This morning I started my day listening to The Breakfast Club podcast with Dr. Claud Anderson. Granted, I woke up around 330 am and couldn't fall back asleep so I figured why not dull the restlessness in my mind with some mind-numbing social politics and economics? I can't credit myself completely. I don't typically tap into this level of dialogue- I haven't since the 2020 BLM movement and debates circulating that. Lately, my consumption has been limited to Jungian psychology lectures and discussions about spirituality and morality. Those flip your head inside out after a while, not gonna lie to you. Although I believe I gained significant insight into many of the inner workings of the human mind, I think God made it a mystery for a reason. We were never meant to fully understand human consciousness. But I digress.
I'd like to plug the TikTok algorithm here for a second to mention that without the 3-minute clip of Dr. Anderson speaking, I would have never thought to type his name into the YouTube search bar. I'm so glad I did, though. Might have been my saving grace. His perspective on community and race economics enlightened me in a way I never thought possible. I know this might sound outlandish, but there are many parallels, I believe, between the black community and the Arab community. At least within the context of marginalized people in this nation. Not all, but many. If you've followed me for a while on my other social media platforms, you'd be familiar with some of the talk I used to do around racial profiling and inequality in this world. For whatever reason, I always tend to find myself rooting for the underdog.
I try my hardest to pull commonalities and practice pattern recognition when analyzing international and transcontinental human behavior. I thought I was doing so to keep up with geopolitics considering my home country is buried beneath a cascade of rubble. I realized mathematicians and scientists do this all the time with charts and numbers, I just do it with people. I wanted to know how Syria got this way. I've noticed that across the board, humans have a proclivity towards destruction as if it were embedded within our DNA. A lot of people in the psych/spiritual community call it "self-sabotage"- feel free to use this term if that verbiage sounds more familiar.
So back to my point. Dr. Anderson discussed the difference between a neighborhood and a community. This distinction really stuck with me because of how regularly I use the phrase "Arab community". He discussed that there are three main components that constitute a successful community. The first element is a wholly independent economic structure that can provide jobs, resources, services, and goods for the members of your community. The second aspect of the community is that you must have a code of conduct- how we are to behave, love, and support each other. Lastly, you must have elected officials that are to represent you first and foremost. If you don't have those three things, you don't have a community. All you have are neighborhoods. Common watering holes where people eat and sleep- nothing more.
Dr. Anderson's deep analysis of black Americans really shed light on some of the structures within various other environments across the world. I do not think it is to be applied solely to one group of people simply because beyond the color of skin, all human biology is identical- although I recognize the specific plight of the black community as separate from "me". Blood is red no matter the mask we wear. I'd like you to bear in mind that this interpretation of social politics only applies if you value the collective. I'm not saying that individualism is not valuable, only that two can be valuable simultaneously so long as the former is recognized as a legitimate means of leverage. We know that the opposite is true- without a cohesive, strong collective, the individual will not perform. We know this in psychology (please refer to Maslow's hierarchy of needs.) We can see how his theory pans out in all populations where the "dog eat dog" mentality reigns supreme.
Everyone from my neck of the woods can recognize that our city is unlike any other city in more ways than one. Pennsylvania as a whole is unlike any other state in this country. We truly are the best (and worst) of both worlds. I actually appreciate the duality. It allows for a more interesting experience. If you're from the Syrian community here, you know this on a soul level. It'll resonate with you regardless of political affiliation. It's only when socio-politics gets folded in that the grey area begins blurring the lines of conventionality.
I have veered away from identifying with one political side of the spectrum versus the other. It's too complicated for me if I were being completely honest. I am in a situationship with politics and it won't let me go. Politics to me feel like how I'd imagine a toxic ex to be after a bad breakup. In any case, I am so thankful I found out about Dr. Claud Anderson. He was the perspective I didn't think I needed. Better believe I am going to purchase all of his books and listen to all of his lectures on YouTube. If you do too, please join me in these discussions. I have so much to say on the matter and I just don't know where to put it.