Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The integration fixation

Booker Rising, a popular black website, recently published a chunk of copy from a post on this blog, entitled, "The downside of integration." A spirited discussion ensued in the forum concerning blacks and integration, including the following comment, which I think is noteworthy:

Posted by Al From Bay Shore (4/21/08):

I think integration was a disaster. I often wonder what would have happened if we had taken a more nationalistic approach to seeking liberation rather than equality. I'd much rather have people calling for a salary cap in baseball, because of the out of control spending of the Homestead Grays, rather than to celebrate Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier. For me, integration has resulted in black existence playing second fiddle to the larger society. I often wonder what would have happened if black athletes made black colleges their first choice or if John Hope Franklin had stayed at Morgan State.

There was so much wealth within our community in terms of human capital and we squandered it by running to be a part of white institutions. If we had actually gotten past our emotional reaction to Booker T. Washington's use of the term "accommodate" and, as a whole, applied all his ideas and approaches, we would be where integration was supposed to take us.

The integration mindset has burdened us with a crop of approaches (i.e., civil rights and its leadership) that seek to find solutions outside of our communities AND each time an attempt is made to self-critique, the dialogue is often railroaded towards a discussion on what other entities have done to us. We've even gotten to a point where we question the blackness of people who try to have these dialogues. If anything, one can argue that the insistence upon integration is a fixation on white people and a belief that black folks are incapable of individual success.

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