Why not here at home?
I want to transition into another angle which I think is part of the American identity issue. I believe the same sentiment Debra Dickerson talked about (see part 1)- being uncomfortable with the slave narrative, plays a role in why some chose to do their philanthropic work in foreign countries instead of here in America.
Oprah opens school in Africa. Americans seek to adopt children from Africa bypassing the millions of children in their own country who need a home. Privilege kids from Stanford who do work in 3rd world country (as a sort of rite of passage).
When people here these things, the question is often times, why not here? Now I must point out that I do not disparage them for adopting a child from Africa and from the child’s stand point it’s usually a better situation. Nor am I the type that believe Whites shouldn’t adopt Black children. I think its wonderful that they are doing work in other countries, there are problems that need addressing for sure. I just want to consider the question-why not here.
Listen to 2 snippets from Glenn and Joshua Cohen from BloggingheadsTV
The hang ups one has to deal with in the “Black community” is not lost on me. There’s the gatekeepers and those with interest in the status quo. You have to work through all the pettiness, turf-guarding, dysfunction and cultural baggage-what you’re walking into and what you bring. Its work! And for a privilege kid looking to simply check off an item on the list or do work in a 3rd world nation, as a way to gain their bonafides, it’s much easier to get on a plane. You’ve seen the pictures, smiling American surrounded by smiling half-dressed 3rd world kids (because well they’d surround anyone or anything new to their environment, it’s the thing to see.) But if you aren’t really that serious it (3rd world work) serves its purpose; puts you on the right side of the demarcation and looks good on the resume. You got the love you were looking for, you’ve been validated and now move on.
Don’t you want help for the “Black community”?
Yes, but the right kind of help and for the right reasons. The “Black community” is not a lab. It’s certainly not a lab in the sense you deploy bullshit, write a dissertation and then leave. If you want to do it on the cheap, stick with the international route.
It’s what I’m puttin’ down for now, what say you?