Hussein Hill: Black America Needs Individuality

As far back as I can remember, black Americans have been viewed as a cultural monolith.  We have been ingrained with the narrative that our skin color is inextricably linked to our collective identity. This perception has been promulgated within and outside of the American, black culture.  Two of the most blatant, recent examples of this are the Kanye West and Dave Chappelle scandals. While some Republicans are tacitly using these cultural controversies to forward superficial political victories; the issue is deeper than that.  This is not a Republican and Democrat discussion. This is a discussion about a demographic that has been enabled to be devoured by a toxic, reactionary, historically vestigial and hyper-collectivist culture. 

We could start off by going on about the usual conservative talking points. You know, things like the Republican driven, emancipation of black slaves.  Perhaps the welfare state and LBJ. Even the Democratic history of the Klan and overly cited inner statistics. However, besides the fact that we have all heard those discussions before, I believe we need to get a bit less partisan and bit more complex.  A better place to start might be to pursue the following inquiries: Why does a demographic that has subscribed to a socially conservative ethic always seem to lean towards anti-western and leftist political affiliations? Why is it that a group of people who have statistically flourished more than anyone else of their genealogical lineage in the world perpetuates a culture that is laced with resentment against the very part of the world that was responsible for said advancements? 

Questions of this nature have troubled me for quite some time.  To say that I “never fit in,” with regards to black American culture, would be a profound understatement.  For a plethora of reasons, some of which are beyond me, I was wired to radically transgress against the status quo.  Fortunately or unfortunately for me, those kinds of proclivities have allowed me to transcend the complacent trimmings of that culture.   With all of that said, I believe this issue is not merely political. I believe it is anthropological and philosophical. It seems to me that what we are seeing is a result of a group of individuals who did not begin to assimilate to the historically, European majority culture until recent years.  Further, due to the political schemes of the two major parties — as well as the internalized, self-indulgent, cultural masochism among black Americans — there has been a long standing disconnect between “Black America” and “White America”. In other words, legislative reconciliation, superficial appeasement, political posturing and a negation of the complexities and responsibilities of the individual were paramount methodologies in the sociopolitical development of the black American culture. 

The prevailing Republican narrative is that the abolition of slavery, the dismantling of Jim Crow laws and state enforced school integration resulted in cohesive assimilation.  I believe that is an incorrect synopsis. I believe that assimilation truly began throughout the late 80s and 90s. This process was not accomplished via legislation. Culture was the catalyst.  Between music, T.V. and film, black America began to blend with the broader culture in a substantive manner. Crossover, hip hop and alternative rock acts helped bridge the cultural gap. Television shows like “The Cosby Show”, “Family Matters”, “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” and “A Different World”  addressed a plethora of cultural problems in the black community. They addressed the classism within black communities. They challenged the hyper-black nationalist activism that transformed itself into anti-white, superficial virtue signaling. They explored the fracturing within the lower, working class black family unit.  Satirical films like “Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood” lampooned the status quo of black American culture perfectly. Black Americans were truly beginning to examine the state of their communities. The reason why these artists were able to do this was because they were still supporting Democrats and leftist policies.  They were identifying real problems without disrupting the mass leftist stranglehold on black America. Meanwhile, Republicans accepted the induction of black Americans while maintaining a stuffy, elitist, bland image that was not appealing to young people. Republicans came off as boring and exclusive.

This cultural landscape remained as such, up until the Obama Administration.  The election of the first black president was accented by initial celebrations among many black Americans; followed by a bizarre reintroduction of radical 1970’s, leftist activism.  It was almost as if after accomplishing one of the most anticipated goals of seasoned leftists (having a black president) the establishment left realized that their purpose had run its course.  So in the wake of that, they decided to promulgate radical leftist, viscerally anti-western ideologies in an era where there was literally no need and or justification for them to do so. Obama actively fed into the self-righteous, unaccountability of much of mainstream black culture. Essentially, everything was the fault of the broader, white population and not of individual black cultural failings.  A plurality of Americans, regardless of race, did not see the America that the Obama administration was attempting to portray as reality. They were not convinced that America was a racist, homophobic, sexist and dystopian hell hole. This, obviously, was the catalyst of the election of Trump. 

Republicans are currently under the assumption that the secret to the success of the Trump campaign was a blatant embrace of Republican branded, identity politics.  This could not be further from the truth. Trump appealed to black Americans, despite racial lines and delineations. Trump acknowledged the autonomy of individual black voters as well as their American citizenship.  He enabled black Americans to feel like Americans. The only way to discourage militant, racial collectivism is to truly acknowledge the individual sovereignty of a citizen. Combine that with the inculcation of the fact that said individuality would never be possible without the American and western tradition; you have an individual who is more likely to stand against globalist, Marxian presuppositions.  The reason why many black Americans are hesitant to engage with predominantly white, right-wing movements, is the fear of tokenization. There is feeling among many black Americans that conservatives merely want their votes because they want to appear more culturally diverse. That coupled with a culturally enforced sense of racial, self-entitlement and group think; has led us to where we are in 2019.

 Much like the “LGBTQ” culture, the issue plaguing black American culture…is in fact the culture itself.  Even though I primarily believe that black Americans are beginning to head in the right, cultural direction; I see some very real hindrances that are slowing down this ideological transition. First issue, the sociopolitical flourishing of black Americans can no longer be defined by the denigration of white Americans.  The exploitation of middle class, white guilt in order to empower blacks is reprehensible at best and galvanizes racial animus. Second issue, conservatives in particular need to stop viewing black Americans as some sought after political resource. The individual ideas, concerns and ethics of any given black person needs to be paramount.  The Republican Party should want principled, intelligent, patriotic individuals, irrespective of their racial background. Third, black Americans must unequivocally stop using their racial heritage as a cultural weapon against opposing points of view and criticism. You either believe that you have just as much capabilities as someone outside of your race or you believe that you are in a perpetual state of societal disadvantage.  You can’t have it both ways. Fourth, black Americans must stop policing one another. We are not a monolith, period. This might be the most crucial dilemma for black Americans to overcome. This is a vestigial, cultural trimming from slavery and the Jim Crow era. It has no place in the modern political arena. You cannot claim that all you want is to be treated like a human being while simultaneously crushing the most human proclivity of all; our individuality. 

In conclusion, how does black America solve its problems? Simple. Black Americans must embrace individuality and revere the country that recognizes it.

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