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Self-Reflection and Progression

'Internalized racism is the real black on black crime' Ibram X. Kendi


I recently read the above quote, and what stood out to me is "internalized racism" not the words "black on black crime." I am fully aware that 'black on black crime' is a phrase coined with the intent to further marginalize black people.


My initial thoughts were that Dr. Kendi was referring to colorism and other insignificant debates that occur between blacks. After reading Dr. Kendi's explination of his quote I still believe that colorism is included in his statment.


Dr. Kendi stated that he was selected to give a speech in school and he took the opportunity to say project his ideologies on to his audience.


He said "In that speech, I talked about black youth not valuing education. I talked about black youth wanting to quote, 'climb the high tree of pregnancy.' I talked about black youth not being trained and parented well. I talked about all of these ideas, thinking I was so radical and progressive-right? thinking I was helping the race, when in fact I was saying the problem, black people, is you, not racism. And I didn't realize it until later just how many racist ideas I had internalized. And I didn't realize until later that internalized racism is the real black on black crime.


In other words, as a black man he was doing a disservice to other blacks by essentially co-signing on to stereotypes without acknowledging the root cause of these issues. There are plenty of black people who share the same sentiments as Dr. Kendi in his original speech; there is a belief among some black people that by constantly highlighting issues within the black community that they are providing a solution to the issue black people face. Along with this they are making it seem like fixing issues that are heavily present in black communities are a simple fix that can be created by an internal fix.


It is blaming blacks for issues beyond their control, it places the blame on blacks and takes racism out of the equation. This makes blacks the main culprit for the inequalities we face and negates the fact that a lot of situations and inequalities that we endure are a result of racism and lack of power.


To use an example from Dr. Kendi's speech where he talks about black students not valuing education, this could be proven to be true about youth of all races. The difference is, not everyone has the same opportunities and resources. Lower socioeconomic status neighborhoods are plagued with broken down school systems that have inadequate resources. We also have to examine how strong the youth's ties to different institutes in their neighborhood are.


Also, how do we measure how much the youth values their education? Is it grades? Attendance? Behavior? All of these potential measurements have deeper factors that could have a negative effect on them or cause them to not be up to "par."


Black youth are up against the school to prison pipeline. There are endless factors stacked against them. There are too many loopholes that result in black youth getting the short end of the stick.


Self reflection is important here, because I'm sure every person reading this blog has cosigned with a stereotype against black people. For instance that something is ghetto, that someone doesn't want to do or be better, stereotypes about pregnancy, hairstyles, welfare, the HBCU vs. PWI debate, single mother homes, the internal arguments are endless.


With this being said, I have to highlight that there is a difference between co-signing on to these stereotypes in a demeaning way and simply stating that some of them are issues that need fixing. However, this is a conversation that should not include the phrase "black on black crime" in its original form that is meant to overly emphasize the amount of crime that black people commit against one another.


All races commit crimes.


After reading this blog I encourage you to do some self reflecting and criticism on your own statements and views.



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