Six things African Americans must do for themselves
With homage to Mother Nannie Helen Burroughs on whose wisdom I hope to build.
6 Things The Negro Must Do For Himself by Nannie Helen Burroughs
Assess the ramifications of integration/ assimilation in the years since Burroughs compiled her list. We lost our hope and love of education when we forced our children into schools with teachers who were largely indifferent and sometimes blatantly hateful. We destroyed our economic foundation by flooding McDonald’s, Wal-mart and First National Bank et al. with our money. Most debilitating, we lost our integrity. Those of a certain age remember when twice as good was the standard. In our frenzy to assimilate, we adopted the tactics of divide and conquer; we adopted the European gods of consumption and possession and began to worship fervently at the altar of me first. Like those from whom we still demand “equality”, we would rather steal than labor; we lie, manipulate, degrade and murder in the pursuit of profit and promotion. Humanity, respect, deference and the like have become something we prolifically and often violently demand but seldom give.
- African Americans must remember who we are and what we stand for. We can demand neither autonomy nor sovereignty as we have become and remain identified in and with, those from whom we seek our freedom.
- African Americans must resolve to ban the discussion of religion from their conversations and unite under spiritual principals that honor the Divine regardless of individual theological tradition. I know of no reasonable argument with which a zealot can stand against love, truth and respect. A commitment to bestow on all you encounter the honor, compassion and grace you bestow on yourself. As so many of us are wounded, building on this foundation has its perils, but it will prove a balm for festering wounds and fertile earth to fill our chasms.
- African Americans must clean up our communities. Remember when grandma used to sweep the sidewalk and children spoke to their elders when they walked down the street? Do you remember when we loved everyone’s children enough to both nurture and discipline them? We have to call a moratorium on nasty streets, attitudes and behaviors.
- African Americans must reclaim responsibility for the education of our children. Mainstream public schools ensure that all people of color are virtually invisible both in the provided instructional material and in leadership roles, which serves to undermine the self-efficacy and self-esteem of our children to the extent that they overwhelmingly believe themselves to be destined for failure by the time they reach third grade. Yes, third grade. We must teach our children their history, ensure they have heroes like Shaka, Harriet, Angela and Toussaint to look to and emulate. We must ensure they have the basic verbal, math and reading skills. If you are unprepared to teach your children, get prepared; there are literally thousands of free classes both online and in most municipalities. While many of us cannot afford private schools and lack the opportunity to home school, all of us have a responsibility to ensure that our children are prepared to call BS on the lies and omissions they are forced to confront every day.
- African Americans must stop blaming White folks for everything that is wrong in our community. It’s a gross waste of time; just look at the smoke screen we call civil rights if you need proof that they have no intention of taking responsibility or fixing/changing anything. Moreover, in 2012, it really isn’t their fault; it’s ours. My momma used to say, “You know White folks are weak and powerless. They’ve been trying to kill us for hundreds of years and not only are we still here, but we get better and stronger every day.” That’s real talk. The major reason we remain marginalized is that we will not shake the mindset that we are victims in need of reparations. We are and have always been the backbone of America; it’s past high time we accepted control of when this country stands, sits and walks. It’s time to determine what information is relayed and coordinate any responsive action. That is after all what the spine does; isn’t it?
- African Americans must develop a plan for ensuring that our best and brightest reinvest in the social, educational and economic growth of our communities, which brings us full circle. Intelligence and innovation cannot thrive in an environment of fratricidal ignorance – we must remember who we are, what we are capable of and that our love for each other is stronger and deeper than our differences.
- [Real Talk] Colorism: Racism from Inside the African American Culture – My American Story (midwyfecrisis.wordpress.com)
- Whiting: African-American community speaks out against racism (ocregister.com)