Blame Vs Responsibility

“If you get cancer, it is not necessarily your fault, in fact, most of the time it is not. Nevertheless, it will be your responsibility to deal with it, if you don’t you will be in big trouble” Jordan Peterson

As a society, we need to start talking less about blame and more about responsibility. These are two very different things that lead to different outcomes depending on which is focused on. Someone once asked me who or what was to blame for the general poor mindset and mentality that many black people have which manifests in their physical circumstances and outcomes. I immediately responded that it was no longer a question of who was to blame but who should take responsibility.

Firstly let me clarify what I mean by general poor mindset and mentality. Many black people believe that racism is the sole reason why many of them do not do well in life, they preach or at least accept this fallable theory of white privilege which in essense says that a white person is better than a black person, or at least a white person is seen by the world to be better than a black person; this therefore somehow guarantees that said white person will have a happier and more successful life.

Such a mindset is self limiting. The best mindset to have is the one that takes ownership for one’s life is the best mindset to have and anything less than that greatly disadvantages a person. This is why I don’t in white privilege, because true privilege is founding of mind and not in the colour of the skin. the common denominator of every great person is that they have had a strong mindset. This knowledge should be good news to all because you can’t change your skin colour, but you can change you mind. The mind can be developed, disciplined and trained.

The mind carries the body, the body doesn’t carry the mind. Our focus must shift, we cannot be looking for external things to blame for our misfortunes. In my opinion, blame limits a person’s thinking and ability to act and it is also extremely unhelpful. It stagnates thoughts and actions. Blame generally promotes the feeling of powerlessness and also a reluctance to take hold of a situation and deal with it.

Let me illustrate further, let’s take a simple case of an adult who is struggling in life. They are unable to hold a job down, their interpersonal relationships are turbulent, all their romantic relationships end in disaster, they do not believe in themselves or their capability to succeed, they are in a constant state of despondency and do not even believe that they have a right to be happy. Okay let us trace back and see how their childhood was. Let’s imagine that they grew up in an unstable home, the parents were negligent, extremely neglectful and even abusive – mentally, emotionally, physically and even sexually.

As the child grows up in that toxic environment, the behaviour and actions of his parents become embedded subconsciously into his psyche and entity. His perception of the world will become tainted or at the very least, affected negatively. So of course, this will influence his present attitudes and overall comprehension on how the world is and how people are. Those who were meant to exhibit love and protect him and provide that solid foundation, did not. His thinking will be inevitably marred and he will have to perhaps constantly battle against false perceptions that will arise in him whenever he encounters certain situations.

For example, the effects of the childhood trauma may be that he finds it difficult to form meaningful relationships, his sense of self will be distorted and his expectations of others may be low. He will find it difficult to trust – trust himself, trust others and trust situations.

So, all of these effects and consequences of his upbringing can undoubtedly be blamed on his parents. No blame can and should ever be attributed to a child in any way, shape or form. We can blame his parents and his upbringing as the reason he was unsuccessful in work, in love and in life generally. I can acceot that.

However, as he progresses into and beyond adult life, he cannot simply blame how he is NOW or how his life is NOW on the bad parenting he received. Well, he can. However blaming them will not solve any of the current problems he has. Especially if his parents are unrepentant, indifferent or even no longer alive. That is definitely a heavy burden to bear, a burden that will only weigh and keep him down. For him to find peace, the best thing that he can do is acknowledge the hurt, acknowledge the abuse, and forgive. Yes. Forgive. And then decide to take responsibility for his life. And it is a decision, a deliberate and conscious decision, he may not even feel like it, but he must disregard the emotions and listen to reason, to his mind.

Speaking of forgiveness, nowadays this word is like a curse word. However I believe that a person who has an attitude of forgiveness is the probably the most powerful person in the world.

Forgiveness does not mean that you agree with or condone what was done to you. But it does mean that you refuse to have a link to the pain that was created and caused by the thing done to or against you. Remember the analogy of the poison? drinking poison and hoping or expecting another to die? It sounds ridiculous doesn’t it? Well this is how holding a grudge is. YOU are the one holding the grudge, YOU are the one holding the memories, YOU are the one holding the suffering, YOU are the one holding the agony, YOU are keeping it, YOU do not want to let it go, YOU are the one reliving the painful experiences over and over again and sabotaging your every opportunity to be happy and yet YOU are hoping that the culprit suffers. And many times, the culprit as mentioned above has completely moved on with their own life or has even passed away. It is not fair on you. That is why YOU have to forgive and just let it go.

So, the best thing the black community can do now is to let go of trying to find out who is to blame for all the sufferings they face and claim they continue to face. For example, they keep trying to find out who is to blame for the general state of areas in Africa. Not knowing that the leaders of these African countries are filthy rich themselves so I am not sure why they are not held accountable for the state of some of their nations. They need to stop saying that it is a systemic problem that is causing their youths to be violent on their streets. After all, the parents should be raising the youths and not the system. The system did not give birth to the children. Therefore their children are their own responsibility and not responsibility of the system or government. They need to stop saying that the system is the reason that they are poor. False. They may feel that the system does not provide the most favourable circumstances for many of them, however the system cannot stop them from using their brains and their hands and making something out of what they have.

In reality, employment is not necessarily a ticket out of poverty, entrepreneurship is. Young people regardless of race should be taught about ownership, as having a mind that is geared more toward ownership is the best ticket out of a victimhood state.

I will give a personal example. I remember a time that I was unemployed and I was receiving financial assistance from the government, at first it was so convenient and then I became comfortable. I had been working for a while, as a Fraud investigator at a big financial firm and so the break was highly welcomed by me. However, after a while, I became bored and uncomfortable with my situation, I knew that I was wasting my talents and my energy and quite frankly, I refused to rely on the government.

I started looking for jobs, tirelessly. My resume was good, I had the qualifications, I had the certificates, I had the experience and even the charisma and yet I was falling short in securing a good job. Instead of settling in my difficulty or start looking for all the reasons why I wasn’t getting anywhere (and one of them could have included my race) I decided to look inside of me and take responsibility of my own situation and find a way to make a living for myself. This was a way for me to regain ownership of my life.

So I started to research about what other options were available to me besides the conventional employment. After a few weeks of going to different places and speaking to alot of different people, I found that there was a way that I could sell items on the street in a city that I was living in at the time. So I applied for the required license and upon receiving it, I went straight to the supermarket, I bought some sweets at a low price, some transparent packaging bags and a golden ribbon. With these, I placed a small number of sweets in the small bag and secured it with the golden ribbon. A very simple concoction. Then I hit the streets and started selling to passers-by. It was strange at first and because it was a small town, I encountered many of my friends and ex-colleagues but I did not care. I was doing something for myself. From this simple creation that cost me approximately £10 to prepare, I would sell approximately £200 to £300 of these little bags of sweets, all in the space of 2 or 3 hours. I will never forget that time in my life, I was so proud of my creativity skills and my ability to go out of my comfort zone regardless of how I looked or seemed to the public.

Many young black people do not take ownership of their life and their actions. I have spoken to many young boys that found it difficult to navigate through education or work. And because of this, they resulted to selling drugs by claiming that they had no other choice. I always disagree with them and advise them that the same business ethic and attitude that they conjured up to sell drugs, is the same energy that they can use to run a legitimate business. Many push back at me and explain that it is more difficult for a black person to get a loan or assistance for their business. And again I remind them that there is no one providing loans or assistance for the criminal activities that they choose to engage in and yet that does not stop them!

We are all presented with different choices in life, and the same temptations that confront one also confronts the other. It is ultimately up to us to decide the path that we should follow. A man I debated with in relation to the gang culture in the black community advised me that many are forced into that life. This is completely false. No one is forced to do such things, there may feel pressured into a certain lifestyle but this is not the same thing. Being forced to do something is one thing and feeling that you are pressured is another. If you were forced into a situation that ultimately yielded bad results for you then yes, it is reasonable to put blame on another person for your current situation. However if the person simply felt pressured, and caved into this pressure then they are fully responsible for the consequences that followed the choice that they made.