(S)He Ain’t Heavy….

3 Oct

Did he ever get him?

This Gilbert Young painting, titled “He Ain’t Heavy”, was created over 30 years ago. The artist said, “Once you’ve reached ANY level of success, reach back and help someone else. No “If,” “Ands,” or “Buts.” ‘Nuff said.” Unfortunately for our community, the lesson has not been learned and He Ain’t Heavy would better be posed as a question.

We have failed. We have failed to support each other and develop our communities. Allowing, no, virtually sacrificing our dollars and allegiances to people and businesses that do not support us and do not reinvest our money in our communities—or only in a nominal way. When I say we, what do I mean? I mean we the black Caribbean woman. Although this is a forum for all women who consider themselves a daughter of the Caribbean diaspora, there must be acknowledgment of the divisions/differences if we are to move towards true cohesiveness.

There are different experiences in the diaspora that unfortunately divide on race, culture and economic lines. The experience of a black Antiguan woman and that of a white Antiguan woman are different. Point. Blank. Stop.  Often we don’t want to acknowledge this fact, but if you like it or not—it is a reality.

Speaking from my experiences, here in Antigua, I found that there is little cohesion between women, especially black women. Through some unfortunate byproduct of slavery days or an unchecked cultural flaw, there is an error in our thinking. I have experienced, on more than one occasion, women tearing each other down for no good reason…at all. Sad to say, I have even been a part of it, on occasion. I have seen extreme nastiness (the best word I can think of) in the work place.

I see Black women attacking black women, playing into the very game that has been arranged for us. Girl, the game is fixed, wake up! (Said like Laurence Fishburne in School Days) You are fighting women with the same struggle as you. Don’t hate on a sister because she has the Gucci bag you can’t afford, afforded the education you didn’t or has the man you feel you should have. Applaud that B for her style, celebrate her perseverance and stand up for her for creating the love she deserves. Try to learn something from her rather than take something from her. I’m sure she can learn something from you too.

*Side note: Stop fighting the wrong battles. I have seen black women fight each other at the work place and neglect to realize that their  “ex-pat” manager makes four-times what they both are making with half their education. Oh yeah, he’s also getting housing, phone, travel and car allotment…hmmm. Oh, yeah, and all this is occurring while capable A&B’s are unemployed, interesting huh? Stop being farsighted, always know the war you are fighting.

None of us are capable of curing the woes of a whole culture, but if we break them down and tackle them individually we can most certainly make a dent. What can we do? Support your sistah. If she has an idea for a business support and encourage her. If she has a shop, don’t bid her down to her breaking point–you wouldn’t do it anywhere else.

We all have a special skill(s) that we can use to help someone else. In turn, she will help you, that creates community and a never-ending circle. You buy your groceries at her shop, she buys your bread, she refers people to you and you do the same. That is the way to keep the dollar circulating in your own community.

This is not a groundbreaking idea, it happens here everyday. The Syrians, Lebanese, Chinese and whites do it right here in Antigua and I applaud them for it. Why? Because they understand the greater goal. Not that they aren’t petty, backbiting and hate folks like everyone else. They just know that it benefits everyone individually be a part of a collective. We should take cues from them.

A very important note, business owners, you must be good business people. You have to treat your customers well, provide good service, treasure your customers and for Pete’s sake be consistent. If not, you can not expect us to support you and we shouldn’t. I refuse to shop at any establishment where people are rude and unprofessional. There are too many people who do what you do to take your bad behavior. And yes, I will go to a Jamaican restaurant if they feed my ego and belly. You have to earn my allegiance, so step your game up.

To be very clear, I believe in supporting all Caribbean women, men, businesses. I promote the betterment of the Caribbean diaspora, regardless of races, creed or country of origin. It’s just as a black woman of Antiguan descent, I can’t help but to be diametrically opposed to anything that isn’t in the best interest of my own people. Can you hate me for that? I know some may not agree with me, that’s okay. It opens the doors to a discussion that is long overdue.

Always remember, S(he) ain’t too heavy, she’s you.

Nuff said.

Am I on point or completely off base?

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