so it's black history month if you didn't already know . i did NOT forgot, it's just that i did not know how to go about addressing it at first . not to mention, i go to Spelman . . . everyday is Black History Month over here lol . But, i have a topic that will hopefully make you think (or even better, create dialogue in your circle of people) .
individualism vs. community .
is it better for African Americans to have a sense of community ? Many years ago, if you got in trouble, the whole neighborhood was allowed to give you a whoopin'. Many years ago, if you talked back to an adult (a non-relative) . . . they had permission to pick a switch from a tree and swing . But the idea of the Black community reaches further than just a literal community . What about the community relationship of Blacks and celebrities ? For example, we hold on to Serena and Venus Williams as "Black tennis players". We claim Basketball as a "Black sport" because we dominate it . We claim the President as one of our own and we were offended when Michael Jackson wanted to change his nose because we considered him a "Black musical idol". Then on an economic level , Black people like to help out other Black owned businesses because there aren't many. Some Black CEO's want to give other Blacks a chance in their corporations because they believe in this 'sense of community'.
There's another perspective ... the individuals . These people believe that they should not be recognized for their race, but because of their skill . For example Langston Hughes wanted to be known as a 'poet', not a Black Poet . Instead of calling himself a Black tennis player, Tiger Woods is more concerned with being an athlete than a particular race . Is this wrong ? There are plenty of people who feel like every man is for them self and it's not a concern to worry about other blacks . I mean, White people are very individualistic . They worry about themselves and their family . . . they don't care about their 'perception' as a race, or do they ? . Meanwhile, Black people pray to God that a liquor store robbery doesn't involve a Black man ... bad for our 'image' . Black individualists believe that their ethnicity has nothing to do with who they are today and it shouldn't affect their success in the future .
some people feel negatively about these ideals :
Black community promoters want to uplift the sense of 'helping one another' , however, do we marginalize some African Americans for doing "un-black things" (as if they exist) like speed skating, reading books vs playing basketball, or dating white people ? in my class today, my professor asked if Barack Obama would be in office today if his wife was a white woman instead of Michelle . Would we call him a "sell-out" ? is this is a result of "community" or perhaps some 'Black country club' that you everyone cannot be a member ?
Black individualists don't want their race to hinder their lives . Are these people in denial about who they are ? remember that Dave Chappelle skit of the Black, Blind white supremacist ? are these people pretending to be something they're not ? What's wrong with being a Black swimmer ? A Black doctor ? A Black actor ? Does this cause Black people to turn their backs on the places that they come from ?
something to think about ? what does this say about our perception of one another... about our perception of ourselves as African Americans ?