In a recent conversation with a man, I discovered that he did not want to be accountable for his part in the demise of our people. I am Black or African American and so was the gentleman that I was speaking with, and when I ask “Are YOU accountable for OUR demise?” I am speaking to Black or African American men and women.
When speaking with him, I discovered that in the past the gentleman I was speaking with was a drug dealer.
His story began with him being a bit younger than I would have imagined, especially to be hustling in the streets, but nonetheless he learned very early on to be “unsympathetic” to his people.
He argued “if they wouldn’t get the drugs from me, they would have gotten it from someone else! So I may as well make the money!”
Now there were several things wrong with this thought in my opinion.
First, that he seemed to have no concern for contributing to the demise of black men and women coming to him for drugs, nor any regard for making the money at the expense of those individual’s life. So, he failed to accept accountability for his actions.
And while he has done his time and changed his life around, he still had a hard time admitting that he is just one of many who contribute to the demise of the people in our community.
He went on to mention that even his friends who “live that life” he will not say anything to them about what they are doing wrong.
He will not “hold them accountable” as he doesn’t see a point in it because “they will do what they want anyway”!
So my question to him was if you aren’t holding them accountable, who is?
Of course I got no response, but I wanted him to consider that we tend to feel like we are not accountable for other people’s choices, when there is always potential to reap the havoc or benefit of those choices.
But it's only when other’s choices impact us directly that we attempt to assume responsibility for encouraging “better” or supporting greatness, so that we benefit!
But why can’t we assume responsibility for the individuals whose choices impact us indirectly?
If we know, we have a responsibility to discourage negative behavior, especially if it impacts us in any way.
But we write everything off as “having no control over it” when we are never really sure how our voice will impact a situation.
From this point forward, I'm holding you accountable.
Hold me accountable please! It's so necessary!
It's unfortunate that we never want to admit what we do, or have done, in the name of “self-preservation” or “self-gratification” to contribute to our communal demise. Yet we get mad at how we are negatively perceived.
And while I am not arguing the fact that we do have POSITIVE people fighting for us to be more communal and love one another, we can't ignore the fact that the number of US contributing to the NEGATIVE perception is equal to (or may surpass) that of those who fight for US to be better.
So what do we do?
I think it's important that we first admit that we have in some way been accountable for contributing to the vicious cycle of communal annihilation.
BLACK LIVES matter!
But OUR BLACK LIVES must also matter to US in order for us to evoke change.
Once we acknowledge our faults, we can work on being better to one another and build up communal LOVE.
We have to stick together. And we need to love one another, relentlessly.