4 reasons the 'new negro' would work against dr. king if he were alive today
if you have not already seen the interview with dr. umar johnson on the breakfast club, you should really check it out. dr. johnson drops an enormous amount of gems in his interview; things that i had not fully considered as it relates being black in america. what i found to be most striking was dr. johnson's correlation between what he calls the "new negro" and the lack of communal progression in black america. within his interview, johnson asserts that, "when dr. king led the montgomery bus boycott; 381 days...not a single black person rode the bus. they said that elders were waking on their bare feet because they could not afford to buy new shoes." this realization really stood out to me because it reflected the high level of authentic dedication needed to evoke change. later on, johnson supplemented his argument, indicating that "if dr. king was in america today, i do not think dr. king could achieve half of what he did 50 years ago." although i was slow to explore this perspective initially, i thought dr. johnson made a very compelling argument. so much so...that i decided to create a blog about it. according to dr. johnson, the "new negro" embodies three distinct characteristics, all of which i've added my two cents to of what i interpreted dr. johnson's mesage to mean as he discussed these particular traits the new negro has. as indicated by dr. uman, the new negro:
4). has no obligation to the collective.
i can see why dr. uman said this. today, we as black people have adopted the "me and mine" mentality in record numbers. we are only concerned about what impacts us as individuals, our immediate family members, or people that we "bang with". this is primarily because in a world that seems to not care about black people, many of us have developed a notion that we don't owe anybody anything and that all we have to do is stay the course and look out for self. this is why (in my mind) we as black people openly disrespect one another, manipulate one another and sometimes refuse to help one another flourish; because we don't feel obligated to the collective. in our minds, everybody else is "not our business". but my question is, who's business would it be if not ours?
3). has no interest in the progress of its people.
i think that many black people have accepted racism as something that is inevitable. they feel like it's always going to be here and that even if it's not verbalized, the hatred from other races will still be present and it will continue to be evident in how we are mistreated and disregarded as though we are inhumane. and if that's not enough, black people just can't seem to do right. the perception is some of us refuse to get off the streets, we are gang banging thugs and criminals, and we basically can't be trusted. and, it's not just non-blacks who think this..many blacks feel this way about black people. so it's just like... if you don't se any value in black people at large, why would you care about whether or not they progress? because if your memory serves you right, all they're going to do is find a way to mess it up if they progress, anyway. so, why bother? but my question is, if you are black and aren't interested in the progression of black people, does that mean you've sacrificed your blackness for a seat at the table with non-blacks who most likely will never see you as an equal anyway, because you're black?
2). is intensely egotistical and individualistic about its pursuits.
this one kinda goes back to the one about us having no obligation to the collective. we as black people are self serving. we've allowed our jobs, our levels of education, our clothes and the cars we drive to create divisions between levels of blackness ranging from the thuggish/unacceptable ratchet black to the reserved, polished and well spoken person of color. with these dividers, we think it's ok to talk down to one another and treat each other any type of way. in our minds, we play the "white man's game" so we can flourish and provide for our families. and how someone else "makes it" is completely up to them and is something that we think does not concern us. my question is, is it impossible to put other (black) people before us because we've been burned so many times? do we not have time to worry about other people because all of our efforts need to go toward scratching and surviving?
1) doesn't care about racism, until it knocks on our front door.
if i have a really nice car that i drive (with an expensive car note), a beautiful house (with an expensive mortgage), a beautiful wife (with expensive taste) and a child (with an expensive tuition), i'm not worried about what black person "didn't make it." instead, i'm worrying about keeping my job (in white america) working for my supervisor (a white man) who pays me handsomely to do my job (quietly) in a way that is inoffensive and accommodating to my peers (who are probably white). i won't discuss issues of race, out of fear of losing what i've worked for. now, the only time i'd feel compelled to confront racism is if it met me at my front door and i had no choice. so, let's say my son is being bullied and called a nigger at school, or my wife was refused service at her favorite shop because she's black. now it's personal. now i have to show them that "i'm not the one" to mess with and all that jazz. my question is, why does it have to get personal for us to feel compelled to act? is it not personal enough that people who look like you are becoming hashtags quicker than they are becoming college graduates? or lemme guess, that's not your business, right?