Playing the Black Card: Using Race to Overcome Obstacles

29 Apr

“‘Oh my gosh is that a black card?’ I turned around and replied, ‘Why yes, but I prefer the term African American Express.” – Kanye West

Ray: The social, political, economical, and moral trump card that has been frequently used by many Black people has expired. The “Black Card” has reached its credibility limit.

No longer will it be accepted at colleges or universities, nor be considered as a significant factor in determining one’s fate as a candidate for employment. The Black Card will be rejected at banks, credit unions, and investment houses. Restaurants, hotels, and department stores will also refuse to accept it, and Black Leaders will no longer conduct advertisement campaigns on its behalf. In fact, the only place where its use is still somewhat viable is at a police station or in front of a jury. Other than that, the Black Card has lost much of its relevance and usability. And, that’s a good thing.

The reasons why the Black Card is being denied around the world are, in my eyes, obvious. More Blacks are receiving college level degrees than ever before. The opportunities for career advancement and earnings potential of Blacks are higher than ever before. There are more Black business owners and Black millionaires in this country than at any other point in our brief history. To me, this symbolizes social progression on the part of all Americans which decreases the potency of the Black Card.

I am not oblivious to the fact that ignorance still exists in the world. I am well aware of our history as a racist nation, and I am fully aware of the institutionalized racism that lingers today. Many people are in fact justified when they use the Black Card as a means to trump the ignorance of racial intolerance. However, I would like to put forth the idea that Black people should no longer subscribe to the services rendered by the Black Card, and here’s why:

I believe that Black people could unknowingly be perpetuating racism by frequently using the Black Card. I believe that we could be manifesting the racial injustices that we claim hold us back from making progress. I think that employing an excuse that white people are afraid to challenge, in many ways, makes us lazy.

If any group of blacks had a right to claim the Black Card, it was the slaves. They had no rights, no opportunities, no chance for advancement, no freedom of speech, no right to the pursuit of happiness, and weren’t even treated as human beings! Complaining was pointless because if anything, they would have only been harshly punished.

Instead, they acknowledged what they were up against and planned accordingly. They recognized that they were indeed human beings and were just as capable of achieving greatness as any other man that walked this planet. They understood that the odds were stacked against them, so they worked together to create and sustain The Underground Railroad. They educated each other and established their own communities. They had tremendous faith in God and never stopped believing that freedom would come to their possession.

People often speak of the “slave mentality” as something to look down upon, but, to me, the slave mentality is something to which our generation could only hope to match. The slave mentality is strong, places faith in God, and uses personal responsibility as the vehicle to rise above injustice and ignorance. The slave mentality is what got us where we are today. The slaves didn’t have a Black Card and I thank God for that. Otherwise, they would have been too busy blaming their oppressors and trying to guilt-trip others into creating opportunities for themselves.

As with any credit card, the Black Card should rarely be used for everyday transactions. Use what God gave you to create equity in your life. The Bible clearly states that no man can take away what God has given us. And for those of us who God has blessed in the areas of business, education, science and industry, it is our duty to pass these blessings on to our brothers and sisters who lack the vision to find the right paths in life.

I have already cut my Black Card to free myself from the racial debt that consumes many Americans. I have opted instead to use the wealth of my intellect fueled by a strong work ethic to overcome all obstacles in my pursuit of the American dream. I hope that you may be inspired to do the same.

Note: I have nothing but respect for Jesse Jackson and all that he has done through out his career. But the reality is that millions of people really do feel as if Blacks unfairly use the Black Card too frequently in social situations. I just thought it was time to talk about it.

6 Responses to “Playing the Black Card: Using Race to Overcome Obstacles”

  1. nativenotes April 29, 2008 at 9:53 am #

    Good piece, very thought provoking!

    I mean Ray you and I both far too intelligent to argue this issue to much because we could both go back and forth on the pros and cons. That is the art of debate.

    For instance you speak of the slave mentality but you know we can speak of two different slaves. tHE REBEL WHICH i think you model yourself after. The rebel was strong; God fearing, intelligent and innovative.
    Then we had the complacent slave, often referred to as the house negro. We still have this dichotomy today. A man said to me Cedric why do you speak about the impoverished, you’re not struggling. You’re in law school; YOU MADE IT!

    If I was that complacent negro like most of the middle class is then I would be satisfied with me making it. Instead we have to have the heart of Sister Harriet. we have to keep going back to save our people.

    I want to be paid, you know this but what is me being paid while my people are poor. I can ignore them and go live with others but then what is that doing. Why can’t we pull each other up by OUR BOOTSTRAPS.

    I digress, back to the black card. I will not cut up my black card because my brother ray it has never sucessfully been discussed. Al Sharpton and them scream the black card but they don’t effectively use it. They are buying up space on our credit and because of the hell we have been caused and are continuing to be caused it is a necessary line of credit.

    There is no one way to achieve equality and what people who overly use the black card miss is that they are using it out of context. CUS IM BLACK, thats why it happened. While that may be one factor there are other factors. Together those factors prove a more compelling argument.
    The slaves knew they had a black card, they knew they different but not deficient in the words of Jeremiah Wright and this gave them strength as well. We can not ignore it but i agree it needs to be used sparingly.
    Stop this second class citizen nonsense, like James Baldwin said. “I’m not a nigger, I’m a man but if you think I’m a nigga, its because you need it”!

    • William "Caprio" Jackson January 11, 2010 at 3:13 pm #

      We need the Unity, but you also need to know as Sister Harriet knew, when to cut off those who are not in for the digging and diving of the every day struggle we all go threw.
      Good minds such as you and Ray have been lost to the hands of those who didn’t understand, so i guess it would be something like a brotherhood and sisterhood to get that movement across and to network like this on the daily basis.
      If any of you who read this would like to further discuss this and actually are impelled to make statement reach me at:
      we must walk it out as well as we talk it out.

  2. Seth April 29, 2008 at 1:09 pm #

    Slave mentality!!! YES let’s get it

  3. Sean Goss June 27, 2008 at 6:52 am #

    Great article. But then the complaint “Blacks using the Black Card”, should not be used as an excuse to stifle genuine debate about racism that is still encountered.

  4. gabriel bianchi July 4, 2008 at 10:15 am #

    come si richiede l’american exspress nera ?



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    […] Al Sharpten does. But now, I’ve reached my tipping point with him and his cronies playing the “black card” every single chance they […]

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