I recently started a new job back in retail, just about two weeks ago. With a staff of three full time employees and two seasonal workers, and being the only person working there who is not black, I have gained what seems to some very interesting insight into at least one faction of the black community.
In conversation with my coworkers, I have noticed a kind of anti-black sentiment despite their belonging to the black community themselves. One coworker described blacks as “painfully ghetto” and that he “cannot deal with such ignorance”, justifying his steering clear of black males his age with this reasoning. Another went so far as to say that she wants nothing to do with black men romantically and that it “leads to nothing but trouble”. And finally my manager took a less blunt route by explaining that she was a Republican as a means of separating herself, and that “that just doesn’t mix with the black community”. Needless to say I was shocked; I wasn’t sure if these people were actually black or if I was on some sort of reality show to test whether I’d cave and make obscenely racist comments in agreement.
In hearing statements like these on nearly a daily basis, it all acted as a kind of rude awakening for myself and what I would hope would be for blacks as well; that there are forces providing adversity and stifling the progression of black people as a whole in society that hit much closer to home than just prejudiced whites. What was especially shocking was that I couldn’t understand how anyone black, already dealing with the pressures and adverse effects of our culture as a white society, would be so oblivious to the further damage these comments can have. With such divisiveness within the black community and the kinds of feelings these coworkers have characterized by a kind of “I’m not like them” sentiment, blacks as a whole do not stand a chance against the image placed upon them by white America. With a separatist attitude, members of the black community cannot learn from one another, benefit from the discourse meant to be carried out between members of any particular group be it ethnic or social, and the community as a whole certainly cannot rid itself of the very problems ascribed to them.