I could think of a million reasons as to why Black people don’t support each other, but why? It’s a common generalization that keeps us ignoring our progress while adding fuel to our failures.
History has shown that black people were been brilliant, creative, and innovative long before colonialism or slavery. Stereotypes such as “the absent Black father” or “Black people are lazy” are not only detrimental but have their origin in racism. America’s history of viewing blacks as inferior, un-evolved, and even apelike dates back to centuries. Due to this perceived notion, many white Americans felt it was their responsibility to help the survival of the black race through the institution of slavery. Other than free labor or entertainment white Americans saw no reason for blacks to coexist in this country. Many believed people of color would take over the government, kill white women, and commit random acts of violence if freed.
White Americans did not encourage social integration of blacks into mainstream society, finding them better for trade, farming, clearing land, building, and general labor. Slavery supporters had no vision for slavery in the future. Most only considered the present time of slavery, knowing only that they wanted to maintain this institution. There was no clear answer or suggestion for blacks in America. At most, Southerners did not want free blacks and considered this idea anarchy.In an effort to keep slaves disadvantaged slave masters would often exploit differences in age, skin tone, size, or intelligence. This created distrust and envy as to seeing how one slave was often treated better than the rest. Most of these privileged slaves were forced to engage in the brutal whippings of their own people to the point where they began to enjoy it just as much as their master. This helped birth what civil rights activist Malcolm X called the “field negro vs house negro“ mentality.
In a speech delivered to Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee workers in Selma, Ala., on Feb. 4, 1965, Malcolm X, in one of his most memorable performances, defined the difference between “The House Negro and the Field Negro“:
“Back during slavery,” Malcolm begins, “there were two kinds of slaves. There was the house Negro and the field Negro. The house Negroes — they lived in the house with master, they dressed pretty good, they ate good ’cause they ate his food — what he left. They lived in the attic or the basement, but still, they lived near the master; and they loved their master more than the master loved himself. They would give their life to save the master’s house quicker than the master would … Whenever the master said ‘we,’ he said ‘we.’ That’s how you can tell a house Negro.”
According to Malcolm X, the house Negro wanted nothing to do with running away or rebelling. They often valued the opinion of their master more their own. Thus creating a psychological illness that would be passed on for generations to come.
We see evidence of this illness today in blacks who are nonchalant toward issues regarding their own race. The modern day “house Negro” sits back and criticizes the black community while doing nothing whatsoever to help improve the conditions of the community.
These types DO NOT represent the entire race but are often given platforms to speak as if they do. Why? Because it’s much easier to side with an oppressive system than it is to go against it.
However, in the past decade, I’ve witnessed black people embrace the spirit of our ancestors by taking pride in self-education and entrepreneurship. The advancement of technology has contributed to helping blacks organize, learn, and more importantly, spread valuable information.
We’ve come a long way but future is definitely a bright one.