Our own enemy

Feb 20, 2014
It’s said birds of a feather flock together.
I never knew how true that is until I went to prison.
I already had friends in prison and it didn’t take long for my friends not in prison to join me.

Prison was an awakening experience.

Every statistic concerning blacks and the prison system was right in front of my face. I could no longer deny 1 in 3 blacks will experience jail; 1 in 15 black children have a parent in prison; blacks make up 40.2 percent of the U.S. prison population and 78 percent of blacks who leave prison return within three years.

I was witnessing it first-hand.

The relationship between the United States and people of African descent has been an unfair arrangement since before the birth of this nation. Europeans brought black people to this continent as a commodity. Since having to abolish slavery, they have found ways to keep us as profitable commodities by capitalizing on our ignorance, stupidity and indifference.

In 2014 this country has more black men incarcerated than were ever enslaved. Fact is, the only reason the government keeps building prisons is because we keep filling them.

With knowledge being as easily accessible as it is today, ignorance, stupidity and indifference are not unfair handicaps that we are oppressed into accepting; they are choices. We are choosing the less successful road that leads to prison, addiction and un-natural death because it has been endorsed as cool by an influential subculture.

It’s just that simple.

Prison didn’t sneak up behind me one night on Huntington Avenue and build a fence around me. I landed myself in prison doing things I knew were wrong.

You’re not being rebellious against an oppressive government by not obeying the law. You are, however, giving those who want to see you fail exactly what they want. What part of your incarceration or un-natural death sabotages efforts to keep youoppressed? What part of you not being involved in active citizenship is an advantage to you, your family or your community?

I have heard if at first you don’t succeed try, try again, but in my personal opinion, attempting to succeed by re-adopting a lifestyle proven to be consistently unsuccessful seems stupid.

Realizing what has been done to us in this country since the civil rights movement has only been successful due to our cooperation, led me to just one option: Change for the better.

Last thing they want us to do is change for the better. They need us illiterate, distracted, intoxicated, misguided, intimidated, irresponsible and battling each other. If we weren’t, they would actually have to share this continent.

We have to utilize our skills in a legal positive manner ending this epidemic of mass incarceration before we are an endangered species unable to be found in the wild and prisons turn into zoos displaying the 21st century negro.

Take a moment to consider what we would have if we could have directed the young men and women we have lost down a positive path before it was too late. We have lost countless valuable members of our society.

Our young entrepreneurs, masters of marketing, production, packaging, distribution, management and sales spending 20 years in prison getting paid $16 a month to work in a chow hall or curled up on a bedroom floor with a bullet in the head because they only applied their talents to risk life, limb and freedom trafficking drugs.

Our young leaders, charismatic, passionate and articulate serving life in prison because they started a street gang instead of a movement.

Our young warriors, strong, fearless and abundant never tasting freedom again imprisoned for violent acts against they’re own people.

We are not without black leaders. Our leaders just so happen to be asleep, as are the majority of our population. There’s a Huey Newton, Malcolm X, Angela Davis and Joanne Chesimard born every hour, needing only to be fed, nurtured, protected and developed.

Not only have a percentage of us decided to forfeit this game called life, we dance to music celebrating our forfeiture, we encourage others among us to forfeit and we inspire those who look to us as role models to forfeit as well.

Let’s make it clear: Forfeiting is not an option by uniting, progressing, prospering and meeting all who oppose us halfway.

Harriet Tubman once said, “I freed a thousand slaves. I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves”

The alarm clock is ringing people; time to wake up.




If only blacks can understand than whites trying to help is useless. Are you really saying that ?

So let's just throw away all the progress that had been made because it doesn't make a difference unless you are black.


Whites trying to help is NOT useless. My issue is when whites try to act as though all experiences are the same. I am Black and I do not fully understand the struggles of other races nor do I pretend to understand totally but I can easily relate to their struggle. The same can be said about gender. Men can't fully appreciate the struggles of women because they are men and vice versa.


Why the capitalization on the word blacks? Were you shouting?


I was putting the emphasis on me, just one Black!


The problem with America today, is the fact that people refuse to take responsibility for themselves. In the 20's, the government failed the people, causing the worst depression in U.S. history. Did the people cry out for revolution and a fall of the government? No. Did the people sit around complaining that the government failed them? No. The people got up and went searching for work. They blamed themselves for their shortcomings. In a time where the government actually caused the nation to fail, the people blamed themselves.
In todays society, people sit back and complain that the government is not doing enough for them, and asking "why is the government trying to oppress us". Slavery is over. Civil rights have taken leaps and bounds, but we will never overcome this "racist oppression" Newell speaks of until society starts taking responsibility for their actions. Maybe instead of looking at the amount of blacks incarcerated, look at the amount of blacks committing crime. Contrary to urban belief, police do not go around looking for African-Americans they can pretend did something illegal. They just jail the ones that do wrong. Take responsibility for that, do not blame it on the cops.
Furthermore, we will not overcome "racist oppression" until society stops crying "hate" every time an African-American thinks something was racist. Recently on MSNBC, Melissa Harris-Perry made racist remarks to the family of Mitt Romney because of their African-American grandson. Did the Romney family go cry "racist"? No. They forgave Harris-Perry and moved on. This is what we need in order to overcome "racist oppression."

Take responsibility.

Take responsibility.

"Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country." -JFK


Very well said! :-)


You do realize welfare was started because of the Great Depression. JFK's family directly benefited from a criminal enterprise. MHP's panel's comments were inappropriate but not racist. How many times was a black person accused of a crime by the person that actually committed the crime? Many! Also, there's innocent people in jail of all colors. Let's not forget about the cop that accused two blacks of pointing the gun at him. That happened right here.


I checked for Mr. Newell's LinkedIn account, but, couldn't connect. My reason for checking is to see how many organizations he is part of whose aim is to be a change agent for black youth. Perhaps his column gets wide distribution in the black community, but, if it does not I have to wonder what the point is in writing for the Register? It strikes me that his target demographic likely does not frequent the Register web site.

Lima has Bradfield Center and Cheryl Allen Community Center for the purpose of taking on such societal and individual problems. If Mr. Newell has no knowledge of these places he is certainly welcome to make the trip, both institutions would be happy to meet with him. Establishing similar centers (if none exist) in Sandusky would give him the voice he claims is vitally needed.


It's already been asked, but I will reiterate:
Who is this They?
"Last thing they want us to do is change for the better. They need us illiterate, distracted, intoxicated, misguided, intimidated, irresponsible and battling each other. If we weren’t, they would actually have to share this continent."
I don't know anyone who wants to keep good, honest, hard-working people on the down and out, much less be part of "this epidemic of mass incarceration".
It's simple for blacks, whites, rich and poor...if you don't want to go to prison, don't break the laws.


I believe in personal responsibility. Life is not perfect. But, we can all improve our life.

If we need to blame someone lets just blame God. Color and race are in his hands. Good luck with complaining to him.


The mug shot of Mr. Newell on the offenders' site tells a very different story at the time, Hopefully he learned his lesson. If people are still going to use slavery as an excuse for entitlements, then there will always be racial clashes. A person has to want to be educated. All kinds of education is available, not just formal book learning.


Who is this guy and why does the SR let him spew his hatred?

Mr Newell you should have brushed up on your history when you were in prison. The very first slave traders coming out of Africa were black. Yes, black African's were the first slave traders as they were easily able to befriend the African people and then offer them for sale.

Just a couple other things to keep in mind:

"The illegitimacy rate among blacks is 72 percent,..." Why is this Mr Newell? Is this the white man's fault?

Another good question to ask yourself Mr Newell:

"Whose fault is it to have children without the benefit of marriage and risk a life of dependency? Do people have free will, or are they governed by instincts?"

These points and many more good ones are brought up by Walter E Williams, a black Professor at George Mason University.

Mr Newell each and every person has the right and ability to live their life as THEY see fit. Yes it is true that some individuals may have a tougher road to due to race, religion and ethnic diversity but the strong will survive and the weak, well, we see every day what happens to them.


The truth is that criminals choose to be criminals. There is no other way to state it. Criminals must take responsibility for their actions, plain and simple.

But as far as "racism" goes, it definitely is a two way street. Ask some graduates of SHS about the officer of recent time, Dana Newell (Dana is now the lead detective for SPD). On multiple occasions, Dana threw the book at white kids for doing the same things he would slap the wrist of one of the black kids. He was as racist as anyone can possibly be, but no one says anything to him. Why? A white person crying "hate" would receive nothing more than laughter.


Prdjudice and hate are taught from one generation to the next and have nothing to do with anyone's color or lack thereof. I am colorless.

I find it interesting that there are no dedicated months for other races. Why is that? Could it be because people of a certain darker color can't decide what they want to be called. First they're negro, then coloreds, then blacks and now they're african-americans. What a bunch of nonsense! They are having an identity crisis pure and simple and brought it upon themselves so get over it already. Pick a color and stick with it for crying out loud.

Part of the problem as I see it, are the movies and how they stereo-type people. The Godfather trilogy made gangsterism cool and look at all the Clint Eastwood movies and that violence. No one seems to get the message that crime does not pay.

Choices have consequences, no matter what color one is. If you can't do the time, don't do the crime. The culture has been changed to accept violence as entertainment and yet we expect different results by thinking that our younger generations are going to do better. Better than what?

One only has to look in the mirror to decide what type of person you want to be and color has nothing to do with it!

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

I can agree with the sentiment of this post, but disagree with the specificity of the audience. It's not just a problem with one race. Any and everyone will fall into the gears of society and its systems if they don't learn thinking skills, literacy, and the reason for laws/morals (not just the laws/morals themselves). Just as well, those same systems can't hope to save someone who doesn't have the ability to be saved by developing the things mentioned above.


Another great column Damon!

It all starts in school folks. Did you all know that a kid can drop out of school as young as 14 in Ohio. We need mandatory high school graduation in Ohio.


School? It all starts at school?

It all starts at home. Your upbringing.

If we needed anything mandatory, it would be, to be a good parent and mentor to your child. That should be natural. As we are finding out, looking at society today, ruthlessness in some children and teens seems to be an epidemic.


We have plenty of teachers and members of society who say it starts at home. It's a cop out. If you rob a kid of the life lessons he learns in school you can't expect a kid to become a productive member of society. You can't have it both ways.


Life lessons happen everywhere. It's the support you receive at home (or lack of) that makes the greatest impact of your preseptions of life's situations.


The statistics aren't in your favor.

Dropouts constitute 62 percent of white inmates, 69 percent of black inmates, and 78 percent of Hispanic inmates. <<< princeton.edu


I'm not arguing the point of the statistics of dropouts, my question is why are they dropping out of school? If under 18 you need a parental consent. It comes back to the parents.


Yepper. The teacher says, "Well I did everything I could do; it's the parents' fault."


The question that has been asked numerous times is who were you referring to as "they" in your racist article? Damon, you have commented on here in the past, so why can you not answer the question? You have referred to yourself as, and I quote "illiterate, distracted, intoxicated, misguided, intimidated, irresponsible", facts are that you are also a sex offender as well as a FELON. Now I am in no way making an assumption, just asking a question, who are "they" and also if everyone thinks you are a racist coward, are YOU?


If you are a dropout kid in trouble going down the wrong path who do you suppose "they" are?

You've missed the point of the column.


Any guess of who "they" would be is an assumption.
Guesses could include:
Parents: they are there from the beginning to help mold you.
School: they are there to educate you and everyone else in the classroom.
Friends: they can influence you for the better or worse.
Whites: some owned slaves 150 years ago.
Blacks: as he stated "Birds of a Feather Flock Together".
Government: always keeping the man down. That goes for any race, any class.

I didn't miss the point of the column, but I would like to know who the group(s) he is blaming for their own self destruction.

My guess would be blacks?


You really did miss the point.


As I have stated Deertracker, I have not miss the point of the article, I am wondering who "they" are. I can't even tell in that paragraph, if he is writing in past or present terms. If you know, please tell, as it seems to be written in code that this bigoted, ignorant, whitey can't seem to decipher.

Please, do tell me.


You need to ask him who he is referring to. I do not speak for him!


Fair enough Deertracker.


Mr Newell, you article applies to ALL young people today and not just to young people who happen to be black. What worries me the most about young people today is that many of them let opportunitiies pass them by as they wait for something to be handed to them. The world just isn't like that. You must work for what you want and life isn't that easy. They want life to come to them, instead of them jumping into life with both feet. You learned to do just that. A hard lesson learned, but you learned the difference between right and wrong, working hard and not just taking. Good for you.

I hope if even ONE young person learns from your experiences and what you wrote and it takes hold, and that persons inspires two more and they inspire two more...perhaps it will make a difference. One can only hope.