Black consciousness is trouble for those African Americans who want to assimilate.
The closing of Black History Month comes the morning after the presentation of a whitewashed Hollywood Academy Award ceremony, where the ongoing battle for Black recognition, support and inclusion that also exists in most every sector in American society (and around the world) was aired on television for all to witness. From racist pushback on the Black Lives Matter movement to slanted headlines on social media and in the press, the attacks on the the Black community are at a fever pitch. There is no peace for Black people in any of the States in the Union.
After decades and centuries in battle for justice, what has changed? The Constitution and many of the national documents have had to be amended and reinterpreted because they too fall prey to the interpretation of racist men and propaganda and the whole idea of racism which is to keep one race in front of another. But still, what has changed?
What’s becoming more clear to many Blacks is that, similar to Black stars offering stellar performances that should have been considered by the academy for awards this year, there is no solution to be had in posing and posturing for White acceptance. Assimilation, post battle, is a trap far too many Blacks have fallen into.
Just as there are no “seats” at the Hollywood “production” table for Blacks to gain recognition, there are no true seats in society for Blacks who are conscious of a system that fails to be wholly inclusive and just. A “green light” is a temporary flicker that is controlled by a history of treachery and deception. This history is built into a status quo of powerhouses who remain quiet in the face of “winning” for a limited White few, a winning that actually equals economic stability for the limited group, a solid green light that shines brightly as long as the limited few remain in line with the system that shows preference to their success. Again, this condition pervades the sets of Hollywood features and the streets of every community in America.
Interestingly, the expected silence of the limited White group seeps into those Black seeking acceptance. The assimilators stand firm in their silence of protection of the White “green light,” calling for more work in line with White ideals and truly embracing White culture. They posit that Blacks simply haven’t gotten the green light because they aren’t White enough…yet. they must work harder to get along and once they get along, they’ll be given a seat at the table, a green light and maybe even accepted as White. These assimilators look down on the likes of Spike Lee and Jada Pinkett Smith, as their conscious positioning calls the question to frailty of the the White supremacist system they support.
Really, the goal shouldn’t be acceptance. It should be true independence and self-recognition. Then Blacks could unite and give themselves their own green lights and begin to accrue the same economic winnings and support as their counterparts.
This struggle for independence over acceptance isn’t new. It’s in the tradition of James Brown and others who created their own way. They used their consciousness to demand respect. Their character always shined through and, in the end, they won.
But, it’s not convenient. Indeed, consciousness is far less convenient than assimilation.
It is not convenient to commit to a cause that challenges the very system that controls economic stability. There’s a degree of uncomfortability that comes with speaking directly to the acts of the oppressor. It is not convenient nor is it a value for an entire city like Flint to need to call to action a system that had no care in its citizens or their lives. It is not convenient to be angered by such occurrences and sound an alarm calling on other change agents like Jesse Jackson and Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders to come and see and shine a line on the atrocities you face daily. But we must all face this temporary inconvenience if we will ever assume our proper position.
We must unite and use the system and our tools within the community to create our own new reality. There is a voice in forums like Black Twitter where there is no “getting in line” and speaking together as a ground strikes a resounding blow against the status quo. They can’t be ignored. The system must bend to them, to meet their needs. It is an example those assimilators could stand to recognize and … assimilate to.