Black tax is the notion or idea that, culturally speaking, black individuals are obliged to help out their family members financially. The issue is that we perceive it as a way that black families curtail the success of their children or family members by always seeking financial help or support. Additionally, that when a black male or female gets a job and a career, they are less likely to succeed in the long haul or to enjoy the fruits of their success. Such action is due to numerous financial responsibilities or requests that are imposed on them by their families or family members.
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Black tax, as I have said, is a notion. I think it gets somewhat misconstrued as a fact of life. I also have a problem with the term ‘black tax.’ It implies and insinuates that only black families or individuals ever feel obliged to help out their families. I wonder what one would call trust fund babies, white privilege? Perhaps. Black tax, in my view, is a notion of poverty. An idea fed into the minds of black children and individuals as a way to imply that they will never truly succeed. It is wrong and misleading. Black success is possible and imminent. Anyone can succeed and support their families or family members without curtailing their ownsuccess.
Black tax promotes the idea that African culture is somewhat limited or unideal by there being impositions of a financial nature to any individuals who succeed. It kind of suggests that families or family members can be burdensome or haggle for money. It also ties the issue to culture. There are implications that African or black culture could be somewhat limited by its characteristics of togetherness, community, and even helping each other out. I disagree.
In all this talk of black tax, I think everyone forgets that at the baseline, we are talking about family members. Literal parents, siblings, or relatives. These are people who have raised us in one way or another, and for an individual to succeed, this means that they have been raised right and propped up for success. Some will argue and say that maybe the individual succeeded out of their prowess or might. However, the successful individual is a result of decades-long care, education, and value-acquisition. Success is most often an end result and not a by-product of all the constant effort, pain, tears, and sweat that goes into raising a full-fledged, able, responsible, and well-mannered child. Parenthood is not a walk in the park, and the success of an individual shows that the environment provided for them was kind enough to allow them to grow. I am not saying that one’s success is not their own, but it being their success does not negate all the effort that led them to where they are. In this case, the means get complemented by the ends, the success.
Recognizing that no individual can succeed on their own and that no one is truly an island, is the first step in realizing what it means to be supported. We all want to be independent, but it takes time and effort. Success does not just happen and is a culmination of all non-frivolous efforts towards something. There is a pain in success, especially when the individual recounts all the hard work they have put into something. There is also fear when the individual realizes that they could lose all they have. Additionally, that they have something to lose and a lot at that. Think of college graduation and the teary-eyed graduates. They remember the pain they have gone through and are happy to finally succeed. Nothing in life is easy, and to succeed; a lot goes into an individual. That is, a lot of input, both intrinsically and externally, goes into making an individual successful. Much of this input comes from family and family members.
We should take a step back and first appreciate having family and family members. Sorry to say, some individuals have no families that they can rely on. Even as we talk of familial support, we should also remember the vulnerable in society and support them. Having a family is what makes life special. I don’t think any of us could have been if there was no sense of family in our cultures or our ancestors. Family is the most exceptional and most resourceful support system anyone in the world could have. That is why kings are so obsessed with heirs. Think about it, who do you leave all that wealth and the throne, literal or not, without an heir.
Black tax can be an offshoot notion when family and family members take advantage of an individual. When they deceptively impose their needs on the individual and request or demand unnecessary facilitation, then they are in the wrong. I wouldn’t go as far as to use that term, but I get the idea behind it. Family members with malicious intent can seem to and take advantage of the generosity and kindness of the individual. In this case, it is upon the individual to outsmart them. The individual can make sure their conscience is clear when they have done their best to provide necessities or when their efforts have not led to any perceivable change. For instance, if an individual is helping out a family member who is an alcohol or drug addict, they should probably take them to rehab first and then help them get on their feet later. Otherwise, the individual would just be feeding the habit and making the situation worse.
The ‘black tax’ notion itself is misconstrued and misidentified with African or black culture. Black tax, even in the faintest of possibility and ideation, is a construct of mass media. To indulge the concept, albeit, for argument purposes, black tax like all tax can be evaded or avoided. In this light, no one is under any coercion to ‘pay’ this tax. It is a negative way to look at helping those around us, especially those that we share a kinship. We should all be eager to help when we get afforded the chance. Being able to help is a blessing and being blessed is all about lighting other people’s candles rather than watching your own glow while others lack the chance to succeed. The most successful people in Africa are keen to help uplift the youth and younger generations. We should emulate them and think of helping as just that, giving assistance to those who need it without condition and as a way to attract blessings. Blessings only increase through doing good, and after doing good, one should not seek to praise for it.
Your family should be everything, and sooner or later, everyone realizes that in this world, family is everything. Family members can argue, disagree, and dislike each other but still love one another. This love is all that matters and ensures that we are kind to one another. In the process, we can teach our younger ones to afford others that same kindness. Kindness is never a weakness, and only the weak think it is. Real strength and inner beauty is helping others wholeheartedly, even when they are not close or actual family members. Human nature is all about togetherness and oneness, and to be human is to care about the plight of others. We should not bully ourselves or others by letting them buy into this notion of black tax. If a family member is taking advantage of the help afforded to them, they probably don’t deserve it. However, if they utilize such support in the right way, they can increase the overall financial strength of the family and extend the same kindness afforded to them to others.