The TIME IS NOW for Black Self-Sufficiency
by Jeffrey L. Boney/NNPA Newswire
Carter G. Woodson, strongly stated in his 1933 book, “The Mis-Education of the Negro”, that: “History shows that it does not matter who is in power or what revolutionary forces take over the government, those who have not learned to do for themselves and have to depend solely on others never obtain any more rights or privileges in the end than they had in the beginning.”
With President Donald J. Trump in the White House, it is time for Black America to answer an all-important question concerning its status in this country during this season.
That question is simply: Do Blacks Need a Master or a Movement?
Many Blacks have asked the question, “Where are our leaders?” But many Black leaders have either been attacked by those who seek to destroy their credibility, murdered via assassination or have been corrupted by the system because of their greed and self-fulfilling vision.
Just like the Israelites, who Moses was instructed to deliver out of Egypt and lead into the Promised Land by God, Black people have fallen victim to a similar fate, in that because the Israelites wouldn’t listen to Moses, they remained in the wilderness; because the Israelites constantly complained about everything, they remained in the wilderness; and because the Israelites chose to abandon the very thing that brought them out of the bondage of slavery, they remained in the wilderness. The Bible states that it wasn’t until the old guard and their paradigm had passed away, that a new remnant of Israelites actually entered into the Promised Land.
Since desegregation, the Black community has moved away from a position of unified strength to a position of individual weakness. Over the past 8 years under the first Black president, Black people have digressed economically and have seen the wealth gap between them and Whites triple. Black Wall Street is one historical example of how Black people were able to thrive under some of the most challenging circumstances, versus waiting on others to solve its problems, educate its youth and strengthen its communities. Blacks can learn from their predecessors.
Everybody needs somebody, and Blacks need each other, especially during these turbulent and unsure times. God has a purpose for Black people that can only be accomplished when they come together on one accord. A soldier is not as strong as the army he is a part of. An athlete on a team can’t play the game and win alone. Even Jesus himself chose disciples to help Him spread his message across the land. Many Blacks forget that there was a unified struggle that took place to give them the right to say and do the things we so freely enjoy today.
Reverend Jesse Jackson once said, “There are tree-shakers and there are jelly-makers,” and Minister Dr. Robert Muhammad once said, “Tree shakers knock the fruit off the tree so that the jelly-makers can take the fruit and make jelly.”
Too often, the Black jelly-makers forget, or oftentimes refuse to give, the Black tree-shakers even a spoonful of jelly so they can feel justified to keep shaking the tree so that everyone can collectively benefit. Many Black jelly-makers mistakenly believe they are the primary reason for their individual success or why they have what they have, by virtue of their status; position; title; education; ability to have access; who they know; and by being able to work inside the system.
No Black person can tout their own success without remembering the Blacks who sacrificed and paid the ultimate price for them to be able to benefit. Keep in mind, so many other Black people collectively endured the barbaric institution of slavery; dealt with Jim Crow laws; fought against segregationist policies; boycotted and marched; received inadequate educational resources; had families separated; were brutally tortured, lynched and murdered; and had assets taken away from them through manipulative business practices – all for other Blacks to experience growth and prosperity. Black jelly-makers must never forget the Black tree-shakers – past and present.
Race-related issues continue to be one of the most taboo subjects known to man – at least here in America. The need to address the issues surrounding racial differences and disparities in this country is long past due, and it is a conversation that must be had by everyone in this country immediately – versus the standard operating practice of ignoring the “elephant in the room,” “kicking the can down the road” and “sweeping the issue under the rug” year after year. Not having a well-thought-out agenda that can be executed, however, is an even more desperately needed conversation that must be had amongst Black people in America if change is to come.
One of the first things that must happen is that Black people must change their view of what it means to be Black in this country, as well as what it means to collectively support other Blacks.
-Black people should not have to jump through hoops to get support from their fellow brother and sister; especially when the same expectations aren’t given to other races.
-Black people should have a mind focused on improving and empowering the Black community as a whole, including our businesses and institutions
-Black people should better understand politics and then support candidates, financially and through volunteering, who represent their pre-established criteria for what it takes to serve their community effectively
-Black people should demand more resources for their community schools, get involved in school volunteer organizations and seek ways to bring external resources to the school
-Black people should support Black organizations and be committed by volunteering, giving financially or faithfully serving on the board of directors
-Black people who choose to work for a Black business or with a Black leader, should give their all to that Black business or Black leader with excellence and with confidence
-Black people should spend their money with Black businesses should do so without reservation or without preconceived negative thoughts of how bad the experience will be
History reveals to us all, the harsh reality that Black people in this country have always been treated socially and legally different than their White counterparts, particularly when you look at the barbaric institution of slavery that was legally implemented and other legalized methods of disenfranchisement such as the Black Codes, sharecropping and Jim Crow. Because of Jim Crow laws and other legislation, Blacks were socially ostracized from Whites, while the segregationist policies instituted by Whites negatively impacted the educational experiences, economic growth opportunities, land acquisition deals, shopping options, dining preferences, social opportunities, business deals and political representation of Blacks.
Although Black people were negatively impacted by unjust laws, they were free to exercise their faith and freedom amongst each other, because they technically had no other choice but to support one another socially and economically. Think, for a minute, about the social ills that currently plague Black communities across this country today and how modern day Blacks deal with those challenges and stumbling blocks, versus how Blacks who lived prior to desegregation dealt with things. Did having the social restrictions imposed on them by White people and their segregationist policies cause Black people to regress as a people or progress as a people? They progressed because they were committed to sacrificing and fighting the cause together.
Think, for a minute, about the social ills that currently plague Black communities across this country today and how modern day Blacks deal with those challenges and stumbling blocks, versus how Blacks who lived prior to desegregation dealt with things. Did having the social restrictions imposed on them by White people and their segregationist policies cause Black people to regress as a people or progress as a people? They progressed because they were committed to sacrificing and fighting the cause together.
What many people call integration, was in essence desegregation; and desegregation, while it was one of the best things that seemingly happened to Black people “on paper,” turned out to be one of the worst things that happened to Black people, because once desegregation took effect, many Blacks abandoned their strong neighborhoods; their strong schools; and their strong businesses, to chase after the lofty belief that the “grass was greener on the other side” and that “Mr. Charlie’s ice was colder” than the “grass” and “ice” they already possessed.
While seeking to gain acceptance from Whites by living amongst them and interacting with them, Blacks subconsciously began to follow Whites, and subconsciously allowed them to become their masters all over again, without them having to pass any direct legislation to force it.
In following their new masters, Blacks were led, in a mass exodus, away from their collective strength and their true power, which eventually weakened them and depreciated their once prosperous and strong Black neighborhoods over time – economically, family-wise, spiritually, politically and through the loss of prime property and land.
History will never let America forget that Blacks were once considered property and not even legally deemed to be a person. Just take a look at the Dred Scott Decision of 1857, which deemed that Dred Scott, who was a freed slave, was actually not legally free because he had an established legal residence in a state that did not legalize slavery; instead, they considered him to not be human, because Black people were not considered a person under the U.S. Constitution when it was drafted in 1787. According to Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, who represented one of 5 out of the 9 justices from pro-slavery states in the South, Scott was merely the property of his owner, and that property (Scott) could not be taken from a White person without due process of law. By knowing this history, and by having this important discussion with younger generations of Americans, especially Black youth, is extremely beneficial for the growth of this country.
Black people have had to deal with White people treating them as slaves and indentured servants, as opposed to treating them as equals, during their entire existence here in America. The role of Blacks as servants and Whites as their masters became unbearable for so many Blacks and abolitionist Whites that it led to revolts, boycotts, and movements, which brought about change.
Keep in mind that it’s been only a little over 50 years since the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 was signed into law, which led to the successful challenging of discrimination in public accommodations, housing, employment, and voting. Another important fact is that it has only been a little over 60 years since Brown v. Board of Education outlawed segregation in public schools in 1954. There really was a time, and not too long ago, that Black people were called ‘Colored’ and they were told they could not go to the same schools; attend the same universities; shop at the same stores; live in the same neighborhoods; drink from the same water fountains; eat from the same restaurants; ride in the same section of a bus; or be treated the same socially and legally as White people could freely do. It was during those times, however, that Black people proudly lived amongst each other; attended the same schools as one other; shopped at the same stores as one another; ate at the same restaurants as one other; and treated each other with respect and dignity when it came to social justice and business opportunities.
There is no way Black people can honestly and proudly say they have made serious progress in this country if they treat one another worse than those who once legally oppressed them did.
Black self-sufficiency is the key to survival for the days ahead.