Uniting within

William T. Robinson, Jr.

William T. Robinson, Jr.

The idea of various groups and communities uniting as a whole to make Nashville a better city is commendable and in the best interests of all promoting the city as a haven for multi-diversity and cultural appreciation.

We all should be vested in our beloved Nashville but in all honesty and despite good intentions, we may be partaking in an uphill venture. While some may see a certain amount of harmony and shared interest in uniting Nashville, there are those who feel disenfranchised and ignored—especially when it concerns what is in the best interests of Nashville.

This feeling is prevalent among many in the African American community who feel slighted, economically, socially, and educationally. They are not feeling the prosperity and upward mobility of a growing and blossoming Nashville. In fact when the entire hula subsides, they see themselves as victims being dislocated and priced out of their neighborhoods by developers promoting an agenda specifically benefiting their White counterparts. It only makes some more aware of the disproportionate display of Blacks not in a position to take advantage of buying or investing in the newly renovated or built communities. The ironic part is that many of the communities they can’t afford to live in (because of exorbitant costs) were once dominated by them.

It all gravitates to a lack of profitable jobs paying a decent living wage as well as a public school education providing exceptional educational opportunities for all students regardless of one’s economic status or zip code. Nashville may boast about its rapid growth and numerous job opportunities, but many of the jobs they are offering barely offer a living wage. Adding insult to injury, many African Americans are insulted by some Black leaders trying to present a picture that all the development occurring is in the best interests of everyone. If that were true, there would be no problem. But those in the know realize that many of the changes taking place are in the best interests of private parties. More than likely, those parties don’t include people of African American descent.

Some people don’t have the option of seeing things through rose tinted glasses, and must deal with the ugliness of their reality.

In addressing the idea of truly uniting Nashville, it only makes sense that African Americans follow suit after some of our fellow ethnic groups like Hispanics and Asians. We should make an effort to unite among ourselves. It is apparent that Hispanics’ and Asians’ major priority is in building unity—supporting each other in all community and financial matters to build a strong financial base among themselves. That means African Americans should be working together and supporting programs to uplift and promote the Black community as a whole. We shouldn’t have to apologize about promoting a Black agenda that addresses our needs. No other group does.

Surely there is no shortage of causes and programs to help our African American community, especially for our elderly, unemployed, and children. There are a plethora of mentorship programs to assist our children especially—young trouble Black boys, programs soliciting Blacks to fight injustices and become involved in combating social ills and injustices disproportionately affecting people of color.

Let’ utilize existing African American community building programs. All too often we find cliquish organizations with potential members unwilling to commit to existing African American community building programs—unless the leaders can personally promote themselves as leading, and we all know that this is nothing more than a form of self-aggrandizement. Let’s not reinvent the wheel. Let’s empower ourselves by uniting as African Americans first, so we can be in a better position to work with others in promoting what should be in the best interests of all Nashville.