Is Black Excellence Viewed As A Threat Or ‘Drinking The Kool-Aide?’

Photo by Andre Hunter on Unsplash

The price of opportunity for Black people is relatively high. Few can afford it. For those who can, it means embracing an anti-Black culture. For educators and businesses to tackle the problem of recruiting and retaining Black excellence, perhaps more focus on a supportive environment, including Black culture and not denigrating it, might yield unimaginable success.

The universal notion that Black people are unqualified permeates the work environment as well as society. Regardless of degrees and experience, Black people must continually prove their right to be employed, be successful, and sometimes even exist. Every environment change requires Black people to prove they are qualified all over. Combined with racial harassment, often referred to as microaggressions, it leads to a toxic work environment and a host of mental and physical illnesses. We need to research to understand risk factors and protective factors to reduce anti-blackness ideologies’ damaging impact.

To be Black is to have your self-worth attacked daily in profound realms.

The price of professional opportunities outside of sports and entertainment means becoming the only Black person in the room. Losing your identity to a culture that uses Blackness as a scapegoat is a mind game equivalent of gaslighting. When you are typed cast in a stereotype, over time, you become that stereotype. We get stuck in a cycle of trying to prove our intelligence to an audience that sees Black excellence as a threat to their lifestyle. We should be building a robust infrastructure for Black survival.

Colin Kaepernick taking a knee for the National Anthem outraged fans. It became his last season playing football. When the Texans and Chiefs took a moment of unity for Black Lives Matter and against police brutality, the crowd booed. As part of his re-election campaign, Trump’s use of racism to stoke white fear of Black Americans is an old reliable trick that always works.

Eventually, Black excellence succumbs to a chronic toxic culture that permeates every professional work environment and society. Many lose empathy, especially for others that look like them. Too many develop health issues, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or heart disease. Then they are those who self-medicate with drugs and alcohol.

Is Black excellence equivalent to drinking’ the Kool-Aid?’ In other words, there is no such thing outside of sports and entertainment? White people pound their chests, telling tales of self-made successes. They scold and tell us we are lazy. Forgotten are 400 years of slavery that forced our ancestors to help build this country and create the generational wealth many whites elites enjoy. Forgot their white ancestors’ brutality, that kept Black people living in fear and shackles. White people forget how the FBI systematically killed our civil rights leaders, creating a black leadership vacuum. They forget about Black Wall Street and other such stories of white resentment leading to White people burning, looting, and mass shootings against Black communities. Black people lost everything they owned, and many lost their lives, and no one was accountable.

White people ignore their successes occurred in an environment supportive of their values. They downplay the significance of privilege to white success.

White privilege is about an environment that supports white success and understands white failure at the expense of Black life. Police brutality and mass incarceration are the public health crises of white failure. In many ways, anti-blackness produced the foundational materials for white privilege.

Opportunities don’t come easy for Black folks. We pay a high price to be ridiculed and questioned with suspicion. Shouldn’t we look at whether those opportunities are worth the price and health risks? Perhaps, it’s time we invest in our foundation and our future.


Author: Angela Grant

Angela Grant is a medical doctor. For 22 years, she practiced emergency medicine and internal medicine. She studied for one year at Harvard T. H Chan School Of Public Health. She writes about culture, race, and health.

13 thoughts on “Is Black Excellence Viewed As A Threat Or ‘Drinking The Kool-Aide?’

  1. Angela, I agree with what you’re saying and I believe we will get justice but not in this Satanic system!

  2. Thanks, Angela. I re-play in my mind every day a recent observation by Charles Barkley, a favorite sports legend and human: something like “It’s just awfully stressful to be a Black American in America.” I, a caucasian, hope that I have the humanity to relate viscerally to that in its wholeness, its grinding reality on uncountable levels. Your commentary adds to my understanding and near-overwhelming shame.

    1. Hi Bob, glad you appreciated the op-ed. Sounds like you did soul-searching in the past? It took me a long time to break the shackles and I’m still dependent on a system that considers me a threat.

      1. Angela, my mom — my first and always-topmost hero — instilled in me the principle that we are all equal…no denials or equivocations. I try to make that truth “live” in me at all times and in all circumstances. Jesus said it well: “…love your neighbor as you love yourself” — and I’m sure other faith traditions across the world teach similarly.

  3. Hello Angela. What you say is true. Thankfully these history lessons are now coming to light in ways too powerful to be ignored. I have learned more in the last 6 months about the history of race in the US than I ever did in 12 years of public schooling. I don’t have the answers, but I know it starts with learning the truth of the past. Then being willing to move into a new future that includes all over us together. Be well. Hugs

  4. Black excellence is a threat for sure. For racists that is. And there are lot of them. As I explained many times already, racists need a scapegoat in order to deal with their feelings of inferiority. And considering America’s history with slavery, what easier scapegoat could there be than African-Americans? So if you want to kill racism, to fuck it up, to make racists loose their scapegoat and to mega suffer in hiding, then BE excellent in whatever you do, and show these lowlifes (and the rest of the world) what brilliant cloth you were made of, goddammit! Yes you are brilliant, resilient, strong, and able to conquer any storm, even the perfect ones. You doubt this? Then tell me how it was possible that black people could survive all the horrible things that were done to them for many centuries, in the USA, Africa, and elsewhere?

    1. Hi Roald, You’re right! We survived without resorting to violence, with our hearts intact, and by being adaptable. It’s time we to do more than survive. I want to live. I want to navigate life and pursue happiness without the threat of being harassed, attacked, or killed by white people. And I’d like the same for my children and family.

  5. Damn, I posted here. It said “Submitting now” or something. But WP fucked up again, and my comment didn’t show up. My patience with this shit has ended now. Sayonara.

  6. Lmfao. My shit still came through. But it was posted by Mr. “Anonymous”. As if I ever do something anonymously. I leave that to those lovely paper tigers. Anyway hot ma’, now you know it was me 😛

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