About a fortnight ago, I was on the bus in Walthamstow chatting to a friend on my mobile. We talked about the concept of men and the ones that ultimately disappoint.
As I was talking to her, a group of young (black) boys were in the back of the bus were being rowdy. As per north London stereotypical behaviour, this is silently tolerated. The gaggle of boys were clearly eavesdropping on my conversation because I could hear them referencing my conversation about men.
These boys could not have been older than 16, yet they were trying to intimidate me by staring at me. How some young black men intimidate and assert their masculinity by trying to suppress black women is despicable.
However, it signals a problem with young black people in London. There is an expectation of entitlement. Expectation to be respected, simply because one exists. I have this hunger to see black people being successful. The glass ceiling is a myth. However, behaviour acts as a barrier to success. How can we move forward as black communities if young black men think it is alright to emotionally harass black girls?
This fragmentation is why people, particularly certain pockets in the UK are not meeting their potential. We need to work harder and want to have the desire to succeed from our youth. Both halves of the black gender body have to want it for each other. This is when black self-improvement will flourish.
I think the situation with certain parts of the black community in south-east England is that we have been lulled into the falsity that race does not exist. By tearing other people down on public spaces like the bus, we end up showing that we do not have enough self-belief in ourselves to grow as human beings to deserve respect.
I know I am such a Fanonian in that I reference his work a lot but I believe he was onto something when he recognised the chronic feeling of inadequacy that plagued his black Martinican peers in the late 50s and 60s.
The success of Mr Thiam at the Prudential is proof that the sky is the limit, not what a naysayer says. Yet to reach the sky, black men and women in Africa and beyond need to build the beanstalk together, not separately.