WHITE MIDDLE CLASS VALUES & THE DECLINE OF THE BLACK COMMUNITY
I was talking to one of my professors recently about the decline of the black community. Now I am not by any chance maintaining that the black community was ever perfect, but I do feel like during the early part of the 20th Century the black community was a lot closer than it is now. If you think about the way blacks rallied around each other to begin the civil rights and all of the unity it took to secure those rights we were a community united rather than divided.
Now a days though black on black crime is at an all time high, the black community is fractured lacking in unity, and it seems that each new generation of young blacks have lost their way and are worse than the one that preceded it. I was reading a journal article recently where it stated our current generation of African American will be the first generation since we got to this country to do worse than the preceding us.
My professor is an intelligent man and he’s been teaching for years and he said its just getting worse and worse. He talked about how astonished he is by the level of ignorance of each new class of black students he have. How opposed or ambivalent they are to black liberation. I asked him what did he think was the cause. What went wrong between the period following the Civil Rights Movement and the 1980′s?
My theory is that the black community sold itself to white middle class values and it is this factor that has led to the swift decline of the black community. Where there once was a sense of community, a village mentality, and a collective being has been replaced with a “A long as I get mine” type of mentality. Middle Class values are about accumulating wealth, creating your own island unto yourself. This is why people can buy 5,000 sq feet homes, in the suburbs, gated communities, with 5 bed rooms. Its the sense that there is no community there is anti-community. Blacks today are all about acquiring money and not about building a sense of community, bringing the collective together. Its more me and mines.
I think in order for the black community to be saved we need to reject white middle class values and return to a more traditionally African way of arranging our community. The goal of the Civil Rights Movement was never for Blacks to become White Middle Class replications, but instead to secure equality but also remain a sense of who we are. I think in the aftermath of the Civil Rights Movement so many blacks saw the securing of those rights as salvation, the end to a long road, when in reality it was just another track on the railroad, a continuation. When we get back to this realization I think we can begin the process of healing our community.