The Black community resembles the Wild West with no rules or regulations, nor is there any capacity or measures in place to correct bad or errant behavior
Perhaps I should not write when I am feeling the way I do now (upset and disappointed), because the last thing that I want to do is convey the wrong message to the readers at large. Nevertheless, this does not deter from the fact that the Black Community is in a state of unparalleled crisis. Yes, believe it or not we are in danger of becoming a permanent underclass in Canada and silence even by default is not acceptable. By permanent, I mean that our children will have greater difficulty in the future of achieving their dreams.
We are in a stage of crisis and the casualty is our future. There are no easy answers; it’s going to take hard work, strategic thinking, and working together if we are to even have a shot at best. Our situation can be likened to an extremely obese person wishing and hoping that she could take a pill and rid herself overnight of the excess pounds that bad behavior has produced over a long period of time. It’s called dreaming.
If our community is to defeat the massive ignorance that has overcome us, we must earn it; no one will give it to us.
Unless we do something significant and do it quickly, Blacks face extinction or being relegated to the permanent status of second-class citizenship. How did this happen? When will it end? What must we, or can we do? No matter what the answers will ultimately be, it cannot happen without the Black community coming together. Progress can only be achieved through organizing and unity. What the Black community needs more than anything is Unity.
The structural challenges are mounting like a tsunami. Let me make myself absolutely and crystal clear on this statement as I hate to be misquoted and by extension misunderstood. In no way am I referring to the unity that is some superficial description where all Black people are all doing the same thing at the same time – That is unrealistic. Straight up!
The unity that I am referencing is a functional unity – a functional unity where representatives (leadership) from all segments of the community are working together around a common and collective agenda. No one will give us what we need and what we deserve. We reference the greatness of our people but to be great is to have great leaders and to be great leaders, they must be able to lead (good action).
The demon of cynicism is so entrenched that hopelessness engulfs our community and paralyzes our every effort before we even get started.
We make excuse after excuse for not working with each other, believing and thinking that we are more than what we are (all that and so much more), working against each other by backbiting and speaking ill of each other, elated and extremely happy when one of our brothers or sisters has fallen from a high position, infatuation with symbolism and ceremony over substance and sustainability, reactionary responses versus proactive approaches, tearing something down versus building something up, walks, talks, vigils, marches, but no follow-up, and we are so quick to disavow ourselves from our past and the hurt that is associated with the enslavement of our people (as long as we don’t acknowledge the pain and trauma that some of us have suffered right here in Canada).
Yes, some of us have been seriously harmed by the Black experiences in Canada, irrespective of province.
In addition, the Black community must challenge the long-term practice of organizational tribalism because it has created a further dysfunctional consequence of free agency.
On account of the long-term practice of what I term organizational tribalism, we now have “individual” free agency – anyone can do and say whatever they want, even when their actions are anti-group.
The Black community resembles the Wild West with no rules or regulations, nor is there any capacity or measures in place to correct bad or errant behavior. When standards become tightened coupled with the reduction of the collective voice, the worst behavior, in many cases, rises to the top.
When this type of behavior continues for any period of time, hopelessness increases and those who have good intentions are unable to make corrections to bad individual behavior. And this is magnified because there is no leadership (no one is in charge); the Black community, then, suffers tremendously.
Trust me I know of what I speak.
As bad as things are for the Black community, what is even worse is that so many Black people have come to accept this reality.
Where is the sense of urgency and why aren’t there more Black leaders demanding something that could/would address these issues? Where is the energy on a local level or a national level that most of us can relate to that addresses the social and economic issues facing the Black community? Where are the meeting places and meetings to discuss these issues along with possible strategies and solutions? Where are the movement and the centralized effort to fix these issues? Who are our leaders and what are they doing about these facts?
We live in a democracy and in a democracy if you want to win you must have leadership. Every group is seeking to obtain more control, power and resources that are very limited and all of them have representation. In order for any idea or group to win above others, leadership is required. Who represents the Black community locally and/or nationally? Who speaks for the Black community when it’s time to negotiate [on behalf of the Black community]?
The honest answer is that the Black community has no one leader. I compare our community to a body without a head because a multitude of leaders is like having no leader at all, especially if those individuals are not working together.
In my humble and perhaps unsolicited opinion, there are three things that The Black community must recognize if we are to have a shot at changing our conditions… It is going to take a significant and unparalleled high level of unity amongst Black people, especially our leaders. Our progress will only come when we organize our resources, capacities, and people.
Finally, we will have to earn the success that we envision.
Last year, while delivering a speech, I painstakingly pointed out that while we lack the individual and organizational capacity in many areas, as a group we are stronger. We are greater than the sum of our parts.
Another ongoing problem is that we don’t get to see our collective power in action often enough. Portents of bad news, yet I must break it to you. But no one person or organization is going to save Black people. Granted, this is some tough stuff and it’s not going to be easy, but we must do for ourselves what no one else will do. We must do the work; progress through organization. Again, permit me to proffer an analogy.
I liken our condition to a house that is on fire (our community) and the irony is that the hose, loaded with water (organized movement), is right next to the house but no one is picking it up to put out the fire (organizing), cooperation or functional unity. Many times when we call for “unity” amongst our people, we are calling for something that is unachievable, especially at the stage where we are in our development.
Why? Many times the call for unity is an emotional one, usually in response to some outrage that we just experienced (we’re sick and tired of what is happening to us). We need to change our strategy. Our children don’t care about our status, egos, or our pedigree, for their destiny has already been determined unless we unite around a common cause.
Even [our] academia has not been able to utilize the knowledge acquired from some of the best universities to advance the self-determination of Black people–BLACK SURVIVAL. Our leadership continues to fail us by not doing the very basic things, creating unity. Let us bring in a bit of all year-round Black History; our present condition and some of the individual and collective benefits currently enjoyed are due to the struggles of those that came before, so to paraphrase Luke 12: 48 “When much is given, much is required.”
There is no other option; we must unite.
Take for example a house, look at each part, bricks, carpets, window, doors and even the labour has its own inherent value. However, when the parts are put together in one place at one time into the final product escalates the value exponentially. When it all comes together it is termed Synergy. We must coordinate the unbelievable talents and skills of our people if we are to have a fighting chance.
I liken the resources and power that exist in our community to the electrical energy that is running in the wires representing thousands of watts of energy.
Guess what? Unless that energy is captured and contained, it can’t be used. Unity is essential.
Aleuta—The struggle continues
To be continued: On the path to success—–Preventing Unity from being a Fantasy.