As writers writing about race relations, it is important that we are strategic and clear about the messages that we are relaying. We must also be conscious of our target audience. My target audience has always been Black people in America’s “inner cities.” The 90% of Black America that W.E.B Dubois’ “talented tenth” left out.
Since I was writing about these issues in a small, rural, white-town where I attended undergrad, my writings about the inner city and Blackness soon came under the “white gaze.” I was called racist, I was told to “go back to the inner city.” I was mocked, humiliated and stalked online when my writings collided with covering the murder of a Black student in that same town.
So, I began to censor myself. My message and audience was now mostly for small town white-folks, who didn’t understand my life-experience and therefore could not understand my message. Ultimately, my voice was stifled and the messages to my intended audience, were put on hold.
In the end, it was all a distraction.
What Black people need to help our communities move forward is very specific to us as a people; due to our experiences and the state induced violence and trauma we have experienced in this country. We need real healing and transformation in our communities that will require a solid for us, by us, type foundation.
There are many grass-roots groups in inner cities and we need to really stress the importance and power of grass-roots organizing to garner as much support as possible for these groups.
We as Black people, and I mean all Black people, need to spend as much time as we can, to offer boots on the ground action in our communities. Whether that is through organizations, community-forums, think-tanks and overall strategic planning. Time and attention spent trying to get white folks to understand us serves a purpose true indeed. But this will not move our communities forward. Don’t be distracted from the real work that needs to be done.
In essence, the violence that we are experiencing at record levels within our communities are the results of our failure to properly socialize and educate our children. We have not prepared them to go out and compete in a world that is innately hostile toward them. We have not created systems that provide the support necessary for them to thrive without acquiescing to the demands of those who operate in a dynamic that is antithetical to their survival and success.
It is time that we invest ourselves in effectively engaging our problems, not on the surface, but at the origin. ~ Dr. Rick Wallace, Ph.D.