We can win. When we act in the interest of group unity and do not allow individual incentives to divide us, we have power. Group unity helps the group. Those who tend to be acquisitional and insular in their thinking abandon what’s best for the group and sell-out. Group unity is our superpower. When we use it, we win.
Trump and the hostile racial climate he exploited pulled off its veil, and we’d had enough. The ugly reveal propelled the Black community to organize itself, its resources, and wage push back at the polls. Black voter turn-out was over 90 percent in the 2020 election. This referendum against Trump put Biden in the victory seat. Black votes were the last ones counted as Biden secured more than the 270 electoral votes to win. Ironically, Trump’s strategy to overturn the election results is to disenfranchise unified Black voters by challenging the legitimacy of their votes in swing states Biden won.
Black unity works when we work it. We only have to look to the US Senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions in Alabama in 2017. Republican Roy Moore ran against Democrat Doug Jones. Moore was favored to win. Jones’ historic upset of Moore (came off the backs of Black voters). Black voters made up 29 percent of the electorate in Alabama’s special Senate election, according to exit polling. Black unity at the polls helped pull off the Jones win. So we know we can organize Black unity at the polls when we have a common purpose.
Group unity must go beyond just voting. Yes, Black voters knew what was at stake, and we came through, but unless we practice group unity as a new habit, our efforts to achieve real progress will be futile.
Social protests, another example of group unity, sparked awareness to support Black businesses. According to the Federal Insurance Deposit Corporation, FDIC, the number of Black banks is at its lowest level in history. However, The assets of the existing banks keep growing. There have been initiatives to support Black-owned banks since the beginning of the Black Lives Matter movement. M & F Bank in North Carolina, the nation’s second-oldest Black-owned bank, saw an increase in business from individuals and small to medium-sized companies. 20% in overall deposits. Unity helps build businesses, and this sets an example for others to support Black businesses.
What does Black unity look like? It requires Black people to find a common purpose and constructive ways to solve problems. Help each other in productive and positive ways. Set aside things that divide like ideologies, skin color, hair texture, class, affiliations, religion, sexual orientation. End tribal warfare, gossip, and the need to be seen. Agree to disagree. Refrain from acts of anti-Blackness. Above all else, resist the tendency to allow others to disrupt unity or hijack cooperation.
All Black people do not have to think and believe the same thing for there to be unity. No, Black people have never operated from a single united point of view. We’ve had leaders from diverse religious, political, economic, sexual orientation, and geographical backgrounds. It’s not necessary to line up behind a leader. Black people must lead in their own lives. Gone are the days of do like me, be like me, follow me, and join my camp.
Blacks should not have to give up critical and rational thinking to support each other to make meaningful progress. Yes, one thing you should hold dear is your right to think independently. Never let anyone take that away from you. Groupthink is utopian. And we know Black people are not a monolith. To be effective, Blacks must minimize contact and conflict with difficult people who have no interest in cooperating or healthily supporting other Black people.
Why should Blacks leverage group unity? Know that groups are vehemently fighting to hold onto Black oppression. Some within the Black community aid in this effort. Some Blacks are disruptors, dissenters, caboceers, interlopers whose agenda is to exploit or dismantle any semblance of unity, or cooperation, or teamwork. These provocateurs are good at what they do. No, not all Black people need to agree on everything. But we must agree on one thing; Blacks should stand together against racism, oppression, and anti-Blackness.
Black unity is the new superpower; it works when we use it. Besides–nothing else has worked.
Alice T. Crowe- Opinion columnist
My passion is correcting the missing pages in our history books. Secrets of the Hollow is my latest film series. The first segment, Last Disintegrated School, the untold story of Thurgood Marshall’s fight to desegregate the Brook School in Hillburn, NY, in 1943. This untold story happened eleven years before Brown v. Board of Education. Infobase distributes Last Disintegrated School. Visit my website for information at www.acroweflyz.com. I am currently editing the revised edition of my book, How to Get Black on Track. Follow me on Twitter.