I don’t know what it is about us as African Americans, but we seem to be the most trusting and forgiving group of people in America – at least when it comes to trusting people outside of our race.
When it comes to nearly every important aspect of our lives, Black folks collectively trust people outside of the Black race to control and make decisions on our behalf – almost exclusively.
I would love someone to prove me wrong. Think about it for a second and let’s talk about it.
Who do we entrust when it comes to the control of our healthcare? What about educating our children? What about our jobs and careers? What about our food and water? What about legislation and politics? More importantly, what about our money and assets?
Sadly, there are lots of people outside of the Black race who hold key positions in many key areas concerning our day-to-day lives that are evil and have a negative view of Black people. Many of their decisions have proved detrimental and costly to Black people, and in many cases were irreversible.
In spite of this, however, many of us still seem to put our overwhelming trust in everyone else, while shunning our own people and taking the continued abuse and ill-treatment by others.
I have never understood it, but that is our collective reality. If you play with fire, you’re gonna get burned.
We stand behind false pretenses of humility and godliness, thinking that forgiving others for the wrong they have committed against us, somehow brings us closer to God and proves our holiness. Nonsense.
We have always tried our best to fit in and play by a set of rules created by others; rules that are only good for as long as they allow those who don’t look like us to remain in control and keep us in a position of weakness. Now ask yourself this question: Who wants to give up control of anything, just because another person or group wants you to level the playing field? Can we say….Absolutely no one?
We try to get in where we fit in by assimilation.
We move where they move. We talk like they talk. We learn what they learn. We live where they live. We say what they say. We are not painting our pictures. For the most part, Black people find themselves collectively tracing those who don’t look like us, in order to gain acceptance and approval. It’s truly sad.
Why do we love to trust other people so much, when there is a history of documented abuse, theft, lies and broken promises? Are we immune to pain and expect it as a part of our daily existence?
There is a saying that, “a dog will look down when they have done wrong, but a snake will look you right in the eyes.”
Am I saying that we should not trust anyone outside of the Black race? Hell no!
What I am saying, however, is that we need to start recognizing those outside the Black race who don’t have our best interest at heart. We need to start looking for the snakes amongst them, because they have a vicious bite and some venom that is even deadlier.
There is a Native America story that is a Cherokee Legend, called The Little Boy and the Rattlesnake.
You may have heard this story before, but if you haven’t, let me share it with you:
A little boy was walking down a path and he came across a rattlesnake. The rattlesnake was getting old. He asked, “Please little boy, can you take me to the top of the mountain? I hope to see the sunset one last time before I die.” The little boy answered “No Mr. Rattlesnake. If I pick you up, you’ll bite me and I’ll die.” The rattlesnake said, “No, I promise. I won’t bite you. Just please take me up to the mountain.” The little boy thought about it and finally picked up that rattlesnake and took it close to his chest and carried it up to the top of the mountain.
They sat there and watched the sunset together. It was so beautiful. Then after sunset the rattlesnake turned to the little boy and asked, “Can I go home now? I am tired, and I am old.” The little boy picked up the rattlesnake and again took it to his chest and held it tightly and safely. He came all the way down the mountain holding the snake carefully and took it to his home to give him some food and a place to sleep. The next day the rattlesnake turned to the boy and asked, “Please little boy, will you take me back to my home now? It is time for me to leave this world, and I would like to be at my home now.” The little boy felt he had been safe all this time and the snake had kept his word, so he would take it home as asked.
He carefully picked up the snake, took it close to his chest, and carried him back to the woods, to his home to die. Just before he laid the rattlesnake down, the rattlesnake turned and bit him in the chest. The little boy cried out and threw the snake upon the ground. “Mr. Snake, why did you do that? Now I will surely die!” The rattlesnake looked up at him and grinned, “You knew what I was when you picked me up.”
We’re so busy listening to narratives from other people outside the Black race that we refuse to acknowledge the present danger that lurks before our very eyes. Snakes are dangerous, and no matter how you treat a snake, it will always be exactly that – a snake. Period.
Look at what happens when we allow other people to have control over the areas of our lives we are subjected to on a daily basis. Who had control over the water in Flint, Michigan? Who had control over the decision to sentence the drunk-driving murderer Ethan Couch or the rapist Brock Turner versus the innocent Brian Banks or the innocent Davontae Sanford? Who has control over the closure of schools in the Black community and their lack of equitable funding? Who has control over your ability to receive quality and affordable healthcare for you and your family? Who controls and regulates the food we eat?
Lastly, who controls the images of Black people in Hollywood and in the mainstream media?
Get my point yet?
We trust other people, many who are snakes, to make decisions for us. We are holding them close to our chest like the little boy did the rattlesnake, and before we know it, we are collectively in trouble.
I am calling all members of the Black community to wake up and realize we can’t play with snakes. We can’t befriend snakes and we damn sure can’t compromise with snakes. It’s time we start using common sense, and pay attention to who we allow to control the key aspects of our lives that impact us on a daily basis. We must do it before it’s too late, and find ourselves extinct because of their venomous bite.
Jeffrey L. Boney serves as Associate Editor and is an award-winning journalist for the Houston Forward Times newspaper. Jeffrey is a frequent contributor on the Nancy Grace Show and has a daily radio talk show called Real Talk with Jeffrey L. Boney. He is a Next Generation Project Fellow, dynamic, international speaker, experienced entrepreneur, business development strategist and Founder/CEO of the Texas Business Alliance. If you would like to request Jeffrey as a speaker, you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org