August 16, 2004

The progress at the cross road.

The struggle for advancement of the descendants of
trans-Atlantic slave trade, here in America, has
reached a crucial period of inertia and will require
greater effort going forward to complete the journey
to equality. One of the greatest threats to the
struggle comes from the successes of the struggle.
When the achievement of success for some becomes a
detrimental to success for others, then the struggle
is in a quagmire. Ultimately, it is the juxtaposition
and struggle between individualism and collectivism
that may decide our ultimate fate.

With so many African Americans finally reaching the
middle class, far too many people, both black and
white, have concluded that the struggle against the
external forces of past and present racism and
discrimination are over. Suburban whites, which
represent a plurality of the white masses, are seeing
more blacks enter their communities than ever. They
also tune into network television and see black
doctors, lawyers and Engineers in TV roles. They see a
black secretary of state and a key black female
cabinet advisor to the president. And of course they
also see the countless black millionaire athletes, not
to mention music industries black millionaires.

In light of such observations, it becomes harder to
digest the thought that blacks are indeed still in a
struggle to be rehabilitated and repaired from years
of racial oppression. If you ask most whites, the vast
majority is under the impression that equality of
opportunity has been achieved and internal and not
external forces hold those who do not progress down.
Not only that, many blacks that managed to rise out of
poverty and integrate has begun to assimilate the
class warfare ideology of the white middle class.
Unfortunately, race and class is part and parcel and
thus, blacks cannot attack the lower class without
attacking their race as well.

As more blacks make it to the middle class, the less
need black people see for a black struggle and
consciousness and the less programs, such as
Affirmative Action, are seen as valid by whites. The
ubiquitous question among whites seems to center on
reconciling how some blacks make it an others do not.
There seems to be this assumption that there is a
monolithic black condition that weighs equally upon
all black people. Thus, when many make it out of
poverty, it is assumed that the others had equal
chance, had they simply made the choices of those who
made it. Hence, the problem is not past or present
racism in their eyes, but rather, the inability of
these individuals to make the right life choices. This
is the rationalization of a growing number of blacks

Of course, these rationalizations are self-serving.
Looking down upon others has always been a means of
looking up or elevating our own self-image. Every time
we talk about what others are not, we are exalting
what we are, indirectly. It is a means for people to
imply their superiority without explicitly stating
such. For many assimilated blacks, they see themselves
as being individuals who are exceptions to the rule of
other blacks, who had the strength to make all the
right choices and escape the ghetto, while others were
weak. They seem to have little problem accepting the
conclusion that blacks seem to disproportionately make
the wrong life choices as compared to others, which
implies some type of black inferiority of reasoning
and or self control.

Its tantamount to suggesting that because many
soldiers have served in Iraq without being killed or
injured, that all the soldiers in Iraq who were killed
or injured somehow made bad choices that the others
did not make. However, people seem able to see the
obvious in that just because you are in the same
environment does not mean external events effect
everyone the same. There are many variables that make
for different outcomes, including luck. The same is
true for the blacks that have not managed to rise up
from poverty and the legacy of discrimination. They
should not be looked upon as causing their own poverty
any more than the soldiers killed in Iraq should be
faulted for their own deaths, based upon their
choices. Of course, there are likely cases where a
soldier made the wrong decision, resulting in death or
injury and that is also true of people who remain
trapped in poverty. However, it is the general rule
that represents the truth and not the exceptions to
the rule.

We must also understand the fact that whomever the
system rewards and promotes will generally and in turn
promote and reward the system. This is how power
maintains itself in a system such as ours. It has to
create a hierarchy. When many people make it to the
upper social strata, they seek to fit in. In order to
fit in they must assimilate to the ideology of that
stratum, as a general rule. That stratum is highly
polarized in their views concerning the underclass.
Thus, when many blacks reach the boardrooms and
exclusive clubs of corporate elites, they can only be
promoted within those circles if and when they
assimilate the ideologies that protect those circles
beliefs and ideologies. The system will not allow the
promotion to power of those with ideologies that
threaten the status of the elites.

The conspiracy that thus takes place takes place not
via people getting together in a room to plan how to
keep blacks and the poor down, rather, it happens via
promotion and rewards. Quite simply, to move up the
ladder, as a general rule, at least in the corporate
world, one has to have a certain type of mentality and
ideology. If that mentality and ideology conforms to
the goals of the systems elites, then the system
promotes and rewards such an individual, if not, the
individual does not progress as rapidly or at all. It
is by this conspiracy that most corporate elites are
conservative. Thus, as the system rewards and promotes
them and they in turn promote and protect the system.
Most people do not even know that they are being
rewarded or held back by this conspiracy that manifest
via promotion.

The ultimate question for blacks should not just be
our position within the system, but an examination of
the virtue of the system itself. If more blacks were
allowed to be slave masters in the pre civil war
South, having white and black slaves too, I am sure
more blacks would have been able to find success
within that system and hence there would have been
more black supporters of it. Consequently, I fear that
black people are not as much in opposition to
injustice or systems of injustice, as much as we are
simply upset about being the disproportionate victims
of it. As long as we are allowed to be greater
benefactors of injustice, we seem to have fewer
problems with it. Now that blacks are “making it” in
the system, they no longer question its inherent flaws
and resultant inequalities of it. As a result, such
black individuals discredit the needs for programs to
attack the effects of an injustice system.

In conclusion, individualism is eroding black
collectivism. Thus, as long as individuals can receive
promotion and reward in the system, his or her
individual interest usurps the collective interest of
black people. Consequently, there attempted
assimilation into the “main stream”, which do not
support the needs of the black collective, thus goes
to work against the black collective, which produces
no net gain for black people…despite the growing
success of individual blacks.

Noah The African


At 1:29 PM, Blogger abw said...

Keep writing insightful articles on this site. People need to be aware of this information. Really if black folk were more communal, collective, and cooperative, the whole community would have more progress than it does now.


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