A Worthy Discussion: Interview With Writer, Filmographer, And Psychotherapist Dwayne Buckingham

Dwayne: You’re going to have to play the game. The game that I’m talking about is capitalism. Understanding what capitalism is. All it is basically saying is that in order for there to be poor people, there has to be middle class people, and if there are middle class people, there will be rich people. The system is designed that way. If everybody was rich, there would be no middle class. If there is no middle class or lower class, who works at McDonald’s? Who picks up our trash? So it is systematically designed to keep these tiers in place.

Owl: Stratification…

Dwayne: …stratification. It has to be that way. What is key in understanding the game, is realizing that there are certain things designed to keep you where you are at. Things like your skin color will hold you back, and if you don’t understand the game, you won’t be able to advance. If you are worried about it being Black man versus the White man, you will miss out on an opportunity to move forward, because that ain’t what it is about.

To me, it’s like chess. If you understand, for me, going into the military, it is a white organization. Complete medical benefits, free dental, the works. Getting into that system, you are getting promoted, you are getting guaranteed raises. So, I got into that system. A lot of people got into that system and couldn’t survive because they are around white people; they don’t understand the culture. They don’t know how to adjust;they don’t know how to adapt.

When I say,”play the game,” I mean: listen to them. Figure out how they think, and why they do the things that they do. Adapt. And so we call it,”sell out.” You are a sell out if you figure out a different way of being, a different way of thinking. We call that “sell out.” And so, we pull our Selves away from that, because we are so concerned about what the brothers are going to think about us.

Owl: Explain why you feel what is occurring in the Black community is not exactly global, or playing the game as you see it.

Dwayne: Well, education for one. That’s one of the difference between the Black community and the White one. We operate on experience. We go through life learning lessons. So, one of the quotes I use in my seminar: “Experience gives you the test before it gives you the lesson.” In the Black community, you will hear people say,”Don’t tell me nothing until you go through it.”

Owl: …go through the hardship first, and then learn…

Dwayne: Exactly! So, we are ass backwards! When you go get your driver’s license, what do you have to do? You have to study that guide, and then take a test before you get into that car. So, what we’ll do, is go through something, and on the back end, get the lesson.We are backwards. We’ll go through the test and get the lesson plan afterwards.