It's about our community and our spirituality!

What’s Wrong With Black Unity

I just read a post called What’s Wrong with Blacks from a blogger who calls himself Regular Brotha. The post was inspired by another post called What Is Wrong With Blacks from one of my main sources of inspiration, theblacksentinel. The article by theblacksentinel was in itself inspired by a comment from a web surfer by the name of ladyrm2 who believes that, “The main problem a lot of blacks face in this country is that they must change their personal behaviors and stop expecting the government to solve everything for them…[They] need to discard their victimhood mentality.”

The problem with the original comment from ladyrm2 is that it reinforces the notion that the black community isn’t entitled to the assistance from the government that many in the dominant community enjoys. I actually saw a young brother put this type of thinking into practice. During the State of the Black Union address with Tom Joyner and Tavis Smiley, a young black man, either on his way to college or just starting, was on stage saying that he didn’t apply for any government grants or other forms of assistance because he didn’t want a government handout. The audience applauded. However, he thanked Mr. Smiley for making a sizeable donation to his education. The audience applauded again.

It was good that the young man found a financial source, Mr. Smiley, to help him pay for his education. Although I really do have to wonder how many young black people Mr. Smiley will be willing to help in a similar fashion. Not many I’m sure. However, the government has programs to help many Americans obtain an education. Nobody in the dominant community refers to these programs as handouts. But now, young college oriented people in the black community are supposed to feel like victims because we want access to the same programs and benefits the government supplies to other communities.

The post from theblacksentinel reminds us that too often people in the black community have to go to government offices to demand the same considerations that are regularly bestowed on non black communities. People in the black community have to protest in order to get asbestos and lead removed from schools. The black community doesn’t make enough tax contributions to get the same investments in its schools. But we can make more than enough investment to have a police presence in the black community’s midst. Maybe some of those tax dollars from the black community paying for a military defense should be spent on educating the black community. The government’s tardy response to the victims of Katrina, compared to the immediate response to the victims of Fay in Florida, is another indication of the decision to short change the black community. And instead of people in the black community collectively coming together to demand the services that we are entitled to, that the government bestows on others, we are being programmed to think that anyone who expects government services is a victim.

And why are black people being singled out for irresponsible personal behavior? Aren’t there irresponsible non black people as well? In fact, from what I understand about the Russian versus Georgia conflict that is currently in the news, the reason Russia invaded Georgia was because Georgia was emboldened by its affiliation with the Untied States and NATO and invaded South Ossetia. But nevertheless, it doesn’t stop America from pledging a billion dollars to help repair Georgia’s infrastructure. This country would rather take better care of the people on the other side of the world that start wars and push the world towards Armageddon than take care of its very own.

But Regular Brotha has a different opinion of problems. Like ladyrm2, Regular Brotha believes the problem with the black community lies squarely on the black community. As a collective, too many black people do not have the maturity to handle equality. But nobody ever expresses the immaturity of white people to handle their superiority. An infant state of mind exists in the black community.

In order to support his supposition, Regular Brotha talks about the way black men greet each other with phrases like ‘what up boy’ and referring to their home as a crib and listening to songs like Jay-Z’s I Ain’t Ever Growing Up as proof of the black community’s inability to grow up. Black people look at this man and call him a sellout because he wears slacks and a dress shirt.

I don’t know about all this. I mean I do a lot of slack wearing myself. I’ll slip on a Carlton Banks type of outfit to go to work or where ever and I have never had a problem with the other brothers in the black community. In fact, I know a number of brothers in my black neighborhood who wear slacks and dress shirts. The brothers who wear T-shirts have never looked at any of them sideways or up and down or left and right or in and out or any other way. I think black people know some black people have jobs and have to look a little more professional than others. And when it’s the weekend and I don’t have to dress up and I’m wearing a T-shirt or whatever I don’t look at brothers wearing a dress shirt sideways or any other way. For all I know he could be going to a wedding or a funeral or a job or whatever. Who cares? This claim that black people are constantly looking at other black people who are dressed sounds like more propaganda to me.

Regular Brotha talked about the woman he knew who struggles to get her son through school and yet the boy decides not to make an effort. This man wants to take this one example and apply it to the almost forty million black people in America. Why do we insist on generalizing ourselves like this? Are we to believe there isn’t a single white boy living with his single white mother flunking out of school? If so, would we use him as the yardstick for white people’s behavior? No we wouldn’t. Why do we insist on applying the stupidest behavior of one or of a few to all black people? This is what’s truly wrong with the black community.

There are stupid people among us who are black and white. But while the stupid white person is seen as an individual with their own personal flaws, the stupid black person is indicative of all the problems in the general black community. And to add insult to injury, too many black people, black people who really could become an asset to the black community, buy into this propaganda and even conjure up their own stories of sidelong glances from other black people because they want to believe that they are the only black person in the vicinity who has to dress for work. Brothers are probably looking at the Regular Brotha and wondering why is that brother in the slacks looking at me like that.

Instead of black people telling stories about how we are different from the typical black thugs, stories that everyone is ready to accept without question, or the stories explaining how we are different than typical black people because we are that rare exception of black people who have ethics and morals and accept our responsibilities and maturity, we need to be focused on trying to come together as a community once again. It’s all too easy for black people who do well to look down our noses at black people who don’t. That’s what’s wrong with the black community. Yes there are black people who act immature and refuse to do what’s right. But not all of them wear T-shirts. You can find some of these irresponsible homeys in dress slacks as well. All black people have a responsibility to do their best to come together for the good of the black community. Which begs the question, why can’t we? What’s wrong with black unity?

Friday, August 22, 2008 Posted by | African Americans, Black Community, Black Culture, Black Men, Black People, Life, Thoughts | 8 Comments