BLACK POVERTY AND CULTURAL MYOPIA

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One of the biggest problems that the Black community faces is that of cultural myopia. This is a state of mind wherein people are locked into their local situations and cannot think beyond them in order to view the common elements in similar Black communities around the planet. This is evident every time people complain about the various and sundry politicians who happen to be in office at any given time. Mayors change, superintendents of schools change, aldermen and other local politicians change, but situations remain the same or get worse in spite of periodic outcries by a few dedicated individuals.

For example, one of the issues that Black communities often face in urban centers of the United States is displacement due to gentrification. In short, some communities with a preponderance of Black and poor people very often end up in decay, or threatening decay, and wealthier people, often of a different hue, come in with their big bucks, buy up decaying properties, spruce up the communities, and the poor end up priced out of their homes. This is an unfortunate situation that has been repeated all over the United States. Even though this is the case, each situation is viewed as though it is the ONLY one happening. People cannot see the broader picture, i.e., that it is part of a national, and even global, phenomena.

The external world will not change until the minds that comprise it change. In other words, there is nothing that should keep impoverished communities from being safe to live in, clean, and crime free. This may appear to be Pollyannaish, but the fact is that poverty does not have to result in social chaos. Today, many Black people are leaving their own communities not because of poverty, but because of a fear of their own neighbors. Poverty does not have to equate with crime. If that were the case, every poor person would become a felon. Instead, there are many who actually work their way out of unfortunate circumstances, but they often have to leave their homes for safety reasons. Certainly, many Black people need jobs. This is a legitimate concern that can have a positive impact on communities if the numbers are great enough. But the challenges that we face have gone far beyond just jobs. There is a sense of hopelessness and fear that permeates Black communities all across the country, and it matters not who is politically at the helm of those communities. Because of our inability to see the BIG picture, we can’t see that the issues we face are present wherever in the world that Black people reside.

Let’s look at the great continent of Africa with its fantastic cache of mineral and organic resources. In spite of this, for some reason, our brothers on the continent find themselves perpetually at the mercy of foreigners who come in and take the lion’s share of resources. The foreigners end up controlling the indigenous population. This is happening right now in Africa where Chinese nationals see Africa as a giant turkey, and they are licking their chops as they carve it up taking advantage of the resources while Africans look on, happy that they are thrown a few bones here and there.

This same thing happens in Black communities in the United States. Back in the day, Jewish people owned a lot of the businesses in Black communities. Then there were Arabs who came in and set up shop, leaving Blacks to complain about the presence of these “others” who come in providing goods and services while treating them poorly. It is time that we realize that THIS IS NOT A LOCAL PROBLEM; IT IS A PROBLEM THAT IS EVIDENT IN BLACK COMMUNITIES ON A GLOBAL SCALE. We must ask ourselves this question: “What is it about Black people wherein wherever we are we end up at the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder?” There seems to be at least two pertinent answers: we don’t use resources wisely, and we don’t work well with each other. And for those who disagree and place racism as the chief culprit, it must be understood that it can largely be offset if we employ the two principles identified. It is time that we change our collective behavior. If we don’t, we might see our population dwindle to almost nothing due to poverty, ignorance and disease. A Luta Continua.

 

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