I’ve been seeing a meme going around stating that being pro-Black means letting Black people exist in ways you don’t agree with, and I agree. Here’s why:
You can’t micromanage people you literally don’t know. The only way you know something about someone is if they tell you; if they don’t tell you, how can you know? Furthermore, our responsibility is to the people we know, that impact our lives directly. We have to make sure people are not harming themselves and others, but if there are ways of life that we don’t agree with, I believe we still protect each other in moments that call for unity, teach each other, and still make each other feel safe. I have practiced this multiple times and I don’t regret it, in those moments it wasn’t about if we agree, it was about being a United front against a common enemy. There’s no reason to mistreat other Black people simply because you don’t agree with their lifestyle, considering our history.
A lot of our actions are a trauma response, let’s be real, not all, but imagine being the only people in the world that have been stripped of the ability to easily know our history and who we are, where we come from, and the customs and successes in our direct lineage. Well, you don’t have to imagine if you’re Black, you live it. So when we adopt all these lifestyles that are un-African, it’s literally, I believe, an attempt to belong, and understand who we are by clinging on to something. Talking to these people always reveals that these particular people don’t know our true history. When I see Black people practicing Buddhism, I say what?! We have plenty of African religions and ways of life that align more with who we are, but how is one supposed to know? And the embracing of an outside culture may be a response to the pain of acknowledging that many of us really don’t know our history, so people reject Africanness completely.
I’m not saying that rejecting Africanness is right, but just as much as I point out a problem, I point out solutions, and also a possible cause. Black people need love from each other, not more judgement in an already judgmental world towards us on a regular. Where do we feel safe? I don’t agree with a lot of things and a lot of lifestyles, trust me, but everyone I interact with doesn’t always know it. I first have to understand that it’s better to try to understand the individual person, then determine how much this impacts me (whatever it is they’re doing), then “will I ever see this person again?” If not, what is there that I can say or do in this moment that shows the person who I am rather than tell them about themselves? I have an example – I don’t use curse words at all, but I don’t tell people that either, I also don’t judge people who curse. However, sometimes, people pick up on it and say “I have to do better” and they start apologizing for cursing around me; mind you, I have never told them I don’t curse or even looked at them funny for cursing, or even asked them to stop. They just notice, and start convicting themselves. Even though I’m really not judging them, people respond to what you do sometimes more than what you say, and I am very aware of that. I am not perfect at all, but if I believe in an African centered way of life I try intentionally to show it. I am a fun person, life of the party, serious when I need to be, but what I care about is how I treat people. Listen, we can talk all day about lifestyles we disagree with, but I’m more concerned with how that Black person treats me than what they believe, practice or who they “love”. If we want unity, we have to sacrifice forcing our beliefs for a while, besides, in Africa, before colonization, we had different ways of life, religions, and cultures. We are still one Africa even if we don’t believe the same thing.
We can state our opinions all day, practice our religions, and reject certain lifestyles, it is warranted and is needed to live the life you want; but at the grocery store, what does it benefit you to look down on your brother, when the situation calls for unity, just be unified.
Join my Dear Black People™ webinar series and learn how to become free of this thinking, in order to unify – toodles!