It's about our community and our spirituality!

Working Despite It All


“Brother P, you work hard and do what you need to do for your family and self. A lot of people don’t. They run away from the responsibilities. Unfortunately, despite the numbers, it is seen as a bigger problem in the black community than in the white community. You recognize the fallacy, you make others aware of the fallacy, but you still work hard despite it all.” – Mike Lovell

Damn straight!

There is an inherent imbalance in the American way of life that hinders black people with an automatic disadvantage when competing with others for opportunities.  All too often, we assume the worst about black people based on nothing more than a cursory glance at people’s appearance.  A black man in a T-shirt is a thug.  A black man with dreadlocks is unprofessional.  A black man that’s unemployed is more than likely unreliable.  A black man walking down the street at night is up to no good and needs to be watched suspiciously.

I have been flown across the country to have a face-to-face for a job interview only to be told that some mistake has been made after I walk through the door.  I have been stopped and questioned by police for doing nothing but walking along and minding my own business.  I have been accused of stealing based on nothing but the fact that I was the only young black man in the vicinity.  I have been pulled over for driving while black.  And through it all I continue to work hard.

There are plenty of excuses why many black people cannot or do not make it.  A lot of people have the attitude that because one black person is successful, no black person has any excuse for not making something of his or her self.  For example, a lot of people have said now that Barack Obama has broken white male’s chokehold on the office of President of the United States, no black person has an excuse for not being successful in their own endeavors.

However, these people need to keep things in their proper perspective.  Let us not forget that for every Barack Obama in the White House, there are millions of black men languishing in jail.  For every Barack Obama who goes to work in the oval office, there are millions of black men who are out of work or go to menial jobs, unable to find the work that they are well qualified to perform.  Despite the rhetoric that we are now moving into some post racial era now that we have our first black President, the odds are stacked heavily against the next black individual that he or she will achieve similar success.

Everybody knows that Mr. Obama does not define what it means to be black in America.  By far the norm is that black people are more likely to be identified with the lowest denominator in the black community than we are with the highest.  When I walked into that last job interview that went awry, those people weren’t thinking that I could be President.  More than likely those potential employers were thinking they didn’t want to take a chance on hiring some black thug who just so happens to walk through their office door wearing a nice suit.

But regardless of those excuses, or how ever many other excuses there might be, there will never be an excuse for me not to work hard against any effort to keep the black community in its perpetual second class existence.  Too many black people have worked hard to get me where I am today.  Too many people have sacrificed and have done without for me to start cruising through life like I’ve reached the pinnacle of my success or that the black community has reached the pinnacle of its success.

By every measure the black community continues to lag far behind most of its fellow communities.  Too many of us are satisfied with our current level of progress thinking that we’ve accomplished something since the civil rights era.  Too many others don’t even think of community encompassing progress at all but limit the idea of black community success to individual blacks who really couldn’t care less about what happens to a black neighbor.  And way too many more would be more than happy to simply prey on their black neighbors instead of working towards any improvement on self or on community.

Make no mistake, it is easy to throw in the towel and say that the struggle is too hard and that we are spinning our wheels or that it is too unfair because we have to work so much harder than the white guy.  But what are the chances of the black community gaining some semblance of success against all of these odds stacked against us if we stopped working?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 - Posted by | African Americans, Black Community, Black Culture, Black People, Life, Racism, Thoughts


  1. Great post! I have to agree with you that we can’t look at Obama or any other black person of power or wealth as some kind of measure of the black community.

    We don’t judge all white people by the likes of Bill Gates or some other powerful or wealthy white person. We don’t because it isn’t realistic.

    And in fact they usually talk about the regular joe i.e. regular white person as being some blue collar hard working American. But of course we would never be given that opportunity.

    This was the perfect comment to expand on and highlight.


    Comment by theblacksentinel | Thursday, June 11, 2009 | Reply

  2. Superb! I just wish Bill Cosby and the likes of Larry Elder could see this post. First, every white person is not rich and punches the clock as the next person. Second, we only account for 13 percent of the population; meaning, if they should ever try to compare white/black, the number will always be lopsided. Finally, Oprah didn’t have the same access to resources such as Bill Gates. She had to build her house brick-by-brick.

    Comment by independent | Thursday, June 11, 2009 | Reply

  3. When are you going be giving this speech publicly? Excellent material.

    Comment by Jamel | Friday, June 12, 2009 | Reply

  4. Brother P,

    Well said. I was wondering when I was going to get my response! Just so you know, I’m still waiting on the photos of you blushing to hit the internet! HA!

    Will be sending you a personal email reference my other community project still in the mental process. Again, congrats on the new house(s)!

    Comment by Mike Lovell | Tuesday, June 16, 2009 | Reply

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