So often young black men and women grow up in the inner-city or impoverished areas, they scratch and fight their way to get out; but not all of them make it out. Some of us get stuck doing the same ole song and dance. Unfortunately we follow in our parents foot-steps of maybe graduating high school, we go to college but never finish, we come back home to find a job that might pay $10 hourly if we’re lucky and after 20 years of back-breaking labor, we make enough to make ends meet but not enough to create long-term wealth.
And then there are those who make it out! They go to college, some graduate with honors and others make it by the skin of their teeth (low C average). The college experience is supposed to open your mind to the possibilities of what’s out there in the world to be taken, something like a stepping stone for the next level of greatness to come in your life. Some of us go in with a closed mind and it becomes opened and others go in with an open mind that becomes closed. How does it close you may ask? For a lot of blacks that come from poverty and low-income families, they aren’t looking to go back, so they latch on to other cultures or races that exude wealth and riches (whites, Asians, etc).
We began to lose touch with ourselves and our roots to clinch onto something and someone else that really doesn’t understand us. And as we lose perspective of who we are, we become colorless in an attempt to be accepted by the mass population of whites and that’s when our “authenticity” becomes called into question. Some of us don’t forget where we came from, but there is a history that shows when most black people make it to a level of being colorless, we forget about our own and how they are still struggling to attain wealth and prosperity.
We sometimes forget about our people and why we personally started this journey in the first place. Some of us fight to get out of the hood to come back and help. Sometimes that happens and a lot of times that agenda is never forthcoming. There are times we don’t even realize we have turned our backs on the very people who kept us upright to make it to this plateau in the first place. And then there are times that we fall flat on our face/back and we need the help of blacks and other minorities to get through some of the toughest times of outlives. In instances like O.J. Simpson, the Hall Of Fame running back of the Buffalo Bills, who beat the case of killing his wife and her friend. He was on the record for not being to fond of black people after reaching a certain status.
But during one of the hardest times in his life black people supported him. This is what we do, we protect our own no matter what. This act of “black protectionism”happens when credentials, past history and behavior of a well-known, successful black person is called into question. We the black community will build a wall so tall and deep that no one can touch our people unless we allow it. Right here in Dallas, this week the news were reports of the fight between Democratic politician John Wiley Price and former Mayor of Dallas Dwaine Caraway. Things like this make the black community look bad, but there are those who will build that wall of black protectionism around them from the slander of the media and anyone else.
Why do we do this and where did it come from?
According to Katheryn Russell-Brown, “Black protectionism arose during slavery, when, in the interest of group survival, Blacks had to present a united front to white slave-owners. A black slaves minor infraction could result in a major penalty. One of the harsher penalties a slave master could impose was to sell the slave, which would destroy the family unit. A low-level offense could result in a whipping, torture, or execution.”
This blueprint created by slave-owners still affects the black family structure until this day through similar tactics of faulty arrest and incarceration. Personally I feel we do this because it’s necessary. America has a history of leaving us high and dry from the pre-civil rights era up until now. Yes, things have changed in America, they’ve gotten noticeably better but there is still a long way to go.
By design, black protectionism guards Blacks against White assault. It operates regardless of whether the direct beneficiary of Black protectionism request or wants the support. Black protectionism is a form of community redemption, through not redemption in the traditional sense because it does not require that the person apologize or atone. – KRB
Black protectionism is very intentional, creating new ways for our culture and people to be seen in a non deviant manner. We are portrayed as animals, brutes, thugs and whores in the media, black protectionism allows us to create the narrative of our people. We create our own concept of justice, morality and legalities. There is a logic to the concept of black protectionism.