After watching the rerun of the 2007 BET awards on TV, a special friend of mine and I got into a discussion on the phone that went on late into the middle of the night. The discussion was centred around the concept behind the statement, “I’m black and I’m proud” as well as the other seemingly similar but apparently different statement, “I’m proud to be black.”
My issues were and remain that I do not see the point behind black people globally needing to affirm out loud their pride in being black. Essentially, I can understand pride in being a part of a race, tribe and whatever other mass of people that form the community you are part of, but I fail to really see the point in affirming it out loud, for other people to hear it.
I understand that the statement, “I’m black and I’m proud”, which one has seen in magazines and T-shirts and a whole lot of other places is meant to be part of this campaign that is geared to instilling into the so-called black nation some pride in their blackness.
But then ask the average black person who spews this statement, on the back of the time-worn argument that black people have been discriminated and marginalised and God-knows-what-else and you find that they are unable to break it down and describe exactly what this campaign is about.
And so, I shall then ask pointed questions in the hope that someone will break it down for me in simple easy to understand concepts what the point of this marketing campaign (make no mistake: it is one) is for.
I ask you:
- What are the values that blackness comes with?
- So people feel proud to be black. What is their character thereafter? That is, how do they behave differently from the way they behave now that fits within the above character?
- How does the change in their behaviour affect the competitiveness of black people globally as a nation?
- How is the world meant to therefore behave in the face of this proud black people?
- Will there come a time when this marketing campaign of instilling pride in people, will be irrelevant (because it will have been successful)?
I think a community can only be proud of its successes. The larger the community the more the number of successes in everyday life that are required to instil long term pride into their people.
The more black people who will excel – despite the odds – to positions of influence and leadership, positions that the world takes seriously (therefore outside of showbiz and entertainment, where black people have excelled) then the better the chances of black people having real stuff to be proud about.
Besides, for now, the field is as level as it is going to be for a while. The legislative process globally has been made politically correct to deal with whatever discrimination there may be. Enforcement of these laws remain the purview of normal individuals, whose biases can only be dealt with in the face of success.
It is when children in black communities stop being inadvertently stopped to be competitive in the so-called “non-black” areas such as speaking proper English because it is connoted to be “white” (true in America and in many parts of Africa) and sciences and other areas; when black people do not hinder each other’s growth or their own for fear of standing out that they shall truly be competitive.
I dare say here, Emancipation is largely complete. The next hurdle is competitiveness.