There’s a great wish in the African American community for a wonderful utopia known as UNITY. The word brings about images of 70′s era movies where everyone picks their blow-out Afros, slaps high-fives and echoes “Right on!” in unison. This reality was lived out by our parents but now the word has become pure fantasy. A fellow AA writer and myself discussed this unity thing and came up with 7 layers of division that keeps black unity a myth. This list may not be exclusive to blacks but it plagues us and keeps us separated in a major way.
The 7 Layers of Division in Black America:
Layer 1 – Bourgie vs. Ghetto
Middle/upper class vs. lower class for those confused by the derogatory terms. These two classes of people don’t necessarily hate one another but cannot coexist due to different outlooks and prejudice towards one another. So how would you go about unifying them?
Layer 2 – American vs. Immigrant
African Americans’ “us versus them” mentality, the effort to stay “the most screwed over minority” and the immigrants who segregate themselves so as not to be confused with native-born blacks is an old and hard issue that will not go away easily.
Layer 3 – Church vs. Cynics
Many of us grew up in the black church only to leave and become cynical. I won’t get into the reasoning for this (there’s a full article on it for those who need clarification). The cynics will never agree with those who quote scripture because they do not respect their stance on anything.
Layer 4 – Racially Scarred vs. Racially Ambiguous
When you grew up being called a nigger and being denied based on your color it is a different world than growing up where everyone is cordial and the “n-word” is something you hear about versus actually hearing it. One says “Don’t trust them” and the other says “Get over it!” Each thinks the other is hopeless.
Layer 5 – Light vs. Dark
Every culture of color has had this issue it seems. The light is right attitude of our ancestors has left a nasty and bitter taste in some of our mouths but sadly many black people still follow it.
Layer 6 – Huey vs. Uncle Ruckus
Uncle Ruckus hates his blackness and hates everything to do with it. Huey loves the skin he’s in and cannot fathom how a black man could hate himself. Like their namesakes from Aaron McGruder’s “Boondocks” there are many who cannot see eye to eye when it comes to blackness.
Layer 7 – Men vs. Women
Many of us are in great relationships with black men/women but sadly enough, we don’t talk about that them as much as we talk about the jerks (guilty) from our past. Men are stereotyped as uneducated jailbirds and women as bitchy co-eds, the Cosby dynamic being laughably inaccurate.
So will black people ever “unify” and appear as together as our fellow minorities? I don’t think so and after seeing the 7 layers that we would have to overcome, you can understand why.