There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things.
The names Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Laquan McDonald, Tamir Rice, Walter Scott, Sandra Bland, Alton Sterling, and Philando Castile are ones that are, or at least they should be, deeply embedded within the hearts and minds of every black man, woman, and child in America. All of their deaths were at the hands of the police. In the case of Sandra Bland, while not being killed directly by the police, she was arrested and jailed for a minor offense and was found dead three days later in her cell. It was ruled a suicide, but the circumstances surrounding her death are murky at best.
All of those brothers and sisters serve as both real and painful reminders that they can be any of us at any time for any reason if you’re black. Each time a white police officer kills an unarmed black person, or some other act is committed against a black person by a white person that is clearly racially motivated, inevitably there will be talk about white supremacy. There will also be talk about how to overcome it or overthrow it.
In my opinion, there are a few things that we as black people that we can do to combat white supremacy.
Accept The Fact That Their View Of Us Isn’t Going to Change
To be fair, not all white people are evil or racist. I’ve had plenty of white friends over the years, truth be told, some of them have done things for me that my black friends simply wouldn’t or couldn’t. I’ve had some of them treat me better than my own kind at times. However, I’m not naïve enough to think that my experiences represent the aggregate.
The truth is that a lot of white people, especially those that occupy positions of power and authority don’t want to share their power. Furthermore, they can’t conceptualize a world in which they aren’t on top, or one that doesn’t revolve around them and their interests. They feel threatened when groups like blacks and Hispanics start to gain influence. In their minds, they will always be superior and everyone who look doesn’t like them will always be inferior, especially blacks.
Stop Looking For White Acceptance
We as black people rarely get in on things at the ground floor. Far too often we only accept things or see the value in things once white people accept and validate them. After the validation comes then comes the exploitation. Black people have influenced popular culture, arguably, more than other race of people, yet have the least to show for it. This is due in large part to our failures to invest in ourselves. We didn’t see the value in what we were producing and have allowed others namely white people, (Asians are another group) to make untold sums of money exporting our culture and creations to the world. We need to see the value in ourselves not wait to be validated by white people. Be unapologetically what you are.
Bring Something of Value To The Table
Our society in general, but our governing system particularly, is based in large part on two ancient civilizations, Greece and Rome. Rome, without question was the dominant civilization of the ancient world. Even though they conquered the Greeks, the Romans had a great respect for them. So much so that the Romans own native language, Latin, essentially became used primarily for official business only while Greek was used for daily speaking. The Romans also adopted the personification of Greek gods and accepted them as their own. They also adopted, and in some cases, modified existing Greek technologies and incorporated them into their society. Much of Roman culture is in fact borrowed from or at least influenced by the Greeks.
Now, how does this relate to us? It’s simple really. We are in the same situation as the Greeks. We are conquered people. However, much of American culture is made of black culture. Despite ruling the Greeks, the Romans respected them and their culture.
Black people to accept the fact that as I said previously, white people may never see us equals. They may never like us either. I’m fine with both of those truths. We don’t need them to like us. We do need them to respect us. The most effective way to earn respect today in America is through money. Race does and will always play a big part in everything, but the one color white respect is green.
According to the Nielson report, black people are estimated to have a purchasing power of 1.3 trillion dollars by the end of 2017. What if we took that money and invested in our own communities? What if we purchased land in our communities to keep them from being gentrified? What if built, maintained, and supported our own schools? What if we built up our business infrastructure in the form of business and banks that employed and lent money to our own? 1.3 trillion dollars is nothing to sneeze at. If black America were a country that spending power when converted to Gross Domestic Product, (GDP) would place at in the top 20 in the world.
If we want white people to respect us, we’ve got to bring something to the table that they respect, and the best thing at our disposal is wealth. When we assert our wealth and became real players in the game, they’ll be forced to work with us. As the old saying goes, “money talks and bullshit walks.”
A Unified Front
There is strength in numbers and power in unity. I want to circle back to the Greeks again for a moment. I’m sure many of you may be familiar with the story of the 300 Spartans. At the very least, you may have seen the movie 300. The Greeks at the time of the 300 Spartans were not a nation. They were a collection of city-states. Athens, Sparta, and Macedonia are probably the most famous once that most people who aren’t into history as much as I am would probably have heard of and would be familiar with.
The Persian Empire lead by Xerxes came to the Greek mainland determined to subjugate all of Greece. Athens and Sparta were bitter rivals that often fought with each other as all the city states that made up Greece at the time did.
The Athenians and Spartans but their differences aside once was it was known that the Persians were going to invade Greece. Despite the Spartans being their biggest rivals, the Athenians choose them to lead the unified defense force because they were the special forces of their day. In other words, despite their differences, the Athenians saw the value of the Spartans.
They realized that it was more important to be Greek, than simply Athenian or Spartan. The Greeks drove the Persians back into Asian, unified as a country and years later, Alexander the Great would lead the Greek army into Asian and he eventually conquered the Persian Empire.
None of that would have been possible, and history as we know it could have been a lot different, had the Greeks not been willing to put aside petty differences and to see each other as one people.
We as black people need to learn to do the same. We need to see each other as one, not African, African American, but same as family. As long as we are divided we can easily be conquered. My grandmother once said to me, “There’s no amount of good that can’t be done we no one cares who gets the credit.” It doesn’t matter who leads or gets the credit as long as well all prosper.