Give Back to the Black Community? Gimme a Break!

By Dr. James Davison

Maybe it’s me

Maybe I missed the day that all that outpouring of support from the black community happened. I could have been in the library on that day, studying so assiduously that I didn’t hear the parade of support march by. I know when I’m trying to improve myself I can become a bit oblivious to things right outside my door or myself.

Or perhaps I was at home, licking my wounds from the most recent run-in with the neighborhood street gang. I think someone must have neglected to tell them that we were in this together, and that they shouldn’t try every single day to kick my ass for wanting more than a future of felony counts and early death. )To be fair, they did contribute to my fleetness of foot, and helped me learn to fight on days that I wasn’t quite fleet enough.)

Or perhaps I was at home trying to shake off the most recent assault upon my psyche by the criminals, junkies, and hustlers of the neighborhood. They always seemed poised to derail the dreams of achieving children through the enticement of money, power, and rationalizations.

Or perhaps I was sequestered in my own room, brain spinning wildly, trying to figure out why those few persons who could have been positive role models remained disgracefully mute while I and other children death with these neighborhood hazards every day. Who knows where I was, but it seems that I missed that day of black community support.

Maybe it’s me, but I don’t remember the BLACK community giving me any damned help from the beginning

— At least not my immediate and present community. It seemed I was able to grow despite their “contributions”. I believe that the community that is owed is not comprised of theses charlatans, beggars, ne’er-do-wells, and users that we see on the streets every day. These delayers are not of any significance in the black struggle other than a place from which to launch.

The community deserving of our attention is comprised of those persons who sacrificed for us. They came before us, and, given the constraints of their times, ran their lap in the race. That community — slaves, sharecroppers, Tuskegee Airmen, kitchen domestics, intellects, entrepreneurs, and other creative types — pushed the envelope.

They are, in my opinion, deserving of the efforts of black advancers. That community deserves to be enlivened and honored through our efforts. These are the communities that deserve being given back to. And the giving back that needs to be done is simply continuing to strive and push the envelope.

I don’t think our forebears would look kindly on efforts to enable black delayers who do little but sit on their asses waiting for deliverance. I know had I lived their lives and suffered their indignities I would not countenance such brazen disregard. The present black community is simply trying to count us among its resources — just another meal ticket or excuse not to try. Trying to race pimp us. Well, I won’t be pimped. Sorry.


Dr. James Davison, Jr. is an African-American 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, National Public Radio’s All Things Considered and C-SPAN. Dr. Davison hails from Philadelphia, and is the author of several books - Prisoners Of Our Past and Sweet Release - related to individuality and personal freedom for African-Americans.