Let me begin by saying that you don’t have to agree with me and I will probably offend many Blacks that believe that they have so-called “made it” in America. That’s not my intention because the facts are the facts. There are real reasons why our community isn’t making more progress than we are, and in many cases we have failed our movement because we have bought into the negative narrative about who we really are. For the record, I don’t see the state of Black America in a negative light; I see it as a positive, which gives me the hope needed to continue the struggle and the fight (when you know our history and our past, its empowering and puts everything into perspective).
In the first part of this article, I referenced seven reasons why most of American leadership (Black and White) have misdiagnosed the ills of the Black community evidenced by the alarming growth of the negative demographics (many are the same or have gotten worse over the past 150 years). In my opinion, there is no bigger or more critical misdiagnosis than our inability to tell the truth about the total and absolute damage that Blacks have incurred since being in America.
Because there is no connection to the “now” and the “past” when discussing the issues of the African-American community, the negative conditions continue to progress, as they are not addressed from the proper perspective. This further exasperates the racial divide in America. It has been comfortably and intentionally swept under the proverbial rug with no real way of addressing it without becoming an unending argument. It is mainly because many of today’s White people fear being blamed for what their ancestors did, although they currently enjoy the spoils, benefits, and privileges of one the greatest human tragedies in modern history. Many remain in total denial and on defense while many Black people are hurt in so many ways that they are unable to articulate or express themselves without a deep display of emotions (this is the perfect conditions for the ultimate impasse).
Regardless of the lack of clarity or not having a place for closure, the damage to Black people just being in America is absolutely real; the damage is physical, social, psychological, emotional, educational, financial, and currently structural, which impacts every aspect of life for Black people in America. Let me state unequivocally, that every Black man, woman, and child in America has been damaged by being under the rule of White supremacy, which has its tentacles buried deep within all America institutions, systems, culture, and the American psyche. This condition is now on autopilot via the American socialization process.
Another gross misdiagnosis (#8) regarding the damage done to Black people in America is the depth and length of oppression which, in many respects, continues unabated today. What will it take to “fix” this problem (if this were even possible)? This tragedy didn’t happen overnight, but has persisted for almost 500 years – five centuries. We’re not only talking about hundreds of years, but we are also talking the impact on the lives of hundreds of millions of Black people. THE SCALE OF THE BLACK HOLOCAUST IS ACTUALLY FRIGHTENING. The scale of the Black Holocaust is unprecedented in the world’s recorded history and by conservative estimates has affected nearly 200 Million Africans (this doesn’t take into account the carnage left in Africa). THIS IS JUST STARTLING AND THE INSANITY IS THAT THE BELIEF THAT THERE WOULD BE NO LONG-TERM DAMAGE AS A RESULT OF SUCH A HORROR IS EQUALLY ALARMING.
Our ancestors weren’t casualties of a war or even participants in a crime which might, however extreme, explain WHY THIS HAPPENED. Starting with the brutal and vicious kidnapping and extraction of millions of Black people from Africa (Africa is still reeling from this interruption); the horrific and barbaric transatlantic passage; nearly 350 years of torturous chattel slavery removing all remnants of our rich history and culture and reducing us to depending upon our most animalistic nature; followed by nearly 100 years of organized terror with the growth of KKK and tens of thousands of illegal hangings and domestic terrorism; legal discrimination perpetuated through Jim Crow laws and White racists in authority, all of which further handicapped an already weak group of people and created the socially-economic disparities that thrive today. THERE HAS NEVER BEEN A DAY IN AMERICA WHEN BLACKS HAVENT BEEN UNDER ATTACK.
WE NEED TO ACKNOWLEDGE NOT ONLY THE DAMAGE THAT HAS BEEN DONE TO BLACK AMERICANS, BUT ALSO WHAT HAS BEEN DONE TO WHITE AMERICANS BECAUSE THE MINDSET OF WHITE SUPERIORITY AND BLACK INFERIORITY ARE BOTH LEGACIES OF SLAVERY.
While physical chains no longer exist, the repercussions of the severity of slavery have morphed into what I call the “legacy of slavery.” Not only does the legacy of slavery haunt the Black community at every human level (i.e. family, community, economic, social, physiological, emotional, etc.), but we must not forget that while the Black community was being physically held back by a GOVERNMENT AND STATE SPONSORED LEGAL SYSTEM OF SLAVERY AND RACIAL OPRRESSION. The White community was accumulating massive levels of wealth, power, knowledge, and understanding of the systems and institutions that were built to develop, preserve, and advance the CULTURE OF AMERICA.
In addition to the massive wealth disparities and nearly insurmountable financial advantage that White children have over Black children, the socialization process has produced drastically skewed outcomes. Whereas, Whites have been socialized to own and control (dominate), at the same time, Blacks have been socialized to always be dependent on Whites to do for them (this isn’t so farfetched because this phenomenon has gone on for so long that physical freedom doesn’t equate to mental freedom). Black people usually start with “give me” versus planning and plotting to “take” what it is they want. This is a mental condition and another legacy of slavery (parental psychology).
Many Whites seem perplexed that Blacks haven’t made more progress in America and use this as a negative against Black people. Look at your neighborhoods and look at ours? Look at your schools, institutions, families, etc. and look at ours? The comparisons are absolutely false and disingenuous because they fail to take into account the massive advantage and privilege that they inherited (i.e. ownership and control, knowledge of the American systems, wealth and capital, etc.). Many dismiss this “canyon” size gap and now have the unmitigated nerve to suggest neither the past nor where you start matters. LET’S SEE WHERE THEY WOULD BE IF THE ROLES WERE REVERSED.
There was an absolute “negative” narrative that has been created about Black people in America. This was supported at every level and used as a diversion to delay and derail any ownership by themselves of this mess that they have created. That narrative depicts Blacks as less than human, animalistic, and even deserving of their position (this was also used during slavery to get the masses of White people to accept their treatment of Blacks). Today, as proof and evidence, there are many “dog whistles” that compare the state of Black America has proof to their inferiority. This is another form of White supremacy. First of all, it is categorically incorrect and the analysis and comparison is flawed.
The majority of White people had bought into the belief of White supremacy and most don’t even know it (this is the sadness and the magnitude of the challenge). I say even the most liberal White people, no matter how good intentioned they think they are, are unable to make the distinction between the advantages and privileges that they enjoy relative to the orchestrated racial oppression against Black people. It is impossible to come to terms with our reality without having a basic and fundamental understanding of the Black Holocaust and the tenets of White supremacy, which comprise many forms.
One of the forms of White supremacy lies in their depiction of the Black narrative when describing the inferiority of Black social-economic conditions as the inferiority of Black people. This negative narrative is pervasive and it allows the average White American to buy-in to White supremacy. Nearly every Black concept is defined by a negative, and the actual depiction of Blacks and Africa has been demonized ad nauseam. In addition, American media and historians have relegated the enslavement of Black people as some incidental event of the past with little to no relevant consequence on today. This is White supremacy. Black history has purposely been subtracted to favor White supremacy and Black inferiority.
I believe that the state of Black America today cannot receive an intellectual or honest evaluation without a good understanding of our history in this country. Without an understanding of our history, one could conclude that the Black community, as portrayed, is totally to blame for their little progress or lack thereof. Blacks have been accused of being lazy, un-American, unpatriotic, and unwilling to work hard like so many White Americans; therefore deserving of their status and position. The basic belief in America is that if one is willing to work hard one could achieve success in America. So, if the Black community hasn’t made more progress, they are to blame. Whether this was intentional or not (I believe it’s intentional), the outcome is equally damaging and America has swept the enslavement of Black people under the proverbial rug, resulting in too many Black leaders having accepted this rationale – case in point Reparations.
Why is it that America has never felt obligated to repair the abomination of slavery? There was obvious damage done – yet nothing. The damage done to Black people in America was orchestrated and sponsored by the American government and its legal system. Therefore, any real solution must involve the American government, the only exception being a brief period following emancipation where Blacks were promised forty acres and a mule as some form of compensation for nearly 300 years of chattel slavery.
Many Black people believed and were told by various political figures that they had a right to own the land they had long worked as slaves, and were eager to control their own property. It appears that some land was redistributed under military jurisdiction during the war, and for a brief period thereafter, and almost all of that land was restored to its pre-war owners. Therefore, Blacks have yet to receive anything as an attempt to repair the wrongs committed against them. In fact, instead of just leaving Blacks alone and allowing them to figure things out in spite of not having the full backing of the law as full citizens, nearly 80 years of organized and legalized oppression would follow up to the hard-won landmark civil rights legislation of the 1960’s did the laws finally “legally” provide Blacks some support against racist White supremacist.
So the misdiagnosis of Black America is that, not only was the damage done to Black people severe and extreme by White supremacy and slavery, but the fact that America and the American government has completely neglected to even acknowledge their key and critical role and has yet to offer any remedies and/or solutions. The injury demands redress even though Whites have systematically and structurally built a nation on the premise of Blacks as second-class citizens (21st century slavery). Any mention or discussion about the issues facing the Black community today must fundamentally acknowledge the damage that was done by America. This is getting to the “root” of the issues versus the easy focus on the symptoms. Way too many of the “so-called” leaders have spent an enormous amount of time and energy focusing on the symptoms with little or no attention of the root cause.
Evidenced by the near-total absence of Black leaders today who have not used every ounce of their political capital and energies to call for reparations is proof positive that Black leaders have followed White leaders in their misdiagnosis of the Black community.
NO MATTER HOW LONG IT TAKES, REPARATIONS MUST BE PART OF OUR SOLUTION AND WE MUST NEVER TAKE AMERICA OFF THE HOOK.