The only two things Americans hate more than talking about race issues might be exercising and eating healthy. In recent years, race has become a very important topic in America. Recent police killings of unarmed black men have raised concerns about how society values “black lives.”
Recent police killings of unarmed black men have raised concerns about how society values “black lives.”
The Academy Awards snub of black actors for two concurrent years raised questions regarding the value of black talent.
However, Buzzfeed decided to raise 27 questions, which they say black people often have for each other. First, here’s the video.
The questions posed in this video are not things that only black people ask. You can find the same comments on any conservative website or the Fox News channel.
What’s dangerous about this video, is that it feeds the “my black friend” trope that a lot of racists love to throw out there. One example, is when Charles Barkley said:
Unfortunately, as I tell my white friends, we as black people, we’re never going to be successful, not because of you white people, but because of other black people. When you’re black, you have to deal with so much crap in your life from other black people. It’s a dirty, dark secret; I’m glad it’s coming out.
People like Barkley and other black conservatives who routinely criticize and ask questions of the black community, rarely want to take the time to research and understand the answers. They just love to feel morally superior as though they are a class above their ignorant distant relatives.
The temptation for educated black people to want to segregate themselves from other black people who fit certain stereotypes is very real. But stereotypes, whether they are believed or practiced, require ignorance to exist.
A person who believes a stereotype chooses not to look deeper into the roots of their misconception. And the person who practices the stereotypical behavior must also be ignorant of the same roots as well as the damage his or her behavior does to them and their community.
White conservatives love their black conservative friends who they can trot out on Fox News to give long lectures of how morally inferior blacks are to whites.
The video also includes questions that are clearly designed to race bait, such as:
- Why is it so hard to be on time?
- How did watermelon become our thing?
- Why do we call each other the N-word but get vehemently upset when a white person uses the N-word.
- Why do some black men only date white women?
- Why do you protest Black Lives Matter but tear each other down in the next breath?
- Why is growing up without a father so common in our race?
Once again ignorance and the unwillingness to dig deeper without holding on to preconceived notions can account for why these questions are popular among white conservatives as well as a few African-Americans who feel frustrated.
Also, black people from other countries, like Africa, can also share some of the same questions.
Questions like, “Why do black people use the N-word?” are simple questions with answers that require a lot more time, research, and critical thought.
One question which almost encompass every frustrating thing an educated African-American can feel about negative people within their community is:
Why is being educated considered a white thing?
This is a question that every black person who wants to better themselves asks at some point in their lives. Most questions like this, are impossible to answer without going back to the “tired old excuse” called slavery.
Many would be surprised how this question is also prevalent in other cultures around the world, especially those who experienced white colonialism in their history.
Anytime you start to address the historical nature of a particular learned negative behavior, people’s eyes start to roll.
History is not an excuse; it’s context.
Some of the questions in the video were not all bad, asking why blacks don’t get more involved in politics is a good question. And there can be dozens of reasons why people don’t get more involved, here are just a few:
- Lack of education – Understanding politics requires education. While it’s true that many uneducated people do vote, most are not truly “involved” in politics. The truth is that politicians see them as warm bodies needed to keep them in power.
- Disenfranchisement – For generations blacks have been politically disenfranchised. Many politicians seek the “black vote,” but few are eager to repay the black community for their loyalty. While others actively try to suppress and invalidate the votes of minorities who traditionally vote against their party.
- Trying to survive – Economic statistics often show how most black people in general, are worse off financially than whites in America. If someone’s working 2 or 3 jobs trying to raise a family either by themselves or with a partner, politics may not be the highest priority in their life.
There are also people who just don’t care about politics; they may have the education, time, resources, and opportunity to get involved but they choose not to.
The Buzzfeed video features a few educated African-Americans who seem to have a disconnection from history because anyone who took the time to study and think about African-American history would have the answer to many of these questions. It’s not enough to just know about history, one must also think deeper to gain the understanding of how history relates to the present.
And to be clear, I’m not bashing any of the people in this video. Some of the questions were pretty stupid, but others were legitimate questions we’ve all asked at one point or another. Black people don’t always have to agree on everything, but certain questions have answers that never change.
Finally, questions like “why is it so hard to be on time?” should be asked of individuals, not of an entire race.
Featured image via video screen capture