A Counterbalance To The Assessment and Criticism From Forbes Article
I’m somewhat reluctantly going to respond to the Gene Marks’ diatribe, “If I Were A Poor Black Kid”, which has been lobbed back and forth on the Interwebs in a heavily contested debate about racism, paternalism and questions who really cares about what’s best for black children. I’d rather talk about traveling to warm locations and baking cookies, but given the sad state of accountability I have to respond. Any article that generates more than half a million PageViews in one week has obviously touched a nerve. Did Forbes fix the original title after reading LosAngelista’s critique where she mentioned it was grammatically incorrect?
Frankly, the article bores me because this topic has been discussed repeatedly, but no one wants to do anything to fix the problems it discusses. People have noted the symbols that identify lack of infrastructure, but fail to identify their true source. The vanguard CBC members can’t even get black voters to hold President Obama accountable for ignoring them.
Does anyone on the outside think a poorly-edited article from a guy with no skin the game, patting a few colored children on the head so a few whites who are still salty there’s a black President in office (for all the good it’s done for us) has any significance? The only people responding so vehemently aside from actual racists (and black male misogynists) are the ones whose inferiority complexes are showing: other blacks.
Why I am saying this? Continue after the jump to find out.
Regular readers of this forum know one of the recurrent themes here is woman-centered empowerment and personal development. Truly empowered women understand the benefits to negotiating a more family-friendly society where women and children are revered, creating more supportive environments instead of being antagonistic towards each other and shifting the baser nature of men away from disruptive dominance.
They are far more amenable to letting functioning men fulfill their leadership roles in providing, protecting, planning and problem-solving and not in directly competing against them for control. They will enhance their femininity and cultivate the unique qualities of being women and not hold men in contempt without cause. Most importantly, they will have self-pride and self-respect, set standards and avoid disreputable males wherever possible. They will not take on the role of men in trying to do it all alone (like with raising children).
I focus on ministering to women because women shape society and if some of the discourse is amenable to men that’s great! As social beings we tend to gravitate toward like-minded people with similar values. While I will always appreciate the gains women have made (speaking from a gender and race perspective as I’m an African-American woman), I think an imbalance has occurred that is working against us. Some of those imbalances have been detrimental.
These conversations serve as a sounding board to consider ways we might shift things back to a more favorable position in society overall. That starts with us: what we think and how we view our place in this world. No adherence to any ideology set by others should take precedence over taking steps that benefit us individually. The quality of our lives is determined by whether we see the cup half-empty or half-full.
I don’t think the better functioning men tend to gravitate towards being ‘taught’ life issues by a woman on a voluntary basis (bosses and therapists aside), but as always everyone is welcome to read along. My discussion on this particular matter will not be a criticism of the Forbes article, but a message to those who are so offended by it. With all due respect to the ones who care and aren’t responding for notoriety….
Get over it!
The tattered condition of the black community should be far more alarming than what some self-deprecating hack writes about! You already know these core issues need to be but have not yet been addressed, let alone resolved!
I don’t take issue with what Marks wrote because I agree with much of what he said. He speaks of being raised in a more secure environment, but not having a greater skill set. Since the protests against Marks are focused on white hegemony arguments, not the content I have to dismiss it as misguided attempts at covering because people are embarrassed the foibles and failures of the black collective are exposed once again to a wider audience. What those people don’t realize is that it is not a secret!
In The Age Of Obama There Are No More Excuses Allowed For Black Under-Achievement
The racist argument against Forbes for publishing such an article has some merit, but those criticizing it have missed their mark. Racism is not the exclusive purview of whites. Yet, no one seems to have a problem with black racism because they rarely identify it as such let alone object to it. The response to the Forbes article reminds me of the outrage against Daniel Patrick Moynihan when he published his 1965 report, The Negro Family: The Case For National Action. People forget he was a sociologist. Of course comparing that article gives it too much weight as it lacks the depth and scope of Moynihan. Marks isn’t saying anything new – he just cut and pasted old discussions. I will highlight something Moynihan wrote that has come to pass:
Nonetheless, at the center of the tangle of pathology is the weakness of the family structure. Once or twice removed, it will be found to be the principal source of most of the aberrant, inadequate, or antisocial behavior that did not establish, but now serves to perpetuate the cycle of poverty and deprivation.
This is at the core an internal issue and no amount of poking the messenger will remedy the problems, since those complaining haven’t offered any solutions. There’s the usual list of all the reasons why blacks can’t do something and in their attempts at deriding Marks (the same way others lambasted Moynihan), it is black people shooting themselves in the head to make a point.
In the Age of Obama, this “we be struggling” mentality just doesn’t fly even though he is an exception. Since blacks did not consider all of the ramifications to fueling one man’s political ambitions, they are caught between those who place too much value or fear the symbolism of seeing a black face in such a high place – when he is in effect a toothless Paper Tiger. This is also the moment where identifying specific causes and effects would have great benefit – but only if people are willing to act on them.
We’re so focused on looking for incidences of white racism that we completely ignore the prevalence of racism and apathy amongst blacks. The whole “talking white” and “acting white” conflicts where one black person tries to police the behavior of another by shaming them into thinking being excellent is somehow a “white person” trait reveals a very diseased mentality. They are effectively saying blacks are inferior – which is the same racist message they’d jump out of their seat to fight against if it was uttered by a white person – but they’re the ones doing it! They’ve internalized previous racist thought patterns and taken it to a whole other level of depravity. But not ALL black ethnic groups promote this version of insanity.
This is where the distinction amongst black ethnic groups is key. Here is the US we have the entire African American population: outliers and has-beens co-mingling amongst the collective. The black immigrant population of West Indians and Africans are usually populated with more of the outliers of their group for having left their home countries to seek more opportunities here. Then we have the sometimes superior attitudes of those immigrants who would’ve never been allowed residency had it not been for the passage of the Civil Rights Acts thinking they’re better than the home-grown Negros. Which despite the camera time afforded to black male leaders, was only successful because of the efforts of African-American women and how they and their children were often used as cannon fodder.
I won’t get into the groupies or the hypocrisy of how Bayard Rustin was sacrificed. While many lament the death of leaders, relying on a Messiah was never a good idea. The power always resides internally, by people who take pride in themselves and have a just cause that they believe in and adhere to firmly, but not so rigidly that a change in direction can’t occur. We will never know whether the mystique of what could have been would’ve revealed the rotten underbelly as more of the very misbehavior some would decry had been exposed. Which is why there are no golden calves to worship in my opinion.
I will always give credit and deference to the African-American matriarchs who did the grunt work, where rape was used as a war tactic (like Rwanda and Bosnia that followed) for a few men battling for control. Every other social justice movement that has emerged since uses the Civil Rights model and references it without always properly attributing it. Making better choices doesn’t make you special. Seizing opportunities that opened due to the efforts of others just means you were paying attention. Creating opportunities because you have a vision for yourself means you understand your potential is unlimited. If we could compare the AA population of foreign ex-pats across Europe, Asia and Africa then we might get a more accurate comparison of who has a defeatist attitude and who’s focused on success, but no one’s undertaken that research to my knowledge.
So we’re left with those in our immediate vicinity. Now out of all the angry voices to respond, I haven’t read any debate from blacks who weren’t African-American, and the arguments against Marks are eerily similar.
It’s the same vein of: “Don’t you know we’re downtrodden”; “We can’t afford computers”; “Our ancestors we enslaved”; “Life is so hard”. “You’re racist and paternalistic”; “How dare you bring this up”. To sum it up: “We can’t do better and since you won’t wave a magic wand and fix it either just shut up because you don’t know what you’re talking about anyway!”
Then they’ll throw in some stats about lack of jobs, high prison populations, school failure rates and other “reasons” and “facts”. Let’s say we all agree with this line of reasoning. Black folks should be written off because of a-z. Well, then why get mad because someone comes along who actually DISAGREES with you and says, “Nope. Try Harder. Change Your Priorities”? And he’s the racist one? He’s telling you there’s still opportunities out there for future generations. Did we not read the same article? Marks never said blacks CAN’T DO something. YOU ARE!!!
Is it racist to think about positioning yourself for dominance? Nobody’s going to hand it to you, so you will have to work harder. This is something African-Americans were implicitly taught, along with public etiquette and other values that are largely dismissed as unnecessary in today’s society.
Libraries Are Free, But Blacks Are Apparently Too Busy To Use Them
Despite massive budget cuts, libraries are still around. They even offer FREE computer skills training. Having lived in many major metropolitan cities, I’ve visited these training centers. They have rows of computer banks, yet many go unused. There are also plenty of government programs, job retraining centers and workforce development programs that offer skills reassessment as well. I can’t vouch for their effectiveness, but funds have been set aside for their operation. I also understand many people are either out of work or working numerous jobs to sustain themselves. I know what it’s like to struggle and feel overwhelmed or that nothing you do is good enough. We’re not guaranteed a stress-free existence. You can’t give up! I do not believe for one nanosecond that someone who wants to learn is being forcibly prevented from doing so. This isn’t the time of chattel slavery when you would be killed for learning to read.
When blacks spend more time watching television than any other group we can begin looking into choices that benefit vs. choices that diminish. The catch-all “racism” argument does not negate personal responsibility. My mother helped instill the desire to read in her offspring. I went to the library often without prompting. I read a lot! More than I watched TV. I focused on college at a young age. Pretty much everything I did growing up was formed around getting good grades and planning for my future. I knew I had a future to look forward to despite whatever life changes were underfoot. It was a vision I had for myself, but I admit it was also one that was shared by most of my peers. It was a given. I also knew the day didn’t begin and end with school. I had other things to learn that my teachers never explained. I did research on my own. I’d have questions about subjects that became many extra credit projects assigned outside the curriculum, simply because individualized instruction was not possible under a state program for the masses. I see great value in homeschooling children or offering some sort of hybrid learning facility for those who want to keep going past the minimum requirements.
All of this is to say that – no life isn’t easy or fair or balanced – but our mentality, holding fast to hopes and dreams and not quitting is what will make the difference. Blacks don’t have what it takes to dominate because we don’t want to work together. They still want to point to external causes and focus on conditions that don’t favor them. The complaint against racist whites is going to segue into complaining about being betrayed by “people of color” in the next two generations as everyone else moves ahead. Because the bottom line is that no one else is waiting for black people to get it together.
AAs in this country will be surpassed by the black emigres who’ve assimilated into the US, who are using the “black” scholarships created for AAs and work amongst their own ethnicities to create opportunities for themselves. This isn’t a complaint, it’s the inevitable result from people running away from each other. We already see how giving Obama more time to appease the haters has left us in the cold. Now unemployment for AA women (his highest percentage voting block was black women) is going up as more government jobs are being phased out.
Our vanguard leaders will be gone as they continue to age and pass on. We have the current group of AA males proudly promoting post-black, post-racial and multiculturalism which is just a new twist on the paper bag tests of previous generations. Any so-called success they generate will continue to flow away from the black community, black women and black children. Which is why black women are guilt-tripped and indoctrinated into focusing on saving the black community. This is the CURRENT racist mantra being taught – and it’s originating from blacks this time. It’s RACIO-MISOGYNY.
Thus, those black women who are still focused on resuscitating the dead black community may attempt to do so with no guarantees of success. It’s okay to care and to help – just don’t let it be to your individual detriment. I can’t help but think of Gloria Ray Karlmark and the others who came to be known as the Little Rock Nine, who integrated schools back when black children were so eager to learn. They just wanted the opportunity. She created many advantages that worked in her favor because she didn’t put limitations on herself. She married a man who happened to be a white European and left the US. She didn’t self-sacrifice her life for a cause. Neither should any woman be it “black community” or “3rd wave-feminism”.
As bad as things are, there is still so much opportunity. You have to be willing to dig it out of the ground if that’s what it takes. The entitlement attitude based on holding onto anger about being “wronged” keeps many blacks waiting for someone else to hand them a plate of gold to make up for things done to previous generations.
So many AAs want to continue pointing fingers at everyone else but themselves. Yes, the current generations are suffering but an equal amount of “blame” needs to be pointed right black at blacks for abandoning each other. Well, black men for dumping blackness as soon as the oppressive controls by whites were loosened just enough to allow for freedom of movement. White flight is discussed when neighborhoods were integrated, but how about black flight from the residential areas they came from? The tax bases depleted, the lower common denominator types that had always been around became the majority physically left and these areas have become war zones. The personal responsibility model was dropped for a “you owe me” chip on the shoulder bad attitude. Since they won’t sacrifice and don’t want to compete, black males kill each other over sneakers and perceived slights. They take out their rage on black women and claim we have a more favorable position amongst whites. Blacks don’t support black businesses to this day – unless it’s something cosmetic, trivial or stereotypical. Let’s take all of that into consideration when discussing how oppressed we are.
Giving so much credence to what one random white guy writes about gives him way too much power. What he said struck a nerve because despite the angry howls protesting it, the bulk of what he said is correct. Who cares if he is racist or what his motivations are? People in his peer group are the last of a dying generations of whites who actually “care” about blacks. They care enough to still be paying attention because they saw the transition between Pre & Post Civil Rights. They saw the dogs and hoses. They feel some semblance of “white guilt” for benefitting from being part of the dominant group.
They’re not going to give up the keys to the kingdom, but some people still like to play with the ideal of a level playing field. He’s seen the decline within the black community and many people question why things have deteriorated when there’s now black billionaires and presidents. He wrote about it – even if it was inelegant. In much the same way when Tech Crunch founder Michael Arrington had a heated exchange with two peers about “racism” in Silicon Valley. The men who debated him are of Indian descent. I was trying to figure out why they even care, but people know the debt they “owe” to African-Americans and the opportunities afforded them from dismantling such a huge road block. They had a great handle on the white hegemony argument and one in particular captured the “we be struggling” and entitlement mentality of AAs that hold us back, though many people are still lumping all blacks together and do not make a proper ethnic distinction or understand the nuances in outlook and preparation for success that’s needed.
Because even if that “poor black child” – who somehow feels very male to me – was handed money, computers and all the other outward tools for success that would still not guarantee it. There have been several black males who’ve “made it” financially, career-wise and gained prominence. Their personal lives reflect their hatred for blackness, black women and lack of community support. The very reason there are so many poor black children is because they’ve been abandoned by their fathers in the first place! All you have to do is check the never-married and out-of-wedlock percentages for blacks to understand why we’re chomping the short end of the stick!
Black males are not giving back anything to future generations. They’re celebrated until their inner demons of unresolved issues overtake them and there’s the inevitable fall from grace. Sly Stone living in a van. Mike Tyson. Start thinking about some of these more recent reality TV stars/professional sports figures who are now broke, with multiple OOW kids they’re not supporting. Or they didn’t put their affairs in order and leave the BW who’ve supported them in peril because they didn’t specifically provide for them but have kids with non-black women who take those benefits (as they’re entitled to). Jalen Rose is another example of someone overcompensating for his own abandonment declaring 2-parent black homes don’t matter – when obviously they do or he wouldn’t be thinking about it.
Again, I’m focusing on the males because it’s a patriarchal society and what men do matters. There are women trying to hold it together and women tearing things down with their foul behavior as well. There are others who continue to fight against the current and some who’ve been swept away. There’s some who are going to use younger women and girls as buffers, regardless of the damage it will cause because someone may have used them as cannon fodder. Then there’s people who know better but don’t care or are so disillusioned they’ll react violently to any attempts at correction.
Ebony magazine hired a BW to a high-ranking Editor position who’s previously gone on record publicly deriding marriage as a right for BW even though that publication is a family business started by a married couple. Oh the irony and another example of how far AAs have fallen. One of the core tenets we discuss at this forum (aside from how marriage is NOT just for white people) is that you as an individual woman can only take care of yourself first and those you care for – not the entire collective. I’m going to discuss solutions and options next.
Since this is an extended essay close to 5,000 words I’ve segmented into two parts, concluding tomorrow.