There’s no doubt that racism has been alive and well in America since 1619, however, our problems, as black people, are also within. I don’t believe the so-called “Community Leaders” like Jackson and Sharpton spend enough time addressing the problems in our communities that are caused by us.
When I see paper cups, cans, empty cigarette packs and plastic bottles in the streets of our communities; they were put there by one of us.
When a black person is shot or stabbed, nine times out of ten, they were shot or stabbed by one of us.
When a black child buys crack or some other illegal drug, nine times out of ten, they are buying that crack or illegal drug from one of us.
When we see gangs terrorizing our neighborhoods, we also see that 99% of those gangs membership are us.
Throughout our communities, there are single teenaged mothers, who were made single teen-aged mothers by one of us.
Every day, somewhere in America, at least one black person’s home is broken into and 99% of those break-ins were done by one of us.
Too many of our children’s mothers are being forced to raise their children by themselves, and the person leaving these mothers with no alternative, but to raise their children by themselves is one of us.
I have officiated high school basketball games where the seats were filled with beaming parents who had visions of their child playing professional basketball. I wonder how many of those beaming parents realized their child’s chances of being a doctor or lawyer were 50 times greater than their playing in the NBA. Many of us take the time to go to our children’s ball game; however not as many of us take the time to attend our children’s open school week or PTA meetings. So we have children who can score 20 points, run for touchdowns and hit a curveball out of the park; but couldn’t write a sentence if you gave them a noun, a verb and a period to end that sentence with.
When we begin to take responsibility for the environment in which we live we will also begin to realize that what white people are doing to us is nothing compared to what we are doing to ourselves. Because we are not powerful enough to overrule ourselves, we quit our jobs because our boss didn’t like us, we dropped out of school because our teachers couldn’t teach us, we left home because our parents didn’t love us and we left the mother of our children because she didn’t understand us. We use these excuses in an attempt to appear mature and on top of the situation, but it’s really a cop-out. What we need to do is come together and take full responsibility for our lives and the environment in which we live. Then and only then will we be treated the way we deserve to be treated.
The NAACP and other organizations are constantly advocating for policies to create more opportunities for black owned businesses (e.g., increasing access to capital) to succeed. But, while these organizations are affecting change at an institutional level, I want to highlight how we, as individuals, can foster an environment where more black businesses can thrive. First, we must stop the massive “leakage” of our money out of our communities. Currently, a dollar circulates in Asian communities for a month, in Jewish communities approximately 20 days and white communities 17 days. How long does a dollar circulate in the black community? 6 hours!!! African American buying power is at 1.1 Trillion; and yet only 2 cents of every dollar an African American spends in this country goes to black owned businesses.