Don’t become such a defender of the African-American community that you’re not able to engage in an intellectual discourse about Black people where you have to address phenomena about them that are not that flattering. When you’re going to enter into a serious conversation about Black people, you have to be willing to accept they’re not perfect. While this may be a newsflash for many, Black people are not perfect and never will be. You can have a solemn love for Black people and still not defend everything they do.
Moreover, stop using slavery and Jim Crow as excuses or justifications for everything Black people do. A significant amount of the foolishness that postmodern Black people do has nothing to do with slavery and Jim Crow.
Recently, at Single Black Male, an author penned a piece entitled “Does Hip Hop Ruin Black America’s Spotlight?” and one of the commenters (“AfterMath”) on the article did not want to hold Black Hip-Hop artists accountable for any of their lyrics and imagery. It was ostensible that the commenter was passionate about Hip-Hop artists and Black people. However, the commenter’s responses to the article evinced a total disregard for needing to look at Black Hip-Hop artists comprehensively. The individual blamed everyone else for the poor actions of Black Hip-Hop artists except the artists themselves. This commenter seems to lack an ability to be a defender of African-Americans who is able to hold them accountable and speak the truth simultaneously.
Don’t become such a loyal defender of Black people that you lose your ability to be committed to truth and accountability.
African-Americans become better people when they’re willing to tell one another the truth and hold one another accountable. Of course, we’re to speak the truth and hold one another accountable with love. Many Black people see any criticism of fellow Blacks as being characteristic of traitors. Yes, be a strong defender of Black people but don’t pretend like they are without funk. By “funk,” I mean flaws and imperfections. For more of an understanding of how I employ the word “funk,” see the following article: “The Value of Your Funk: Part One”.
Your genuine love for Black people can run as deep as the Nile River, but this does not mean you should give Black people a pass for the things they do wrong, especially when the things they do are not representative of the best of Black life. Historically, Black people have always engaged in self-critique. We have a history of examining one another—examining the positive and negative aspects of ourselves. If we really love one another, we will be willing to lift one another up.
If I’m to lift you up, then I have to let you know when you’re not living up to your fullest potential, and you have to do the same for me.
Let’s not simply view a person as a traitor who is willing to hold us accountable and speak the truth when we’re not living up to all we can be. Learn to accept the fact that no matter how supportive you are of Black people they’re not perfect and not above being critiqued.
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