- What is the black community and what are its problems?
- What is being done to address them from a policy or legislative perspective and what of the choices of individuals?
Friday, July 17, 2009
The Black Community. What Black Community?
As some of you know I and another writer are guest blogging at What About Our Daughters. As the blog host of this blog I have a much smaller but loyal group of readers which I thank you. Moderating another blog requires a different skill set and I am literally flying by the seat of my pants. I quickly learned that I had to let go of "Faith's Blogging Rules of Order" or turn off the comment feature entirely. I cross-posted my Monday conversation on single motherhood, the attitudes of black men towards black women (which is primarily about African-Americans) and what behaviors are condoned in the "black community". I put it in quotes because many of us are operating within a dichotomy.
I think because I presented a cross-section of pathologies at once it was the equivalent of throwing a molotov cocktail into a room. It wasn't to destroy people but to destroy the dysfunctional mindset that's killing us. Even as many of my readers read that blog, they also have their own. We've been discussing some of these specific issues for quite some time. In a way many of us are at a different points on our individual journeys but we've crossed similar terrain. So for me it was a lightbulb moment - which is why I wrote about it. I got some push-back here in my comment section but the majority are like-minded enough that we could discuss the sub-pathologies within the core ones.
At WAOD that wasn't necessarily the case. It definitely got people talking and that's a good thing. It took me months to come to my current level of comprehension. For others it may never come. Some just wanted to be obstructionists for sport and are LUCKY for the privilege of being allowed at that forum.
Some think it is as simple as being immersed in a multi-cultural setting where different mentalities flourish versus an all-black one. I don't necessarily subscribe to the theory that being in an all-black setting in and of itself is the issue but it does help a mentality remain stagnant if your setting is full of people with pathologies. On the other hand you can be with a core group of people who don't subscribe to harmful pathologies, still operate in a multi-cultural setting at times but prefer to spend as much time within their core group. Just like the majority of other groups prefer to remain within theirs. Now the question becomes one of determining whether your group is displaying behaviors that are in alignment with the majority of a productive society or not? As a non-white person in a society dominated by whites how are you helping to elevate the status and power dynamics within your group? You had better believe if there isn't a collective plan for advancement your group is moving backwards - fast. Finally we must ask ourselves how are we defining ourselves? Is it by gender, religion, orientation, gender expression, race, ethnicity, financial resources or other intangibles?
Those blacks that define the black community strictly by race are doing everyone a disservice. It's regressive. This isn't the 1950's. Some look at it as badge that must be worn at all times. For one reason the ones that hold onto that viewpoint are often engaging in a lot of dysfunctional behavior that is tearing it down from the inside. It is they who place these unnatural burdens on other blacks to "prove" themselves with superficial displays of loyalty. Like claiming speaking correct English is "white". How stupid is that?! They also usually enforce a code of skin shade racism against other blacks. It's mostly men doing it to dark-skinned women. On some base level they consider themselves inferior and are trying to pump themselves up constantly.
Black women are still being taught they are part of this "community" to hold together. It gives them nothing in return though. They are being used but see it as a sign of honor. The roles of men and women have been switched with the women doing everything. Those buying into this superwoman-not-needing-anything mindset are paying a heavy price. They are dying at an alarming rate and they are raising children alone. The majority of these women are not married or haven't married well. No matter what anyone else says that is not normal. There's also a group that clings to a religion totem where they also don't examine what they believe or why. Some of those people at times focus on holding people whose lifestyles don't match theirs as being wrong. It's utter hypocrisy. Far too many blacks are only focused on white racism and not in seeking justice across the board. They only want to focus on discrimination from whites and not take responsibility for what they do to others. I also think there are any number of blacks that could be accepted as an "honorary" white person with all of the benefits they perceive would be bestowed upon them would sell out every black person they could.
Others want to rip away the badge and be immersed with other cultures. That could work if people weren't already wholly compromised about their identity. Many of us don't know our specific ethnic and heritage legacies. I think it is something that every black person who cannot readily trace it should address - pronto! It would resolve so much of the unknown. I imagine it's a similar feeling those who've been adopted feel. They want to know where they come from. That may or may not be possible but pretending it doesn't matter has been detrimental. People hold onto to false totems of "blackness" because of this. The contributions of generations of African-Americans (AAs) in this country proves you don't have to know the answers to these questions to succeed in influencing the course of this country. Yet things were often more cut and dry then. White people upholding supremacist practices did not readily distinguish the different intra-black ethnicities and cultural differences. They also didn't allow for mass immigration of non-American blacks until after we got Civil Rights passed. So all of these things need to be acknowledged and respected.
A much smaller group is trying to work in concert with each other or just keep themselves and those in their immediate circles intact. It is what the black community used to be. Within that I'd say there's another sub-group of black women (probably predominantly AA) who are advocating that regardless we need to be thinking as individuals and do what's best for ourselves for a change. We've slaughtered enough sacred cows at the altar of the black community and have removed ourselves off the auction block. We want out period. We want to take our rightful place on the world stage. I think there's a distinction to be made about the multi-cultural aspects of this. One I think may still be focused on being in a group of dissimilar people solely for that purpose. One has a power dynamic minefield to negotiate that has NOT been completed on the part of blacks. I think this is focused on behavior and sussing out those who would be our allies. Where ever we go we take our heritage, DNA and culture with us so we can mate with whomever we prefer. We want what best works for us. Now some people get stuck on the interracial aspects of this and claim we're advocating "chasing after white men". No one is talking about abandoning our blackness.
That is what the other "false" black collective listed above does every day but they aren't willing to accept that. The oppression banner is waved at every turn by organizations that depend on white patronage. They are benefitting on an individual level but cannibalizing the collective. Many still jump at the charge of any white racism directed at black males as if that is the greatest offense the world has ever seen. Yet they are ignoring all the internal problems. The crime stats prove that most black men in this country are being killed by other black men. So why isn't that part of some major campaign? Black women are treated worse than dogs as a gender collective. I don't need to revisit all of the reasons here but I was very clear in my Monday post what is going on and why. Some don't want to agree on any of the points raised. That doesn't make it any less true. Women and children have been abandoned by black men (mostly AA). That's what is destroying the black community. Different choices other than the ones currently being made must be implemented. That's the answer. I can't say it will make huge dent for the collective but hopefully a few more people can take the red pill and get out of the Matrix.
I've culled some of the comments from WAOD and would like to get more feedback:
I believe there are two different definitions of ‘Black community’ at work among black people (and that is if the idea of black community still remains an organizing principle for black folks because I do sometimes believe that a significant portion just live life).
The idea of ‘black community’ that holds sway for most of black people is the baseline definition, which is, ‘We as blacks continue to be born and thus continue to exist in the US etc.’ This definition or working principle requires no heightened concern about what happens after the physical existence (particularly for the men I should add).
Then there are those who feel that black community is about ‘thriving’ people, and recognize the need for purposeful organizing of resources and deliberate strategy (not just ‘topping up the black numbers’) because of a recognition that society itself is weighed against the very survival of black folks. This recognition is the key point of demarcation between the two groups, I believe, because it animates the second group towards deliberate living in a way to ensures survival and higher life quality in a hostile environment, as would not be the case if they believed for instance that ‘we have overcome’, ‘the government owes me’ etc etc.
There are also those trying to pull together these two diametrically opposed schools of thought (if you can call it that) on black community, and the compromises continue to come in form of rationalization for the first group and the changing of standards to accommodate their way of life.
So should the compromise be, in a manner of speaking, towards pulling the first group upwards or ratcheting the second downwards? Is it even possible to bring to two together, are they not fundamentally opposed?
When you apply the liberals lens to the activities of the first group, there isnt really anything wrong with single parenthood for an instance, but then (and this goes back to the key demarcating point), black people who are aware of their situation and the hostile forces arrayed against the very existence of black life, do not apply a liberal lens and liberal ideals for the life of black people. ~~Halima
The other Black community is headed and controlled by the CRIC (groups like NAACP), the BEE (the so-called black elites that hate most black people), and the EIC (entertainment that degrades, rap, BET, etc). They control our institutions, all propaganda, they control our national dialog, the control the rules of almost every debate about important social issues that affect MY Black community. The silence MY Black community with authoritarianism and the myth of Black unity.
The “Two Black Americas” is always thought of in terms of class and income, but not in terms of values. No, a Chris Rock joke does not count because I know poor people who have the same value system I have in most areas.
When people would mention divestment from THE Black community in the comments section, my instant response was, wait a minute. There doesn’t need to be a withdrawal or retreat, there needs to be a cultural coup. MY Black community needs to take control of the major Black institutions and push an agenda that actually reverses the decline. ~~ Gina
Take this study for instance:
“There were significant associations between a mother’s education, race/ethnicity, marital status, poverty status, and age and her attitudes toward non marital childbearing. Better-educated mothers were significantly more likely to hold negative attitudes toward nonmarital childbearing than were those with limited schooling, and white and Hispanic mothers were less supportive of non-marital childbearing than were African Americans (table 1).”
So even among welfare recipients receiving the same amount of aid, the BW STILL were more supportive of non-marital childbearing than WW and HW.
This dysfunctionality has been normalized.
It’s the THINKING folks. That’s the problem. The mindset. ~~Felicia
Men who have not had their natural disposition blunted to lead, protect, and provide don’t cop out or poop out over setbacks, competition, trials and tribulations, or warfare. Real men, who have not had their natural disposition blunted, will naturally STAND UP AND FIGHT for ANY resources or support. They will not sit back, and let others aggress their women and children.
The real deal is that men who walk away from their children blaming the mother (even if the woman is crazy) are not functioning in their natural state. Real men are territorial, and wouldn’t even leave the woman with the child: again he’d stay with her or remarry but his children would ALWAYS be with HIM. This comes from WITHIN –and only these men or other men who haven’t had their natural disposition blunted can HEAL this.
HEALING THIS will not come about by demoralizing, denigrating, hating, shaming, blaming, neglecting, abandoning, and talking bad about in the company of the world black women and children.
What we NOW see in the black community IS MAN’S INHUMANITY—LITERALLY SPEAKING—TO WOMAN AND HER CHILDREN. ~~ Miriam