The Way Forward: One Man’s Perspective

On January 1st of every year many people make New Year’s resolutions. Studies show that individuals who set goals at the beginning of the week, month, or year are more likely to succeed; and people that set goals are more likely to reach them than those that do not. So many people look at New Year’s Day as an opportunity to start fresh, to start anew.  I support any productive approach in which a person works to improve self, family, community, or the world.  There are so many people that try to transcend the word “resolution”.  In the end, everyone wants to improve.If you have spent any time on this site you are aware of my commitment to improving the African-American community.  The year 2012 will be no different. I would be surprised if my posts do not become more aggressive, especially due to the election year.

Here are some current issues affecting African Americans that I have previously blogged about that will continue to be pressing issues in 2012.

  • Minimal and poor African-American representation on Television
  • Loyalty to old school soul food despite our history of heart disease and diabetes
  • Large numbers of poor and unemployed yet we are still spending and collecting debt
  • African American men continue to increase in prison and decrease in college
  • Lack of accountability amongst family and community (“Don’t snitch”)
  • Questionable African American leadership and plenty of dissension amongst the ranks
This is by no means an exhaustive list of every issue that is destroying African-American people but it is a start. Please send me a note of more issues that should be covered. Here are some key points from previous blogs:

The Progression and Regression of African Americans on Television
Basketball wives may be entertaining, but it and shows like it do nothing for a community of people that already struggle with materialism, apathy, joblessness, poverty, high imprisonment, and high homicide rates.  These shows also continue to perpetuate the stereotypes that many of us work so hard to diminish.It is not as simple as changing the channel.  We need to be proactive as consumers and demand what we want.  If we continue to accept the trash that we are being fed then the menu will never change.  Television is not just entertainment.  It is a tool used to saturate the untrained mind.

The New Racism on Television (Video)

The Card – Part 1: Soul Food
We are no longer slaves. Our menus should reflect that. I love my grandmother and great-grandmother but lard and salt pork aren’t the best choices for health. Sure, they make the food taste good, but is it worth the risk? Now I am not saying let’s get rid of soul food. But what I am saying is that we should not risk our health and our children’s health simply for the sake of “keepin’ it real”.

The Card – Part 2: Clothes, Shoes, Material Things
As you think about your values, life aspirations, and dreams, consider the misplaced values that are all too common in our society.  There are some things listed here that are more prominent in one subculture (i.e. youth, Black people, urban communities, etc.) more than another.  Some of these misplaces values include expensive cars, expensive shoes, inappropriate clothes, money mismanagement, sports over education, over-sized jewelry and grillz/frontz, poor use of headwear, and celebrity fascination.

“Don’t spend what you don’t have, to buy what you don’t need, to impress folk you don’t even like.” -Tavis Smiley

Is the old black the new black?
According to the Department of Justice, African Americans are six times more likely to be imprisoned than Whites and three times more likely than Hispanics. If you don’t want to be an inmate don’t act or dress like one. Pull your pants up, tie your shoes, and tuck in your shirt.  Police officers are trained to find individuals that fit the description.

Currently, the Black high school student graduation rate is at a pathetic 42 percent.  The rate for White students is 62 percent. High school graduates, on average, earn more than drop-outs.  College graduates, on average, earn more than high school graduates.

In 2010, the national unemployment rate was 9.6 percent.  The unemployment rate for Blacks was 16.0 percent. In 2010, the average weekly earnings for all employed people ages 16 and older was $752.  The average weekly earnings for all employed Black people ages 16 and older was $614. Despite having the same qualifications, many Black people are overlooked for positions.  Experience has shown me that Black people have to be much better than their White counterparts.  You can argue whether this is true or not; but I have witnessed this first hand as a recruiter and hiring officer.

Observers
All of us, at one time or another, can plead “guilty” to silence.  We have watched drug deals, sexual promiscuity, spousal abuse, street violence, theft, and murder.  And it seems that we are all participating in the “don’t snitch” street code of conduct—even in our homes.I am not advocating that we jump in front of bullets or intervene in some stranger’s personal affairs.  What I would suggest is that we start in our own circles.  A brother, cousin, sister, or niece is a great place to start.  While these conversations may be difficult to have, it is better for them to have some new knowledge and not need it, rather than to not have the information at all.  One day, when they have to make a critical decision, your voice may resonate in their minds and cause them to second guess a poor decision.

The Demise of African American Leadership (Guest Blog by Isaac T. Akins III)
In [2012] there is a need for a new movement, a new leadership and a renewed and intensified pressure upon our government to address the rights of the marginalized “minority” in America, black, brown, red, and yellow.

The next few years are going to be pivotal in where this country ends up in the global community, and it is of utmost importance that we do our part to right the ship before it sinks. For ourselves, our children and our future generations, for this country the rights of people of color have to be met, the policies that enable institutionalized racism have to be changed, and the resurrection of African American leadership has to be brought forth.

Final thoughts!
“I freed a thousand slaves I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.” -Harriett Tubman

You cannot help anyone that does not want to be helped.  You cannot save anyone that does not want to be saved.  You cannot rescue anyone that does not believe they need to be rescued.

I believe that more African American people are in slavery today than at any time during the slave trade. Remember the slave master comes in many forms. Let’s work together to free ourselves and our brothers and sisters.

Fight the Power

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