Black People in Phoenix! Let's Say Hello to the Idea of Being Friendlier to Each Other!
I believe the Phoenix area has the potential to be a great home for African Americans but I've been seeing a trend that has troubled me for quite some time. I know I'm not the only who has noticed this dilemma. In fact, I was inspired by one of our readers, Kareema, to speak out on this topic because it's time for all black people in the Valley to reverse this trend.
I can't put my finger on what has happened within the last 5-10 years here but it seems that African Americans in the Phoenix area do not feel the need to say "Hello" to each other when we see each other on the streets!
Phoenix is the 5th largest municipality in the United States but we have a small percentage of black people in the metropolitan area. It seems that we would be excited to greet each other with a wave or a hello when we see each other in public because you never know when you might see another black person!!
I remember when I was growing up in Phoenix, black people seemed to be much more friendly towards each other.
I have a few theories on why black people in Phoenix are less willing to acknowledge each other in public these days:
- The "What Can You Do for Me" phenomenon that has swept the nation! People in America are truly out for themselves! They don't want to be bothered with other people unless those other people can deliver financial or social benefits!
- People are quick to make judgments on a person's status based on their appearance. Taking the time to get to know someone and judging them based on their character seems to be a lost art for black people in Arizona and America!
- Old-fashioned prejudices about skin tone. There are still black people living in Arizona and America today who are caught up in the "light-skinned/dark-skinned" madness!
- People are worried about becoming victims of crime. It's sad, but these days, it's just not safe to speak to all strangers in the Phoenix area.
- The prevalence of interracial relationships in the Valley makes it difficult or uncomfortable for the black people involved to speak to other black people.
- Most black people in the Phoenix area are NOT natives. Therefore, they don't feel an allegiance to this community - they are loyal to their hometowns of Chicago, New York, Atlanta, Los Angeles, etc. Therefore, they don't feel a responsibility to uplift Phoenix and socialize with other black people in this community.
So how do we solve this dilemma?
There is no easy solution but African Americans in the Phoenix area have to work together to build a strong sense of pride in our community.
We are taking steps to make change.
African American groups in Phoenix are beginning to host more community events, town halls, fundraisers and networking opportunities. We have leadership teams such as the Arizona Commission on African American Affairs, African American Strategic Leadership Group, Northwest Black History Committee and the Greater Phoenix Urban League who are working to make a difference.
On an individual level, it's important for us to support the efforts of our local artists, entertainers, businesses, legislators and churches.
Most importantly, we need to read our black newspapers and publications!! The Arizona Informant, Arizona Black Pages, The Soul List, PhxSoul.com and other information resources are here to keep African Americans informed and engaged about what's going on in Arizona and the world!
I believe that when we educate ourselves on the progress that African American individuals and groups are making here, we'll be more excited about opening the lines of communication among our people here.
I'd love to read your feedback on this topic - I trust you all will have a lot to say whether you agree or disagree with me! Please feel free to share your Comments!!