I was asked by a magazine publisher to write a short piece stating my opinion on the State of the Black Community and what I would do to make it better. I chose to keep it to 500 words for the exercise but I’m giving serious consideration to a series of posts on this subject. Of course, it’s our personal experiences that create the lens with which we view the world. Here’s a very small piece of my view of our community. I’d like to hear yours. Post a comment at the end and let me know what you’re thinking.
Many great things came out of the desegregation of our schools in the 1950’s and the Civil Rights movement of the 1960’s. However, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. The late Dr. Miles Munroe said, “He who creates the law creates the culture”. These laws which banned discrimination and racial segregation against African-Americans and women and the abolishment of the doctrine of “separate but equal” in relation to children’s education, also began the breakdown of the black family and the black community as a whole.
I grew up in an all-black neighborhood in the 1970’s. It was a time when we could play outside all day with no fear. Why? Because the lady four houses up the street worked with your momma, the man down the street at the corner played cards with your daddy and both your Aunties lived two and three streets over. And if that weren’t enough, every Sunday morning nearly everyone got together for church. The black community was our extended family.
This extended family shared common concerns and worked together to achieve certain goals. Our socio-economic conditions were physically similar and this created a similar mindset on how to overcome our current situations. We didn’t have the crabs in a barrel mentality but the mindset of pulling each other up.
On the one hand it was absolutely necessary for the 1954 Brown Vs Board of Education court decision and passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. As a people we were denied basic rights and equal education opportunities for our children. All necessary positive changes. However, prior to these decisions, while we were segregated from whites, we were together as a people.
I’m not opposing the need for the changes on one level. I don’t believe it was the physical move of the joined communities that caused the problems but rather the mental detachment from our own. The forced conditions of segregation held our families together on so many levels. Subconsciously, as our physical proximity changed because of our new-found ability to live, work and go to school where we desired, our mindsets also became detached.
What once was a subconscious shift, we must now consciously shift the pendulum back in the favor of Black family and community. How often do we want change but we don’t work hard to achieve it? How often do you know change is needed but we won’t do anything to affect that change? We must not be hearers only, but doers.
Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results”. If we want our families and communities close again, we have to want it bad enough to change. In order for there our circumstances to change, there must first be a paradigm shift in our thinking. We must break out of the box of “us four and no more” in our prayers. Each one of us must be the change we want to see.
What do you think?