I'm Fresher Than You: The Competition Paradigm in the Black Community!
I'm fresher than yooooooou, more fresher than youuuuuu, I'm fresher than you, h#% 😜
"Oh I'm gon' be $h@&'n on these bishes when I step out in this"
"When I cop this whip/make this move, I'mma be the biggest boss"
"There's only room at the top for one"
"When I make this move, you gon regret ever dissn me"
"Bitch stole my look"
"Ninjas jockn' my steeze"
"H/She stole my idea, I thought of that 1st"
The list could literally go on and on, and I'm sure we've all heard similar voices inside our own heads before. Sometimes it's merely confidence, and sometimes it's a parasite of nature. I've been guilty of it before and so have you! At some point in life we've all secretly competed with the next contender; and depending on our environments and where we come from, it might even be bred into us.
Take myself for example, I'm from Inglewood, CA- the land of shallow, self centered, materialistic people. Don't get me wrong, I love my city, can't nobody do it like we does (lol)! But growing up in L.A. can be harsh. Even though we were all inner city, urban youth, who's parents/guardians were all probably in very similar financial situations- struggling, renting ridiculously high apartments, and paying car notes. Some in section 8 housing, and or receiving some sort of government assistance.. I grew up clearing 3 of the 5 listed urban conditions, myself. Yet and still, most of our parents found money to help us keep up with the Jones'.. Brand names & designer clothes were damn near a must in LA, in high school. Especially if you wanted to avoid public humiliation. Try crossing the courtyard in some no name kicks, or a knock off.. anything. Better yet, have the audacity to be nicely dressed, but not be sporting at least 1 label, and see don't the urban fashion police get you before the days' end! And I'm not talkin Clueless' Cher & Dionne stopping you in the hall to ask "are you in last seasons' designer wears?". I'm talking a group of loud mouth people, waiting to put you on blast when you walk by. Harsh, right? I know I sound like a scorned victim, but thankfully I've never had to experience that type of adolescent torture. Fortunately for me, keeping up with the Jones' was somewhat bred into my family. So, we often spent money in the wrong places.
Blame it on the pigment.
Be that as it may, I have always recognized how awful this sort of behavior inside the black community is. However, I wasn't always aware of why we as an urban demographic are like this. In hindsight, I can see that Slavery and Post Slavery played a major role in the competition paradigm, that we as a people often yield to.. Between the house Neguz vs the field Neguz, light skinned vs dark skinned, family members in competition with family, or friend vs foe; no matter how you spin it, we seem to compete with one another.
I digress on the slavery POV, different topic, different post (lol). Let me know if you want me to expound further on that thought, though!
So now that we have a few explanations as to why we as a people are like this, let's discuss what happens to us as we grow into adults under the spell of this learned behavior. Do our parents' competitions become our own? Do we take up the cross of befitting our social surroundings, as to not be the under dressed/non-haute misfit of our social groups? Most of us continue on in the grand tradition and rise to the occasion, right?
Some of us go to college and embark on the journey of crossing the burning sands of Greek life, and then that thrusts us into a whole other competition. What about if you're an athlete? Then you definitely have to live inside a competitors state of mind. Promotions in the workplace, and longing for due or undue acknowledgement for our efforts, etc, all these life experiences keep us blind to this rat race we're in against each other. I get it, our world can be a dog- eat- dog kind of world, but does it have to be?
Are we the only nation of people that doesn't know when and how to cut it off and where to draw the line? I'm certain that other races of people have competitive spirits and are guilty of some of the same behaviors, but unfortunately we're the ones who let it rule us, and we display it for all to see. In our social media, our reality shows, and even our crime. We'll kill and steal from one another out of jealousy and envy of possessions. We'll conspire to "humble" one another through humiliation, degradation, scare tactics, or damaging each other's reputations. We'll try to weaken our "haters" and fellow movers and shakers with mystery, a big mouth, and bull $h%t. It's real bizarre.. We're the only people who try to cancel one another's success by our own success. We always want to beat each other to the punch, and when we don't, we get all bent out of shape about it. One thing I learned from this blogging thing is this:
If you thought of it, someone else, somewhere else, already has first. The only difference is in execution.
-Je'Don Holloway Talley
It's kind of like a pimps mentality- If you tell a hoe, she's a hoe enough times, her sub-conscience will start to question it's merit, and then it will slowly eat away at her self esteem and self worth. So, what do we as a people think will happen if we continue to speak negatively over one another's lives? What do you think will continue to manifest in our communities? Where is our comradery? Where are the elders offering wisdom on life and prosperity?
Maybe its not so common in other nationalities for 2 prime reasons-
1. Because they are already privileged, and so are the people around them, so there's no need to compete for privilege or prosperity. Their forefathers have already paved the way for them, and there's already money, business and equity in their bloodlines, so no need to be concerned about the next persons' moves..right?
2. They have the benefit of not being separated from the virtuous way of communal living and respect that one's knowledge of culture and heritage would bring them.
We must do better as a people LCP, and we have to teach ourselves and our children the right person to compete with: THE MAN/WOMAN IN THE MIRROR!
"When I stopped comparing myself to others, and focused my competitive energies on the woman in the mirror, I became the best damn version of myself I could be!"
Did you like this article? Did any of these paradigms resonate with you? Do you agree or disagree with any of the statements in this article? Would you like to see LCP #SoundOff on more paradigms inside black communities? Let us know! Want to get all the LCP stories as soon as they're live? #GetNotified below! Oh and don't forget to get social with us, and hit those links too!