The mistake I made in regards to African American culture was when I singled-out African American people to be conditionally untouchable within the consequence of brutal cultural annihilation. This action is similar to Jews declaring that they are in fact the Chosen People and do not deserve any criticism. African Americans and Jews are not unique..alone in the locale of suffering.
There was one time in my life when I aggressively defended African Americans. So much so, I severed relationships simply because he/she was not 'black' as I held myself to be. Consequently, I made myself and those close to me miserable in my effort to be a symbol of 'Blackness'. Of course, there was not anything wrong with me expressing my black heritage - but often times my sentiments expressed were not honorable.
The expressions -which years ago I admitted were excessive- made everyone associated with me uncomfortable. And, the people who I made uncomfortable were not only white. Black people were negatively affected also.
During this period of ‘madness’ I became what many today would describe as “Woke”. I invested my time in isolationist reading. My literature interest included Soul on Ice because my soul was ‘iced’. Frozen in a state of being that had no idea How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Frozen in an intellectual swamp that did not include why I was a Native Son, and didn’t know it. Frozen spiritually because I knew nothing about James Cone’s Liberation Theology. I was frozen without any semblance of becoming the Shabazz in the Autobiography of Malcolm X. The melting of ignorance was intensified by The Fire Next Time. As my research investment flamed, I wanted to know and be James Farmer, Steve Biko, Ella Baker, Bayard Rustin, Angela Davis, Patrice Lumumba, Assata Shakur, Inky Payne, Nelson Mandela, Claudette Colvin, Fred Shuttlesworth, Stokely Carmichael and Fred Hampton!
I was the blackest man within my college experience at High Point University. People actually shuttered when they entered my dormitory room. It was so BLACK...so MOVING...so POWERFUL. AND, so lonely! My attitude was dark. It was obvious that I did not appreciate the gift that was given to me: an athletic scholarship to what has become one of the best small private university in the Southeast. I almost did not discover the purpose of my enrollment and attendance at High Point University until it was too late. Sadly, I nearly destroyed myself because I zealously defended Black when Black was wrong.
For some time now, I have regretted that I barred myself from meeting knew people, from experiencing valuable opportunities - and I definitely regretted later while on this Journey of Rage that I did not allow my heart to love or to extend compassion because I was 'so black'.
Thankfully, those days have been removed from my life. I now -and for a long time- understand that being Black does not mean limiting myself and alienating others. It has been a conflicting odyssey of self discovery. I welcomed it after years of unhappiness. An unhappiness that has revealed that my happiness would have been in the forefront if I did not arrogantly believe that African Americans were beyond reproach as a result of our tragic history in the United States of America.
This belief is a belief that I cowardly coddled, used inaccurately to justify ills within the African American community - and it is this belief that’s reinforced daily by far too many African American people. This thinking and modus operandi is nothing more and nothing less than shallow and irresponsible. Shallow because suffering is akin to so many people. Irresponsible because Responsibility is the cousin of Truth and Irresponsibility is the weakness of people.
We, black Americans, have displayed a nauseating weakness for so long that now today the weakness falsely justifies,
Low voter registration and low voter turnout.
Education disenchantment that encourages excuse after excuse for our low educational standards.
Violent crime rates in our neighborhoods.
The degradation of the Black female in rap and song.
A pants saggin fad that reduces the decency of man.
Increased incarceration rates of black men.
An unhealthy mentality that shuns wellness - but embraces degrading reality television.
The acceptance of an euro-Christianity which has made many of us intellectually and spiritually impotent.
We have moved away from being what our ancestors wanted and expected - and it is high time that we stop validating behavior that’s outside the context of what is Right. It is high time that we stop countering our realities with the convenient preface of ‘white people too and if it were not for slavery’. As if African Americans are in a position to disregard our self-induced problems just because a small portion of white people ‘do that too’ and because slavery literally handicapped many of us’. So, these ridiculous justifications make everything alright - and acceptable? Alright...as if we are ‘ahead’. We are not! What we must do is face our realities with the understanding that we are not ‘special’. Special in the sense that we are victims who deserve a pass. We are not and we do not!
The truth is we are a people who have lost their way in Babylon while attempting to erase our Failure with Blame.
Why have we chosen Failure over Truth? Why have we embraced Blame as if it is Comfort?
Because we are comfortable.