By Adam B. Coleman
As someone who sometimes writes about controversial topics, like race, I’m always prepared for backlash. Although I lack the level of fame to get overwhelming vitriol like a Candace Owens does, I have crossed paths with people who hold a disingenuous viewpoint of me. These are people who lack the understanding of why I say what I say and lean heavily on their negative assumptions.
Their assumption is that I criticize black people because I hate being black or have some form of irreverence towards them. With this assumption, no matter what I say, everything will come from this illogical lens. Why take the time to understand someone or their position when you can assume the answers yourself? It’s this intellectual laziness that I want to address because it’s far more common than you think.
Speaking for myself, I am not critical of black people; I am critical of black culture. There is a tremendous difference between the two.
I am careful of the words I use and how I use them. I spend most of my time highlighting ideological flaws and immoral behavioral patterns I see promoted within popular black culture.
People can change how they think and how they behave. If this is the case, their mindset & behavior is separate from the permanency of melanin in their skin. Culture is what ultimately matters. No matter what you look like or where you are from, over time, culture changes for the better or for the worse.
No one would doubt that the black culture that exists in 2021 is different from the black culture that existed in 1921. There are a variety of reasons as to why black culture changed. It’s those reasons I’m critiquing. Arbitrarily judging black people like a permanent entity is tentative to saying that being black is a static existence.
However, to a detractor, this explanation still doesn’t explain why I choose to be critical of black culture. Why does it seem like conservative-type black people always speak down on black people? Also, how come conservatives-type black people say something when a black person does something but not when other cultures, especially white people, do something?
Well, if your house is on fire, are you worried about your neighbor’s home? Whether or not you agree with me, I believe there are issues with the culture that some black people subscribe to. I am black, hence; it is my home too.
It doesn’t mean I ignore the condition of my neighbor’s home. It means my house being on fire is more of a priority to me.
No matter which demographic you belong to, you’re going to be most familiar with that group. You’re also more likely to care about the outcomes of the people within your demographic than others. It is inevitable because we are inherently tribal and selfish. So, if your demographic appears to succeed, then you succeed as well.
I’ve been black my entire life. My entire family is black, and I’ve known many black people throughout my life. As much as I downplay the importance of constantly referencing race, it is still the reality of living in America and how we classify ourselves at times.
The black tribe is my tribe as well and I care about the outcomes for black people within America. I am also selfish because if black Americans succeed in their outcomes, then I succeed as well.
One of the fundamental issues we have as black Americans is that we’ve lost the necessity and desire to criticize our own when we act immorally and illogically. We’ve told each other that inward criticism is hatred.
If you have children and you let them believe they’re perfect and they’ve never done anything wrong, then you’re neglecting to parent them properly. You’re taking the easy route as a parent by not preparing them for the real world, which will tell them often that they’re not what they think they are.
I criticize black culture because I love black people. Only someone who is indifferent to another human being would allow them to repeat destructive behavior and say nothing about it. Only someone who is indifferent would stare you in the eyes and pathologize your self-destruction.
Cultural criticisms are not a black conservative exclusive functionality. I know a Dominican-American who’s always talking about the destructive things he sees Dominicans do here in America and in the Dominican Republic.
However, one thing you can’t tell him is that he hates Dominicans. He’s a proud Dominican, goes to the Dominican Republic as much as he can, and will do anything to help them.
If you love someone, you don’t feed them imaginary tales of perfection. You don’t act as if they are infallible. You for sure don’t line them up as permanent victims incapable of changing their circumstance.
If you love someone, you criticize their immoral behavior, hoping they’ll change. You point out what is wrong with their mentality. You feed them truths instead of allowing them to believe in comfortable lies.
That is what I’m attempting to do because I love black people. Now, do you?
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