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The Unaddressed In The Black Community

The Unaddressed In The Black Community

By Yvonne Sam
PRIDE Columnist

yvonne-samIt is not only the police who can lay claim to having a monopoly on the Code of Silence. No way! When it comes to certain topics in the Black community then there is a cloistered way of silence.

For various reasons we do not want to address them, and at times it has caused some confusion. We want to address racism and injustice, but that’s strictly on the outside, it is the inside that is an entirely different ballgame.

There are some hot button topics that Blacks refuse, point blank, to talk about and/or acknowledge, even if they know it is right or wrong.

Here are some things that Black people would not, and will not, address:

Abuse (sexual, mental, emotional and physical)
We have been known to be a community that thrives on talking about taking care of our own, but that is merely the frosting on the cake. In fact, we actually dismiss and belittle the victims, making them feel as if the abuse was entirely their fault, thereby protecting the abuser. The reason given is because “we”, meaning the community, do not want to cause hurt to someone’s mother and/ or family. Yet, the victim is forced to carry on as if nothing happened, and grow up continuing to see and interact with the abuser at family functions and other family-related events, to avoid embarrassing the family. This is the primary reason why accountability is not a priority in the Black community.

Disabled members of the community
Individuals in the Black community who are disabled (learning disabled, mentally disabled, physically disabled) are often treated like second class citizens, mainly because they are seen as burdens and not exactly productive in the world. Many are also seen as an embarrassment to their family and to the community. If an individual is slow to finish things, he/she is viewed in a negative light.

Black folks like to scapegoat, because it is much easier to lay the blame on someone to avoid being held responsible for something, or to take attention off them. An innocent person, who gets scapegoated in the Black community, usually spends years trying to clean up a damaged reputation as a result of a family member(s) painting a false negative picture of them.

This is a big one and, again, never ever discussed. Black folks are of the belief that control can be achieved through intimidation, threats and manipulation. They do not want to lose control over some things, that’s why bullying seems to be a deep-seated issue that is swept under the rug. Even speaking out about it can evoke nasty comments from others when the victim stands up for him/herself and would tolerate no further abuse and mistreatment.

Excusing poor behavior
Most of us know and have seen within our own families that we want to moan and groan about the injustices of the world towards Blacks, but we do not want to discuss the poor, and oftentimes tactless, behavior of our people. Yet the minute that someone speaks out they’re attacked for saying something that’s obviously true. We do not want to address the behavior of ourselves or other blacks. We are fine with texting, Facebooking and emailing the hell out of the individual on social media, saying they are wrong for what they said. In all honesty, the family dynamics of Blacks is jacked up and it only takes one person to start the dialogue about a silent problem that gets worse each day, and to stop the justification and excuses for someone or somebody.

Sadly, it is these things that fuel the negative and oftentimes hostile action within the Black community. We never want to talk about it and will come down hard on anyone who steps up and speaks out, because the Black community is threatened by the truth when someone speaks out about the injustices within the community, involving our own people.

Stacey Dash, a former contributor of Fox News received a lot of heat when she opened the dialogue to discuss the negative elements that has brought down the black community. The fact that ANY dialogue that is raised by those who say it, are the ones who get harped on for speaking the truth about what really goes on in the black community, in terms of social things. Incidentally, Stacey Dash is a Black female of African American origin.

The lingering question still remains: how are we going to progress forward if we cannot talk about certain things that have, and still continue to, plague the Black community?

Aleuta — the struggle continues.

Yvonne Sam, a retired Head Nurse and Secondary School Teacher, is Vice-president of the Guyana Cultural Association of Montreal. A regular columnist for over two decades with the Montreal Community Contact, her insightful and incursive articles on topics ranging from politics, human rights and immigration, to education and parenting have also appeared in the Huffington Post, Montreal Gazette, XPressbogg and Guyanese OnLine. She is also the recipient of the Governor General of Canada Caring Canadian Citizen Award.

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