Finding Progression in Assimilation Nation
Growing up in the United States, it is impossible to escape the implicit and explicit tenets of White Supremacy that embed themselves in the subconscious of every American. While the engine of this domineering machine is not as robust as it was in its heyday of slavery, Reconstruction, and Jim Crow, it now drives on autopilot through the daily thoughts and interactions of all citizens. Many Black people subtly conform to White Supremacist doctrines, and even frown upon those Negroes that make the conscious decision not to support its continuation. Though well-intentioned, these folks confuse Black progression with assimilation into "mainstream" society; as a race we need to understand the difference in order to advance.
It breaks my heart when I hear educated Sisters and Brothers argue for the eradication of certain cultural practices simply because they feel it makes the Black race look bad to other races (more specifically White folks). In a constant effort to impress our Caucasian counterparts, the Black bourgeois have named any action that could be perceived as inferior to traditional White way of life, cancerous to Black society. Black people who think with this type of mind have succumbed to White Supremacy, as it is painfully apparent that they've adopted a "What would White man do?" mentality. For instance, the main criticism I heard when I stood up to support Brother Tyler Perry's work was that it portrays an image, we as Black people, should suppress and hide from White people. Eh you know, God forbid some Anglos come across a Tyler Perry movie and shake their heads in disapproval or perhaps laugh at Madea. Us Negroes need to impress these White folks with dry wit and conventional humor if we ever plan to be on their level some day, right? Riiight.
It is impossible to progress beyond White Supremacy if we employ it's very tactics to police our own race. Uproar from supposed members of the Black intelligentsia upon the theatrical release of Precious was asinine. There were Negroes concerned that telling the unfortunate story of an obese Black woman would give "others" the image that all African Americans fit the overweight, welfare stereotype many ignorant citizens cite to belittle Black achievement. Look people... you know damn well there are those among us who battle obesity and several other socio-economic constraints of perpetual poverty. Trying to sweep our fellow people under the rug to make our house look all tidy when "others" visit will not eliminate the problems we face as a race.
Progression in Black America will only occur when we begin to impress ourselves and push our brethren to be more powerful, prudent, and prideful. The question should not be "how does this look to White people," but instead "how does this look to our people?" Only when Black art or media systematically fails to empower, enlighten, and entertain its own constituents has a disservice been performed. So Brothers and Sisters, I urge you to consider the subconscious effects that thousands of years of White Supremacy have implanted in your psyche before you revere or reject ethnic communications. Do it for Hip Hop. Do it for Your People. Do it for YOU. Peace!]]>