Monday, April 15, 2024

African Americans can discard harmful baggage

April 26, 2007 by  
Filed under News, Weekly Columns

( Combating negative images is just a part of the undeclared war within the black community, fought on multiple fronts.

We are up against:

House Negro” fence-sitters. In the antebellum period in the South, such people always saw things through the eyes of their master or boss. No matter how bad things are, these people always follow whomever is in charge. An example is the way Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice follows President Bush.

Old heads” – decent, well-meaning people, usually shaped by the civil rights era of the ’60s and ’70s. They are locked in the past, still thinking the black community’s problems can be solved by a government program. They still think that marching and making white people feel bad will cause whites to do the right things.

Old heads also have a problem with free enterprise. They love money from the business sector but are averse to starting and promoting black business ventures. Old heads cannot understand that the path to freedom is truly lighted by money and capital.

I know many old heads whom I truly call friends. But their thinking is obsolete and has hindered the advancement of our community.

Those best known by the dreaded n-word – the most dangerous enemy.

I have never used this derogatory term, but there are many who fit into this group, such as sexist hip-hop performers and negative rap artists, as well as thugs and gangsters.

The famous comedian Chris Rock has said, “I love black people, but I hate n–.” These are my sentiments exactly. I love black people but am tired of being connected to n–, who refuse to respect the proud legacy of our ancestry.

Bill Cosby, Oprah Winfrey, Louis Farrakhan and the late C. DeLores Tucker among the many progressive leaders who have sounded the alarm about our unwillingness to confront the negative ones amongst us – and our need to do so.

We need to cut off the dead weight of n-word attitudes, beliefs and practices. It is past time to air our dirty laundry. The fence-sitters and old heads must join with bold new leaders who are willing to confront our own people about their self-imposed underachievement.

Recently there was a community meeting to address yet another dismal showing of black student achievement in Anne Arundel County. It was held by the entrenched old-head leadership, with the school superintendent, Kevin M. Maxwell, in attendance.

The old heads were concerned only about what they felt the school system was not doing. I spoke forcefully, saying that while we in the black community have been condemning the school system since integration, the same problems persist: low test scores, high dropout rates, and high numbers of suspensions and expulsions.

Moreover, since 1980, program after program has been proposed. Not one has addressed the root cause of poor student achievement by directly confronting poor parental involvement. I called it “getting to the face of the problem.”

As I stated at that meeting, I will not be a part of another 27 years of failure. That is how long I have worked with the old heads to try to address the slow growth of black student achievement.

The fence-sitters and the old heads are afraid to look into the mirror for the solution. The problem is us and the solution is us. It is easy to look to the system for help. That way we can always blame someone else.

It is time to say to ourselves that we’ve had enough of the n-word attitudes on teen pregnancy and crime, enough of the n-word belief in using and selling illegal drugs, and enough of the n-word belief that being smart is acting white.

My black people built pyramids, universities and strong neighborhoods.

My black people reflect the greatness of Jackie Robinson, Nelson Mandela, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr. Maya Angelou, Coretta Scott King and Harriet Tubman.

We can do without crack houses, crack whores, carjackers, mall shooters, pimps, gangbangers, thugs, wannabe gangsters, drive-by killers, etc.

We’ve had enough of negative hip-hop and rap that treats our women with disdain.

Black people must move on. N-word baggage must be left behind.

By Lewis Bracy

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