It’s been well-documented that I’m a native of Phoenix and I’m proud to live here.
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 can’t put my finger on what has happened within the last 10-15 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 one of the largest municipalities 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:
- Some people just weren’t raised to greet other people in public.
- 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.
- 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, Philadelphia, Detroit, etc. Therefore, they don’t feel a responsibility to be ambassadors for 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 need to join the African American groups in Phoenix that are hosting community events, town halls, fundraisers and networking opportunities.
If you’re out and about, don’t be afraid to ask Black people what they know about Phoenix! I’ve heard many great stories about how people became friends after approaching strangers in public with the same question! I’ve made great friends the same way!
Most importantly, we need to read our black newspapers and publications! PhxSoul.com, The Arizona Informant and other information resources are here to keep African Americans informed and engaged about what’s going on in Arizona and the world!
If you’re sitting on the couch, waiting for Phoenix to come to you, you’re not gonna like this place.
BUT if you are OPEN-MINDED and you do your homework, you’ll find that Phoenix has plenty of exciting things to do and see!
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!!