Welcome to the #BlackBlogsMatter challenge! Throughout the 28 days of February, my posts will not (necessarily) be about HR, Leadership or Management topics.
Once upon a time not so long ago, Black people had no choice but to live among each other, rely on each other and look out for each other. In those times, we were unified because we had a common enemy and a common goal.
That common enemy was the people who sought to keep us in inferior housing, jobs and schools. That common goal was to gain unimpeded access to quality housing, jobs and schools.
Once we gained access, many moved to communities, careers and curriculum where we were the first and only. We focused on assimilating. We did this in part to keep our access and with hopes of gaining more. The other part was due to our continued cultural brainwashing which held Whiteness as the standard to attain. And since Whiteness didn’t generally support Black community, careers and curriculum, we stopped supporting it in order to meet the standard.
Integration killed Black unity.
There are many who will argue with me that we didn’t have much unity to speak of prior to desegregation in America … I say read some more history and talk to your ancestors, if you still can. We were far more willing and able to help each other and work together to achieve things when 1) we lived almost exclusively among each other and 2) we weren’t allowed another option. I also say “unity” does equal “uniformity”. The Black experience never has and never will be just one thing. Neither is the experience of any other group. Everyone does not have to be identical in their life lot for us to support and help one another.
Supporting and helping one another to gain and keep unimpeded access to quality housing, jobs and schools was and always will be the key to unity in the Black community. Because until all of us have “made it”, none of us have made it and the struggle must continue.
For those of us who have “made it”, giving back into the Black community with our time, talents and money is essential. The Black Church, our Sororities and Fraternities, the Urban League, the NAACP and other organizations with focus on Black community outreach are still very much alive and kicking. Make donations (note the S — meaning plural) and volunteer periodically if your schedule doesn’t allow you to give as much of your time and talent as you’d like. We cannot have unity where there is no help for those who are struggling through the struggle.
For those of us who have “made it” and for those of us who haven’t, we must stop ascribing and believing the negative stereotypes about each other and feeding those views to the masses. Each faces challenges and discrimination the other cannot fathom. Yet neither is less than the other. It is imperative that those of us who are aware of this (Woke) continue to convey this over and over again. We cannot have unity where there is no support, empathy or acceptance for the diversity among us.
Unity is not about sameness. It is about commonality. Help and support for what we have in common is the key to unity.
Tune in tomorrow for Day 8 – I am NOT my Hair