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The truth about some of the problems that we, as Black people, face and need to discuss (682 hits)

FOREWORD: The issues discussed in this narrative are not directed at nor are they intended to single-out any one economic group as the matters that will be discussed transcend any one socio-economic class within the Black community.

Slavery, racism, discrimination, voter suppression, economic inequity, various forms of disenfranchisement, medical experiments, stereotyping, racial profiling and police brutality have, in their totality, caused a great deal of trauma, illness (both physical and mental) and many other problems for Black people to this very day. There is absolutely no question in the minds of many that this was all by design... and this design is being revised to suit the times as we speak. There remains, however, another set of factors that have a negative impact on the collective ability of our Black brothers and sisters to interact on a more conscious, loyal and unified basis. I ran across a ten year-old article titled “Real Talk: Should We Air Our Dirty Laundry?” By Demetria L. Lucas, and by the time I finished reading it, I felt relieved to know that other Black people 'get it.' I say this simply because we do, in fact, tend to treat certain truths about our faults, flaws, issues and problems like a hush-hush tribal taboo of which Black people should never speak... you know it, and I know it. So the question becomes this: When will we, as Black people, make the decision to be more honest and forthright about the many problems within our communities that continue to be swept under the rug of 'cultural taboo' and street code? How can we solve our problems if we refuse to acknowledge and discuss them? How?

I have been on the planet long enough to understand our concerns in terms of the way certain information and public behaviors can be used against us by those who oppress or wish to oppress us. I get all that... but we are now living in a time where the need to acknowledge, discuss and resolve our problems is greater than ever before and greater than the threat of others being AWARE of these problems.

Here's the bare bones truth for those who can handle it: Those who oppress us already know our faults, flaws and weaknesses because they can SEE them... and they SEE them because we SHOW them each and everyday in the very things we DO. I therefore most honestly believe it's time for Black people to start the process of freeing ourselves from ourselves. Now let me explain the preceding sentence in greater detail. We, as Black people, tend to be afraid of one another. That's right... we're afraid of one another. We, as Black people, basically ALREADY know what we're doing wrong; we know when we're IN the wrong, but we're afraid to speak up and speak out for fear of being accused of race betrayal. Yes I said it! We express anger, resentment and outright contempt for those among us who dare to speak on the problems we create within our own race, communities and personal lives. We are prideful and silent about our problems to our own detriment, and this is the mindset and behavior pattern that has held so many of us back for much too long. It's as if we have something embedded within in our DNA and engrained in our culture that hates truth, and this is HURTING us from the standpoint of properly addressing and fixing our problems. We don’t want to talk about our problems; we don’t anyone ELSE to talk about our problems; many of us don't even see a need to CORRECT our problems. Many of us are perfectly content to remain victims of the negative, self-sabotaging and self-defeating behaviors that we embrace as ‘Culture and Blackness.’ Enough of this backwards and non-progressive craziness! I don't know about you, but I can't dance to this tune, and I can't get get into these type of lyrics.

QUESTION: How do you get mad at ANY Black person for ‘airing our dirty laundry when we OPENLY do things like the following:

* LACK OF RESPECT FOR BLACK LIFE BY BLACK PEOPLE - We want Black lives to matter to the police, but WE have to stop robbing, stealing, druggin’, thuggin’ and killing our own people as well! At some point we're going to have to go 'old school'; return to the village and raise our children better; pay more attention to the type of men and women with whom we conceive children (including their gene pools); give ourselves time to learn, grow and save to improve our living conditions and quality of life BEFORE bringing children into the world, and make better personal choices in general. Black fathers are going to have to do a better job of being in their children's lives; Black mothers are going to have to do a better job of selecting the type of men who father their children; Black parents are going to have to do a better job of mentoring and teaching their children how to avoid any mistakes they have already made in life, teach their children what real friendship IS, how to CHOOSE friends and staying aware of who their children's friends are and what they are doing when they're not at home. We live in an era where negativity is at an all-time high within the music and media, therefore Black parents should make it a point talk to their children about their online activities as well as certain song themes and lyrics the recording industry is cycling to their impressionable minds. It's time to stop hiding behind tired of hearing tired worn out excuses such as “I’m a product of my environment", and "the government is bringing the drugs to the neighborhood" or the ever-convenient "the man is keeping me down" routine. It's time to take personal responsibility for our choices and actions. I know I haven't covered the full range of situational variables, but I honestly believe there is a relationship between the things I just mentioned and the matter of saving Black lives from the enemy within who HAS no more respect for Black life than the racist police officers we protest. These are also the kind of practices that will also help many of us to break certain negative cycles and/or escape certain low-income and crime-ridden areas. These are also the kind of practices Black parents should implement regardless of economic status.

* QUESTIONING ONE ANOTHER'S LEVEL OF BLACKNESS - There is not easy way to put this, and I am not one to play around when I have something to say, so here it is: It’s time for us, as Black people to accept the fact that many of us here in the United States have mixed African bloodlines (from a regional/tribal standpoint) as well as an actual racial mix due to the rapes of slavery and/or present-day interracial relationships. It is therefore time to outgrow the ‘Light Skin Vs. dark Skin Slave Syndrome.” This loosely coined phrase has a solid history rooted in slavery and its post-effects are still being acted (or dare I say played) out in terms of hair and skin-tone envy; equating one’s level of intellect and social class to whiteness; making fun and/or showing intolerance for one or more of diverse range of speaking accents and dialects within the Black community (a behavior that is based on a narrow-minded assumption AND expectation that all Black folks speak the same (or a similar version of) African-American Vernacular English (aka AAVE or ebonics). As far as I’m concerned, no Black person is qualified to question or challenge another Black person’s level of Blackness based on something like vernacular UNLESS he or she has at least taken the time to learn one or more of our true native African languages… and until then, we need to get off this nonsense.

* CALLING OURSELVES AND EACH OTHER THE N-WORD - How the hell do you so-called reclaim a term that was designed by someone of another race to demean you? How does today’s young generation of Black people openly, mindlessly and hypocritically split hairs with the n-word by focusing on the ‘er’ and a ‘ga’ pronunciation? We HABITUALLY throw the n-word around like it’s nothing… as if we have no RESPECT for the Civil Rights leaders, many of whom, lost their lives so we all can can see a brighter day. We create songs with the n-word in every other freakin’ lyric for a dollar! Therefore who’s the REAL Uncle Tom here? I look at what we do, and I ask myself what other race of people runs around embracing, broadcasting and promoting their own racial slur? Young Black and older Black people alike need to wake up, grow up and stop embracing and accepting this nonsense as part of Black culture. How the hell can we defeat racism when we can’t even stop calling ourselves the n-word Black people?

* DESCRIBING THE MOTHERS AND FATHERS OF OUR BLACK CHILDREN AS MY 'BABY MAMAS' AND 'BABY DADDIES' - Does anyone even realize that not only does such a title represent the type of separatism and detachment that echoes the effects of the welfare system? Think about that for a moment. We need more Black mothers, fathers, parents, husbands and wives… NOT Baby Daddies and Baby Mamas! As for the welfare system itself, we should do any and everything possible to avoid becoming a family that relies on welfare from generation-to-generation for purposes of convenience and out of habit passed down. I actually support welfare and EBT cards for those who really need it and are trying to work their way OUT of this system, but I do NOT support those who are lazy; do not want to work or recklessly and irresponsibly have multiple children with multiple partners and charge it all to the welfare system over and over again. I also have a problem with those who misuse and abuse EBT cards. Blacks, whites and any other race whose members participate in abuse of the welfare system need to stop this nonsense because whether people know it or not... Black people are tax payers too.

* FAILURE TO DRESS AND GROOM ONESELF IN A RESPECTABLE MANNER - There is nothing to be ashamed of in terms of being poor. We all know that poor living conditions, unemployment and other road blocks exist for Black people. We understand all too well that not everyone can afford new clothes, and I get that. There is, however, no excuse for walking around looking raggedy, nasty, thrown away or as we say… “tore up from the floor up” UNLESS you’re homeless. Young Black men need pull up their pants; young Black woman need to dress like ladies and EVERYONE should be neat, clean and presentable when leaving home no matter HOW poor you may be and no matter what style of clothes you own. There was a time when we could not readily determine who lived within the middle class, lower middle class or lower class Black communities because EVERYONE tried to dress reasonably well and to the best of their ability. Look at us now! We EMBRACE the look of poverty even with a roof over our heads, and we don’t have to do this. What happened to us? What is it that created the notion that THIS is what today’s version of Blackness is all about?

* LACK OF OFFICIAL IDENTIFICATION (I.D.) - If I.D. is a problem, then the question becomes why are Black parents not handling this in terms of birth certification and Social Security cards in the first place? Why are Black adults still blaming parents for their lack of birth certification instead of getting off their butts and getting a copy of these documents themselves and asking parents for technical assistance if/when needed? We need to stop partying and chasing men and women long enough to handle our personal business, legal and administrative requirements to spare our children problems in getting a job, registering to vote or some random interaction with the police.

VOTING - People who identify as Black make up 13.4% of the population of the United States while 63% of this population turned out to vote in the presidential election of 2020. Can we do better? Of course! SHOULD we do better? Most definitely! Here's why:

- Black people have marched, struggled, cried and died so we can have the right to vote! This fact in and of itself should be more than enough to compel ALL Black people to register to vote... and actually VOTE!

- Based on a Supreme Court decision, the voter protections provided in the Voting Rights Act of 1965 were gutted during 2013. This is the action that paved the way for states such as Georgia, Texas and many more to enact new voter suppression laws designed to make it difficult for us to vote. https://www.justice.gov/crt/about-section-...

- We are living in an era where the Republican GOP (Grand Old Party) is doing everything in its power to take us backwards to the discriminatory practices of yesterday. The last thing Black people need is non-representation at the polls in not only Presidential elections, but it is imperative that we participate in our local, state and congressional mid-year elections as well. Remember... these are the same people who seek to become our state House Representatives, Senators and Presidents. Voting matters Black people, so register to vote and VOTE!

* SELF-IMPOSED BARRIERS AND DISCOURAGEMENT OF EDUCATIONAL ACHIEVEMENT - This is a problem that rests within our psyche and mindset that remains a threat to many within Black communities throughout America. Director/Actor: Spike Lee is quoted as saying "We've got to turn this backward thinking around where ignorance is championed over intelligence. Young black kids being ridiculed by their peers for getting A's and speaking proper English: that's criminal. President Barack Obama said in 2004, when he was running for US Senate, "Children can't achieve unless we raise their expectations and turn off the television sets and eradicate the slander that says a black youth with a book is acting white."

Well... here's what I have to say: It's enough that we have to deal with under-funded schools and programs; schools located in rough sections of town; issues with under-paid and/or a shortage of teachers and finally... the challenge of kids learning online due to COVID. This is a lot in and of itself. Now let's add the mindset that reading, getting good grades, speaking well, participating in certain extracurricular activities or even listening to a variety of music genres is 'acting white' to the mix. Now what do you get? I'll tell you what you get. You get a race of people who have little or no respect for their own intellectual capabilities. You get a race of people who are so wrapped up in their own misguided version of Blackness that they equate intellect, good grades or the ability to articulate oneself well to whiteness. It's like we have resigned ourselves to a belief that being Black means to accept that which is average or subpar... and any deviation from this notion is a form of race betrayal. This, my Black brothers and sisters is no more than a modern-day form of self-imposed mental slavery... and after 155+ years of freedom, we should be ready to wake up from this deep sleep. One therefore really has to stop and ask him or herself this question: How many of our present-day problems really have to do with slavery, racism, discrimination etc... and how many of our problems have more to do with our natural programming and the way some of us are wired as people? I am not a psychologist, sociologist nor am I a scientist, so I will not attempt to answer a question like that on my own, but it remains a question worth asking regardless of the answer. In either case...

- It's time for Black people to walk away... that's right WALK AWAY from that 'plantation in our minds' and STOP comparing ourselves to WHITE people, and stop LOOKING for similarities to WHITE people in one another.

- It's time for Black people to recognize the fact that matters of intellect, learning capacity, learning style, education and Standards of Excellence apply to Black people just as much anyone of ANY other race.

- It's time for Black people to STOP clowning and criticizing one another for doing what is needed to achieve their dreams and goals because this type of mindset and misguided behavior poses a negative influence on ONE ANOTHER and holds us back!

- It's time for ALL Black folks to tap into our personal pride, self-esteem and focus on trying just a little harder to do just a little better at being a little better than we were the day before.

In closing, I would like to say this entire narrative represents the full range of my thoughts and most honest opinions in terms of what needs to be done to eradicate the self-defeating mindset and behaviors that exist among many of our people and hopefully dismantle the culture that seeks to avoid, discourage, suppress and even censor discussion of problems within the Black community that are caused by the Black community itself. Truth is what is going to set us free!
Posted By: Gene Amadi Jakande
Monday, May 31st 2021 at 5:49PM
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seems "LACK OF RESPECT" for Humanity. Robert, It is "LACK OF RESPECT for Humanity."

Friday, June 11th 2021 at 1:47PM
Dea. Ron Gray Sr.
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