While many people are committed to a genuine idea of solidarity, there are many folks who employ the word solidarity in exploitative ways. Many people understand that the use of the word solidarity elicits goodwill and social harmony, and this understanding allows them to see how they can benefit in selfish ways from the use of solidarity. People will say that “we all need to come together,” but too many people are only interested in getting the credit for being responsible for bringing all of the people together. In order for true solidarity to exist, its origin must come from complete selflessness. Everyone benefits from true solidarity. Those who are committed to an authentic solidarity will not be concerned with personal uplift but with collective uplift.
In the Afro-American community, we need more people who are earnestly devoted to uniting us behind common goals and purposes. While it is a reality that there are many selfish people within our community, as there are in any community, there are many selfless people within our community. Unfortunately, selfless people do not always receive the level of support they need because true solidarity is not sexy. The reason why it’s not sexy is we live in a postmodern epoch where the focus is on “I” instead of “We.”
For those Afro-Americans who are only concerned with themselves, they’re setting themselves up for failure. Even when they achieve personal, academic, and/or professional successes that lead them to being renown, they are destined for failure without broad support from members within the Afro-American community. Why? Given the ingrained history of discrimination Afro-Americans have suffered from in America and continue to suffer from and the powerful legacy of Jim Crow, Afro-Americans who achieve great successes will not be able to enjoy and maintain those successes without wide support from members of their own community.
White supremacists and their policies, principles, and influence will not allow Afro-Americans to enjoy and maintain their successes if there is not significant support for them from members of their own community. Without support from your own community, you will have to combat racism and discrimination on your own. Trust me, you will lose when you try to fight racism, White supremacists, and discrimination on your own.
Sorry to unsettle those of you who have been so foolish to think that we live in a post-racial America just because an Afro-American became President of the United States, but racism, White supremacy, and Jim Crow subtleties are still present and potent. Afro-Americans must, therefore, bring others up with them and not just go up the ladder of success on their own.
Help someone else to be successful on your journey to success. After you achieve success, teach others to be successful—model the way to success for them. Don’t get consumed in yourself so much that you cannot see and hear pleas from those in serious need of your help.
Solidarity necessitates sacrifice. This means you’re going to have to be willing to engage in arduous work to bring people together. You may not always receive credit for what you do in the name of achieving solidarity but the benefits of your work are much larger than the limited and temporal personal satisfactions of personal recognition. If you find yourself always needing to have recognition for the things you do, then you need to have a critical self-evaluation about what’s making you so self-absorbed. It’s not always about you!
For those of you who are using the term solidarity to just make yourself look good or to attempt make yourself look superior, please stop doing this immediately. You’re exploiting a concept that is so essential for the progression of many people across the nation.
Let’s all support one another with true authenticity! We are stronger as a community, as a people, and as a nation when we stand truly united.
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