One would think, given the ingrained history of discrimination and prejudice Blacks have had to endure in America, that all Black employers and supervisors would be committed to ensuring that discrimination is not present in critical areas and dimensions of their organizations. While Black employers and supervisors should not be held accountable for eliminating deep discriminatory views and mindsets of their employees, they should not be the ones guilty of discriminating against anyone. They should also not be guilty of allowing others within their organizations, especially those who hold leadership positions, to discriminate against people. If you are Black and fortunate enough to earn an opportunity to lead an organization and/or hold a supervisory position within an organization, you have a solemn responsibility to make sure that you are not promoting and/or engaging in the same discriminatory thought and actions that have hindered Black people since the day they arrived in this country.
Unfortunately, too many Black employers and supervisors are afraid of hiring highly qualified Black applicants because they view them as threats. They see highly qualified Black applicants as threats who could take their positions and/or learn something while in the organization that can enable them to not only do what they do but also do what they do better. For those Black employers and supervisors who are guilty of this type of discriminatory thought and actions, they have allowed themselves to fall prey to the damaging bondage of psychic slavery.
During slavery, racist White people employed a strategy of “divide and conquer.” The “divide and conquer” strategy was a coordinated and systematic attempt to have Black people to fight against one another rather than against their true oppressors, racist Whites. By giving certain slaves certain privileges, this engendered a jealousy, envy, and division among many of the slaves. Many slaves would be against other slaves because they saw them as threats to the privileges their racist White oppressors granted them. This same phenomenon exists in the postmodern epoch. The “privileges” granted to certain slaves over others slaves have been replaced today by the opportunities that certain Black people have been given to lead and supervise organizations.
Many Black employers fear hiring highly qualified and independent thinking applicants because they have a warped view that any Black person you hire is a reflection of them, the race, and ultimately on the worth of the organization. Many Black supervisors experience a great sense of inferiority when they are supervising Black people who have better credentials than they have. As means of not having to deal with these highly qualified Black applicants, many Black employers and supervisors are doing everything they can to not hire them and keep them out of their organizations. They suffer from such serious self-esteem problems that cause them to view people from their own racial group as threats. These highly qualified applicants are not trying to take their positions—they are simply seeking to gain employment. Some of these Black employers and supervisors feel like some powerful White people are going to come and take away their positions when it is discovered that there are more qualified Black employees than them in their organizations.
Many Black leaders in multifarious organizations need to stop discriminating against their Black employees and Black applicants. Psychic slavery is a real phenomenon that affects many Black leaders of organizations today. They are a part of the problem why Black people as a whole are not advancing at higher levels. Although the majority of the discrimination and racism that Black people suffer from today emerges from Whites, we, Black people, have to deal with the discrimination and racism that is within our own community too. In no way does this article attempt to suggest that discrimination and racism within the Black community is greater than the discrimination and racism that emerges from members of the dominant culture. This article does contend that within the Black community we do have a strong presence of these phenomena that we have to fight against just as stalwartly as we do when we fight against them when they occur from members of the dominant culture.
You need to be careful because some of the greatest threats to Black progression in the postmodern epoch lie within our own community.
Antonio Maurice Daniels
University of Wisconsin-Madison
It seems like almost all Black people have some type of opinion about Bishop Eddie Long regarding the sexual allegations that are being claimed by now four Black men. What is most troubling for me about this situation is what it reconfirms for me about many Black people: Many Black people are eager to tear one another apart. Now, what I have observed is many White people are willing to stay united behind members of their own race, even in the most horrible of situations. Black people, we can learn something from White people on this issue—let’s unite more behind our people. Now, I am not saying that we should simply unite behind Bishop Eddie Long no matter what he does and has done, but what I would like to see is for us to not be exploiting him like the media is doing. Before we make up our minds up about what happened, we need to allow the presentation of all the evidence to come forth.
Beyond this issue about Bishop Eddie Long, we need to be more loyal and united to one another. We have a history that demonstrates what we can do when we are united. It was our dominant unity and loyalty to one another that was instrumental in helping to defeat slavery and Jim Crow. Don’t just assume that this man is homosexual just because four men are claiming that he forced them to have sex with him. How many times have people claimed false things about you? How many times have people mischaracterized you? I am not suggesting that this is the case with these four men, but I am saying that it is a strong possibility that what we are hearing and reading from media accounts is not the complete truth. Let’s let truth prevail in this case, which means that we are going to need to gain more facts before we can intelligently start throwing this man of God under the metaphorical bus. No matter what is ultimately concluded about these allegations, I will not demonize this man of God.
What is it about so many Black people that make them want to hate on one another? What is it about so many Black people that make them enjoy seeing members of their own race suffer? I know whatever it is it needs to stop. It seems like many Black people do not want to see other Black people succeed. At the University of Wisconsin-Madison and in the city of Madison, Wisconsin, I have had the opportunity to experience many Black people who have tried to derail my success. Fortunately, these individuals have failed miserably, but the larger problem with their attempts is that they should be happy to see a Black man doing so well, especially considering many of the horrific statistics that exist about us.
What I’m going to try to do is have a conversation or interview with one of these Black people who hate on successful Black people to gain an understanding about why they hate on successful members of their own race. I think that the core problem that they have lies in their low self-esteem. The Black individuals at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and in the city of Madison who have hated on me all have the common problem of low self-esteem. As I reflect on all of the people who have hated on me throughout my life, I realize that they too have suffered from low self-esteem.
Black people, we are already a racial minority in America. Let’s not further complicate our situation by continuing to allow self-defeating mindsets to undermine one another.
Antonio Maurice Daniels
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Far too often, I see too many people using all mediums, including television, radio, Facebook, Twitter, blogs, newspapers, and etc., to show America and the world the worst aspects of Black life. During the very beginning of the 20th century (and even before then), W.E.B. Du Bois asserted that artists should represent the diversity of Black life, but also needed to present the positive aspects of Black life. There once existed a time when Black people had to concern themselves only with racist White people depicting them in only negative and exploitative ways. Although there are still racist White people portraying Black people in the most demeaning and damaging ways, there is a new and growing enemy for Black people: some Black people themselves.
Some Black people do not care what they report about Black life in public. People will present information to the public about Black life that casts us in the most horrific light. Now, I am not saying that I want people to cover up truths about aspects of Black life. I would never tell anyone to do that. In fact, I have presented some of the negative dimensions of Black life in my own writing and in public and private discourses. I have spent the majority of my work and public and private discourse on truthfully disclosing the positive aspects about Black people in America, however. Without a doubt, there are limitless positive things to divulge about Black people.
I am simply too keenly aware of the racial and racist history of America to be stunned when a White person attempts to exploit a Black person publicly. Although I should not be stunned at the fact that some Black people are being just as harmful to Black people in public as any racist White person, I continue to be amazed at how some Black people are finding it cute and profitable to depict Black life in only the most horrible ways. Of course, in America, we are blessed to have the freedom of speech and I would not attempt to limit anyone’s freedom of speech. I do think that Black people should be much more aware of the things they are presenting to America and the world about Black people.
It seems that some Black people have forgotten all about the reality of the struggle we have experienced in this country to gain some respect. Some Black people love to sit around and find all of the garbage they can find about Black people, especially Black celebrities, and try to destroy their reputations. I also see that some Black people even try to exploit the lives of ordinary Black people. Whether you know it or not, what you are doing is mean-spirited and harms the constant progression of Black people.
I would just like you to think about the fact that what you may get a momentary laugh about at the expense of some Black person who does something crazy, the stuff you report about that person stays around long after the laughs are over, especially when you put it into print and publish it. I would encourage Black people to be more responsible about how you talk about Black people and Black life. Again, be balanced in how you present Black life. If you are going to ridicule some Black people, be sure that you praise some Black people too. Fair is fair.
Antonio Maurice Daniels
University of Wisconsin-Madison