Racism will never go away, at least that’s how it seems. The comments made by Donald Sterling in 2014, the former owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, should have been a reminder to all of us that the old way of thinking about people of color hasn’t diminished. Truth be told, we are living in a world whereby too many people have replaced visible signs of racism with private conversations.
I want to draw your attention to us (as a people) moving from simply talking about ending racism to doing something that’s relevant.
Preconceived notions of African-Americans as being lazy, incarcerated, and/or always asking for a handout is etched in the minds of too many people. It’s etched in the psyche of many ethnic groups, and what’s disturbing is that it is even etched in the minds of many African-Americans. Sadly and sinfully, we have allowed the actions of a few to give representation to the masses. Let me say it this way: If African-Americans ever experienced less than average service from a Black-owned establishment, there’s the notion that you can’t do business with Black-owned businesses.
Undo this thinking
This concept is both ridiculous and corrupting to the future of African-American growth and prosperity. Unless we undo this thinking, our Black-owned businesses will not be able to thrive locally, nationally, and internationally. Let me pose this to you: Why is it that African-Americans (in general) continue to patronize businesses that don’t hire them and support their community? I’m at a loss for words. Could it be the fact that too many African-Americans are operating with a slave mentality – accustomed to receiving less than from others that don’t look like them?
Not only in the business community must we demand better, we must demand better from those within the entertainment community. Songs and videos that cause us to degrade and demean ourselves will never do any good in helping change the perspective others have on us and about us.
Reality shows are most definitely a joke. Is it really necessary to make yourself look like a fool for profit? It’s fair to say that I’m not talking about every actor/actress, but there needs to be a sense of self-love and self-worth to not sell out.
Address the issue
In order for us (as African-Americans) to deal with the whole issue of racism, we can’t merely pray it away as some Christians want you to think and believe. We must address it spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physiologically. We must have an open dialogue with other cultures and ethnicities to explain to them why we must not be marginalized and devalued. In addition to this, we must undo the negative stereotypes we have towards one another. Think about it for a moment. When we participate in the foolishness of bringing each other down for one reason or another, it opens the door for other groups to do the same.
Here’s the clarion call: The African-American church, radio stations, and HBCUs must take the lead.
These three institutions have the greatest voice to bring about change and I’m urging all of them to reach across the aisles and invite different groups to engage in an intellectual discussion. We know the problem of racism as a collective group, now it’s time to educate our fellow brothers and sisters in ending this sickness. Will it be easy? No it won’t. Will there be opposition? Of course. However, the struggle to end racism is a never-ending process. Remember, if you’re not part of the solution, then you’re part of the problem.
Dr. Sinclair Grey III is a speaker, writer, author, life coach, and business trainer. Contact him at www.sinclairgrey.org, firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @drsinclairgrey