I have often been accused by friends (black, white and all others in between) of being too logical, to the point that I am inhibited from seeing other people’s point of view ( I am not sure if that is a compliment or insult). They say that I enter into discussions with the false assumption that others are just as logical and rational as I am. I have been told this so often that I have conceded that perhaps they are telling the truth (they know me well enough to make such claims). Because I have finally accepted the charge against me, I often consult friends on matters that I find perplexing.
A black female friend and I once discussed how our historically unemployed (lazy) relatives often claimed that we were rich simply because we had things that they did not. I said to her that surely they understood that we worked for everything that we have. Her response to me was that they did not understand how we acquired what we had. I told her that it was illogical for someone not to correlate money or possessions with work, and I refused to believe it. Well, a short time later, my friend’s comments proved true.
A female relative of mine came to live with me for a short time. One day when I came home from work, she asked me where everyone in the neighborhood was. She said that during the day, she would go outdoors looking for someone to talk to and no one was around. I told her that they were at work, and I asked her how she thought the neighbors could pay for their homes if they did not go to work (just as I was going to work every day). She looked at me with a confused look on her face. Up until that point (she was nearly sixty years old), she had lived in neighborhoods where everyone (including her) received some kind of government check and therefore did not work. She always had someone to shuck and jive with because everyone was at home all day long. She told me that she was bored living in my (middleclass working) neighborhood.
A male relative of mine once tried to play the guilt trip on me in order to get money from me by lamenting about how tired he was of being broke. He told me that I did not know how it felt to be broke because I have always had money. He was in his early fifties and had spent his entire adult life mostly unemployed and in and out of jail for petty crimes. I asked him: did he think that money grew on trees? I told him that I have worked all of my life for everything that I have. He walked away with his tail between his legs.
If poor blacks cannot correlate money and possessions with work, there is no wonder that they think that they are entitled to the same things as working people. Most liberal voters are immature and live in a fantasy world. They believe that everything that working people have fell from the sky, and they somehow were not around to catch some of it. Therefore, they believe that it is not fair that they do not have the same things. Is that why it is so easy for the race baiters to go into these communities and claim that the rich have stolen from them?
Many black conservatives have said that Republicans need to go into the black communities in order to win the black vote. However, my concern is with how our message of hard work will be received by individuals in these liberal bastions who have never witnessed anyone consistently going to work every day. Liberals have inoculated these individuals against work and responsibility by continuously plying them with government handouts.
I once had a discussion with another black female friend about the unemployment history in the black inner city neighborhoods. I asked her why the blacks in these neighborhoods did not apply for jobs at the establishments that they frequent. She told me that the reason why they did not apply for jobs is that poor blacks do not think that the jobs are for them. I asked her what she meant by for them. She explained that poor blacks have been programmed to believe that jobs are only for white people and not for them, so therefore they do not apply. I do not know how my friend came to that conclusion; however, it was not long before her statements also proved true.
A young black man was lamenting to me about the lack of job opportunities for black men in corporate America. He told me that although he had a college degree, he was unable to obtain employment. Assuming that he had been applying for jobs, I asked him where he had applied. He told me that he had not applied anywhere. I asked why had he not applied and he said that he did not fit the description that the employers were looking for. He went on to claim that society, through television and movies, portray white men in suits as successful executives, therefore, he concluded that he did not fit the description for corporate America. I will concede that there is some merit to the argument that television and movies portray white businesspersons in suits as successful; however I cannot logically understand why someone would not at least apply for jobs. If poor blacks really believe that jobs are not for them, who is it that taught them that?
Most of the things that individuals are taught comes from the culture in which they were raised, whether it be work ethic, habits, or beliefs. Growing up in the South, my parents could not afford to buy me designer clothes and shoes. After joining the military, I purchased my first pair of designer sneakers and wore them home on my first leave after boot camp and job training. My older male cousin looked down at my sneakers and asked me what I was doing wearing them. He said that black people were not supposed to wear those type of shoes. It has been over 26 years since he made that statement and I remember it just like it was yesterday. He had been programmed by the culture that he was raised in to think that even if you have the money to purchase something, you were not supposed to have it. I often talk with successful blacks who think that they do not deserve what they have. One black male friend that lives in an affluent neighborhood told me that when he and his family are walking around in the town center, he feels that he is not supposed to be there.
Until the black community looks inward to solve its problems, nothing will change. Many problems in the black community are the result of a self-imposed inferiority complex. That is why it infuriates me so much to hear race baiters telling poor blacks that they are victims. The victim mindset causes complacency and impotence of action in an individual. One reason that the black community has regressed instead of progressed is due to the victim mindset that has caused cognitive blindness and mental paralysis. Blacks cannot continue to blame society for how blacks Americans are perceived. The black community must examine its culture and its effect on the lives of the individuals in the black community.
Written by Patricia L. Dickson.