by Kenny Anderson
Black men its unfortunate that so many of us spend all of our time comparing ourselves to whites and each other.
Regarding whites, we compare ourselves to them and we fall short based on a comparison between the oppressor 'white institutional power and skin privilege' and us the historically oppressed 'systematically despised and denied'. For many of us when we struggle against racist injustices it's not driven by 'justice' but by 'jealousy' of what white folks got.
Comparing from a physical feature and behavior perspective no matter how much too many of us try to look and be like white standards through whatever means we fall short often leading to low self-esteem, shame, and depression.
Regarding Black-on-Black comparisons it's non-stop 24/7, this hyper-comparison is sickening 'haterism', Black males constantly comparing, judging, and envying who has the latest and greatest white folks cars, gadgets, clothes, shoes, jewelry, etc. This comparing, rivaling, and showing-off over white corporate consumer products creates a superficial Black consumer slave culture, furthermore it results in Black-on-Black jealousy, distrust, disunity, crimes, violence, and murders.
Blacks men in order to get a handle on our mental health and improve our relationship with each other we have to reduce pathological comparing! According to why you should stop comparing yourself to others Daniela Tempesta (LCSW) says "If comparing is how you evaluate your worth, you will always be losing. In this game of life you will never reach a point where you are better than others in every way and why would you want to be." Tempesta highlights 2 important points:
1. It's Damaging To Your Sense Of Self:
Research has found that comparing breeds feelings of envy, low-self confidence, and depression, as well as compromises our ability to trust others. While downward comparison, comparing ourselves to those less fortunate, can provide some benefit to one's sense of self, even this form of comparison comes at a price. It requires that we take pleasure in someone else's failures or misfortunes in order to feel adequate, which can fuel mean-spirited competitiveness versus collaboration; jealousy versus connection. When comparing leads you to devalue yourself or others you've entered dangerous territory.
2. What You Are Comparing Against Is Inaccurate Information:
What people present to the outside world is usually an edited version of their reality. When someone asks you how you are doing, how often do you respond by saying, "my husband is driving me crazy, I'm feeling like a failure at work, and I'm just about ready to lose my mind"? Instead, you probably bite your tongue and say "things are really great!" A recent study in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin confirmed that people are less likely to reveal their negative emotions than their positive emotions. Additionally, the study found that people tend to overestimate the presence of positivity in the lives of others, while they misinterpret or fail to detect negative feelings in others. So not only is what's being delivered an incomplete picture, we tend to distort the information we do receive - a double whammy. So next time you find yourself comparing to someone else stop and ask yourself if it is really fair to compare when you don't have all of the information. As Steve Furtick explains, "The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else's highlight reel."
Black men, the next time you find yourself jealous of what another Black man has, feeling envious, inferior, or inadequate realize that you're just having a 'Negative Black Comparison Moment' (NBCM) moment. When these moments arise take a minute and ask yourself why are you comparing, then check yourself with self-talk stating let me get out of my feelings, I'm just on some insecure and jealousy bullshit that aint even important, I'm better than this!