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Buzz Word: Personal Responsibility

Have black Liberals joined, always been part of, playing possum or have completely hijacked the personal responsibility/black excellence train?

Repeated at Harvard’s Black Policy Conference by everyone from Gov. Deval Patrick to former Essence editor Susan Taylor was the need for blacks to be their own solution. This isn’t shocking to hear at a conference for aspiring politicos, journalists, community service workers and “the best and brightest.” These are young people who hope to return to their communities with the skill set to revolutionize them. With high hopes and law degrees, not-so-dissimilar from Barack and Michelle Obama.

The constant critique of some black conservatives are that black Liberals and intellectuals focus too much on racism and neglect or ignore the fact that many are “self-made” individuals who taught their own children excellence, while preaching of victimization. That these leaders believed in and acted out personal betterment while focusing on other issues.

But there was a time that anyone who even did the speakers did were accused of blasphemy, ignoring the historical sin of racism, a separate, yet related problem. Still, there was Taylor spending a good portion of the end of her speech laying into black ministers for not doing more to fight poverty, disease and other issues in their communities, coming a hair short of accusing them of being traitors compared with their politically active predecessors.

(More after the jump)

(Mama Snob has repeatedly called the modern pastors traitors for denying their historical roles as the caretakers being as they are the few blacks who’s livelihoods are completely supplied for by black community. To her and to me, for them to ignore things like HIV/AIDS among black women (and men) and the poverty of rural areas and the inner city, is criminal. What’s your purpose as a model of Christ if you won’t even do “His” work?

You’re useless.

But that’s my tangent.)

Still, saying “personal responsibility” is the hot new thing in Blackland, from our president on down. Bill Cosby, imperfect vessel as he is, along with the likes of “love to hate him” intellectual John McWhorter, must be enjoying this shift to their POV. A little less “white man this” and a little more “black folks that.”

For me, as long as it comes from a place of love, a desire for true change and excellence among African Americans, it’s great. I’m for whatever works. Taylor is for voluntarism and mentoring. Patrick is for public service. Bill Cosby is for screaming at anyone who will listen. Taylor reminded me how I need to get back to mentoring, which is another reason why I wanted interns. I don’t understand people who gain knowledge about those “keys” on how to make it in the world and then don’t want to share. For me, there was always a competition that made it hard to get some of my elders to truly help me. In some cases, they seemed more interested in laying me or “keeping that black girl running,” to paraphrase Ralph Ellison, than help me. I don’t get that.

Susan Taylor, founder and CEO of NationalCARES newtork and former Essence Editor and “The Snob”

So when I get a question from a high schooler or young college student (and I do get plenty) I always try to answer to the best of my ability. I feel, even at only 31 and still learning myself everyday, it’s my duty that if I have something I have to pass it on. To view each young person as my replacement is crazy, but Taylor did explain how blacks don’t have a system for older politicians and leaders like many whites do, where the retired are absorbed by the private sector with millionaire producing jobs and lobbying posts. She said our elders are recalcitrant to cede power because they honestly have no other place to go. I hadn’t thought about it that way. That Rep. Charles Rangel is sticking around because there’s no place to put him after Congress is over for him.

It made me want to come up with retirement solutions for our aging Civil Rights Class, realizing the issue was retiring in style with honor and some cache (and a check) not slugging it out with their kids and grandkids over power. How some of them would move over like Taylor did with Essence if they knew they’d be OK.

If they knew we’d take care of our own.

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21 thoughts on “Buzz Word: Personal Responsibility

  1. Andrea says:

    There is a Black woman named Constance Rice that I think is far more fair and balanced in speaking about this issue than Susan Taylor. Susan Taylor created part of this Black Malaise that we deal with in this very active reality of seeing Boomer Black women and older ones not want to extend. The focus of Essence was never to mentor. It was to "get yours". And then just like everything in life–Newton’s law–whatever you put out into the world that you intend to be "positive", there is a chance it can be misinterpreted, hijacked, or reconstructed for easier, more comfortablel acceptance. Black People took the ideology of "getting" or "reaching" as far as the saying we heard: "I gots mine, you betta gets yours". Essence supported by supplying stratifying themes of interest people could only but interpret as "do you" and grab as much as you can so you can then show off and brag about yourself as if you are redeemed and that—that—was what Dr. King, Ida, Patrice, Marcus, Harriet, and Frederick Douglass meant. Everyone thought that striving was redemption. And people did it in the name of Dr. King or Dubois or even their fraternal organization’s original mission. I watched people try to weave their belief that striving was all there was in being a redemptive human and a redemptive Black. I’ve noticed for years that Susan Taylor has reinvented herself. She has always been about uplift and platitudes but she has never really taken on making her peers understand where they went wrong and that even our peers, who are younger Black females are socialized from their actions to not only model them and want to validate them because WE LOVE THEM (even when we hate them), we also learn how to be from the hurt they do and did to us by not helping us or leaving us to this fucked up existence they quite simply made. We are living from a reactionary state of trying to fix their messes. And it is hard for them to come clean and admit that they, the successful ones, were too engaged in thinking that only being "positive" was the key for redemption. There is a balance and it requires more than just now thinking they have to fix things. It’s ironic: they are obsessed with creating this emerging trend of everyone wanting to profess that they always cared altruistically and that their life is given meaning now that OUR COMMUNITIES ARE SO BROKEN. It’s chemistry. The reason our communities are broken is because of a LACK of and these people get to advertise that they were always altruistic. I don’t buy this from Susan Taylor. It’s been her latest scheme and I mean scheme not in the mean-spirited way. We all have schemes which is not just our ulterior motives that are sometimes capricious and abrituary. We have schemes which is our movement…our reasons of movement. Some people never had to reinvent or refocus their second halves of their lives to "Black Empowerment" because they fully balanced the first part doing it. Now so many are into this "Black Community Recovery Mission" and are getting paid at it (to speak and show up and make us think they are superheroes) when they were not effectively balancing this need in the first part of their lives while on duty when our communities were failing. While Black women were learning how to be fabulous and self-possessive, Susan Taylor was at the helm steering that ship of self-obsessiveness and she genuinely had no idea the results all of that narcississistic interest would have created in so many intergenerational people of color learning from their model. Even the men learn to be selfish as a reactionary measure to certain memes Black women were pushing…which they got from Essence.Constance Rice talks about the fact that her generation dropped the ball and she has been the only prominent Boomer Black woman I have ever heard admit to this or speak publically. By the way, she is Condi’s cousin and they are both equally phenomenal at polar extremes of philosophies and actions.But I have experienced the cruel coldness of Rangel while walking and talking to Rev. Vashi (whatever her name is). She was equally as self-possessed. Our people are selfish. I asked a bourgie co-worker to pitch for you and she still has not responded but I got the White male co-worker to listen to me pitch for you and he did. He pitched to his colleagues. I was in his office less than 5 minutes and she is someone who would just offer empty platitudes about us needing to have lunch. We, the young Black women at the job already covered this that our Boomer Black women peers don’t want to help and subsequently I have noticed that my peers, the females, are the same way. I got more help from the guys my age and older while also facing sexism from men. I faced more sexism though from Black females.So I am not buying what Susan Taylor is pushing because it is simply reinvention–which is good, but power people reinvent themselves to redeem themselves for their legacy to written a certain way. Hell, the Average Joe is now catching onto it now. That is what the entire GenY generation is trying to do with this new identity claim as well. We have a whole lot of people so consumed on fixing the Black Community to simply fix it for selfish reasons of selfish needs. While Susan Taylor was writing lofty editorials of feeling good about ourselves, we were putting out a mess of destruction in the her name, in Essence’s name, in the name of our dead heroes, and in the name of anything we could attach ourselves to to give us validation while we as a people were destroying ourselves. Until she comes clean and starts to promote the chemistry of her involvement while trying to do good in the past that she was an architect of what we have to fix now, then I will not be heralding Susan Taylor. All I see is another person trying to author their own legacy for us to "ooh" and "aah" at and forget what power she really had in this reality we live in. Essence created a major problem in dumbing-down intelligence. You have to fit a formula for them to like you and you have to bastardize and brag that all Black women are righteous beings. Very few of us are and even those that market themselves as are no way close to being righteous. We have a lot to learn and they are not willing to teach it or allow anyone to teach it. She…she…she is the gatekeeper Emeritus of this philosophy and way of being. She was summoned to do what this conference seems to be: a rally call for liked minds to solidify the new directives of what we already are living in in self-possessiveness in the name of "I’m a great person because…".

  2. Andrea says:

    I know this woman in DC that is a self-professed member of the Black Establishment. Her family is and she is just one of those rare people that admitted it. However she is not exactly trying to do "60 Minutes" about it. Membership has its privileges–which is her current job. I say this because she is not dynamic at all and she gets that but she gets that she is smart enough to realize to make her family legacy work for her. I had dinner with her and a colleague of hers that introduced us in 2006 at Busboys and Poets where she openly explained to me how her block worked and I fit in by not fitting in. She was gracious for one, admitting to the fact that there was an elephant in the room and an elephant everywhere I went. She told me that I was not seeing things no matter that others, those striving for membership or established members, were decrying that the Black Establishment did not operate as in what my eyes really was seeing. She told me I saw everything correctly and some really cool people I admired were members trying to salvage, clean-up, and redeem the embodiment of the Black Establishment. She told me that one prominent member was lobbying for me but that the rest was not feeling it because, in her actual words, she said they were jealous, pissed off I created something without their approval, created something that challenged them to show and prove, created something that would force them to remodel themselves in reinvention, and simply–how dare I create and not be a member–like an heir. They believe in romanticism that the heirs would have come up with something like Uppity Negro–not an outlier with no family member of notoriety they could leverage.The woman is still in DC and she is so connected to everyone and she even explained of why some young Black women may make it to a level of press notoriety and then fizzle. She told me they are not real members and hence, they are on their own. They may show up in photos with the members but they even know they are not. She said it is cruel and mean and none of the mentality is written anywhere but people know within who is approved and who is not. She told me about Susan Taylor not knowing I had already come to my resolve about Susan Taylor. She told me I could see things very well. But she also asked me to brace myself and realize that the person brokering for me was straddling being a member of the Black Establishment and really wanting to redeem it so she could only but do so much. She said if I was a legacy like she was, everyone would have been on board.I ended up having a conversation with Alisha Thomas Morgan who too says she saw and experienced something similar but her achievement in winning the election in Georgia and the press attention have over-riding power of those that still tried to stratify her out of inclusion to be in association. With her dossier of being active in politics before even attending Spelman, she learned how mean they could be in even stratifying someone who was a social peer. She is not a member of the Black Establishment in ways that others are and she admitted it to me. I really learned to respect Alisha Thomas Morgan for more than achievements at such a young age because I saw she was fearless to be honest with me to tell me that I too was not seeing things. Both women told me it is tricky. It’s like looking at nice people you adore with bad breath. You act like you don’t smell it because they are fantastic or they are selling you that they are. You want to like them, so you defend them and act like you cognitively did not catch that clue. Most people sense these things but no one dare talk about it out loud because we are all so connected and intertwined with Establishment members and we need them to a certain degree no matter if we don’t really need them. It’s chemistry. You still need them. That’s the sad reality about science. It’s can prove through testing that the evidence is a bitch to swallow. One person in particular that is our peer is a famous Black woman that has hit a professional threshold. I was told by the Establishment member that they haze her and are still hazing her because she is only useful at times for them. Because she does not come from a family or has outmatching notoriety, she is dispensable. I sensed all of this was part of the system in what is the Black Establishment because not all are legacies–there are exceptions. But this woman here in DC explained it all to me in that most Establishment members didn’t become members themselves until after Dr. King died that they are like children allowing membership to people based upon how the wind blows, how they feel at a particular moment, what memes Whites are valuing that they will quickly copy, how it will benefit them immediate and long-time…etc.If you sense it, that elephant is there with you at that conference. Have you ever seen that Banksy exhibition of the elephant in the room? http://www.banksy.co.uk/indoors/ele01.html http://www.banksy.co.uk/indoors/ele02.htmlI saw that women that told me that I was seeing elephants and that the Black Establishment did not like me. She told me that she wore my shirt to South Africa and they loved it over there and wanted shirts. She told me the Black Establishment members that were with her rolled their eyes and tried to always changed the subject when the Blacks over there would ask about the shirts. I was told something similar by Jehmu Greene when she was around the Black Establishement members. She said they would tell her, a thirty-something year-old, to take her shirt off. You are in the midst of some interesting dynamics and stimuli. And that elephant is there with you at that conference. It’s the nice people with bad breath. You smell it but you look past because you want to believe in this. It’s intoxicating. It’s a high of possibilities…until the next conference.

  3. I don’t understand people who gain knowledge about those "keys" on how to make it in the world and then don’t want to share. For me, there was always a competition that made it hard to get some of my elders to truly help me.And then they criticize those young people for not doing X,Y,Z after they refuse to impart the rules of the game. Its already started in this blogger generation. From getting mad at Morehouse men for "letting a White boy" get valedictorian to acting as if the poor Black class who need to "do better" is the reason middle class Black people have hit a glass ceiling. Though I contend they haven’t hit a glass ceiling they are simply complacent with a nice job, car and home and don’t strive for more.As far as personal responsibility by Black liberals, its fractured. Some have always said it. Some say it until someone else does (be they White or a Black conservative) and then blast them for saying it because they don’t want to agree on even one thing with the "enemy." Then you have those who are no more beneficial to Black people than White paternalism or the Black establishment they criticize. They make a certain demographic of Black people (whether its on class or gender) their own victims. They are more interested in advocating for them like they are some pet project than actually helping to uplift them.

  4. Zion says:

    My only problem with any discussion concerning black Americans and personal responsibility is that people believe that you have to embrace one of two extremes: recognize the limitations of racism or be a responsible human being. Why do we slip into a fallicious way of thinking people of color must embrace one or the other. I believe that empowerment does come through a recognition that we can control our destinies, but we need to re-read Frederick Douglass’ July 4th speech. Douglass was a self-made man if ever we have read about one, and he was a self-described Republican. When he was asked to speak during the 4th of July, he did not play victim, but he let his speaking audience know that while I am self-made, I understand those factors which want to desperately hurt my future exist. We as a people need to stop trying to delete racism from our dialogue because that is a part of life for you as a person of color. Now, my model, Frederick Douglass taught me that because of this legacy, I must be the best. I must create my own solutions. Why do I have to abandon a history lesson just to prove, "I’m not like the rest of them?" Who are we trying to prove ourselves to? In the area of education, our children (black children) knew how to read and write long before the miracle of integration. Our vicitimization comes in when we think the presence of white folk mean something productive is happening, or we do not try to take advantage of what is available to us. That is the fault I am finding with alot of our thinking. Lets go back to the schools. Many of our black schools districts hired some (not all) of their white teachers believing that somehow their test scores would go up simply because. That sort of thinking is what holds us back. We have abandoned many of our own communities in the name of becoming upwardly mobile. I have seen whites build up communities that started out as nothing but weeds, and create a booming place of commerce and education. Why can’t we do the same? We need to do the same because we must continue to be a testimony of resilience.

  5. NAGROM says:

    To Zion, I agree. Before integration, the black "community" was more effective, because we had to be effective and look out for each other. We had to create our own enterprises, we had to educate ourseleves, we had to establish schools and clinics. With freedom comes responsibility. We have our God-given freedom, now we should be held to a higher standard as individuals to be responsible citizens.

  6. NAGROM says:

    And might I add, I don’t believe it is right to keep harping on slavery.Racism for us will never die probably, but prejudice against the Jews never died either, and look where they are. Black men especially need to stop blaming white men for all of their shortcomings, I grew up hearing it’s a white man’s world, well if you have that philosophy then you oppress yourself, and unconsciously you limit yourself. Black women need to invest more into themselves and our daughters, we are presently living in a society where a missing black girl gets overlooked, and where a black girl’s talents are under appreciated. We need to instill confidence in our daughters at an early age.

  7. NAGROM says:

    Also isn’t it funny that back when we had to support each other or else, we stepped up to the challenge. We confronted it, and we stood strong. Now that we have been free for many years, we have regressed? True progress coes when you are humble and honest enough to confront all of your failings as a people. We have many failings, and it doesn’t help that we generally haven’t even bothered to each our children their own history. Black children walking around today so oblivious about black history. They teach us American history in school, but they leave out our history. They give us just an aspect of it. We need to be better than this. I also agree that we as a people are SELFISH. Why hasn’t this been confronted? We are SELFISH, SELFISH, SELFISH. My pastor is strong on communtiy service and volunteerism, even moreso now, with many of our countrymen struggling during in this economy. We are encouraged to give back and volunteer. It is about being generous and supporting each other. Yeah we will support each other in these political elections, we came out in powerful numbers to elect President Barack Hussein Obama, and that is GOOG, but why after the election have many blacks now regressed back into oblivion? We need our voices heard constantly and we need to put MONEY into our communities as well as votes and time. Black people just need to learn how to give, period. I know a black woman who owns a salon, and a lovely one at that. It is comfortable and diverese and in her establishment she has founded on her values and ardent of customer service. She has both a client base of white and blacks. She is very customer service oriented, and she puts 110 percent into her work and into each of her clients. So why is it that her black clients tip her so poorly, and her white clients tip her so good? Im talking about 50, 70, 100 dollar tips for 30 dollar hair cuts. SMH. Indeed. Do better.

  8. I was never in favor of "white man this" or "black man this". There’s a lot of talk of "facing our problems as a community", but that mostly leads to me getting a lecture from some guy I don’t know about some problems I don’t have and telling everyone there to take collective personal responsibility. And I don’t like what the word "victim" has become. When did it become about indications of character instead of, you know, whether someone is or isn’t a victim. And it’s more than race, we now have rape victims feeling bad about feeling bad about being raped. I’ll take responsibility for my actions and my actions only. And I will hold people accountable for their actions and their actions only. Whether black or white or purple with yellow spots, just stay out of my way.

  9. dukedraven says:

    Well, you gave me an issue or two to think about this afternoon, Danielle. Good job! BTW, Taylor looks like one of my nieces, and leave McWhorter alone. I’ve got a male crush on him (just joking, but I like him). Hee, hee.

  10. Michele says:

    I think it’s very important to realize, as was said above, that people like Susan Taylor have their own agenda. Essence Magazine has consistently and insidiously sold a message that success is simply about having things. There are no real discussions regarding the life of the mind in that magazine. The arts? Unless it’s about R&B or hip hop, black artists get no mention. Science? Forget it. Science doesn’t exist. There are no black scientists, and no science of interest to black people unless it’s about diabetes. An interest in African, Caribbean, and Latin American politics? Essence won’t even mention that the resorts visited in their vacation features are really glass bubbles and do not reflect life in these places.There is no real examination of anything in Essence-world. Everything is fabulous. There are no real politics. There is no real examination of anything. Criticism and critiques are non-existent; it’s like some weird Special Olympics for black women in which everyone gets a prize regardless of actual effort or ability or morality or impact. The same goes for Ebony, the magazine that softballs everything while congratulating those whose talents are often dubious at best. However, to act as if saying this is ‘conservative’ is a mistake. Black radicals of many stripes have been saying these things for a long time. Racism does exist and does matter- but so do ignorance, selfishness and complacency. And worst of the worst is short-sightedness. not only do we not find a way to help our elders gracefully step down (let’s be truthful- Rangel, Sharpton and Jackson have been at the fair for far too long now), but we do not grow our talented tenth either. When I started grad school, I was angry when I found out i could get all kinds of scholarships if I wanted to be a doctor, lawyer or school teacher. There was not a single black scholarship for people entering the social sciences to be anthropologists. There were none for astronomers, mathematicians, classical musicians, architects, biologists- or anything that might require abstract thinking. There weren’t even scholarships for people planning on becoming college professors- but i could have gotten all the money i needed to teach high school.While we need high school teachers (and i say that as both a former high school teacher and as a former college professor) I see that our community has very small, very complacent and very conservative dreams. We don’t dream of our children becoming political scientists. we dream of them becoming ministers. We don’t dream of our children becoming cell biologists or astrophysicists- we dream of them becoming pediatricians. This is not good enough. The reason why our children don’t know that there are black people who play classical music, work at NASA, and design skyscrapers is not because of white people. It’s because people like Susan Taylor don’t give a shit about that because they are too busy talking about hairstyles or bad movies by Tyler Perry. The reason they don’t know about interesting sidelights like the New Orleans Cathedral pressing for a black woman to be made a saint because she helped and protected slaves is because the people who run magazines like Ebony are so bigoted that they don’t realize that Catholics are actually Christian, and there are a lot of black Catholics in America. also because it doesn’t fit with the negative narrative that racism is so crushing that it’s impossible for us to do anything for ourselves, and it has always been this way.The one thing i’ve never understood about most black magazines and blogs (not necessarily this one) is the narrow focus on people who are black and talk about ‘black’ things. Science is not black, and science, regardless of whether a certain study is about black people, are affected by scientific discovery and knowledge. Obsessing about Jesus is all very nice, but does not have the same impact on actual human beings that the Human Genome Project does.I haven’t read Essence or Ebony in years- I pass them on the newsstand, shake my head and move on. Then i pick up a copy of The Economist, which tells me more about what actual black people are doing in the world at large than those two other rags ever will. And I do this not as a conservative but as a radical who is not interested in reactionary, selfish, and myopic views of the world.

  11. Scott says:

    Isn’t personal responsibility what Bill Cosby has been calling for? Yet ever time he does, he is attacked in the black community as an Uncle Tom.

  12. dukedraven says:

    I dig what Michelle is saying. Unfortunately, Ebony, Essence, and Tyler are catering to a market that continues to buy their stuff. As long as black people fork over their hard-earned cash to see glossy pictures of celebrities with "dubious" talents and achievements, we’re less likely to glimpse the full spectrum of African-American life. These publications and Tyler have a turn-key business, and all they have to do is give us the same crap that we’ve been getting for decades. They’re making money at it, sometimes hand over fist. So if it ain’t broke, why fix it, they say.

  13. Lady M says:

    John McWhorter’s "Losing The Race" was an interesting read. While I didn’t agree with everything he said, I got the general gist of his writing, which was pretty much that black people need to take responsibility for themselves and stop playing the victim/race card all the time. Also @ Scott. I’ve been wondering the same thing. I really don’t see anything wrong with what Bill Cosby said, because a lot of it was right. …and yet he was accused of airing our dirty laundry out in public. And he was, but maybe that’s what we needed. Education tops the list of the things blacks need the most in order to advance.

  14. Danielle,I must say preach sistah! And Michele you’re bringin’ in a fine solo! I believe journalist Gwen Ifill touched on some of these very issues in her book "The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama." And I definitely won’t forget the powerful political cartoon by Mike Lester (Rome News Tribune) that put it this plainly: It depicts a fat man (you cannot see his face) sitting at a shoe shine stand, his tie reads ‘old civil rights guard.’ Kneeling before the man is Barack Obama saying, "I don’t shine shoes." The response from the man is, "I don’t want ’em shined, I want ’em smooched." That in a nutshell sums up the unwillingness of the old guard to pass the torch. I appreciate the gains that they made and I’d like them to have a nice retirement (they’ve got books to write and a lucrative speaking circuit waiting). I know of two former college classmates languishing in State Assemblies and Legislatures their full potential untapped. What the old guard fails to realize is that staying around passed their expiration date, so to speak can spoil all the success of the prior decades and leave a vacuum because the potential predecessors failed to get more training and continue moving up the ranks. What if Corey Booker waited? What if Arutur Davis waited? What if Barack Obama waited? I cannot imagine where we would be. But there still remains so much hesitance to lift even as we climb (or in the case of some, languish at the top). I remember when I first began working, looking to some of my black elders for guidance and as you stated with your own experiences Snob, it was more a contest of how long could I fake like I would give them some before they caught on to the fact that that was not going to happen and then they stopped teaching me what little knowledge they were willing to drop in the first place. It’s all quite tragic! I am hopeful and do believe, we can expect more of Valerie Jarrett , Melody Barnes and company. It’s going to take all of those tools: mentoring, public service, volunteerism because we don’t just want tokens here and there we want to expand that ‘hidden class of our kinda people’ in a truly meaningful way. To Michele,I could not agree with you more: "I see that our community has very small, very complacent and very conservative dreams. We don’t dream of our children becoming political scientists. we dream of them becoming ministers. We don’t dream of our children becoming cell biologists or astrophysicists- we dream of them becoming pediatricians" The Human Genome Project has done more to dispel the false science that existed for so many decades around race as well as statistically document the ethnic disparities that exist in health status and access to care than simply forcing all black people in lock step to do just three things (preacher, healer, teacher) rather than thirty thousand. I agree free your mind, black folk then you can truly reclaim your place in the world. I am one black woman (who also reads The Economist) who does not blog about celebrities. For National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (Feb. 7, 2009) I posted an article on my blog, enBloom (http://enbloom.wordpress.com/2009/02/07/hivaids-black-epidemic/) that details just how much the medical and larger social community has failed blacks (here in American), especially women in the fight against AIDS.

  15. Andrea says:

    Alisa,It’s far deeper and bigger and wider than just needing our kids to focus on broader ideals. We don’t have the family systems or community systems structured to support vivid imaginations. In order to be like Mark Zuckerberg, we would need families that supported to know themselves as adults how to uncover something like scientific enrichment and computer enrichment far further than what the school system or even an extra-curricular club expected. We don’t invest in our children except to get jobs–not to be explorers, pioneers, expeditionists. I wish I knew science in my childhood was as interesting as it is now. I did well in chemistry in high school but I never knew of the possibilities of it. I went to school with rich kids but information was never shared with the mainstream about those possibilities. When I sat in computer class and we were using the Commodore 64, I could not understand the computer language. I could not "get it". My family could not aid me and we lived in the suburbs trying to keep up with proving we were like "Good White People" when White people were doing more inside of their homes with their children they were not letting my parents know about. I can’t fault my family for not knowing because their socio-economic leap was fast and miraculous through industrial society’s grace to grant them luck but they did not have friends that were erudite and connected to know emerging trends and that society was going to continually evolve…into a nightmare their children would have to live through and find their way. My family who I can fault for not asking more or exploring to find out if someone was keeping emerging trends from their kmowledge base is all I can fault them on and that is a grievance I have with them still to this day about so much they still refused to ask about. Because of their pride to not show that they don’t know things is what mosts Blacks are haunted by. They never let on or give it too much energy of concern that they sense they could be left behind. They trust like innocent children in that the country will take care of them. My family think that keeping up to look like they are maintaining is all they have do and they think it is based on keeping up superficially. They have no idea of what the knowledge economy is that we live inor how Whites operate within their homes or in their exclusive communities they are not invited into. Most Blacks don’t. So…To say that we need our children to do more is still emblomatic of the problems. Children can’t leap or fall into these sophisticated sciences or even what I see at my job in policy work without their families speaking the same technocratic languages. In China it’s a part of the system to learn how to be advanced. Beating America is the ethic code. In India, it’s a lot like here but they too want to beat America. The richer are given the privilege to learn how to kick America’s ass. You have to have the education and the nationalistic inspiration they have to outwit us around them all the time in that the subjects of eschelon and advanced study are a way of life. One co-worker was explaining to me how she loved how the show "24" was writing about Jack Bauers’ disease theoretically right in medical language. I asked her how she knew because she is not a doctor. She told me that when she was growing up her family used to discuss medicine all the time at the dinner table. Her brother is a scientific researcher, her father and mother are doctors, and her father created some medical device that a major company produces. I forgot the name of the company but the company is a popular, large, very commonly known company we all hear about all the time. She started explaining to me what is Jack Bauer’s vulnerabilities and how the body is reacting to it. The medical terminology was heady for me but you could tell she knew what she was talking about in that she sped up when explaining and I could not keep up. I asked her if they spoke about other things than medicine and she said, "Of course", but because her brother went into it, science topics dominated the dinner conversations. She said she learned so much about medicine that way. I just sighed because I griped with my family about gossiping about celebrity gossip at family dinners or sharing church gossip in all that they only knew how to talk about during family dinners. I stopped visiting because they would not grow. My little brother hated it too because he was integrated in his friends’ families that were striving Whites and Blacks that knew more about a lot of things.So one day I say to this man who was director of policy of a DC government agency that this homeless, drug-addicted man that we always saw in pain should have never been born. He told me I was cruel and that I was a fascist. I told him that I felt the same way about myself. He still didn’t like my testimony. He wanted to believe every human has a purpose and simply that is not true unless you consider that purpose is to be unwanted and useless. I knew I had a dynamic intellect but I didn’t have a support system in a family to support me in this world…this country. I knew what that drug-addict was facing in the same struggles with him not fairing as well as I had in being lucky so far. But I knew as well, luck was on my side and not his. Our organizations puts out alarming results about economic mobility and that the bootstrap theory is gone and the American Dream is conditional. It’s impotent and selective. It’s not equilaterial.It takes a very mature people to understand what type of world they live in. The farmers that committed suicide in Indian matured to accept the reality about how cruel the world is. I watch my co-workers plan to create means for them and their offspring to continue to live as oligarchs while I watch Black People procreate and think magic is going to protect their children and grace them with a privileged life like a lottery or casino prize. I watch my co-workers scheme to give their children as many advances over even our other peers’ children in the office who are White too. It is so compulsive. They are not even worried about us. They are quietly and calmly stratifying against their own for the too few prime spots. For what it’s worth most of us should not be born in this world order as it is with the inexperienced and naive and ignorant family members we have thinking and hoping things will work out for them. We make excuses for family and point to the ills of the world when we are given the free will to choose how we make bold decisions to bring others into this world on hyped dreams we can hardly make realities. We gamble our children’s existence to tell ourselves we have purpose. It’s such a bullshit scheme of cowardice. This world is not set up for those to excel by pulling up your bootstraps anymore. It requires a lot of luck and a lot of stratified privilege. And if you can tweak it to work for you, that is your luck…your individual luck–not a stream for the entire Black community to build a pipe dream upon. To be of a family that does not know about the premium market trends is to be a disregarded citizen that the world would only consider of in pity. Our people need a whole lot of mature talks that are uncomfortable and will piss people off. We need some really courageous people to tell the truth that most of us in the middle of our lives will maybe make it but that our children will not be as wealthy as we are or our parents were unless they get with what globalized entities are doing. China is in Africa and they are not asking for our permission to by-pass and India now has Silicon Valley and Hollywood by the balls. The Indian auto industry is the only one excelling now. All manufacturing is lead by Asians and they are bridging with Africans who too are ahead-of-the-curve witnessing us in denial about thinking that things will turn around. We don’t produce and if our country does, they get manufacturing done overseas. It’s a wrap. Not all of us can go to law school to be
    a lawyer to push paper to hide all the schemes. If someone is in 4th grade and was not inducted into deep science by now, its a wrap. If your family does not ooze public policy, it will be hard for you to pick up the language on your own without the support systems in place that speak it as well.I was speaking to a reporter last week about some business theories I had told him a few years ago. Last week he heard me. A few years ago he thought I was talking out of the side of my neck. I realized that with the confluence of events in the country exposing fraudulent models we built our lives upon, he now could hear me say the same exact thing I said a few years ago to him not really listening to me then. And now he wants to listen to new ideas of mine that to me are now 6 years old.That’s how we are as a people. We are so use to being taken care of and following the leader that now we know that that is not a safe bet anymore. We just won’t talk about how we fit in because most of us can’t with bring all of our loved ones along. So we stall and paint it pretty and whine about racism when not everything is racism. A lot of it is simple anthropology…survival of hte fittest that sometimes helps and assist like-minded members who can be in their clan/tribe. It’s very prehistoric still. It’s not just about dreaming bigger or wider for our children that is the issue. We need to realize that the whole idea of fantasizing and romanticizing life needs to be checked and challenged of reality. We need to be told that we are not all that special and that every country is more competitive than us now. We are not magical beings who will all save America and redeem the world. We are not that important no matter how loud we cheerled these ideals to make ourselves deal better with the horrors of our fates. The American Industrial Revolution that WE NEVER OWNED anyway is not even our default clause for existing anymore. Our children have no guaranteed future middle-class lifestyles because the country is not where it is still marketing it is at. Some will be lucky but not all. How much longer can we invest on exceptions that are not norms. We need to make some healthier survival norms. Obama is trying to take America through triage but it’s too late. You can’t diminish the strength of your competition in Vietnam, Thailand, Taiwan, China, India, and Russia just because you cheerlead. You have to prove results and that takes years of someone’s formative life to make a traction of gain. Hitler did what he did on an already quietly advancing German engineering society. China has been recovering for years to become dominant now. Things come and go and empires rise and fall.We need someone to talk to us about the fact that no one will really tell us that we are not needed anymore in the American workforce as a given and we can’t hold people hostage to that guilt of needing to make sure that we are carrying on. We have spiritual goals to meet in maintaining a sensibility that is civilized and kind but we have been anthropolically tested of whether we will get with it or keep assisting in phasing our selves out. This is a mean world and we need more structural planning than just wishful thinking in the Black Communities that we can leave it in the hands of the Lord. Unless we adopt socialism, we are going to face an even harsher reality as brown people. Even when this economy rebounds to something, we still will be lagging behind.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Snob. I love you like a play cousin but what’s up with the extra long comments…I mean really…are we supposed to read those long ass dissertations and be able to engage in dialogue after reading ridiculously long comment abuse…I understand that passion consumes us when it comes to topics like these but jeeze-louise…

  17. Anonymous says:

    Personal responsibility will always be the modus operandi of living in these here United States. In Western Culture individual achievements are how we measure man. It’s not right; but it’s ok. Yes. the ism’s exist: racism, ageism, prejudice, colorism (within the black community)…and they always will. But guess what? Water is wet and fire is hot. When the smoke clears at the end of your life; you will be the one who has to face the truth of your life’s legacy; and not anything outside of that will be to blame.

  18. Court says:

    I think applying personal responsibility in responding to racism is what we all need. No more blaming us or blaming them. We know what they do (or should), now let’s act on it. Racism isn’t going anywhere just because we acknowledge it.

  19. Even the African nations are beginning to teach this to the people, to become self-reliant. The need for African Americans to invent and implement their own solutions, rather than relying on government aid and visions of change, calls for a revolution in leadership on both a political and individual level. We no longer need to be indebted–financially, intellectually and spiritually–to those who once enslaved, segregated, oppressed us.

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