“Are you Black enough?” “And what does that mean?”
Stop acting White. You’re not Black enough. You’re a sell out. These are a few of the statements you hear growing up in the Black urban community. But why, why is it that deciding to live your life in a certain manner brings your ethnicity into question? Is it at all possible to act like another group? And if it is, then how do act Chinese, Russian, Indian, Spaniard, or Egyptian? The reason why the previous sentence sounds ridiculous is because it’s not possible to act an ethnicity. That is a constraint that is placed on you in America between Black and White People. Well then, why do we say it?
For starters saying you’re acting a certain group is an ignorant statement to make once we breakdown what that means. Let’s assume I say you’re acting White. Then you say, what am I doing that would constitute me to act White? And when you listen to the response, it generally is from a place of ignorance. But not only ignorance, the reply is usually a dangerous statement. You say to yourself, why is that dangerous to say? For one, it implies that you are appropriating the cultural norm which exist in another ethnic group, which means you must reject your own. False, you can be proud of who you are and express admiration for another groups culture.
Another reason why saying you’re acting like an ethnic group is dangerous is because typically when Black children are told this, it most certainly means you’re doing something positive. Whether it’s reading a book while everyone else part take in fun or speaking with a clear English vernacular rather than slang. Children will grow to think that being Black equates to ignorance which leads to negative views on ones’ self as well as lowered expectations. How and when did this change? And what I mean by how and when because Black people have not always had this in our community.
Being a Black intellectual was celebrated throughout history. But somewhere along the historical timeline, it became popular to exuberate low cognitive abilities. Let’s try to backtrack in time to where this approximately happened. I would say coming from the 1970’s into the 1980’s is when there was a major shift. Poverty during this time was on the rise and narcotics were taking hold. Single parent homes were the norm and gang violence was rapidly spreading. Eventually all of this found it’s way into our pop culture.
And once something becomes mainstream, that’s it. And it’s not because of mainstream alone, but the economics behind the entertainment. Meaning, once young males and females saw the profitability through entertainment such as rap/hip hop music they acknowledged an out. Everybody wanted to be rappers; dress like rappers, talk like rappers, and act like rappers. These men became so influential, you could say they were on par with civil rights leaders of the 1950’s and 1960’s as far as their influence. This was an aspect of the decline in expectations. But what else, entertainment is powerful, but not as strong to cause the shift of low expectations in the community today.
The biggest shift was the lack of quality education in inner city schools throughout the recent decades. On top of poor education, you have students dealing with hardships of poverty, and some even victims of abuse at home. All of this was a recipe for disaster as things worsened, so did the expectations. Now you have a smart Black child being called out for his or her intellect simply because someone or the entire class lack quality knowledge that he or she does. So what takes the place of knowledge when knowledge diminishes; valuables, that’s what.
Black people have been accused of not assimilating into society. But we have, we are a fully economic base. Meaning America is a capitalistic society based around goods and services. Blacks are in full swing where we spend nearly more money than any group of people in America. As a matter of fact we are worth roughly $2 – $3 trillion per year to the America economy. That means if we were a country (Black People), we would be somewhere between 4th and the 7th of the top ten wealthiest nations on earth. So with all that money why such poor education. Well because we have assimilated into this system of economy, that’s the problem. But why are we fully economic.
The reason being, when you grow up poor, it’s hard enough being poor now you look poor. And to top it off, your school environment is poor. So dressing in the latest fashion distracts everyone from your impoverished situation. Now, some economist might go America still benefits. But others will say, if we could get more of this group to come up through the financial ranks, then more money is pumped into the economy, the better America will do. But it starts with education, which brings me back to blackness. Blackness can’t continue to be reached and defined by means of ignorance. A people bereft of knowledge effects us all because we all now take on the financial impact due to the lack of quality education in the environment. But more knowledge, equals more people in the know. More people in the know means elevating yourself. Through elevation comes finances, and from finances comes prosperity. Ultimately, we all seek to benefit being that we share this country.