Black Lives Matter. Black Entertainment Television. The NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People). The United Negro College Fund. I’m certainly not going to put down what these have meant to our community as I do understand that a lot of people have benefitted in positive ways from it.
However, I personally don’t need or even want any of it.
This is not to say that I’ve never watched BET. That’s not what I mean when I say that I don’t “want” any of it. I think an intelligent person could figure that much out on their own.
Anyway, it wouldn’t be surprising that people would have a problem with me saying this, mostly in our community. If that’s you, take a number. I’m 36 years old right now. I’m not losing sleep over people having a problem with me saying this and that. I don’t owe anyone anything but honesty, whether it sounds good or not.
I understand that we are minorities in this country and organizations geared toward helping us can be very beneficial. However, I’ve never been overly impressed with things like this, because to me, it still demonstrates the very segregation that our civil rights leaders fought so hard for us to get away from.
Speaking of civil rights leaders, it seems that so many of us are quick to reference quotes from them when they’re convenient, but to me, many are confused as to what many of them really mean.
After all, it’s fine to resort to the quotes, but there isn’t a single one that tells me that what’s going on today is what they were fighting for.
Maybe I’m just stubborn. I just prefer to earn everything I get in life. Everything.
Again, a lot of people may have a problem with that. I’m only concerned with making sure that as a reach any goals I’m looking to reach, that those involved feel that I deserve to be there. I’m not looking for my race to help me along the way.
Don’t get me wrong; it is commendable that these minority organizations are looking to help others. It’s just not something I personally care for.
I very much understand that no one got to where they are without help. I am an aspiring screenwriter. I’m well-aware that help is about the only way I can be successful with this. But I do not want my race to play a factor at all.
Some have suggested that if I were to make it as a career screenwriter, that I look to “hook up with other black people” so they can “help me out.” I’m not doing that. I’m not going to limit myself in that or any way. Some have also said that I should “write roles for black people.” Not happening either. I’m not piggybacking on my race to get there and I’m sure as hell not letting others do the same with me.
“But Robert, if you are successful, people don’t have to know how it happened.” That’s true. They don’t have to know. But I’ll know. That’s the point.
“But come on, Robert; if someone from one of these minority organizations offered help, you would take it.” No, I wouldn’t. Not if it means limiting myself in any way. These days, there’s always this expectation in our community that whenever a black person succeeds, they somehow owe something to the rest of our community. Not happening with me. I want my success to be long-term and limitless.
As an aspiring screenwriter, I’m working on a script that I’m looking to send to the star of ABC’s Nashville, Connie Britton. It’s a long shot to begin with, but in the slim chance that this script does get to her, the slimmer chance that she’s impressed with it and the slimmest chance that I’m able to meet her, I don’t want her to feel that she has made a mistake in any way. I don’t want any questions or second-guessing. Even if she was the most avid of supporters of minority organizations, I still would want to earn that meeting with her. Again, as difficult as it will be to make it as a screenwriter, I want to get there and stay. I want anyone I get involved with, especially Connie, to feel that I deserve to be there.
Some may not understand that or support that. That’s fine. If you’re a person who wants take advantage of something that puts you a bit ahead of others strictly because of your race, that’s entirely up to you. However, it’s not something I care to do.
Then again, if it bothers people in our community or people feel “threatened” by this in some way, that sounds like a personal problem to me. If and when I am successful as a screenwriter and people ask how I got there, here is what I would like to say. Hard work. Dedication. Sacrifice. Work ethic. Determination. Perseverance. I don’t want “black” to be anywhere in the conversation.
Again, this is not to put down minority organizations or those who support them. I commend what they are looking to do for others. It’s just my personal choice not to “ride” anything that gives me an advantage simply because of my race. You can say what you want about the perceived “white privilege” and all that. Just leave me out of of it.
That’s the kind of “preachy” stuff people don’t want to hear. That’s fine. I don’t live my life based on what other people want. If saying this makes me an “Uncle Tom,” a “sellout,” or any of the other overused, typical nonsense that I’ve heard for the better part of my 36 years, then so be it. Saying all that hasn’t changed who I’ve been and it surely won’t change who I will continue to be.
Then again, a white person says this same thing, the same ones who would criticize me wouldn’t bat an eye, which tells me something very simple as is very similar again, to what I’ve heard most of my life from the jealous members of our community.
But as the Kermit meme says, “…that’s none of my business…”