Black News

Yvette Carnell: 5 Reasons Why the African-American Community is (Still) Failing

by Yvette Carnell

If you think the African-American community is a cut above the rest, then don’t read this. You won’t like it. But if you have this sinking feeling in your stomach, a nagging intuitive tug telling  you that the African American community’s progress has stalled, then baby, this one’s for you. Here are the real problems facing the African American community,  most of which no one’s willing to talk about.

1. We don’t like each other.black_church1

It’s true. Face it. Black people don’t like each other, at least not enough to do business with one another or support each other in any meaningful or consistent way. “But we were each other’s rock during the Civil Rights movement” you say. Yeah. That was a long time ago. Think we still have that strong Jim Crow bond?

Here’s a little test: Send an email to 20 of your closest friends and family members telling them you’re starting a business and are looking to raise $1,000 from each of them, and watch them run.

Everybody loves supporting black business until it actually costs them something. When your black enterprise costs other black people money, then all bets are off. Excuses like-  “It’s a recession”, “You’re in my prayers,” and “Isn’t there venture capital for this sort of thing?”  – will begin to roll off their selfish tongues like water.  But they all got the new iPhone 5s. Trust.

And after you’re finished with that, throw on a hip hop song, and tell me how many verses it takes you to get to the part where the  black rapper spits about bustin’ a cap into another black man’s head. Don’t worry… I’ll wait.

2. We’re too d@mn sensitive

We need collective therapy. Don’t believe me? Click on any article where a white person is being accused of racism, and read all the rants from black people in the comments section. You’ll quickly note how many blacks are  just frothing at the mouth, all because some random white  knucklehead said something racist.

God forbid anyone says anything  which could be considered disrespectful of Obama, because then all h*ll breaks loose. Point being, we’re too racially aroused, which allows other people to enrage us at the mere mention of anything which could be perceived as racist. And so leaders, both black and white, keep manipulating and distracting us with fake controversies that don’t matter, in hopes  that we’ll lose sight of what actually does matter.  And you know what? It works every time. We’re predictable as h*ll.

I read Ted Nugent’s racist rants because it’s funny to watch someone so stupid make an azz of himself on Twitter. But he doesn’t upset me, and why should he, when nothing he does or says impacts my life? But most black people lose their sh*t over a white rocker who can’t possibly have an IQ over 70. Makes zero sense.

3. We can’t handle the truth

Some of you are reading this right now thinking, “who is she to tell me what I should be doing, what does she know?”  I know that the unemployment rate for African Africans is double that of whites, and higher than Asians and … wait for it… Latinos. The folks who just crossed the Mexican border are kicking our azzes, what does that tell you?

No, it’s not all our fault, and we could use some substantive policy solutions from Washington D.C., but Capitol Hill doesn’t give a sh*t about us. Barack Obama doesn’t give a sh*t about us. We were not brought to these American shores with an expectation that we’d actually survive. That is our legacy. And when Paco and Jose are doing better in America than we are, we have a problem, and there’s no explaining that away. We can’t do everything, but we can do a heck of a lot better if we’re willing to face the truth.

4. We Don’t Dream Big

We’re so happy surviving, keeping the rent paid and the kids fed, that we have no idea what it means to actually thrive. Ask five random black people how they’re doing, and I guarantee you that at least two of them will answer with a heavy sigh, and then add,  “I’m makin’ it” or some equivalent of that phrase.  Makin’ it is all some of us do. It’s all many of us focus on. But what is there beyond makin’ it? Can’t we ever venture into the territory of big dreams, dreams so big that they make us quiver inside? Are we so defeated that we’re afraid of ever dreaming again?

5. We’re Christians

If your religion is making you more amiable, more successful, and more accepting of others, then keep it. It’s good for you. But if  your religion is the reason for your stupid decisions, like continuing to flock to a church where the “Bishop” is accused of having s*x with boys, or has been charged with embezzlement or securities fraud, then you should quit your church, and maybe even your religion.

If your religion has you focused on something which never impacts your everyday life, like gay marriage, but ignores crime and poverty in the African-American community, then maybe you’re not smart enough for religion. Maybe you should just try to be a good person on your own. Start small.

If your church has you aligned with right wingers, then that’s a clear sign that you’re failing at Christianity. If your religion had you lined up at Chick-fil-A to buy salt saturated chicken sandwiches, then you should quit religion. You’re too gullible.

All I’m saying is that Christianity has a sad legacy of convincing African-Americans  that they are to be rewarded for their  long-suffering, so while others get their rewards here and now, we wait for death.  And while others actually take action to help themselves and their community, we offer empty prayers. That’s not #winning. That was a trick of slavemasters, one we still traffic in, to our own detriment.

UPDATE:  It seems that my article sparked a good deal of conversation. Good. I keep it going by responding to some of the comments here. 

Yvette Carnell is a former Capitol Hill and campaign staffer turned writer. She is currently an editor and contributor to Yourblackworld. You can reach Yvette via Twitter @YvetteDC or on Facebook.





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