Divisions Within Black Community Hinder Our Progress
“I see Black people as one man…I resent that I have to prove that I’m Black. I don’t know what that is. I’m still processing it,” said Black British actor Daniel Kaluuya (“Get Out”) in response to Samuel L. Jackson’s criticism of British actors getting roles as African-Americans in Hollywood.
In a radio interview, Jackson went on to imply that Black British men do not have the same racial experiences as African-American men.
Jackson’s comments are extremely troubling because Black people across the globe are fighting racism and discrimination, so for other Black people to encourage more discrimination against their own people is one of the reasons why the community is in the rut that it is in.
Many Black business owners can attest to the reality that many of their worst enemies will look like them and many of the people who set up roadblocks to slow down their success will be other Black people.
While discrimination from other races of people is very real, as a business owner I have yet to have someone of another race try to block my blessings.
Unfortunately, it has always been my own people doing whatever they can to hurt my chances at success.
Often, the people who try to inflict the most damage are the same people who claim to be “woke” and champions for the Black community.
People like Jackson need to realize they are doing more damage than good by further dividing an already divided community.
In his defense Jackson stated: “All I was trying to say is that they have an opportunity to come here to the U.S. to portray characters that relay similar experiences to an audience that are not particularly theirs. I understand that coming here to the U.S. to work is a wonderful opportunity to advance their careers, and hopefully they can do that—like Idris (Elba) does—and it creates opportunities for other people to work. Unfortunately, Black Americans don’t have the opportunity to go to the U.K. and see if they can adapt the British accent and work. They do restrict us in an interesting sort of way. We’re not afforded that luxury. That’s what I’m trying to say.”
While I am not doubting Jackson’s assertions that African-American actors do not get the same opportunities in Europe as British actors do in America.
I doubt if he understands the problems that exist in the Black community when it comes self-discrimination.
Often, African-Americans have to fight discrimination from the White man and even more discrimination from the Black man.
African-Americans face systemic racism and a lack of opportunity and those opportunities are diminished even more by other African-Americans because the person might speak standard English, might not come from the hood, might not have a jail record, might not sell drugs are do other ignorant things that are required to have the imaginary “Black card.”
The problem with the Black community not thinking certain members of the community are Black enough is that when that same person is amongst White people they are just as Black as all of us and face the same discrimination that all of us face.
Who’s to say that the Black British actor that stars in an American film will not become a huge success and open the doors of success for other Black people to enter?
The problem is if the Black community tries to prevent one Black person from reaching success, then it will probably hurt 100 more because that Black person will not have the opportunity to pass their blessings on the next generation.
As Kaluuya stated: “This is frustrating bro—in order to prove that I can play this role, I have to open up about the trauma that I’ve experienced as a Black person. I have to show off my struggle so that people accept that I’m Black. No matter that every single room I go to, I’m usually the darkest person there. You know what I’m saying? I kind of resent that mentality. I’m just an individual.”