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.
  • 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? 
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

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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:

http://www.urban.org/publications/310300.html

“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.

SMH

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

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7 comments:

Halima said...

Hi Faith as usual you are blazing!

With regards to Black community (BC), I will make some comments, though I dont hold out much hope for the BC, simply because there isnt the will for change and even before that, there isnt even an honesty there to rightly and correctly map out the problem (as Khadija rightly pointed out), so with this dishonesty and dishonest approach permeating black dialogue, it is very difficult to see any change happening.

there is a lot to say and the issue is very layered however I will note a few things.

In mainstream (read: white), there are essentially two dominant political positions which are conservative and liberal. In addition we have 'polite' and 'impolite' society. You finds white folk organising around these categories and shifting themselves into one or the other and maybe sometimes taking a little of both but essentially most folk know where they stand and their position on key issues. White society is indeed split into categories. These different divisions are both necessary and are strictly maintained.

In terms of polite and ‘impolite’ society, note that this provides a place for you if you are a porn star or if you are a doctor etc. It is important even on a mental level for these distinctions to be made for white folk. It enables people to think through and make conscious decisions about which side they want to be. It also enables white folks to not have to 'police' certain members of their society because we all know what place is reserved for them.

But in the BC, we are all in one. hence rappers and pastors and lawyers with their different mindsets and decencies are all together in one in our minds and we have also passed on and reinforced this idea in mainstream. So instead of blacks with commonsense promoting the idea that yes there is indeed 'black trash' (so to say), we own these 'others' and hold them to our collective bossoms bringing their 'taint' and pollution into what could have been sane space.

To me it is clear that to survive, the whole bc must be split into categories in this way, even if it is still to be some sort og general BC idea, there must be clear good and bad, left and right, clear demarcations with abraham going left and Lot right.

Its the only way for sanity to be restored but that means giving up the need to reclaim all black folk and bring them all into one loving fold! It also means giving up the meme-idea that all blacks have to speak from one perspective and hold one outlook.

We have been following both liberal and humanistic approaches as well as the so called ‘afrocentric’ black unity approach. This is not working. we must see that society and particularly black society which is also struggling under the weight of racism cannot work that way and by conflating all into one.

Contd…

Halima said...

contd

Indeed a thriving black community would have its own two-pole political positions. It is in the 'market place' of the views and ideas generated by these two sides that a good plan could emerge for a thriving community. Instead what do we have? Well we have this view that we all must speak with one voice and hold one view and outlook. This is essentially why you only have one perspective dominating in the 'BC' and that perspective is characterized by an utter lack of commonsense. Remember we can only have one perspective and unfortunately the fools have taken the dominant position and shut out all else.

Also and essentially we in the 'BC' are 'organized' for outside attacks while leaving our back 'flank' exposed. Now the unscrupulous among us have seized an opportunity for personal gain by indeed cannibalising the collective.

Every community has its miscreants, it is not outrageous to admit this. Yet because we hold the view that all black people are good and we blacks lack the instincts to do wrong, save that which whites have orchestrated and forced us to do(another destructive idea that holds sway), we are not even able to acknowledge and indeed have a plan for internal rot and internal destructive activities.

Every system that hopes to survive must recognize and provide for internal saboteurs. The romantic idea that blacks cannot do bad by themselves is killing off the BC.

Even the human body and human beings who we feel uncomfortable even imagining going to the bathroom, have several orifices to flush out excrement or their bodies would be polluted and they would die, swelled up and in agony. It is just natural that waste is produced and flushed out, but again what do we have a the 'BC,' we have a meme-belief that unlike any other human society that has ever existed, blacks lack the ability for wrong, and anyone who points out evil among blacks is quickly told they are in alignment with white supremacist ideas about blacks.

Indeed we are all kings and queens and wonderful people.

This king and queen talk has essentially lead us into being poisoned from the inside without any effective solution. Every system must have an inbuilt system to both control and excrete miscreants.

The last thing I will mention is to reiterate what I said about black people not organizing themselves around ideas of black community anymore. Older generations understood that in order for black folks to move forward and as a group, they had to be very deliberate in their choices and strategies. For many of us these days, we are not deliberately living the way they knew they had to. Maybe we are just so lazy or we think we have arrived, but it appears that the fact that there are black faces around suffices, and folks have become unable and unwilling do any work for blacks to really have a future.

I mentioned at WOAD that the fact that black folks are arguing over and justifying and struggling to be allowed to do the barest minimum for their children (single parents, poverty etc), is a huge indicator of really how we are in ce sera sera mode, because If we did indeed care and understand, we would actually be trying to make extra sure of the best future of the kids not trying to do the least.

You can see that those trying to fight for the BC are carrying extremes of dead weight; unmotivated folks, the truly vacous, the mischevious, the deliberately unscrupulus etc etc, that it is really a mission impossible!

ActsofFaithBlog said...

Halima: Wow I'm going to need to marinate on this reply for a bit. All of you are the blazers I'm just trying to keep up!

As for the dishonesty and myopic focus you're discussing - - - -

Right now I'm thinking about the buzz around Pat Buchanan's racist rantings that was the social media news last night. I didn't even bother watching and couldn't understand why so many did. There's talk of boycotts, blah blah. What are black ppl gonna really do? Who at NBC is really gonna take them seriously? When Bill Cosby wanted to buy it and needed help none of the other wealthy blacks he knew would.

If they're serious they need to go after advertisers. But yet again I just sigh because all this outrage amounts to a hill of beans. Blacks are doing far worse to each other than what an old racist white man says. He's been given a platform because other old racist white men who are actually running the network want him there. It's still the same raging about what other ppl do but no efforts at sustaining a viable community for ea other. There are no consequences that blacks can enact for Pat Buchanan.

They've let far too many other things go and still won't address them. I hate to be the naysayer here for I do think these things need to be addressed, but I think the energy should be spent elsewhere.
-------

I don't know if we can have a "splintered" BC where we go one way and other ppl go another. We've been hijacked by all the gremlins while those that know better with access to media are egging them on for personal gain. I equate both groups of blacks just as responsible and equally evil. Actually I think I hold the so-called black elites and the men in charge of these CRIC orgs to be worse. Yet we've allowed them to speak for us unfettered.

Felicia said...

Halima,

You're MARVELOUS. Brainiac to the core. And this is a compliment. You've analyzed this situation well.

And in so doing, I think it becomes even clearer that MOST black folks - meaning an EQUAL number of women AND men - are simply not up for the task of creating an actual WORKING black community that would benefit all members. Men AND women and children.

It's too much work. To much introspection involved. It would require black folks to stop blaming others (white people) outside of the "bc" for the dysfunction within.

And IMO that's something not enough black folks are willing to do.

So... It's easiest if like minded people just stay with like minded people.

It reduces conflict.

That's what I do and it's served me very well throughout my life.

I have a rainbow of support. People of all "races" my family and I can depend on.

These are my "people". Because they've shown in word and deed that they're there for me and mine.

Your community is what you make it. And who YOU allow into it. That's my frame of mind.

Because I'm just TOO at odds with the current behavioral norms of apparently most post civil rights black folk. Especially the under 40 crowd.

There WAS a true, working black community at one point in time here in America.

Meaning, more than just individual intact loving and supportive black families.

I LOVE talking to my Grandmother about how things were back then. The love, concern, support, pride, and so on. The sense of community and safety (physical and mental) that all black environments provided.

The times have CHANGED. And any BW 40 and above pretending that they haven't - and operating as if they haven't', especially in the relationship field - isn't fooling ANYONE.

Not even herself.

K.C. Jones said...

I really liked your comment about where you compared most Black people not knowing their own history to adoptees.

I am an adopted person and I have been thinking about this a lot recently. I am white and grew up in an area that was not very diverse at all and I felt very deprived. I always wanted to meet people from many different cultures, but especially I wanted to meet Black people. Of course, living in metro Atlanta, I saw a lot of Black people, but I didn't know many as friends and I ached for that. I've never talked to another (white) person who, as far as I know, has felt this way, but I really think the connection is that I feel a connection with the fact that I also do not much about my ancestral history. I know that I have ancestry from Ireland, Swedan, and England on my mother's side, but that's it. I know nothing about my biological father's side.

The poem that I identify with the most is Langston Hughes' "Rivers." (with Emily Dickinson's "Nobody" second...)

I hope that what I am writing reads as respectful/sensitive to the subject as I mean it to be.

Halima said...

thanks felicia! i wish i were brainy lol!

it is indeed very sad that something of great potential has been laid waste. that there where points along the way when the situation could have been rectified for the BC but alas!

ActsofFaithBlog said...

It is so nice to have readers who are also bloggers themselves to add some meat to the comment sections.

Thanks Halima & Felicia

KC Jones: Thank you for sharing - no worries necessary.