Dasrryl James

*There is nothing that says that Black people have to exist.

The entire demographics of the nation can be changed. How many Native Americans are still around?  Their numbers are fewer than our own, yet they have land that they can call their own, and protected commerce on that same land.

What do we have aside from our own holiday and month of history?  We are owed nothing, unless we write the check and force the bank to negotiate it.

Some of us demand reparations and cannot even have an agreed upon methodology of getting them by the majority of us.

We have no cultural center.  Our stereotypes are negative and damaging, but we perpetuate them and many of us become angry at the suggestion that we should dignify ourselves. To see this clearly, tell people you dislike Tyler Perry or the coons of Black comedy. You would think someone slapped Harriet Tubman.

Yes, we’ve come a long way. In the wrong direction.

We don’t even have a political center, typically rolling with the Democratic Party without intrinsically challenging or exploring the Republican Party. Our foray into exploring the Republican Party is to twist to the opposite of what we are. Our embrace of that party is typically for personal economic pursuit or personal political gain, tacitly ignoring the heavy racist hand with which the party is run. We are severely emotionally and illogically divided along party lines.

We once cheered to see one of our own move ahead into new territory.  We cheered because we knew that it meant more opportunity for others of us.  Now, we cheer, but the opportunities are for individuals who open no doors, who fail to look back, and who make every attempt to shut down the opportunities for others, in favor of being the new, the few and/or the only.

Yet, we still cheer.

We’ve been all the way in, but we can move all the way out without too many pains.

We have everything we need already to be self-sufficient. But we can’t come together and leverage what we have, because of our skewed worldview of others and ourselves.  No one speaks of how difficult it is to do business with us more than us.  Yet, we take all the trashing and abuse other cultures dish out when giving us the “privilege” of buying their wares, while making them rich.

Integration was a good idea, but the result was not.  After the Civil Rights Movement, the immediate beneficiaries got theirs, moved away and dropped the ball.  For them, it became an individual pursuit of the American dream.  They, like white America, wanted to segregate from “those people,” who were simply left behind with very few services, little representation and no voice.

Of course, they will revisit for a photo op, or to talk about how bad it really is living “there.”

It’s a bad move, but we continue that movement.

Instead of building our own schools, we send our children to other schools. Instead of building our own wealth, we participate in the wealth building of others, for small personal gain or for nothing.  Instead of spending time rebuilding our communities, we chase after gentrification and regentrification

Yet, some thirty years after integration, we still find difficulties fitting in as a group. We cannot assimilate, even though others can.  More importantly, no one wants us to assimilate because we have nothing to offer when we show up.  We control no industry, even when we serve as the product or create the product.  We don’t even understand or control our actual collective wealth and power.  We come to the table with confusion and divisive language and behavior among our poor and the wealthy alike.

We have given up everything desirable about us, sharing with others, while denying it to ourselves.  We fail to cherish our own music, our own hairstyles, and even our own skin color, yet watch and fawn as others take pieces of us and claim them as their own.

It’s not hard to be a part of an oppressed people, but it’s hard to be a part of a group of underachievers, where few are doing great things. We have no collective conscience. We are not building towards anything or striving to make things better for the next generation. We are just here. Making a spectacle out of ourselves and having a sense of entitlement.

We feel that we are entitled to be lead, but we will not allow anyone to lead.  One or a group of us can not show up and make things better, because our divisive language will tear down the effort. We attack them and burn them out, yet still expect them to serve us AND serve us the way we want them to. “Don’t do it that way,” “That’s not what I would do,” and “Don’t write about THAT!”

We rail against differing groups of us and fail to find common ground even when we are standing in the same pit of snakes.

A people are only as good as their weakest link. So how can we be strong when we watch our weakest fall with no or little action?  Instead of creating programs to uplift our weakest, we curse them for being weak and reject any reason for their weakness as an excuse.  The most successful of us refuse to have intrinsic dialogue about the bottom of our race.

It’s heartbreaking to know that we have unlimited potential and there is not even a dialogue anymore.

Here’s some prose: Genocide has an “I” right in the middle.

And that’s how we are going out.

Now that I have raged against the machine of self-destruction, I will outline the new paradigms we can follow in another column.  Stay tuned.

Darryl James is an award-winning author of the powerful new anthology “Notes From The Edge.” James’ stage play, “Love In A Day,” opens in Los Angeles this Spring. View previous installments of this column at www.bridgecolumn.proboards36.com. Reach James at djames@theblackgendergap.com.