The Next Narrative for Black America is one where we define ourselves by our aspirations rather than our challenges.
2019 marks the 400th anniversary of the arrival of Africans in the original colonies. Bill HR 1242 established 400 years of African American History – but what has our story been? What is the story they tell about us? Furthermore, what is the story we tell about ourselves and how does that story continue to enslave the “freedman”?
Each year on June 19th – Juneteenth – we commemorate the day when General Granger delivered orders to the state of Texas to free those who remained enslaved two years after the official ending of slavery. Although, Black people have physical and legal freedom, we are still bound by inaccurate and stigmatizing narratives. Some perpetuated by others, and some self-inflicted.
The Next Narrative for Black America campaign aspires to shift the discussion of racial equity from one based in denigrating distortions to one centered on the Black community’s aspirations and contributions to society. This is called “Asset-Framing”. Often times, when seeking to secure support for our community, we make the fatal error of using words like “disadvantaged”, “at-risk”, “underprivileged,” – unaware of its stigmatizing effects. These words subtract from the value of the people and make a weak case for support.
For instance, while common narratives about Black people focus on the community’s unemployment rate, one might instead lift up the 2.6 million African-American owned businesses that provide employment opportunities for others. Wouldn’t the wiser investment be in people who show promise, rather than those presenting a problem?
The Next Narrative for Black America promotes the advantage of using Asset-Framing to achieve greater gains for the Black community. In doing this, BMe Community has been able to invest over $3 million in Black leadership enrichment through its fellowship offerings.