Perhaps the biggest lie habitually fed the black collective is that if you work hard you’ll reap big rewards.
When I hear these words the following questions always come to mind:
Were our ancestors not hard working?
Where their contributions not foundational for the field of Dreams America has come to stand for?
This myth exists to obscure the reality that the privileged American has due to the hard work of others. By “others,” I specifically reference the African people abducted from their home continent and coerced into providing free labor for the American economy.
Thus, by encouraging hard workers to work hard(er), the poisonous hierarchical structure remains in tact.
Hard work is not the key to success or peace of mind.
This is not to say that one should not work hard, but that this myth almost guarantees a black person’s position on the chain gang, or the contemporary plantation now known as the workforce. If you consider the black celebrities or athletes praised for their work ethic, they all embody well-paid workers. But yes, they do work hard.
The key to extinguishing anti blackness is to minimize its affect. The black collective does this with confidence.
Hard work sets the black individual up for a life of employment. Confidence engenders a collective enlightenment.
By confidence, I do not mean the emotion that comes over a person when they have consummated some western means of success, or when one has broken through a glass ceiling only to sit on the floor.
I do not speak to the feelings some experience when draped in expensive clothing or accessories. Nor do I reference the emotions that accompany driving a costly car or attaining close proximity to an attractive property. I speak to the unwavering calm that weathers every white supremacist storm. I reference the intractable feeling that ensures the black back remains opright regardless of circumstance.
When the waitress at a restaurant gives you the check while you’re still eating, or the African adjacent woman clutches her purse upon seeing a black body board an elevator or approach a sidewalk—confidence ensures the black individual’s feet stay perched on the ground but assures their held remains held high.
I’m talking about that fire that grows with every admonishment and adversity. I’m talking about that biting wit that permeates defeat.
Gifted from the ancestors, confidence culminates the spiritual work of souls past. It is the whispers in our ears, the surge of energy that wakes us from the hegemonic hypnosis that daily life engenders. This confidence ensures that everything designed to collectively drive black people insane, or into the pits of despair, drives the black collective closer to one another and toward an Afro-future beyond anti-blackness.
So as we embark on a new decade, I wish all my people all the beauty of blackness and the confidence to conquer this cruel world.