One major thing Black People have always lacked for the most part (in my opinion) is a proper sense of unity (organization and solidarity). There isn’t a singular system I can point to that has anecdotally helped all ships rise. Things are splintered. There are reasons for that, and there are definitely groups worth highlighting.
I know that when I list out resources that benefit Black America, I’m going to miss a lot. This is just one of the consequences of there being so many (honestly) great decentralized things out there for the assistance and empowerment of Black People.
If you know of some cool places/things that I neglect to mention, please add them in the comment section if you feel moved to.
Why Do I Think We Lack Organization / Solidarity?
Put bluntly, each time there have been historically significant leaders or groups rise among Black People, they have been snuffed out. And it’s typically done in two steps. The first of which is psychological in nature. Viewpoints and actions are targeted and torn down in the court of public opinion through the media (I have zero proof whether “that’s just the news” or if “things are strategically selected for reasons” – but I like to think this is what opinion-based shows on FOX News currently exist for). And then, if that’s failing, the next step is physical (typically through destruction or assassination).
This is all just based on my observation and overly self-important opinion.
- Black Wall Street was firebombed. (1921)
- Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. were killed. (1965 & 1968)
- The Black Panther Party was presented as villainous and its leaders were killed. (1968 – 89)
- The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement is in “step 1” right now. (present-day)
- Any Black celebrity or athlete who speaks out specifically for social justice for Black People is stonewalled and black-listed (historically and now)
Cutting off the heads of organizations and any group structures is incredibly effective. Militaries do it when it comes to handling governments or other armies. Businesses do it when it comes to taking care of employee attempts to unionize. Politicians do it when it comes to ending the momentum of political rivals. History has shown time and time again how useful such a tactic can be.
And although it’s not as socially accepted now to target an entire racial group of U.S. Citizens, it was more than fine to go after Black People in this way in the United States for a long time.
And I know people may argue against the validity of such a statement, but please consider the White counterparts/versions to any of the individuals or organizations I mentioned above and think about how they were historically, and are in the present, still allowed to continue on.
I can’t speak to the motive for doing so, but I do have an idea that I just won’t share here.
To be fair – I only feel like this is done around people or things that are actually seen as truly “dangerous” (for lack of a better term) centralized points of organization and mobilization, that unify Black People behind “the wrong thing” (whatever that may be at the time). Churches and pro-Black not for profits (Think the NAACP) aren’t big concerns because they tend to honestly kind of act as peacekeepers of the current social structure – helping Black People cope better in the status quo vs. speaking passionately about social change and rallying all Black People toward that end.
Again – this is all based on my observation and overly self-important opinion.
Although he was a U.S. President, I can’t describe to you how worried Black America was for Barack Obama during his presidency. Had he spoken out of turn or shifted his ideals to focus on “the wrong things”, I genuinely think he would’ve been assassinated. A lot of people did.
Ironically, BLM may only still be going because of the current state of disorganization among Black America. I can’t name leaders of that movement off the top of my head. I also can’t say that ONLY Black People are involved with BLM.
That may play a role as well. (Shout out the non-Black People supporting that cause)
Anyway – I’ve spoken enough about this. I don’t think Black People have been allowed real moments of organization and solidarity in America because, at the time, the powers that be didn’t approve and came in to shut it down. That’s just my opinion.
Groups That Benefit Black People
As I mentioned earlier, there are TONS of organizations now set-up to help African American Communities – and, again, this is great. But – speaking very candidly – this is problematic.
Just to illustrate, if I were to ask you to think of what organization people should contact in the event of a national disaster and need for aid — many, not all of you, may immediately think “The Red Cross“. Cool. If I asked you think of the place a young Black woman in need of financial assistance for college should go – where do you think of? (There are honestly a ton of answers.)
I know those are entirely different subjects but I asked those questions to illustrate the point that all of the variety out there may be counterproductive, and another result of the disorganization present these days. It doesn’t really help people know “where to go” or “what to do” when their need arises.
But, I digress — I have said before that I don’t like redoing things that have already been done well for me on the internet, so here’s…
A List of Links to Lists of Things that Actively Benefit African Americans
- FastCompany: How to Find and Support Black-Owned Businesses, Wherever You Are
- Wikipedia Category: African Americans’ Rights Organizations
- HUFFPOST: 28 Organizations That Empower Black Communities
- BlackNews.com: Top Black Organizations and Non-Profits
- BestLife: 17 Charities You Should Donate To This Black History Month
- CNN: 5 Charities You Can Support for Black History Month
Why We Need Organization & Solidarity
I believe for Black People to change our collective situation in America for the better (not just “promote a few excellent individuals”) it’ll require…
- That we do it ourselves.
- That we help each other.
- That it’s a repeatable process.
I feel like other minority groups in America have figured this out a little better than we have. Jewish People. Asian Americans. Hispanic Americans are getting it together.
Based on my experience growing up as a Black male in this country, I feel like we have enough things of our own in place now to begin threading the necessary networks together to benefit many people, we just have to apply some process and coordination to it.
And people are going to have to work.
Not just “those who have”, but everyone.
This isn’t anything new that I’m preaching, so I’ll stop before I sound too preachy… But yeah, I think if we lack both organization and some collective sense of solidarity and purpose – we will largely stall out.
I have been extremely forthright in this post, but hey – I think that’s the point (and fun) of a blog.
Black People have accomplished A LOT in the decentralized organizations that have been stood up, I don’t want to minimize that or have it go unsaid. I respect their work, and I realize that many who came before me have worked H-A-R-D. For those individuals actively working to unify Black America behind ideals for the greater good, “Please keep it up.” I hope we organize a little better over time behind something we all care about. What that is? I don’t know. But, I hope we get there.
Peace, and thanks for reading.
The soundtrack for this post provided by…
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– Body Image 1 © Cameron Thomsen (Shutterstock)
– Body Image 2 © GaudiLab (Shutterstock)
– Body Image 3 © Jono Erasmus (Shutterstock)