Blackness and Lackness
Some of you read this title and made a few assumptions and they probably went something like this:
- What is she going to say that Black people are lacking now?
- Who is this article going to blame for the shortcomings of Black people?
- As a Black person, what am I lacking and how is Sis going to get me together?
I’m here to tell you that this article will do exactly what you are thinking. This article is meant as a form of expression regarding recent instances of business dealings I have experienced with Black entrepreneurs just trying to figure it the fuck out (insert claps in between the last four words). I am a Black CEO and I own two companies, one of which came $12 short of grossing my first 1 million dollar revenue year in 2020. Damn you Covid! I digress, now back to the context of this title. As I sit at my desk and contemplate the challenges I see many Black businesses and professionals face. I am attempting to partner with these professionals and owners and there are some common struggles I have encountered myself and that I see them encounter. I want to solve these issues, remove these barriers, and try to maintain my gotdamn sanity at the same time. I am starting to get to a place where I also see the process for maintaining my sanity as complacency and that is another topic for another article and my therapist. The one thing that has been born out of my thoughts us I have gotten to a space where I do not blame them for their struggles. I blame Whiteness and the institutions that perpetuate the things I see many of these people lacking. This is not to say that they don’t hold accountability for their choices. However, I cannot think clearly about their accountability without looking at the accountability of the institutional parental forces that were forcefully built by our ancestors and not for the purpose of uplifting their descendants. I also think this is a good time to say that the expectations that are placed on us are exclusive, perpetuate assimilation and do not work in our favor.
Based on my own personal experiences and those of the people I work with, and attempt to work with, there are some patterns that I am noticing. My analytical brain works in a way that always wants to examine the root cause of many issues. Especially actions that perpetuate discrimination and oppression for our people. Recently, I was journaling and meditating and my collective thoughts came to this conclusion: there is a lack of resources to support the needs of Blackness around the world, especially in the United States.
I had to ask myself how can a country create a racial social identity just to neglect it, mistreat it, and render the social, political, economic, and personal pieces of it invisible? Greed, power, ego, fear, ignorance, and pride; that’s how. Now, by nature I am a problem solver. I sat at my desk and identified many of the contributing factors that create the inequitable outcomes that manifest an idea that Blackness is lacking in certain areas and that it is our damn fault! Talk about blaming the gotdamn victim. Here’s the thing, in this article instead of placing the accountability on us I want to point out the racially charged actions that influence commonalities of different occurrences that negatively impact Blackness. Let’s start, you’ll eventually catch on to what I am doing and if not then this article is probably not for you or your friends who think like you.
Occurrence #1- Black businesses are underfunded, underappreciated, undervalued, and overworked. I have seen the challenges with Black entrepreneurs struggling to raise money.
- The Why: #1: Historically financial institutions like banks have made trillions of dollars off of the inhumane enslavement of our African Ancestors. Those same institutions have created what seems like an everlasting denial of access to opportunities to build credit, ownership, and other means of generational wealth. Outcomes that have been a result of the denial of access include opportunities to develop sustainable businesses, lack of access to quality education, housing, income, healthcare, basic gotdamn sanity, among many other things.
- The Impact: #1: Black businesses are struggling to maintain stability in a capitalistic system that was built by our people but not for our people. The racial wealth gap, the underfunding of venture capital into Black founders and our communities, quality housing, the Karens of the world, police brutality, mass incarceration, lack of political representation, the justification of segregation, lynching, hate crimes, and historical trauma that still lingers over our efforts to heal.
Some people will say it’s our responsibility to heal our communities. I am saying that institutions that prevented the presence of equity due to the perpetuation of racial inequity need to step up. Banks, governments, big businesses that get rich off the Black dollar, that you try your hardest to prevent us from having, must provide the resources for us to undo the work that has plagued the progress of our people. Yes, we must fix what is broken, in order to do this, the rules, systems, and people you have created that have limited our potential must understand their level of influence on our journey and be willing to embrace radical change.
Occurrence #2- Black people do not take care of their communities. It’s our fault that our communities are not progressing.
- First and foremost STFU!
- The Why: #2: Historically financial institutions like banks have made trillions of dollars off of the inhumane enslavement of our African Ancestors. Those same institutions have created what seems like an everlasting denial of access to opportunities to build credit, ownership, and other means of generational wealth for our people. Are you starting to see a pattern here? White flight and gentrification have created the accountability of assimilation that plagues our spaces. Whiteness has created such a standard of “excellence” or said “the bar” that if we don’t want to meet their standards we are in a direct violation of this white nation. Our communities are over policed, the distribution of taxpayer money is going towards means of control as opposed to equitable actions. From the Reagan error to Hoover you have plotted to kill our Black leaders, and succeeded, and you’ve riddled our communities with harmful drugs, unhealthy food options, and not resources of wealth. You created ghettos and projects by these means and left us to rot. Now you want us to undo what you have done without the resources, including but not limited to money and time, to adequately address the issues.
- The Impact: #2: Black mortality rate is low and incarceration rates are always high. We often die without the opportunity for advancement or even a goddamn chance to obtain success because our lives are built on the foundation of survival and not thrival. This foundation was created by white greed and the means we’ve always had were buried by the allowance of hate and disdain for our presence by a nation built on our humiliation. Shame on you.
Our Blackness was socially constructed by your scientists. It was received by us because we lost the attachment to the land that we inhabited when our ancestors were made cargo. Blackness is not our creation but it is the one thing we’ve built pride around and learned to love and own, especially when we had nothing else to call our own as a result of your preventive and discriminatory methods.
These are just a couple of examples to illustrate the degree of lackness that impacts Blackness. Our people don’t always do everything right, I get that and there is some accountability to own. Unfortunately, we have been put in a position and given the circumstances to do it more ways wrong than right. A majority of the accountability is on the past, present, and future white leaders, to make this right. With our help and the allyship of others who also require and deserve equitable outcomes as well! I think the necessary resources to do so, have to come from the institutions that prevented us from having what we worked hard for you to enjoy. That sounds about white.