Integration or Separation?

I’m still reading the book PowerNomics by Claud Anderson, Ed.D.  In chapter two, the author shares an incident in which a southern white man expresses confusion over what black people want – integration or separation. The man said, Martin Luther King Jr. wanted integration; Malcolm X wanted separation. So, what do black people want?

First of all, this makes as much sense as asking “What do white people want?” Which white people?  Likewise, black people are people. We have different opinions. Just as we don’t all look alike, we don’t all think alike. To assume anything else hints at ignorance, if not actual racism.

Secondly, as the author replied to the gentleman, would he ask this of any other group? What do Jews want? Gays? Women? The answer is we want to decide for ourselves where we live, where we can go, and what we’re able to do, just like any other group. Jews have their own neighborhoods, businesses, and religious organizations, but they are also fully integrated into the larger society. We want the choice to integrate or not, just as anyone else would. But, in my opinion, a better question is – is one of these two options better for us in the long run? Should we shun the majority culture as it has shunned us? Or should we simply take on the majority culture as our own and keep trying to fit in? Even if this were desirable, is it even possible, given persistent white hostility and violence?

Again, I would say that the most important thing is freedom to choose. But, in order to grow and evolve as a people, we need more group cohesion. And cohesion is probably best fostered through voluntary separation. Racism/White Supremacy is the very air we breathe in this country, and internationally, so it is small wonder that even some black people have bought into their own inferiority. Some black people shun other black people or refuse to support black-owned businesses. It is a sickness that needs healing. And that healing is going to have to come from us. The majority culture will not and cannot help us with this.

In PowerNomics, Anderson proposes “ethno-aggregation” as one of the solutions to building up the black community economically. He advocates for black people willingly living in our own self-sustaining communities, supporting our own businesses, as a way of pooling our resources and healing ourselves as a community. Supporting one another, while also interacting freely with the majority society, is the pathway to independence and interdependence.

Peace and Love,



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