First Kwanzaa – Day 5

Yesterday’s post was a rush job. I gave myself an hour before midnight to complete it and send it. I did it on purpose, because the subject matter was a source of great bitterness for me. I hate that my business ventures failed because my own people wouldn’t support me. I didn’t realize how much it still bothered me until last night, when I found myself editing out entire paragraphs at 11:58 PM.

When it comes to building Black businesses–which, in turn, build the Black community–people like me aren’t the problem. If you’ve got a quality product, and I want it, then I will pay for it, even if I “can get the same thing cheaper at such-and-such”. When Lisa Price, owner of Carol’s Daughter, made a deal with L’Oreal, I was one of the few people defending her decision when everybody on social media was saying, “She’s not Black-owned anymore, so I won’t be buying her products anymore.” Please…you probably weren’t buying them anyway, because they were “too high”, and now that she can make them available at Target, you still don’t want to buy them? Please walk away from my face.

Which takes me to the next principle:

At its worst, the Black American community can be symbolized by a bucket full of crabs. If one crab tries to get out, the other crabs pull it back down into the pile. Better to stay miserable and hopeless together than for any one of us to strive for something better–and possibly make it out.

Kwanzaa is not going to change this. It’s a start, but our community needs some serious reprogramming. We need to stop being ruled by our dollars and the oppressors’ strategy to keep us poor, ignorant, and slave-minded. We need to cultivate a mentality of “his success and her success is MY success! OUR success!” Back in the ’60’s, when real leaders of our community weren’t so few and far-between, we were able to do this. That’s when Kwanzaa was first birthed out. I find it strange–and shameful–that I didn’t hear about it until the ’90’s. Let’s do better, my people.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

(Romans 12:2 NIV)

I refuse to be a crab. I’m here to encourage my sisters and brothers to follow their passions, to pursue their dreams, and to make this world a better place.

We could sure use a community right now.

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