I was sitting on the plane a few weeks ago and was wondering why we don't support each other. Other groups support each other, but in most cases, we don't. Notice I said "most cases." I asked a few friends (all of them are fellow authors) to help me understand why we don't support each other. They either gave me some reasons with explanations or they answered some questions that were going through my mind.
I'll start with the questions first, which one fellow author answered with no shame. :)
Questions: Do you suppose that most people of our race don't want to support our vision/dream for the following reasons:
1. They fear that we will surpass their socio-economic status?
Yes, I definitely think this is true. Some people will support you until they feel like you are surpassing them. And this is especially true of self-published authors. Some of the readers/friends who supported me in the beginning, can't be found now because they think I'm outdoing them.
2. It's easier to support someone famous vs. someone local (or grew up with during childhood)
Yes because I had some friends who didn't buy my books until I made it into the bookstores. And then I had some who didn't support me until I made the Amazon bestseller's list. So if you're my friend, why did you wait to support me? You're only supporting me now because you think I'm a local celebrity because I've been in the newspaper a few times.
3. If they support, they want something in return (or just want us to give, but will support someone 10x wealthier than them & not even thinking of them).
Yes, I always have people coming to me saying, "You're an entrepreneur, I have this great business idea to share with you." And I tell them that I already have more business than I can handle and I'm not looking for any new ventures. And these are usually people who haven't supported me but want to use me. And when people come to me saying, "Let me take you to lunch, I want to pick your brain." I usually pass because what they want is free information for a $5 meal. No thank you.
And one more thing, our people want me to publish them for free but they will pay AuthorHouse (or another vanity publisher) thousands of dollars to get published. But then they want to blast me for charging a thousand. Or they come to me after they have paid thousands to them and want me to make corrections for free...
If that isn't a crab mentality, I don't know what is.
Another fellow author had this to say (and she also gave a great observation of how we should support each other): My thoughts are that the reasons you stated contribute to the crab mentality. In addition, many suffer from jealousy, envy, hatred and wanting to be like someone else or having what someone else has, and this is why they can't offer real support. I think people like this have internal issues that must be seriously dealt with. Most of the time, these people won't show this kind of attitude right away. But, it will certainly appear because they are poor at hiding it. Also, keep in mind that when people are miserable, they want others to be miserable too. They will often play the victim role to keep the attention on themselves so that others are distracted from supporting your vision or dreams. The crab mentality rears its ugly head in every situation when it comes to our race. We are so used to asking for a "hook up" and freebies from black owned businesses while we spend all of our money on Tommy Hilfiger, Polo and Coach... making them rich. But, really, some just don't want to see you doing better than them and that is sooooo sad. I think of Oprah and her best friend, Gayle.
The final fellow author chimed in and said this: People don't support because they don't believe in you. In other words: people often don't believe in you because of their own personal prejudices or views of themselves.
I would like to thank the three fellow authors who shared their thoughts on a topic that needs to be addressed. In lieu of what was stated above, our mentality has to change. We can no longer blame others for our own plight.
The Mayne Man