documentary. View previous installments of this column at . Reach James at firstname.lastname@example.org.