Black == Lazy
Now, before the world comes to a screeching halt, let me explain the title. This expression is not a declarative statement. It is a question. Anyone who’s taken any level of computer programming can tell you that this expression can return one of two values, true or false. Having said that, the question reads “does black equal lazy?” The train of thought that led me to this question began one night at Wal-mart. I was there on a late-night ice cream run and on my way out of the door when I saw three young African American ladies walking into the store. The first young lady was wearing a white t-shirt and black pants. The second young lady had on a tank-top and shorts. It was the third young lady’s outfit that really surprised and outraged me. She had on what looked like a night gown with fuzzy slippers. Now what really outraged me about this was the fact that she wasn’t an any notable rush. There seemed to be no emergency or sense of urgency about her. “Why then”, I asked myself “does she look like she just rolled out of bed?” The only answer I could think of to justify her appearance would be the fact that she didn’t deem it necessary to change out of house clothes into something more suitable. Whatever she was after, if it didn’t warrant a change in clothes, did it really warrant the drive, the time spent lookinig for it, and the money to purchase it? If it’s not worth two minutes to change clothes, then I would suggest that it really wasn’t needed right then and their.
After thinking about this on my way home, I began to think about other African-Americans of my generation. Having attended a HBCU (Historically Black College/University) myself, I know many of the arguments/mindsets/belief systems held by many black people my age. Countelss are the times I’ve heard “the white man” blamed for all that ails black people. Yes, the system is unfair, unbalanced, and essentially broken, but it’s not broken beyond repair; neither is it impossible to excell and succeed under the current system. To do so just takes work.
I must admit, I’ve been working on this post for some few weeks now, trying to find exactly what I want to say about the subject, only to find there is so much to say. No, I don’t hate my own race, but I do hate that so many in my race choose to use their status as a minority as a crutch. Where’s the honor in that? So it’s harder to be black than it is to be white…so what. Numerous blacks have bucked the system to become prominent, wealthy, and respected in both the African American community and the majority white community. Most of them have been labeled as “sell-outs” or “tokens”. I was once called such things, and I still here them from certain people from time to time. If being scholastically successful, financially secure, well-read, and well-spoken makes me a “token” or “sell-out”, then I would submit someone who is “truly black” or whatever the opposite of a token or sell-out is would be the opposite of successful, financially secure, well-read, and well-spoken. Yes, I’m no thug, hoodie, OG, or any of that, but I am secure in my blackness; but I digress…
…Too many times have I witnessed young blacks blame others for their problems. If there’s one thing I will take from all the lessions of my mother, it is this: If you don’t like your situation, change what you’re doing and change it. Complaining about it, and blaming others certainly won’t change one’s station in life. Likewise, complaing about the fact that whites have it easier in this country than any other group won’t change the system and it certainly won’t help your cause of “getting out of the hood”. Trust me on this. I was born in the “hood” as it were, and only after 11 years of my (then single) mom working two and three jobs at a time did we finally start to “move on up in the world”. It’s after living through this that the sight of that young woman in that Walmart that night really infuriated me. We, as a race, have worked too hard to be miss represented by the lazy among us, and make no mistake about it; all many white people need is that one example for them to say “well, that’s just black people for you. Too lazy to put on decient clothes“. My mom, who is the most profound person I know, said in her customarily profound way “If you don’t like being shot at, why give the enemy amunition?”
Now before I loose what few white readers I have left at this point, let me assure you that neither my mother nor I view all whites as enemys of the black race, but her point is a valid one: Why give the system the means to discriminate against you? The answer to that is simple: How can you stop something that is viewed as being “true to yourself and your race?” Sounds confusing, I know, but that’s the whole point. Our self-image as a race has to change. Yes, our ancesters were victims of a great injustice, but as long as we view ourselves, in this day and age, as victims, we will never be equal.
So back to the original question: Black==Lazy. In retrospect, I think the question may be too broad to answer. In one sense, the answer is no, Black != Lazy (read black does not equal lazy…more computer stuff). I do know of many African-Americans who work hard to achieve what they have, and are working harder to achieve more. On the other hand, there are those who choose to do nothing and blame the white world for their problems. These are the onse you see habitually relying on welfare to feed themselves and their children. These are the ones you see uneducated, unemployed, and unmotivated to change; In this case, the answer is a resounding yes. But there is hope. Like MTV says The Know is Spreading.