Black Kind

Accepting that your dream didn't come true

March 30th, 2022

Carol Barrett

In November of 2020, I did something that had been on my mind for a very long time. I started a podcast on the topic of Kindness, one to another, in the Black community. The name of the podcast was, "When Black People are Kind." The end of that sentence goes, When Black people are kind to one another, then we'll see real changes in the Black community.

I felt two things deep down in my gut.

1) This was an area where we needed to improve.

2) If we did this one thing, it would make all the difference.

So, I started my podcast. I created my list of 52 acts of kindness for 52 weeks. I also added a gamification element where you could earn points for completing kindness assignments each week. m

As soon as I started, I noticed something. I got a lot of pushback from the Black Community.

One friend went so far as to tell me that she was doing some acts of kindness through volunteer work in the Black Community, but she just couldn’t come on my show because it wasn’t “radical enough” and right now she only wanted to be associated with Black organizations that were a little “harder/more radical.”

But because I believed in what I was doing, I continued.

After about ten episodes I realized that podcasts are kind of a passive thing that you do while you’re exercising, commuting, washing dishes, or walking.

I didn’t want passive. I wanted people who would listen and act.

So I moved the podcast to a free members community online where people had to consciously deliberately decide to join and do the challenges each week. There were ten episodes that aired through the usual podcast channels and after that the episodes were only published inside the community.

No one signed up, except for my friend Tony and the artist who did the artwork for the Podcast.

But I continued because I believed in what I was doing.

During this time, I did a 3-part series on kindness through ending the sale of negros in the 21st century. Even if no one was listening, and no one ever heard it, I will never regret this particular set of episodes.

Then I took a hiatus from the show due to some noise going on where I was living that made it impossible to tape.

Also, at the end of 2021, there was a lot of drama going on with me trying to coordinate a big move.

Then in January I moved. During this move, there were several days when I was not checking emails on my laptop, then there were 9 days when I didn’t have access to the internet because the technician kept not showing up.

When I got back online, I had an email from the company that was hosting my community. They told me that because I hadn’t logged in for a while, their policy said they had to delete my community.

I tried to explain about me being offline because I was moving and asked for a second chance, but they refused to reinstate my community.

Because I had purchased this in a lifetime deal, I knew I couldn’t’ reinstate it and afford their normal (High monthly payments).

So, I had a decision to make.

Since no one is listening anyway, should I just shut down this community?

For several weeks I couldn’t decide and during that time the site was dead, and no new episodes were being recorded,

Then in February, the topic came up again.

I had two encounters with Black People that left me with a word in my mind.

That word was “Pathology.”

This is the definition of pathology.

noun, plural pa·thol·o·gies.

the science or the study of the origin, nature, and course of diseases.

the conditions and processes of a disease.

any deviation from a healthy, normal, or efficient condition.

I left those two awful, encounters thinking, this thing is a pathology/pathological. This is a disease in the Black community.

This is very real, and it cannot be fixed with prizes, points and weekly challenges. This is something deeply rooted.

We don’t know when it took root, if it happened during slavery or after, but this is ten miles beyond crabs in the bucket and the word that kept coming to my mind was “pathology.”

Pathology: Having to do with a disease.

But I still didn’t give up. I thought to myself, maybe this thing I’m doing isn’t actually that hard. I bet if a celebrity like Will Smith or somebody told Black people to be deliberately, consciously kind to one another, it would take off in no time and people would actually do it.

I started thinking. As much as I believe in this, perhaps I’m not the one who can win this battle. Perhaps it is not my battle to fight. Someone with a wider audience and more influence could get it done.

A few weeks later in March of 2022 I noticed that Time Magazine had a cover story on a young Black Child. His name is Orion Jean.

His special platform is kindness.

I thought to myself. “Maybe it’s going to be him." Maybe he’ll accomplish what I tried to accomplish and failed.” He is on the cover of Time Magazine.

People will listen to him.

I thought this even though I knew his platform wasn’t specifically kindness within the Black community.

But it didn’t matter. It gave me hope that somebody might pick up what I had been trying to accomplish as a non-famous person and get it done.

So, all I had left to do was shut down the site. This kept getting put off because I’ve been really busy since the beginning of the year.

It also kept getting put off because I knew that when I did it, I would have to write this difficult goodbye letter.

Then on Monday, March 28th, I saw a story on the internet about the 94th academy awards ceremony. I clicked on the video.

In the video Will Smith walked over to Chris Rock in a room full of people and struck him.

I was 100% sure that if only a Hollywood celebrity would doing it instead of me, it would reach more people and people would start doing it.

It will not be Will Smith.

For a million reasons, which would take too long to go into, when I think of him striking Chris Rock, I feel my eyes welling up. My heart is breaking for Chris Rock.

It reminds me of things I’ve witnessed, things I’ve experienced, things we don’t talk about, things we refuse to admit, and most importantly that thing I tried to fix.

I can’t fix it.

I tried.

I can not.

I am just writing this as a goodbye letter.

I tried. I really tried to get Black people to be kinder to Black People.

I failed.

I wasn’t famous enough.

I didn’t convince enough people it was important.

I didn’t convince enough people of the gravity of the situation.

Signing off.

Carol Barrett