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Earlier this year, Pharrell Williams sent social media and the web sphere into frenzy when he declared himself to be the “New Black”.  Williams defined “New Black” as somebody who “doesn’t blame other races for our issues. The “new black” dreams and realizes that it’s not a pigmentation; it’s a mentality. And it’s either going to work for you, or it’s going to work against you. And you’ve got to pick the side you’re gonna be on.”

If only life was that easy for us “Old Blacks”.

But Williams isn’t the only to subscribe to this rhetoric. Plenty of black celebrities feel that once they’ve reached a certain status, that their struggles are behind them and that their color didn’t prevent them from reaching their goals.

If only life was that easy for us “Old Blacks”.

These “New Blacks” are delusional. The one thing they fail to realize is that once the fame and money is gone, they’ll be like Cinderella and turn right back into the “Old Black” they used to be. But you can’t tell them that now, as they bask in their New Blackness.

These “New Blacks” seem to live in this bubble and think that racism has somehow vanished and post-racial is an actual reality. But for those of us who watch the evening news and saw photos of Eric Garner getting chocked out by the NYPD, or for those of us who are keeping track of Renisha McBride’s trial, we all know post-racial is a façade.

This whole idea of the New Black isn’t anything new. Booker T. Washington’s “Bootstrap Theory” echoes the same sentiments of Williams’ new found version of blackness. Washington’s theory stated that the best way for a person or group of people to come up in the world is to create their own opportunities and lift themselves up by their bootstraps.

And this is what I could never relate to.

Sure, you can attempt to create your own opportunities, but don’t act as though the world has your back. Racism isn’t going anywhere. And if Washington was still alive today, he’d probably be proud of Williams and his ideology, even while being racially profiled during a shopping excursion at Macy’s.

But I’m sure Washington’s old rival; W.E.B. DuBois would have a different opinion.

DuBois believed protest was a necessary response to segregation, racism, abuse and disenfranchisement. He believed in higher education rather than vocational education. In his essay the “Talented Tenth,” which he wrote in 1903, he stated, “The Negro race, like all races, is going to be saved by its exceptional men.”

These exceptional men that DuBois spoke of knew of the obstacles that blacks were subjected to and struggled to overcome because of systematic racism and discrimination.

In our world today, we need more of the “Talented Tenth” and less of the “New Blacks”.

Whereas the “New Blacks” think they have all the power, the “Talented Tenth” blacks know that the ability to have the power is there, but the road blocks aren’t going away anytime soon. And the same issues DuBois and his counterparts faced back in their day still exist today. Chances are, they’ll be around for generations to come.

You have to give it to the “New Blacks” though, they talk a good game.  I’d like to challenge Williams and his “New Blackness” to ride around his old neighborhood at night, without an entourage, and see how his “New Black” probably won’t prevent him from being racially profiled.

I challenge those individuals who have declared themselves as the “New Black” to take a ride around their “Old Black” neighborhoods and preach the “New Black” rhetoric to those people who have lost loved ones due to being shot by racist cops or racist neighborhood patrolmen. Speak to those families who have sons and daughters locked in jail because of unfair sentencing practices.  Let’s just see how much these people care about this “New Black” bullshit.

For chrissakes, will the Talented Tenth please stand up?

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