Our local paper is running a column by 2 of their features writers, one Black and one White, on the topic of race in society today. They are friends and are trying to tackle the touchy subject of race in a friendly, non-confrontational way, while still touching on hot buttons and going "Ow." The first question was basically why can't you Black people stop being your own worst enemy? The response was one where the Black author, rightfully IMHO, defended Blacks in America for the historical blueprint that has helped create the fabric of Black America today, then casually mentioned that there are many things we need to do in our community to fix ourselves, but to not "blame the victim." I was okay with his response up to the point of not pulling Black folks up short for the many things we do that are self-inflicted and go only so far as to make the efforts of the many Black people who are trying to make the American Dream a reality more difficult. So here I propose a short list of things we as Black Americans and you as White Americans can do to help us all get along...
Commandments for Some Black Americans
Respect Education in your homes and outside of the home. (Music and sports can make you money, but they can't take away what you learn; and if everybody could be Jordan or Usher, they would.)
Get a job/career that respects you and the community. (Remember, a hustle is not a job and if you can't sell it to a cop in the police station, then it doesn't count as "sales.")
Raise your children with love and respect. (Treat them better than you treat other people's children and speak to them like they might be taking care of you in your old age.)Learn how to make money work for you and your family. (Save. Invest. Put money away until you need it. )
Stop treating "hood" and "ghetto" like it's a model to live by and not a place you'd rather move out of.Place more importance on the things you do and the lives you affect than the things you have and the cars you drive. (If we spent half the time we do flossin' doing something...anything to improve our communities, fewer people would be struggling today. So go volunteer.)
Respect your elders. (Listen to them. Talk to them. Live your life like the hard work they put in to give you the life we often take for granted means something.)
Stop acting like the things we do and say don't affect the way we are viewed in the world. (Nigger isn't just a word, gold grills don't look good on anybody, and if you walk into the store looking like a gangsta, hell yes they are going to watch you when you shop.)
Call it like you see it. (Once upon a time, we watched out for one another and took each other's children to task if they got out of line in public. Stop letting our kids today run around thinking that the stupid things we see them do everyday is okay.)
Reparations: Unless you have the receipt, nobody owes you anything. (You won't see a penny of it anyway, so get over it, move on, and just accept the fact that we got an apology, which is more than we ever thought we'd get.)
Everything isn't racist. (Stop crying wolf at every turn or when we DO need to use it, the effect is gone.)
Commandments for Some White Americans
Racism does exist: stop saying it's gone. (It's usually dressed up in a nicer package and often surrounded by liberal guilt, but it's there. Until you've had a woman clutch her purse in an elevator just because you got in it, you have no idea.)
Get to know people by the things they do and not the color of their skin. (We should be people first.)
Stop complaining about quotas, affirmative action, etc. They would not be an issue if the playing field were leveled in the first place. One day it won't be necessary. Consider it a form of reparations and get over it.
Just because we say the word doesn't give you a pass to say it. Ever. (We're trying to get our own to stop using it, so you just add insult to injury.)
Interview people because they are qualified and don't disqualify a person because of their name. (Just because the name is "Shaniqua" "Flozelle" or "Alize'" it doesn't mean the person is any less right for the job...it just means you'll remember the name.)
Don't fall for the racism card. (It does get played for effect and if you cower because if it when you are completely right, you cosign the claim.)
Treat your children with love and respect and let me do the same. (I was raised differently than you and my methods may work just as well. If I spank my unruly child, CPS usually does not need to get involved. I just want my kids to show me the same respect out in public that I did for my parents.)
Teach your children the value of being colorblind. (If they start to see each other as friends instead of colors, we might just live to see a change. Don't pass your bigotry on.)
Stop acting like every action done by a Black person is representative of all Black people. (9 times out of 10, we are staring at the news and shaking our heads with you. Conversely, we all can't rap, dance, or be like Mike.)
Don't underestimate us. There is value in everyone.