The Covid-19 pandemic has once again exposed social ills and given many the opportunity to reflect on life choices and actions. What truly is important and what isn’t. Some of us have had horrendous experiences that have shaped the way we think, the friends we keep and the things that are important to us.
As a Black African who has spent considerable years in both Africa and the West, I think us Blacks world over must rethink our priorities and worldviews. We seriously need to rethink our values in order to start gaining some respect.
For my Black brothers and sisters, we can’t continue to underestimate the impact of political and socioeconomic ideologies on our health, friendships, families and outlook to life. From being uninsured due to inability to afford private health coverage say, in the US, to having the wrong priorities in life and so on, we really need to up our game!!
For example, on crime rates in the US, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, “Blacks committed 52 percent of homicides between 1980 and 2008, despite composing just 13 percent of the population. Across the same timeframe, whites committed 45 percent of homicides while composing 77% of the population”. In 2015, there were almost 6,000 Blacks killed by fellow Blacks in contrast to 258 Blacks killed by the Police. On health, 32% of Blacks suffer from hypertension compared to 22.5% of Whites despite being the minority population!! These imbalances are repeated across many health indices across the Western States. If you discuss these figures with the Black community, you are labelled an “Uncle Tom” and people spin into some whataboutism! We consistently fail to reflect on our realities and choices!!
On politics, the more I read and discuss with some of my Black friends and family members whose political leanings differ from mine, the more I realise how very different we truly are. Very good to have differing opinions, but oftentimes I find some of their judgments very emotive and rarely fact-based. Our core beliefs and worldviews have shone a light on how we interact with our world and experience life.
Once I believed in liberal values and infact defended very vigorously the ideas of Fabianism. Today? I can’t say the same, hand on heart!!
I have read and watched with utter astonishment folks I thought were deep thinkers, swayed by and manipulated by those who use charisma to convince but are empty shells. They stride like peacocks, regurgitating every ounce of propaganda the left-leaning liberal media spews out with reckless abandonment. Do some research. Learn facts!!!
Whether one finds oneself a Conservative or Labourite, a Democrat or Republican, at some point, we all must stand back and reflect on outcomes of actions, be it successes or lack thereof.
If one was to ask me, from my experiences, both in Africa and in the West, what I think are the failures of my race/ethnic group, the first things that come to mind are dishonesty, aggression, wrong priorities and the hate of Self!! I am not stating that other races/ethnic groups do not suffer same kinds of social ills, I am infact stating that in my interactions with my race, I have unfortunately found these factors much more pronounced.
There is a level of callousness that is inherent in so many of us, that shows its ugliness at every turn. From Black on Black crimes, to wilful deceit and “blame-it-on-others” syndrome, we tend to always assume a victimhood position even where we have been the architect of our own demise.
Having said all these, one cannot ignore the strength of institutional and societal racism and inequality which pervades the Western societies, and which have a massive impact on the psychology of the Black man. We have to be bold about discussing these issues and while at it, also make concrete reflections on how our group actions influence and fuel these outcomes. For instance, we cannot ignore how we treat our kind in Africa and how our Black leaders treat us !!! We can do better!!
I have observed with dismay how some of my brothers and sisters defend a certain political party in the US, come rain or shine!! Why must a particular race or ethnic group dwell on the assumption that their interests are only best served by a certain political group even where evidence contradicts this assumption? Some of these individuals unfortunately have become so captivated and entrapped to the extent they will never countenance arguments from another. I believe most people will arguably admit that one should be able to rethink one’s political affiliations if one’s interests are no longer being served or where one uncovers new knowledge. Being open-minded and having the ability of self-thought is crucial in getting the Black man out of this constantly downward spiral in life.
Us Blacks must ask ourselves if perhaps we fail to recognise how brilliant we truly are, if we want to forever be tools rather than being the craftsmen. We are talented, entrepreneurial, driven and even resilient. Perhaps we really need to start educating our young ones to be more independent-minded, focusing on how to unleash the greatness in them rather than continuously point fingers outwards, blaming all our failures on the injustices of the World. That would be a great starting point!!!
References on Statistics: