Now don’t get me wrong, the phrase is still catchy and cues a sense of pride. However, do we know when doing it for the culture goes wrong?
Sometimes this phrase can be heavy and comes with a pressure to execute. “Do it for the culture” can be mistaken as the expectation to achieve certain things, to a certain degree, by a certain age. With the increasing number of Black millennials earning advanced degrees, earning higher incomes than previous generations and gaining access to spaces that were once kept secret, it can be amazing for legacy and too much for our mental health, at the same time.
Some signs that you may be doing too much:
- You feel inadequate even though you are probably the most talented and gifted in the room. Systemic racism (and classism, xenophobia, homophobia, etc) has likely taught you that you are not good enough, do not deserve to occupy certain spaces or should not have certain things in life. As such, you question your competence and internalize the message that you must overwork. Generations before did not have much choice about how they worked, where they worked or for who they worked. Work can make life sweet when it’s consciously chosen and used to create meaning for self and others.
- You think your performance equals your worth. It may seem like if you are not putting on or showing out, nobody is clapping for you. You like when you do something and it is highly acknowledged. Being recognized for what you do is a great thing, but it is not who you are. What you do can change at any moment based on many outside factors. Who you are, is determined by you.
- You think perfectionism is real. It is not. It is non-existent. It is an illusion. Being perfect is something you will never achieve, no matter how hard you try. There is only one of you. Nobody else in this world can be like you. Nobody else in this world can do the things you do, in the way you do it. Trying to be perfect to gain acceptance will not feel good in your heart, body, spirit or mind. Trying to fit into any box, is abandoning yourself. Whatever you do, be you because perfect does not exist.
Remember to do it for the culture and be well.