It is not news that the Black community is not moving on one accord when it comes to getting the things we are asking for and are owed in this country. Whether it be social justice, economic justice, or anything else, it seems we are lacking unity across all fronts.
Sometimes we receive miniscule highlights of positive moments in the media such as the success of individuals or small groups of Black people but once that fades, we are met with the same cycles and generational curses.
When is the appropriate time to pause and realize we can’t get any further without assessing where our hiccups are as a community?
There are more than a few issues hindering the full potential of the Black American community. If we consciously looked at these items, then we could begin to repair some of the damage that has been inflicted, and self-inflicted, on our communities.
First, the mainstream media portrayal of Black Americans and the ensuing psychological racism it produces. It is hard to put on paper the many ways in which the media has and continues to deceive Black Americans.
When discussing mainstream media, that includes everything from the news, to T.V. programming, to using Black Americans’ plight in supposedly satirical pieces.
When you think about how much of our reality is shaped by what we see on the television, it is easy to see how T.V. programming has led people astray for decades.
One recent trend is how Black people being shot by the police is played on continuous loops during television coverage. It does not benefit anyone to continue this practice and it does more harm than good in the long run.
Many major news outlets would beg to differ and argue that video evidence is needed to prove a case or argue that “representation matters” in showing the issues plaguing our community.
“The success of recent films like “Black Panther” and “Crazy Rich Asians” have — again — sent a message about the importance of representation of minorities, not only in Hollywood but in other aspects of pop culture as well,” according to PBS.
In 2016, however, PBS also acknowledged that seeing Black people being represented in death every single day on the news can wither away at their mental health, triggering PTSD-like symptoms in the Black community.
“Escaping the imagery can be nearly impossible, especially as online users post commentary and news updates. For some, it can merely be a nuisance. But research suggests that for people of color, frequent exposure to the shootings of black people can have long-term mental health effects,” they write.
A second issue hindering the Black community’s potential is how we fight with each other in the name of political correctness.
It can’t be overstated that there exists a faction of Black people who go against their gut feelings of what they know to be true or know to be factual in the name of maintaining political correctness. They can spot the agendas and biases against Black people but are too invested in upholding White power structures to go against the grain.
Ironically, these same people are often the ones claiming to fight against the “systems” that hold us into oppression. It is simply wrong to argue against common sense for the sake of upholding political correctness.
I would advise more Black people to say something when they see something when it comes to politics. Too many of us hold back our tongues to “keep the peace” when we would be better off addressing political issues head-on so that wounds can be mended, and reconciliation can begin.
Thirdly, the unwillingness to be wrong is stopping the Black American community’s potential.
I notice these days, especially after the last election, that there is an elephant in the room whenever the questions are asked about what the current president is doing to advance Black Americans. This is particularly true among people that voted for him.
People do not want to admit that voting for President Biden did not do much specifically for Black Americans except virtue signal that they were excited to get former President Donald Trump out of office.
It has been more than 100 days in office as of today and it is difficult to find one piece of legislation or executive order that Biden has signed that directly impacts Black Americans positively.
During the election year, his campaign had the ‘Lift Every Voice’ plan, named after a “Black National Anthem” created in the early 1900s, but Biden seems to have abandoned that plan by now.
Black Americans need to come to term with the fact that it is the year 2021 and there is no president, no national leader, no head of state that is coming to lift us out of our material conditions.
We are all we have. Sure, allies are nice to have, but unless we unite ourselves across ideologies, we will be left in the dust to perish.
Finally, the intolerance in the Black community is an issue hindering our progress. The intolerance on all sides needs to come to a swift halt for us to be able to genuinely hear each other out, regardless of political affiliations.
It’s past time for all of us to get on one accord and be bold in our demands from this country. Not being able to have mature and honest discourse on the state of politics for Black people is out of control some days.
However, I still have a lot of faith in us for the future. We can’t allow identity-politics to continue to keep us divided.
I believe we will get there one day with a little bit of more tolerance and extended grace from all sides, and less finger pointing.
People may not want to admit it but human beings in general have a lot more in common than we think. We aren’t as split on things as the current culture would have us to believe.
We owe it to ourselves to break generational cycles of trauma by demanding tangible policies and equity throughout this country. Anything less than that is just a distraction and a hindrance to our collective progress.
Once we can unify in this way, we can start to repair the decades-long damage that has been done to us. I know that this nation seems divided more than ever, but I genuinely believe we can heal and make amends if we are committed to seeing it through. The only way forward is together.