Empowerment: Playing Your Part

Social Justice

Empowering and Impacting the Black Community:
         During the release of Beyonce’s unapologetically black visual album Lemonade, I noticed a truly detrimental epidemic. An onslaught of black people who couldn’t give credit in places it was obviously due because they couldn’t get over the “But what have you done for us” complex. Now don’t get me wrong I’m not blinded my beyhive goggles, I’m very obviously a fan but Beyonce’ has made some community contributions she just hasn’t bragged about them. People are so used to every act of charity broadcasted across social media that if it hasn’t been posted on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter then it hasn’t happened. This is not the case, in reality you should be wary of those that do things and make a show of it. You should always question the motives of those people. I could attach a list of charities The Carters contribute to regularly, but you could also do the research. Research is something our generation has also turned a blind eye to. Why are you being subdued by the media into believing she is exploiting black people and feminism? Well for one she has contributed an entire essay to feminism, more specifically gender equality. Then she put together a world tour of only female artist (from production to musicians). But once she narrows her scope to black women and their struggles you have a hard time believing the hype? That’s fine; I digress because my point is… WHO ARE YOU TO ASK WHAT SOMEONE ELSE HAS CONTRIBUTED TO THE BLACK COMMUNITY? What have you yourself contributed? I’m sure you have openly contributed to its exploitation: reposting gorilla memes comparing him to dead black youth, sharing fight videos, endorsing these shows that make us look like animals, asking your local black business owners for discounts? So I ask again, what have you contributed that places you above the acts of others?
         Before you try to deflect by asking me what I have personally done, I’ll start with this message I’m sharing with you. By blogging I’m making you increasingly aware of the injustices you ignore, and more aware of your own problematic behavior. By no means am I perfect, but I am contributing nonetheless. I have also joined the Black Student Union at my current institution; we are making ourselves a larger presence in the community and actively going out to make a difference. As an intern I am seeking out students of color who have fallen through the cracks and catching them, as well as creating opportunities for them to further their education. So again what are you actively doing that places you above others and their contributions?
         There are so many ways that you can contribute to the empowerment of our community, so many organizations you can join, and so many ways you can utilize your personal talents. So lets talk about some of the things you can do, I’ll start small.
1. Social Media- Use your voice! It seems trivial but every time you repost an injustice or draw awareness to a cause you are opening a few more minds. Create an online presence!
2. Join some organizations- find an organization that has values similar to your own, or simply start your own organization. Anyway to get involved.
3. Attend black institutions such as black churches and black colleges.
4. Seek out leadership positions in the community. May it be at work, school, or even within the government. We need representation and adequate leadership everywhere. Be a hand up instead of watching other people pass you up.
5. Go out and vote, encourage other people to vote! Not just in the presidential election but start small and start local. Those are the people that truly affect you and the amount of power our president has.
6. Do community service, this includes neighborhood beautification! It’s not about getting out the hood anymore but making it better. Gentrification is a real thing; it’s also a result of letting our neighborhoods fall apart. So get out there in the community and do your part! Take care of our people; even if you believe you have nothing, you still have enough to give.
7. Educate yourself outside the classroom. Read books, newspapers, and scientific journals! Knowledge is everywhere and it’s harder for you to be taken advantage of when you have the power of knowledge. Stop taking in that trashy television show and all that gossip. What you put in will soon produce fruit.
8. Do business with black owned businesses and stop asking for discounts. While you’re at it stop doing business with people that don’t appreciate your business. If you’re being exploited for them to make a dollar, its safe to say you should keep your money. On that note if these people wont hire you and you are obviously qualified, start your own business. Create a legacy for your children.
9. Stop sending your children where they are not wanted, joining groups where they are the only black children, sending them to schools with no diversity. You think you are helping them but you are further aiding in their brainwashing and making them numb to oppression. I’m not saying send them to bad schools or to pull them out of schools. But as the child of a teacher I know that there are options, and lots of them.
10. Finally, stop bashing other black people for the way in which they choose to empower other black people. You have your method and they have theirs. It’s as simple as that. Your criticism is further separating us during a time when we need to demonstrate unity. Criticism is one thing and accountability is another.
This isn’t me trying to tell you how to live your lives, but holding you accountable. You know how to get involved now, so take part in the revolution. There will always be those who actively take part and those who stand on the sidelines and critique. Even if you just stand idly by you are benefitting from the acts of others.

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