Also from The Root, friend of Agate Felicia Pride, in reviewing two new “tough love” message books, makes what I think is the most important point there is to make about the challenges facing African Americans–it’s not about “either-or,” but rather “both-and”: “Embracing responsibility is necessary for us to thrive. I don’t believe in excuses either and some explanations are lame. High expectations are crucial. So is support. And empathy.”
I typically feel that most discussions of what’s-wrong-with-Black America err by tipping this both-and balance too far to one side–it’s either all about the need for more personal responsibility, or all about solving the systemic issues. When in fact, it’s always been about both. You can pick a spot somewhere on the spectrum to make your own stand, but don’t deny that both ends matter. Otherwise, there’s no real conversation, no synthesis, no solutions–just two opposing sides completely invested in denying any validity to the other.