Seeking a deeper understanding of Black Thought
-You can’t lead where you won’t go and you can’t teach what you don’t know.
If you have read this site for any extended period of time, then you know that a vast majority of our posts site have nothing to do with Black people. With topics ranging from activist nerds to the environment, there is more than enough room for everyone to gleam from and add to this site, (regardless of their race/backgrounds) but something is still off.
Which is why I get confused when my non-Black people tell me they feel uncomfortable posting comments. So this got me thinking about what you the reader think of when you read our subtitle, “Black Thought at the Highest Level.” Do you expect opinions from primarily Black people on a wide range of issues or do you expect to encounter “Black-specific” articles or both? By Black-specific issues, I mean stories that involve either Black individuals or an analysis of how a certain issue affects the larger Black community.
Now if you are Black, I am interested in your answer because while there is no one Black way of thinking, I am interested in whether or not you think that “Black thought” is generally restricted to Black-specific issues or is it broader than that. And while this may seem like a pointless request, you should acknowledge that part of what made previous sacrifices for freedom and equality so effective was due to the fact that most Blacks, regardless of their socioeconomic factors, all lived in the same area. Therefore, it was very easy to appreciate shared interests and the need for everyone to sacrifice to make the world better for themselves and their children.
So now when you fast forward to today, you have Black folks engaged in what I call, Black-Flight. Similar to white-flight, Black-flight happens when Black folk move out of the city and into the suburbs. And like white-flight, some Black folks are in search for housing farther away from the suburbs because their previous majority-white suburb is now majority-Black. So this means we don’t go to the same churches like we used to, shop at the same grocery stores, and our children don’t go to the same school. This is not to say that the aforementioned are necessary for a healthy community, but it provided a strong foundation for many of the triumphs Black folks have made in this country. And that is why forums like these are so important so that we can maintain a tangible idea of what the community actually feels like.
However, if the Black community has wildly different ideas of what is considered Black thought, then how can we ever get on the same page? Just think of all the Black people who have ever typed into a search engine; Black thought or Black consciousness. What were people looking for? What were you looking for? I could probably guess right that you are one of those people and if so, then hopefully by now, you can appreciate the gravity my question entails.
Now if you are non-Black, I am interested in your answer because I wonder if your thinking is similar to the claim made by critics of Bill Cosby; such that Black issues should be dealt with in-house. So as a result, are non-Black people supposed to be barred from joining those types of discussions? I don’t think so. Therefore, if someone non-Black wants to post a comment on anything, I don’t ever want to see a disclaimer saying something to the effect of, “I’m not Black, but I would like permission to participate.” By doing that, you are undermining your own opinions and what is odd to me is that one-on-one conversations between Blacks and non-Blacks can be very fulfilling, so why is it that when we get in the public (via blogging and posting comments) folks act weird? We have to stop walking on egg shells around each other regardless of our fears/insecurities about race because as my pastor stated a couple weeks ago, “sometimes you just have to go afraid.”
Nevertheless, I don’t think Black thought can be restricted to just Black issues because we are limiting our own potential. Just look at our history. George Washington Carver is a famous Black scientist that pioneered a whole slew of products from peanuts. Now many of us would consider George Washington Carver’s success and ideas a part of Black thought right? So why is it that the Blacks you don’t see at the Black Student Union meetings because they are in the lab, are for the most part, not considered down with the cause? We don’t need everyone doing the same thing but this thinking still manifests itself in our community. However, if we were to truly take an inventory and appreciation of the diversity of achievements, ideas, and struggles in our own community, there would then be a truer realization of Black thought. And this beautiful Black diversity will allow us to more adequately navigate and gleam from non-Blacks in a way that not only empowers us, but those we come in contact with.
Stay up fam,