Often when people speak of problems in the black community or the inability for black people to create a stable community, many blacks and whites bring up how other oppressed communities have overcome discrimination. Often people bring up how Asians or Jews have built stable communities that in some ways are better than mainstream white communities. Commending these groups for their accomplishments is important. However, it is essential to ask if what these communities accomplished can be replicated in the black community. Are blacks attempted to do the same thing that Asians and Jews have done?
Recently I read Gandhi: Racist or Revolutionary. The book talks about how Gandhi did not fight for a more egalitarian society. Instead, he wanted to improve the condition of Indians in South Africa and members of the upper caste in India. To support this stance the author details how Gandhi fought to have Indians included in the war against the Zulu’s in South Africa. He also wanted to separate black Africans and Indians, with Indians being held as superior.
In India, Gandhi supported the caste system. He believed the caste system was fundamental to Hinduism and that the system was scientific. In Ambedkar’s famous 1955 BBC interview, Ambedkar explains how Gandhi would advocate for the abolition of caste in English language newspapers, but support the caste system in publications in the native languages of India. Gandhi also agreed that whites were superior, yet upper caste Indians were above most other dark-skinned races. He often would tell Ambedkar his activism was motivated out of bitterness, and untouchability was a spiritual path.
So if a person considers Gandhi the embodiment of the Indian social justice struggle, then they have to admit that the ability of Indians to build stable communities is based on the exploitation or acceptance of exploitation of other groups of people. The Indian people did not fight white supremacy head on. They collectively accepted the position they were given and then worked as well as they could.
Knowing this information, individuals must analyze how much of the success of formerly oppressed classes has been on the backs of blacks and other groups lower in the white supremacy hierarchy. How many communities have businesses in the black community selling low-quality goods at a high price? How many communities have been stabilized by check cashing businesses in low-income areas? How many towns are stable because of the majority of the population work as police or corrections officers in a brutal justice system?
This blog post is not to disparage the accomplishments of other communities or to say there is nothing black people could learn from other communities. Individual success is open to anyone under Capitalism. However, we need to be honest about all the various ways people make money on black oppression. Once a person understands how others benefit from the collective oppression of black people, they can then assess if that can be copied by the oppressed people.
So black people being on the bottom of the white supremacy totem pole have no group to exploit. Black people have to fight white supremacy to have group uplift.
Since we are the only group wholly vested in the fight, people cannot claim black communities are supposed to be more stable. People also can’t lament on why blacks are not like other communities. Our struggle is entirely different