From the Melanated Man:
Recently I joined a burgeoning co-operative named ULU: Us Lifting Us, based in Atlanta, GA but geared specifically to the Black Melanin-Dominant community. This is the second cooperative (Sevananda Marketplace in Little Five Points of Atlanta) that I have chosen to join in the past 18 months. Both are ran and owned by a majority Black-Melanin Dominant populace, yet ULU only allows those of Black-African decent to purchase ownership.
I really do love and value my individuality, which is what gave me the confidence to create The Melanin Man blog. Yet when it comes to the task of uplifting my Black Melanin-Dominant brothers and sisters around the globe, I am only one cog within a larger apparatus. Which is why their are many more Black African minded bloggers besides myself to share the load as well. And that conviction is only magnified further by my personal decision to join within cooperatives that will directly benefit my peoples economically.
I have touched on the idea of entrepreneurship for the Black-Melanin Dominant once before. And to elaborate even further, I am of the opinion that entrepreneurship in its modern form is NOT NATURAL to the archetypal Black-Melanin Dominant men and women. When it comes to “doing your own thang”, starting your own business/company, one must first question their motives and intentions.
I know you may be working for a company that doesn’t value your TRUE worth, making kibbles and bits while the company continues to make millions off you. I know you may be tired of “dealing with white folk” on a daily basis, playing office politics, steadily trying to climb that ever elusive corporate ladder. I know you want to break away from the corporate version of the PLANTATION.
Trust me, I GET IT.
But besides the potential financial freedom that could be available to you and your immediate family, is your decision to delve into this Europeanized version of entrepreneurship really going to benefit your community? Our community, brothers and sisters, is NOT a charity nor a measly donation.
It is OUR responsibility to care and nurture it.
Again, is capitalism by way of entrepreneurship the way to build up our community, brothers and sistas? For the longest I have had a huge ideological conflict with conforming to capitalism, even before I became more aware of the precarious conditions of the Black-Melanin Dominant populace on the world stage. At times I’d ask myself, “Is this really the ONLY effective way to make a living?”
For capitalism to thrive, not only do you need to develop new markets but you need to preserve your current markets as well (i.e. “keep them happy and coming back for more.” ) I don’t believe perpetuating, let alone participating in, a system that takes advantage of another. People’s needs can easily be manipulated, and they have been, just to keep the wheels rolling. Even the simple, sacred occupations that we choose to take up and we insist our children to do the same have been defiled by capitalism:
-Doctors in Western society won’t remain employed if their patients don’t get (and REMAIN) sick (see a repost: Medical Doctors: Are They Killing Us? )
-There would be no reason for engineers to design the latest and greatest (from cellphones to cars) with small incremental changes year to year if people as a whole decide to drive and keep the devices and contraptions for longer periods of time.
-Lawyers can’t make a buck while exploiting the law through a bias and corrupted justice code, and taking advantage of Western-induced stressful relationships through the current divorce racket.
And the list goes on and on and on and on…
Capitalism has been embedded in every fabric of our society, effecting the Black Melanin-Dominant man and woman the most, in my opinion. We have been forced to embrace an acidic ideology, knowingly and unknowingly screwing each other over like crabs in a bucket just to “make a living.” And when you began to embrace capitalism, TEN TIMES OUT OF TEN you tend to compromise your skills, your talents, your creativity, and ultimately your integrity to make a buck. Are we rightfully serving the Black Melanin-Dominant community this way? Or are we simply just a group of BLACK-FACED small businesses in competition with one another? Our participation within this paradigm is hindering our progression toward true SELF-DETERMINATION and SELF-RELIANCE.
There was once a time not too long ago where the idea of cooperation reigned supreme amongst our people. Within ancient African culture, the first and only one that matters when it comes to the world’s origins, it was THE foundation of our culture. It was expressed through the arts, education, economies, the family…all aspects of life. It was understood that the individual was crucial and important to the stability of the collective. Yet at the end of the day, NO MAN OR WOMAN was greater than the collective. Not to say that it was perfect by any stretch of the imagination. More than likely our ancestors had their fair share of issues (i.e. past and present African tribalism) amongst themselves. Nevertheless, it was (and still is) the essence of our DNA. Despite any incremental intricacies amongst any given tribe or nation of us, at the end of the day, we are still ONE people (check out the African constitution written in Chancellor Williams “The Destruction of Black Civilization.” It accurately illustrates the core tenets of our culture once upon a time.)
Do you find lions organizing with hyenas? Do you see bears conversing with wolves? (If you have see any of this with your own naked eyes let me know.) I say this to say that we family need to stick together and be prejudice when it comes to taking care of business and one another, no matter our personal background and circumstances. You may not agree with me, but I personally believe I have more in common with a drug dealer or serial criminal offender who is Black Melanin-Dominant than the guy/gal working in a cubicle next to me who is Arab/Asian/Caucasian with a seemingly kosher lifestyle. The only REAL difference between me and the drug dealer/serial drug offender is our response to the European colonialist construct we have been pressed to endure in spite of TRUE NATURE as a melanin-rich people.
Collective consciousness is indeed rising around the glove. Yet, the cream of the crop must take their rightful place on top.
My brothers and sisters, you are NOT my competition. You are my allies, my family. We must begin to work along, for, and with one another to reclaim that top spot once more.
It’s time to turn those words, the rhetoric we have been preaching, into tangible action.
Peace and Love to my melanated family,
The Melanin Man