There’s this sad, twisted and disgusting mindset in the black community that we’re owed something for some reason. If and when other blacks achieve some level of success, apparently there’s some sort of “obligation” to the rest of the black community then as well. On top of that, it’s largely believed that any black person who strives to be successful in any way, especially if more whites are involved than blacks, that they are being “sellouts” because of “turning their backs” on the black community.
I can’t speak for everyone, but I can speak for myself, and I’m going to say that I don’t owe our community a damn thing. Period. My single mother of four of us, even growing up poor, always taught me that NO ONE OWES YOU ANYTHING. Unless you do something for them, they owe you nothing, and even if you do something for them, do it without expecting in return.
A lot of the black community has this mindset that we’re “owed” everything and it stems from the days of slavery. I won’t spend a lot of time on that except to say that none of us experienced slavery, so it’s silly to speak on it and pretend we understand exactly how our ancestors lived. WE DON’T. End of discussion.
Everything we know about slavery today is secondhand, coming mostly from history books. I don’t even consider the nonsense other blacks mention, because what they say comes from the history books as well.
Considering the nature of this post, I don’t expect it to matter to most for me to say that I’m not saying slavery doesn’t matter or didn’t happen, and that’s fine. Slavery matters and was a big deal. However, this mindset that we’re owed this and that, more recently comes from the days we were still segregated from whites. Now some people use that as strength and motivation while others use it as a crutch. The bottom line is that most blacks use it as a crutch. Period.
I’m less than three months away from turning 35 and I’ve been called a “sellout” for most of my life. “Uncle Tom” didn’t come until much later, but at this point in my life, it’s a joke. Not a “funny” joke, but a sad, pathetic one. Sad and pathetic for other blacks to think saying that matters to me. Sad and pathetic that many think it’s going to stop ANYTHING I’m doing. It didn’t stop me when I was younger and it damn sure won’t stop me now.
What exactly is a “sellout”? A sellout (in this context) is a black person who (as believed by other blacks) achieves or strive for success is merely trying to behave like a white person or is trying to get in good with the white community. I wish it went a lot deeper than that, but it really doesn’t.
In other words, a lot of the black community has such little faith in themselves and what can be accomplished that when we encounter a fellow black person who does have the drive and determination to better themselves and not limit themselves to ONLY the black community while doing so, the ONLY possible explanation is that they’re “trying to be white.” Does that ANY make sense at all?
Seriously…many of the people in our community aren’t even intelligent enough to understand that we’re putting ourselves down by saying or even thinking this. Rather than being happy for the people who are trying to better themselves, it’s obviously that they simply want to “go to the other side.”
I’ve heard every excuse there is. We don’t love ourselves. We don’t respect ourselves. We don’t know our history. We shouldn’t be this way because whites all hate us. Whites are laughing at us. Whites think we’re stupid. Whites think they’re superior. We’ll “never be as good as they are” (as if we’re trying to be). The list certainly goes on. And it’s all bullshit.
Okay…maybe not ALL of it. There certainly are white folks out there who feel these ways. I’ve never said those thoughts don’t happen from members of the white community. However, damn near all the time it’s said by much of the black community, it’s a generalization of ALL whites with absolutely NO proof whatsoever. When that happens, which I feel is about 90% of the time, it’s indeed bullshit.
So what are the things that make us “sellouts”? Let’s see…speaking with intelligence and using full sentences. No way that the black community is capable of that, so it’s obviously just a ploy to “become white.” Having friends who are white, yep…another ploy. Working in a career that’s predominantly white…it’s certainly NOT AT ALL possible that we have minds of our own and simply enjoy the careers. Never. We as blacks aren’t capable of that, so that decision is driven by white folks, 100%. The fact that we state that our community NEEDS TO DO BETTER and we don’t run around yelling “Black Power” every five minutes, or blaming everything on race…it’s not that we’re lying about it, but we just, you know…“shouldn’t” say it, you know, because we’re black. And THAT list could go on, too.
You know what the alternatives to all those things are, right? Let’s see…to avoid being called a “sellout,” then instead of speaking with intelligence, I’ll speak with ignorance and use slang every other word. That’s much better. I’ll dump all my white friends, not because they’ve ACTUALLY done anything wrong, but because my community says that they’re just “bad” for me. They don’t have any proof, but they say it, so I should just do it. Careers that are predominantly white? Let me switch to some careers that are predominantly black then. So let’s hear some…wait…I’m talking about those that WON’T land me in jail. Exactly. Instead of saying that we need to do better as a community, I’ll just pretend that we’re not on the news every single day just about EVERYWHERE in the country for committing crimes. I’ll pretend that NONE of that is our fault, but something we HAD to do or a conspiracy of some kind. Give me a break.
It’s reasons like these that explain exactly why I say I don’t owe ANYTHING to the black community. Right now, I’m working toward a career as a screenwriter. Now if I get anywhere with it, I can guarantee a lot of the black community will say that I “should look out for our people” or they would expect handouts in the form of money or a job that they aren’t going to work hard for. Remember…they’ll expect that I “owe” this to them. Well, the people who try that nonsense will be pitifully embarrassed if they try that with me.
Calling me a “sellout” would mean that you’ve done a ton for me and I should return the favor. But here’s the thing; you haven’t done ANYTHING for me, so by definition, that wouldn’t make me a sellout. Oh…the unspoken “obligation” that I shouldn’t “turn my back on the black community”…yeah, I’m not buying that one, either. The only person I have ANY obligation is to my damn self, my wife and our two children, and I owe them a whole lot more because they’ve actually been there for me. The black community largely hasn’t done anything but put me down for most of my life, so it’s just laughable to think that after I bust my ass to make something of myself and become a success that I’m supposed to come back to these same people to just to hand over what I’VE worked hard for. Please. Don’t embarrass yourselves by thinking that will ever happen. If you don’t have a hand in what I’m doing, you sure as hell won’t have a hand in what I earn from it, especially if you simply expect it to be automatic.
As for Uncle Tom, most people say it as an insult without realizing who he was and let me tell you…it’s not at all what you think it means. It originated from “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” and this “Uncle Tom” character was totally different than the way blacks use the term today. But you know the drill…someone decided to use it as an insult in the INCORRECT way and to lash out, our community just blindly followed behind them. When things like that happen, it’s clear that the people quick to use this term, along with “sellout,” are the ones who don’t love or respect themselves. It’s said to cover up their insecurities. If you weren’t insecure, then it wouldn’t intimidate or bother you that I and many others don’t follow all the unwritten rules of being black or the unwritten “codes of blackness” that exist.
I don’t expect to change the world or the opinions of anyone with this post. Just as that won’t happen, neither should you expect me to change just because of calling me those names. I guarantee I’m way more comfortable in my skin than you would ever be in yours. See, you’re thinking you have an obligation to our community and that you owe them something. This is why many other blacks never make it anywhere and it’s their own fault. As I’ve said, I don’t have an obligation to anyone but myself and I don’t owe our community anything. Period.
I would finish this with “if you have a problem with me saying this,” but as I’ve already stated, it’s clear that a lot of people already do and after 30-plus years of it, it matters less and less to me each time. It’s entertaining though, how each new person comes along and thinks that for THEM to say it, it will mean more or hurt more. Nope. It actually makes me laugh more to know that the best you can do is something I’ve already heard a thousand times. Besides, I’m all about being happy…not impressing a community that, by much of their own doing, is moving nowhere and is simply looking to hold the rest of us back.
The difference between us is that some don’t advance because they don’t want to be looked upon poorly within our community and others, like me, couldn’t care less. Is there really any GOOD reason to care?
I didn’t think so.