Some of Us Don't Deserve Us!!
by Nadra Enzi
WARNING: My Black nationalist and Afrocentric peers may take issue with the following commentary, but, while our methods may differ, we're still on the same team.
The Black Unity Myth is challenged by those among us who refuse to help themselves and in fact pose an economic, social and, from the violence-prone, physical threat to the community's well being.
This isn't an anti-Black unity piece but it is a stab at our Unity Myth: the doctrine that no matter how sorry or destructive some African-Americans are, we nonetheless should invest in them ( beg, bully and bribe ) until they agree to become productive.
The unity we need is one that promotes the best within us and doesn't excuse those who choose not to perform better. While everyone has potential greatness within, it's up to that person to at least meet the community halfway by independently using that potential and allowing good input from others.
Human potential is the gift government can't give and based on public school performance, a sound argument can be made that government can't develop human potential too well either.
I talk to people and work with them from this perspective as an activist: "What can YOU do to improve yourself and reach your goals?"
Programs are useful. Educational institutions have their place. I'm concerned with showing people how to use their personal time to develop or enhance marketable skills. We live in an information economy largely built by White male college dropouts who unintentionally ushered in a new era of individualized learning and skill development governed by what each information consumer/producer does with his combination of personal time and technology.
This is freedom of a kind undreamed of only short decades ago.
Millions of African-Americans, of all ages, are self-taught information consumers/producers who fix computers; build websites; create My Space pages and a host of other high tech skills that can inflate their networth with nary a government program in sight.
In the era of the Internet, Barnes and Noble and public libraries, the excuses for being ignorant and unskilled are rapidly running out.
Systemic discrimination is one thing. Choosing not to be literate and acquire competitive skills is another. Lest we forget, more money is spent on educating Black children, with less to show for it, now than at any time in American history. Anti-learning behaviors in the face of opportunity have very definite limiting impact on someones earning ability. If the possessor of these behaviors persists, despite constant well-intentioned begging and bribery, then it's time to wish him well and move on to someone more receptive.
"Social Darwinism!", some will shout, convinced I've become a dark Spartan advocating proverbially leaving our skill deprived in a wilderness of indifference to fend for themselves. This isn't Darwinism or neo-con rhetoric. It's the adult (i.e. libertarian ) realization that begging, bullying and bribing grown folks into treating themselves better may in some cases be a fools errand. We only have so resources and so much time and strategically speaking, it makes sense to apply time and resources where they have the higher success chances. It's equivalent to spending millions of dolars and years trying to convert Skinheads into NAACP members.
Some of us don't deserve us!!!
It's sad, but true. In the 21st Century, we or no other group can afford continuing to beg, bully and bribe the least productive, hoping by osmosis they're going to become more valuable overnight.
Some of us can choose to deserve us but it's a choice only each individual can make.