December 1, 2022

Listen. Black folks have always been problematic for Black folk’s liberation. Allow me to explain. 

Anytime there have been substantial, tangible movements to help us, some of the biggest and loudest detractors have been Black people. We can’t get out of our own way in some instances, and it’s frustrating. 

When the Montgomery Bus Boycott was organized in 1955, some of the loudest detractors were “us.” Some of the Black voices were louder than white ones. Even for a movement that would benefit us long term. Sure, the boycott lasted a year and created substantial change,  but to think in 1955 there were oppressed Black folks in the grips of Jim Crow, in Montgomery, who were like, “I ain’t supporting that! I’m still gonna ride the bus” is crazy!

artwork credit: @blackwithnochaser

When the Black Panthers created this nation’s first free breakfast program (a model that was shut down and later copied by the federal government). When they spoke about arming our community. The loudest and most vocal detractors of that movement were “us.” It was “us” later used to infiltrate and destroy the Panthers from within. 

An Asian nail shop owner in Brooklyn physically attacked several Black women with a broomstick. Neighborhood groups picketed and asked folks to boycott those shops. Many of them had set up in those majority Black neighborhoods. And the next day…the very next day…there were lines out the door. Those lines were “us” returning to those same nail salons. Those full sets were more important than “us,” I suppose. 

Even now, It saddens me that we will never be able to truly mount the boycotts of these major brands or institutions like we “could” given our purchasing power because there’s always going to be a contingent of Black folks who will selfishly continue to patronize that person or place. Hell, whether it’s Gucci, Hilfiger, Timbaland, Vogue, Bill Cosby, Kanye, or that nail shop in Brooklyn. It seems as if we’re at the point where our own personal, singular interests win out over the cause.

God forbid the person be rich or famous in our community because some of us will twist ourselves into human pretzels trying to justify their behavior. No matter how detrimental it is to our community. This Kanye thing has shown me that. R. Kelly before him. Bill Cosby before him. 

Even in my city. Jackson, MS. Some of the biggest readers/supporters of the local racist right-wing hate blogs are “us”…Black people. Even when the bloggers have shown time and again to be anti-Black, it is the US who helps keep them in business by frequenting sites that write about how much they hate us, hate our leadership, and our majority presence in the city. Some of “us” who even spy on other Black folks run back reports and screenshot things to give to them. Sound familiar? House negro/Field Negro?

 

It’s Black folks being problematic to Black folks. And I don’t know how we fix it. Honestly, I don’t know if it’s too far gone to be fixed. No, we don’t own the same number of brands/businesses that the Jewish community does. Maybe we can’t “fire” folks like Kanye. But our community this year reached $1.6 billion in buying power. We can retract our dollars if everyone is willing to get on board. Hell, if we could just get 70-85% buy-in on at least ONE thing, it could work. 

Nah, I don’t think Kanye is fighting for me..or Black folks for that matter. Neither is Cosby. And the pedophile Robert Kelly damn sure isn’t. There is no “chess” here. No “bigger picture.” Just problematic Black folk getting in the way of Black folk’s liberation if you ask me. Folks Harriet Tubman would have shot and discarded for slowing her down. When I see folks defending a BLACK guy (Kanye) who said, and I quote, “straight white males are the most oppressed people in this country,” I can’t do shit but throw my hands up and walk away!

artwork credit: @blackwithnochaser

Black folks aren’t a monolith..but damn!…it should be at least one or two things we can get on the same damn page about, right? I just want us to love US more. 


Brad Franklin is a radio/podcast host and writer from Jackson, MS. You can subscribe to his YouTube channel at https://youtu.be/oDayIKlFL3U

Pic by: FullofFlava

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2 thoughts on “I Just Want Us To Love US More.

  1. Thank you for this. It is indeed troubling times and it will take more than a village to raise the child called community.

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