When Black Affirmation Becomes Stifling

I hear a lot of black people using the increasing visibility of crimes against black people as reason to demonize white people. They think their ways of thinking are enlightened, progressive, consciously black, and self-affirmative. I would encourage you to rethink this strategy. What you need is not to dog all white people; what you really need is to become successful while maintaining your integrity. To believe that the only people who will support and celebrate your goals are black people is downright stupid or naive.

Ever since I arrived in the United States many years ago, the people who have been equally supportive of my goals in the most dedicated ways include white people. My emphasis is that you would benefit from realizing that help and love can come from anyone regardless of race. So stop caging yourself in a “black box.” That will only make you resentful of white people and you will not know how to conduct yourself in diverse spaces where success opportunities reside.

Now, there are some people who will disagree with this—but all you have to do is look at their life and ask yourself—do their lives model the kind of success I find distinguished? Of course you should continue to criticize white institutionalism, but to act as though the black community is all a lovey-dovey space where all affirm each other’s identities and goals is too stupid. That sort of action will get you nowhere but into spaces of frustration.

In fact, in the same way that you fluently decode and identify white institutionalism, you should be able to decode and identify black institutionalism. Some aspects of white solidarity reflect white institutionalism and racism. In the same way, some aspects of black solidarity pattern black institutionalism and racism. To say that whiteness is institutionalized but not blackness reflects a deep seethed ignorance and hypocrisy. What you need to resist, therefore, is the institutionalization of our own identities. You should resist lifestyles and ways of thinking that only make you comfortable with understanding and surviving in racially singular spaces.

To be successful in this world—and success here includes having peace with how you think about the world and its peoples—you must accept that the worst people in your life will also include black people, not just the people of other races. Equally, some of the greatest persons are among Blacks, Whites, Latinos, Asians, and others. Critique the racialized world but resist the urge to live it.


Posted in Politics Education, Race Matters

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