I am writing this in response to feedback from various Integralist on the need for a black website that focuses on Ego Development. My website https://blackleaderanalysis.com uses Ego Development Theory chiefly Spiral Dynamics (Graves, Beck, Cowan) to analysis the leadership skills of leaders with African ancestry. In this work, I will evaluate 200 black leaders and develop and Integral Theory of Black Empowerment.
I have promoted the site using Social Media. I frequently post in groups of black nationalist, black conservatives, and Integralist. All the sites have given me more positive feedback than negative feedback. I want to chiefly focus on the negative feedback that I have received from the Integralist Community.
This post will recount my experiences with “buying black.” For the rest of the article, we will refer to “buying black” as Ujamaa. Ujamaa is a Swahili word that means Cooperative Economics. For more on Ujamaa and a more detailed definition reference the work of Dr. Maulana Karenga.
I would also like to warn the reader that in this post I could say things that offend you. Understand that whatever I write is out of a deep love for the Integralist community. Being less than one hundred percent honest will be a disservice to both of us. These conversations will be difficult. However, we have to have them to lead the rest of the world to an Integral future.
The reader should understand my personal feelings on race. I do believe all people are equal. All whites are not out to get blacks. Many white people have been fundamental in blacks securing civil rights. Many white people have well thought out views on race and are inclusive. I also understand there is no scientific defense for the concept of race.
I also understand that the majority of Americans have racism deeply implanted in their psyche. Even I have been scared walking through a black neighborhood. These stereotypes and prejudices affect every aspect of life. We all must create specialized defenses to combat racism and specialized therapies to remove racism from our psyche. I do not believe anyone entirely divorces themselves from the concept of race. We can only hope to understand our racism more deeply, recognize racism quickly, and work to redress or prevent damage caused by racism.
In summary, race is not real, but racism is very real
I will provide the following definition of Ujamaa because it is important that blacks and Integralist practice Ujamaa. Ujamaa is taking special effort to spend the largest amount of your income with black businesses preferably businesses owned by the Descendants of American Slaves (DOAS). The goal of Ujamaa is two-fold.
1- Keep as much capital in the Black Community as possible.
2- Create an Economy controlled by blacks to counter racism in the economy at large
3- Develop the skills of the Black Community to make blacks more competitive in the market at large.
What is an Integral Perspective?
Next, I will detail my understanding of the goal of Integral Theory. Integral Theory is not a method to remove all labels from everyone and say everyone as an independent. Clare Graves’ work on developing a metatheory for psychology was intended to be used to allow a therapist to make specialized treatment for every individual. If someone was moving from Blue to Orange, use Freud. If someone was at an adolescent level of cognitive development, use Skinner. The point of the work was to know HOW to treat people differently. Same with Beck. Beck developed and analyzed various management theories to understand what works best in each situation. Proper management at a restaurant is not the appropriate management in a hospital and vice versa.
Here are some quotes from Clare Grave’s book The Never Ending Quest on the A’-N’ State (Integral Consciousness)
A’N’ Theme: Express self for what self desires, but never at the expense of others and in a manner that all life, not just my life, will profit. (p. 365)
The A’N’ system is triggered by the second set of human survival problems – the A’ problems of existence. These are the problems of the threat to organismic life and rape of the world produced by third, fourth, fifth, and sixth existential ways. (p. 366)
The A’N’ accepts and lives with the fact of differences, and that one is relating to people who are different and thus shows readiness to live with differences. (p.370)
His ethics are based on the best possible evidence as to what will benefit all- the majority, the needy, or the desiring is not enough. (p. 370)
An Integralist will evaluate all factors in every purchase and racism is a factor in a Capitalist economy. An integralist also believes that all people are equal and there is no scientific justification for the concept of race. Therefore, the wealth disparity between whites and blacks is the result of oppression. The lack of money reduces political power and leaves black people vulnerable to attack by racist whites. The lack of wealth and jobs in the black community leads to increased crime. The offense results in loss of life at the hands of police or other black people and job disenfranchisement due to a criminal record. So an integralist would be willing to spend more money or time to find businesses owned by Descendants of American Slaves to actively redress wrongs committed by D-Q and E-R periods of our history.
Integralist, especially Integral Capitalist, know how difficult it is to start a business. If a black man owns a business within a racist system, he must have an extreme amount of skill and ingenuity. At the very least he is confident and ambitious. These are qualities that could lead to getting superior service or goods. A black man can provide services on par or better than everyone else if given the opportunity over time. Black people must develop their skill and to accomplish that a customer needs to factor what the man has gone through into their purchasing.
An Integralist is not spending money to get the most for his dollar. Orange Meme individuals look solely at getting the most for the smallest investment. An Integralist wants to make a better world. Part of having a better world will involve giving blacks a fair chance to compete and contribute in society. Ujamaa is a method to affect the lives of blacks tangibly.
How I have benefited from the practice of Ujamaa.
I have practiced Ujamaa for all of my adult life. Ujamaa is a concept instilled in me by my parents that also practice it. I will chiefly show how Ujamaa has benefited me in the area of medical care.
I have been in therapy on and off for ten years. I have had white and black therapists. I have noticed that white therapist totally fold up if you start talking about how race or how racism affects your life. They get extremely uncomfortable. They are scared to be called racist, or they want to defend their ideas that America is not racist. The therapist’s discomfort prevented me from fully disclosing my feelings. A black therapist was able to give me the treatment I needed and improve my mental health.
I began to have back problems when living in Lusby, MD. The town has a small population, and there were no black chiropractors that I could find. So I went to a white chiropractor. My insurance only paid for twenty chiropractic visits a year. After twenty I would have to pay half the cost. My chiropractor said that I must come every week. I took the advice and began to pay out of pocket at the twenty-first visit. After two years I moved to Washington, DC.
When I arrived in DC, I was able to find a black chiropractor. I told her that I was getting an appointment every week. She said that was crazy. My back was not that bad, and I should conserve my visits. She suggested I come bi-weekly for two months then come as needed. I went to this chiropractor and eventually my back no longer hurt. She could have had me go every week and collect money from insurance, but she genuinely wanted me to feel better.
Ujamaa is not always easy. I am a somewhat persnickety person. I like to come into a doctor’s office and see the new furniture, beautiful pictures, and decor. The “vibe” and feeling of an office is important to me. I heard about a black dentist that set up his business to cater to inner city children. Tennessee, my home state, started an initiative to improve the dental health of school children. He won a grant to render dental services to these inner city kids. He used the grant to start his business.
When I heard this story from my sister, a dental assistant, I jumped at the opportunity to use this clinic. The clinic is in the inner city close to the schools that he is there to serve. I drove down. The clinic’s exterior was not desirable, to say the least. The sign had a few letters that would not light up. The building was old. I walk in, and all the furniture looked used. The building was once a fast food restaurant. They left the fast food tables and benches in the waiting room. The dental exam room was created in the area that previously was the kitchen. I sign in and wait. Then it happens. A bus load of inner city kids was dropped off to get their teeth cleaned. The kids were loud and unruly, probably no more so than I was at that age, but I was not very happy.
I am called to the back, and the dentist greets me with a smile. He asked me how my day was and I said I was fine. I could tell he is interested. He completed the routine cleaning, and we talked a little about my life. He saw from my teeth I grind my jaw at night and he wanted to know if I was stressed out. I started to talk about my job, which I hated at the time. He then fitted me for a mouth guard. The mouth guard fitting takes an extra twenty minutes. Most dentist would want me to come back on another day. He was able to truly accommodate my needs both in the dental and emotional aspects.
It has been my experience that black medical professionals are more likely to listen to their patients. They are also careful to explain things in a way that is easily understandable. I think this is because black medical professionals are more likely to interact with people without degrees in their personal life. The interaction with people from various educational backgrounds allows the professional to practice explaining difficult concepts in understandable language. Many blacks stereotype black professional as stuck up. The preconception that black professionals see themselves as superior causes black professionals to learn how to present information in a non-threatening and understandable manner. I think that all people can benefit from a doctor that can explain things in layman’s terms. The ability to speak in plain English could be a huge benefit if you are diagnosed with a serious or complicated medical issue.
How to practice Ujamaa.
A person must first fully understand Ujamaa. Ujamaa is not charity! You are not buying from black people because you feel sorry for them. You buy because you are investing in an economy that will provide a unique value to society. You will benefit from the goods and services provided by the business now, and society will take advantage of this business later. You realize black people have a unique understanding of the world that will allow the to develop unique skills. You are investing in these skills and getting immediate services or goods.
The first thing a person must do is find black businesses in their area. In America use the site http://www.blackpages.com. It is the largest directory of black-owned businesses. Locally contact your Black Business Bureau or read advertisements in the local black-owned newspaper. An Integralist should read black publications because he needs all perspectives.
If a black owned business can not be found, shop around town for a business to provide the service you want. Go into the office and look around. See if you see any black people working there. Also, notice the jobs the black people hold in the company. Are they upfront in an office or are they doing manual labor? Factor that into your purchasing decision. If you are living in a large city, almost every business should have a few black people working there. If no black people are working there, more than likely the owner is racist. If you live in a city that is 30% to 50% black, you can find someone black to provide any services.
The last point many people will say is racist. They will think you are attempting to punish a company for hiring practices. These same people will also tell you to boycott a company or store for environmental transgressions. If you heard Walmart was violating EPA regulations, every Integralist would push for a boycott. However, if you suspect a company has racist hiring practices, you don’t think anything should be done. If you are willing to use your dollar to punish environmental transgressions and not racial transgressions, you care more about animals than people.
The last thing is to use the influence you have on your job to get contracts and subcontracts to black businesses. If you get to make a decision on procuring janitorial services use a black janitorial service. If the windows need to be washed, find a black company to provide the service. You could get some flack from people above you, and there may be an issue here and there because black-owned businesses are not large. However, this is an investment in the future of America.
Ujamaa is a practical way to address racial injustices. An Integralist doesn’t just say he wants to end racism. He doesn’t simply repost an article by Ta-Nehisi Cotes once a month. He is using his power, influence, and money to make the lives of Descendants of American Slaves better in the here and now. Ujamaa is an Integral practice that has real world results. Sitting and talking about racial redress is not enough. Let’s take action.
For more information on Ujamaa refer to the Dr. Karenga’s website
He also has tons of lectures and articles available for free online. `