Wanting to address the issues within our community is something I have been trying to do and have touched on in a few of my blog posts before. This is not to ignore the work that has already been done, by the people who constantly inspire me; Jay & Tri Founders of Curlture, and Tobi Founder of Black Ballad.
Eradicating racism is not an overnight thing, which sometimes makes it seem like progress is slow. It is completely understandable to be inpatient when it comes to dismantling an oppressive system. I often feel like I need to do more, at the same time I am aware that my life is for me to live and enjoy, not to be spent stressed and trying to save every black person. So this post is really just to highlight some issues within the black community and practical ways to solve them. I have to remind myself although we are seeing changes, the big changes won’t be witnessed by me, future generations will benefit from the work we are doing now.
Issues Within The Black Community
Sheep Mentality – Within the black community there are still “you can’t sit with us” vibes. Many of us will know that if you do not fit into the idea of what it is to be a black man/woman, your race is questioned. There is definitely a huge change, thanks to the many black men and women who have seen where they have not “fitted in” and created their own spaces for like minded individuals. There has always been very little room for black men and women to just be themselves, slowly but surely we are beginning to understand that black is not a one size fits all deal, but we are understanding that black men and women are beautifully brown multifaceted beings.
Ignorance & Arrogance – This is not just as an issue within the black community, it is a world wide colourless issue. The only time “I don’t see colour” is an appropriate phase to use. Everyone’s individual experiences are different, depending on a large variety of factors like environment, finances and education. Dismissing or ignoring someone else experience simply because it does not reflect the majority or even just your own experiences is just ignorant. My experience with racism has been a bunch of microaggressions, that does not mean that anyone else’s experiences are more or less upsetting, damaging or racist. Racism is racism, whether or not you have been stopped by the police, police brutality still exists. Whether or not you have experienced direct racism, racism still exists.
“The problem with the politics of respectability is that it’s tainted with the belief to be born with brown skin you are inherently inferior and must work your way up to the goodness of Whiteness.” – How Respectability Politics Stifle Black Self Expression by Shannon Rodgers
A lot of our issues are based in respectability politics, which is why I have included some quotes from an article I read. There is no room for selective support and respect within our community. The only people who deserve little to no respect and support are those who are just trash humans. You know homophobic, racists, sexists, the ones who have rationalised hate.
I honestly feel like the most effective solution is to educate yourself and mind your business. We have rationalised hate and selective support based on a lack of understanding and refusing to accept our differences.
Listen With Intent to Understand – We do not always take a moment to listen to each other, to truly understand each other. All of our experiences and voices are valid, it is key that we take the time to really understand each other.
There is a lack of understanding and empathy within the community at times. We expect the best all of the time from our people, rarely giving us the space and opportunity to fail (whatever that may look like), to heal from past traumas, to look after ourselves, to truly figure out who we are.
Check Your Ego – A lot of the time it can be tricky to shake what we once knew to be true or the social norm. Sometimes I do think that we do not acknowledge that true change comes from making certain choices and decisions, not every one is open to change. There are still moments I have to check myself and unlearn a culture of shaming and policing women’s bodies. Just because something was once a norm within society it does not mean there is not room for it to change. Ask yourself is it purely your ego that is stopping you from understanding, listening and empathising with others. We all battle with our ego’s it’s part of the human experience, but keep it in check.
“If you are not a straight, cis-gendered, Christian, able bodied male, in the Black community, you are unworthy of even claiming Blackness. Deviation from these norms determine your worth in the community. The further away you get from those attributes the more deserving you are of the abuse you may be subjected to as a result. Because you are what’s wrong with our community. You have the nerve to be a hated minority in a hated minority and you dress weird and listen to devil music. The Black community has to preserve the fragile perception of Black people, and if you’re walking around going against the status quo while being Black, you’re a hindrance.” – How Respectability Politics Stifle Black Self Expressionby Shannon Rodgers
Support and skill exchange are massively important for our community to have some real changes made. Supporting black owned businesses, black people in general and bringing people into spaces they may not have been able to enter before are also ways to make changes withinnthe community.
What do you think are some of the things we have to do now in order to make a real change within our community?