One day I was in a debate with a couple brothers about the plight of the Black man in America, and it seemed like no matter what I said, they’d harken back to a statement about us being oppressed in this country.
Sure, we’ve been oppressed for many centuries here under slavery; The Black Codes, Jim Crow, Redlining, bad loans or no loans at all, unemployment, and now Mass Incarceration, but even when I mentioned all the good things that we’ve accomplished during these same times, they basically threw them out the window and dug right back in with the woe is me, woe is us, oppression talk! So I thought to myself, I don’t feel oppressed, what are they talking about?
Don’t get me wrong here, I understand that being Black in America comes with extra rules and can be burdensome at times, but are we really oppressed in the manner that they continue to propagate?
Can we as Black people honestly say that all the things that I’ve listed above as burdensome and unjust has effected us at a 100% level over the past 40 years? In this time period there has always been a small percentage of Blacks that suffer from each problem, and some from a few of them at a time, but as a people, not even 30% can say that these things have them oppressed!
We’ve had ample opportunity to open our own banks and give loans to each other, but nope, hasn’t happened. You can walk through any black neighborhood in the US and see 100’s of businesses that aren’t owned by Black people; from beauty supply stores, corner restaurants, gas stations, grocery stores, nail salons, and a host of other businesses that siphon money out of our communities and never bring it back!
But we surely do own churches, lots of them! And guess what, the churches follow the same pattern, they siphon money out of the community to the tune of $252 million a week, that never goes back into the community! Then they take valuable tax dollars away from the community also, and hardly none of them open businesses to help their unemployed congregation!
Then you have Black people that lay claim to the fact that the man is deliberately keeping us from owning businesses, by making us jump through hoops to get loans. As if a bank or the SBA wants to just lend money to someone without a business plan and a bad credit score, c’mon, it’s just not going to happen!
Now there are instances when all the criteria is met, and we are denied loans, but let’s be serious, does that happen to the majority of Blacks on a regular, no it doesn’t! Or sometimes they might give us higher interest rates than white people, but when these things happen, thanks to hard fought rights, those lenders can be sued for doing so if it ever comes to light. Which it did recently, and the lenders got fined and will have to pay back millions of dollars in restitution to the Black homeowners that were defrauded!
I can go on but you get the picture right, yeah things are not fair, we still have work to do but to harp on the fact that we’re still oppressed is Self defeating! Black Re-Activist want you to believe that your position in this country is out of your hands, it’s what the Man wants or bust, yet every single day we see Black people succeeding in various endeavors and creating a better life for themselves and their families! But for some reason this isn’t good enough for a small but loud group of Black men who lay claim to being the keepers of the Black consciousness, the Afrocentric understandings, and the warrior mindset that will liberate us from this oppression that we all suffer under.
I’ve gone as far as to ask them, do you think, Oprah Winfrey, Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Jay Z and a host of other Black billionaires and multi millionaires wake up in the morning feeling oppressed? Why don’t they? Even those of us that have small businesses and aren’t even close to being millionaires don’t seem to share in this same thought pattern! Why is that? It’s because we realized that if they strive to be the best that we can be and have something to offer worth value, we can rise above the things that these Black men feel are oppressing Black people.
1. the exercise of authority or power in a burdensome, cruel, or unjust manner.
2. an act or instance of oppressing.
3. the state of being oppressed.
4. the feeling of being heavily burdened, mentally or physically, by troubles, adverse conditions, anxiety, etc.
Now think about why these men feel oppressed! It’s because of unjust laws, lack of gainful employment and feeling like racist cops and others can do anything to them at anytime and get away with it. Although unjust laws do create an oppressed like state for Black people in America, the reality of the situation is that, it’s mostly in our heads.
And this is what made me think about the phrase Self-Oppression, I looked it up and I found a few spiritual and holistic usages of the phrase but no one has ever broke it down into a psychological or sociological thinking for a group of people based off the 4th definition for the word Oppression and the adding of self to the other three!
So when you add self to the word oppression what do you get;
1. the exercise of authority or power in a burdensome me, cruel, or unjust manner on your SELF
2. an act or instance of oppressing your SELF
3. the state of being oppressed by your SELF
The 4th definition already lets us know that this could be a feeling that we have, which by definition means it’s coming from your SELF.
So what you get is that a Self Oppressed person believes that he/she is being oppressed by outside forces and reacts accordingly. Every time something bad happens, it’s because they’re Black, and a racist white man hates them! Whenever a black white interaction occurs that is negative, wether it be warranted or not, the race card is pulled by the Self Oppressed, thus adding to the fact that he is being oppressed.
On the flip side a Black man with money doesn’t worry about being targeted by corrupt cops because if he is detained unjustly, he can higher a good lawyer to get him exonerated, a poor man can’t, therefore he feels oppressed by the penal system!
A rich Black person or one that owns his own business (rich or not) doesn’t worry about employment, or that he might get fired by a racist boss, the poor Black man feels he’s being oppressed because he has to work for a white man that may be racist and fire him at anytime, therefore boosting the feeling of being oppressed. In fact rich Black people could care less about racist white people, because the things that racist can affect are within their range of getting fixed because they can afford to fix them!
But in reality though, the vast majority of white people are not racist, maybe biased towards Black people but not flat out racist! And to take it a step further, the percentage of Black people that work for small white business owners is minuscule by comparison of how many of us work for major corporations or governmental bodies like the post office and other stuff, so for the most part the fear of being fired by a racist is mostly in our heads, especially because more than likely you would have never been hired by the racist in the first place. But guess what, when unfair hiring practices come to light, thanks to some hard fought rights again, these employers can be sued.
The Self Oppressed attitude keeps you in a position of thinking that the Man controls your life behind the scenes, and the Black Re-Activist who suffers from the same syndrome believes that he’s enlightening the world to the evils of the Man, therefore his points are valid. But have you ever wondered why you can read post after post on social media outlets from these Re-Activist about what ails the Black Community, but none of them have a plan or even concept on how to rectify this situation except for becoming more African centered.
None of them have plans on how to sustain a Black population if we ever became a sovereign people, none of them own businesses, besides the ubiquitous African book Store that sales boatloads of Afrocentric stuff, that a lot of is made in China, go figure!
I love my Black people but at the end of the day, we need to step away from self oppressing ourselves and continue to reach for the stars in order to rise above this oppressed state that the poorest amongst us find themselves in. If each person committed himself/herself to becoming the best person that they could be, this mind state will not exist in two decades. The Self Oppressed will become the successful self and as long as we understand that the things that we feel are oppressing us have to do with money and social status, then we’ll feel like the successful people of today feel. They know that black people still have work to do, but they also know that the future is ours to create and that white supremacy and racism can not hold us back if we continue to strive for greatness and stop Self Oppressing ourselves, we don’t have to worry about being New Slaves!