A nefarious disease plagues our nation. With devastating efficiency, and in plain sight, it has infiltrated every aspect of our lives, yet we sit around scratching our bewildered heads at the debilitating social ills now unraveling the fabric of this nation, wondering How can this be? No need to call in experts on infectious illnesses to figure out what it is. I can tell you. It’s called I Don’t Give A Shit Disease (IDGASD). Witness just a few of the most hateful repercussions of IDGASD now blaring (or not) on a news site near you:
–More than 40 years after the Black Panthers took up arms to make the point, the issue lives on: you still can’t be black and run in this country. Why? Like the cracks, which spread through a lead-painted tenement, IDGASD has fissured the conscience of America’s power brokers. (See Stanley Nelson’s excellent new film, The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution.)
–Benign neglect by the LAPD of hundreds of murdered or missing black women. The cases went uninvestigated and underreported for over two decades as serial killer Lonnie Franklin continued to live in the South Central Los Angeles community, murdering, raping and torturing women. The killer’s homies, who witnessed Franklin’s sadistic treatment of multiple prostitutes, never made a peep because, well, they’re men, and besides, they were busy getting high. The women who survived encounters with Franklin didn’t tell because they knew that the cops didn’t give a shit, and they were busy getting high too. And round and round it goes as the vicious cycle feeds itself.
This horrific case of IDGASD, aimed at black women and prostitutes, is brilliantly recounted in director Nick Broomfield’s hard-hitting documentary, Tales of The Grim Sleeper, now showing on HBO. When the killer is finally arrested–by mistake–then Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, flanked by Governor Jerry Brown, proudly hails the 20 plus years of “exhaustive” work by the LAPD. Makes you want to run outside and howl like a coyote.
–The strongly held view by too many men and the male-dominated power structure that women’s bodies are theirs for the taking. Think sexual assaults on university campuses, military campuses, in the military, in the Catholic church, in our homes–by friends, family and strangers–state-sanctioned in our prison system; hell, where can’t a woman get raped?
And lest we forget, 40 women later, Bill Cosby laughs at his accusers with a “Far From Finished” comedy tour, where supporters show up and give him standing ovations. IDGASD gone completely batshit.
–Closer to home, I have seen so many sleep-walking employees in their twenties, demanding paychecks as they try hard as hell to work as little as possible (with real economic consequences to my small business), “forgetting” to vote as the Earth they inherit goes bonkers.
I’ve been calling it the I Don’t Give A Shit Syndrome for years. Maybe we should elevate it from a syndrome to an actualized, red-alert disease! Maybe someone will do a study. Maybe they’ll find a cure. As one of the most underappreciated causes of this country’s afflictions, this disease deserves a better name than apathy. Because I Don’t Give A Shit, most people can get behind.
Final thought: In the interest of ending on an up note, I say thank goodness and thank you to the brave heroes among us who do give a shit. As the news cameras roll, Pacifica Radio/KPFK’s Margaret Prescod, one of the leaders of Black Coalition Fighting Back Serial Murders, can be seen in the aforementioned documentary, Tales of the Grim Sleeper, interrupting Mayor Villaraigosa’s self-congratulatory press conference by grabbing his mic and blasting him for lying about the LAPD’s supposed investigation of the serial murders. Full disclosure–I know Margaret Prescod. Yeah, Margaret!