Why would any person assume that everyone who grew up in the ‘hood would be motivated to give back? Many black Advancers were subjected to daily physical, emotional, and psychological dangers while surviving there. Many of us were often unsupported and reviled by our peers — and sometimes by our supposed role models. Some of us even had to toil alone — uncertain where we were heading, but resolute about where we desired not to be.
Given that history, is it now easier to see why some black Advancers don’t rush back to the community? It’s not that they don’t want to be black. It’s because they want you to work hard to orchestrate your life forward without rationalizations. And without excuses. It’s because they don’t want to encourage dependency, but desire to foster among you self-sufficiency and self-efficacy. After all their efforts and sacrifices to move forward, and after all the poor support and ridicule they received, are black Advancers now to believe the There but for the grace of God go I philosophy? Are we now to feel humble and lucky? And based on such an erroneous philosophy, are we now obliged to give back to the community?
I would argue that the issue is not whether black Advancers give back to the community. Of course, giving back is done. It’s just not in the form that black Americans have been accustomed to receive it. It is not dependence-based. This criterion more than any other, black advancers will insist upon. We will not encourage dependency. You will not get a handout. It ain’t coming. Stop looking for it.
What is truly unfortunate and gets ignored is the fact that no group gives back to the black community more than black Advancers. Every single day and in myriad ways, black Advancers give back. Just by being in spheres where black Americans not too long ago were excluded is giving back. Kicking obstacles from your path is giving back. Encouraging you to join our ranks is giving back.
We Advancers will continue to clear roads for you, point to the direction to success, and even whisper to you where the pitfalls exist. But we will not, under any circumstances, turn around, come back down the road, pick you up, hoist you onto our shoulders, and carry your ass down the road. Our encouragement and modeling of self-sufficiency without dependency is the best you can hope for.
Well, that’s all the time we have for today.
Until next time:
BE WELL, AND KEEP STRETCHING!
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Dr. James Davison, Jr. is a licensed psychologist and university professor. He conducts a private practice in Seattle, Washington, and has appeared on
several nationally-aired programs including The Phil Donahue Show, The
Ken Hamblin Show, National Public Radio’s All Things Considered, and
C-SPAN’S Book TV. Dr. Davison hails from Philadelphia, and is the author of several books – Prisoners Of Our Past, Sweet Release, and the upcoming Paid In Full – related to individuality and personal freedom for African-Americans.