I accidentally allowed myself to become engaged in a barbershop conversation where I stated how important it was that we as Black people must focus on doing everything humanly possible to ensure that we become an integral part of the American Dream. One of the persons took the position that I have heard too many Blacks echo and that was we should be concerned about all persons and not just ourselves.  I took exception to that misguided statement because self-help must become a priority.

My father told us repeatedly that is was mandatory that you provide for your family first. He would often use the analogies that charity starts at home, and if you have a lawn then trim your grass first before you criticize your neighbor for not trimming theirs.

It disturbs me to no end when I hear Blacks, who now occupy positions that their ancestors never dreamed of, referring to other Blacks as “those people.” What happened to some of us as we moved up and out; was it the negative effects of integration? Did integration increase our lack of self-esteem?

Black history is replete with issues of self hate where we separated ourselves based on complexion, hair, education, jobs, field hand, house negro and living on the job where we had access to a bath tub, etc. There was a period of time that we believed we had turned the corner and we sang, “say it loud I’m Black and I’m proud.” We would pass each other and refer to each other as my brother or sister. What happened to us is it the effects of integration? Now that some of us allegedly arrived and live in townships that we use to get pulled over by police when you drove through, has integration created amnesia? Has integration created new persons who no longer perceive themselves as Black but have become CAUCASIANALIZED?

The time is long overdue for Blacks to reach down deep within them and recognize that our beginning as a people did not begin in slave shacks, but as descendants of kings and queens. Blacks must reflect on long before we had 501C3s and having to sell our souls to politicians begging for money, we were self sufficient, built colleges, churches, banks, businesses, base ball leagues, Black Wall Street, etc. Tax dollars have no color; it is the peoples’ money and we must begin to cease begging and demand our fair share.

In the year of 2014 we must commit ourselves not to resolutions, but a plan of action that will cease persons referring to Pittsburgh as “Up South.”

Make a commitment in this upcoming year that you will make a financial contribution to Kingsley Association.

(Louis “Hop” Kendrick is a weekly contributor to the Forum Page.)

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