In Retrospect: The Black Adversity List

I wrote about how being black in a white dominated society can create a different kind of reality set aside for blacks. I wrote most of it in the form of a list based upon the list of privileges whites have in the same society written by Peggy McIntosh, an American activist and feminist. Since I first wrote it in early 2010, the list has been updated the list a couple of times to make sure I include as many sad realities as possible regarding being black in a white world. However, I wanted to include truths from different ways of life other than my own. As such I wrote on behalf of black males, black females, black youth, black gays and lesbians, etc. I’m sure that my list will always be a work in progress.

Since its creation, the black adversity list was copied and pasted in several sites across the net. It received both positive and negative reviews as I’ve expected.

Most of the people who reported it admired it and agree with certain items listed. They said that what was explained was true. Some even said that some items really “spoke to them” as they’ve gone through what was mentioned.

Then, there are those who disregarded the list. Some thought it was just about “blame whitey” meme. Some thought it was just another “blacks are inferior” claim perpetrated by liberals, and some simply didn’t believe it.

I was wondering if it was a good idea to make such a list given the fact that this society doesn’t take too kindly when it comes to certain people’s suffering. It’s true. We live in a society that has a warped since of compassion as far as who is worthy of such emotion. We are supposed to feel for the privileged but not for the not-so privileged for stupid, shallow reasons. I hoped the black adversity list would, in a way, vent some of the anger, frustrations, and depression that comes from the sick notion that skin color determines humanity in this world, and the lighter the skin, the more your worth is.

Black adversity is the result of the history and reality created that prevents blacks from obtaining unalienable rights granted to those of European descent. Some of the items in the list exist for Latin, Asian, and Native Americans as they also suffer from living in a land of white supremacy. It is a testament that “we” are still hurting in some way and something must be done about it. However, some of the help must come from whites who are willing to listen instead of lecture if race relations in this nation are to improve. If race relations do improve, then this nation will probably recover from its illnesses that are crippling its population.

Alas, privilege distorts reality and morality, and a drastic dynamic change is not even on radar with some of these people. So, it is up to those who are enlightened to do all we can to promote and encourage change in our world. Being aware that this society still barbors racial division is the first step. The Black adversity blog entry helps that, but it does not strengthen or prove that blacks are just inferior, nor does it serve as an excuse for not trying at all.

Black adversity describes one part of the reality of black life in a white racist society, the realistically painful part. The truth is there is nothing wrong with being black. Nothing! To escape the matrix of whiteness is to understand the kind of world you live in, and what must be done to live or survive in it. Most of all, one must understand the most important fact that all people deserve humanity–equally.

The list has been updated recently. You can check it out here. My only regret is using the word ‘adversity’ as the defining word to describe the condition blacks are currently in. In a way it sounds as if being black has an inate handicap attached to it. However, there is nothing wrong with black skin. Whites have created that association, and as such linked adversity with blackness and superiority and morality along with privileges with whiteness. Adversity can be overcome by wisdom and love.


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