Black pride in the struggle for equity

An illustration of fists raised in protest
(rahalarts - / Black & Magazine)

Support Black business. Black power. Black is Beautiful. Black girl magic. Black Lives Matter. Say it loud: I’m Black and I’m proud!


Support Black business. Black power. Black is Beautiful. Black girl magic. Black Lives Matter. Say it loud: I’m Black and I’m proud!

All of these phrases have two things in common.

First, they were all coined with the intention of uplifting and supporting the Black community. Second, they were all written off as racist rhetoric. The reasoning for this assumption is that behavior associated with being pro-Black has always been interpreted by some as being anti-white.

Considering that the definition of racism is not even applicable in situations like these, one major implication that results from this misinterpretation is that the intended message is skewed and demonized. Hopefully, we can clear some things up here. Let’s explore the reasons why expressing pro-Black values is not only non-discriminatory but most importantly why it is absolutely necessary.

Define Racism

Before we get into the main dish, let’s nibble on some basic knowledge appetizers. According to Merriam-Webster, the official definition of racism is as follows: 1.a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race 2. a doctrine or political program based on the assumption of racism and designed to execute its principles”

In other words, racism has to do with not only the belief that a certain race is superior but using that belief as a political regulator to keep the power structure flowing in favor of the self-proclaimed “superior race.”

Racial inequities in American institutions are not byproducts of racism, they are the very pillars that have kept the system of oppression up and running since 1776. When our Founding Fathers were crafting their dream country, keeping the Black population subjugated was openly discussed as one of the most important details, and all legislation (including the constitution) was drafted accordingly.

Generations later we still observe this method of institutional racism operating the same way with just a few stylistic differences. Modern politicians and institution personnel routinely take measures that blatantly target Black communities: voter suppression, waiving environmental protections in Black neighborhoods, redlining & gerrymandering, heavily criminalizing Black activity leading to disproportionate Black incarceration, delegating less funding for education to Black majority schools, workplace discrimination, and too many others to list.

Racism is more than believing one race is better, it provides the political tools and societal support to enforce that belief as if it were a fact. Therefore, because Black people don’t have the political or socio-economic means to oppress the vast majority of white people, Black people can be prejudicial towards white people, but not racist.

“You know, it’s not the world that was my oppressor, because what the world does to you, if the world does it to you long enough and effectively enough, you begin to do to yourself.”– James Baldwin

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