Are black people ready for a change? Seems like a fairly simple question, right? Most of us would sound off a resounding “YES!!!” But are we truly ready for a change? Let’s dissect the question and look at what I’m really asking. I know, for myself, I am ready for a change. But I realize that to implement that change, both in my life and the lives of my children, I need to turn my world upside down. It’ll be necessary for me to change so many bad habits, it’s going to take lots of work. I believe that’s one of the problems we face as black people. Change is hard and requires lots of work. We are all, black, white, brown, yellow, creatures of habit. Complacency has been the biggest enemy to black people. That’s very profound and I want everyone to take a minute to re-read that part. COMPLACENCY HAS BEEN THE BIGGEST ENEMY TO BLACK PEOPLE. Things are comfortable for many of us, so we don’t change. We know we need to, but we’re comfortable, so we won’t. Are you happy with your children getting sub-par educations and coming in last in the nation for school children tested? No? But you’re not doing anything about it, are you? How many PTA meetings have you been to? How many school board meetings have you attended? How many letters, emails, or tweets have you sent out into your community or to your representative discussing the deplorable state of education your children have to suffer? None? Guess what, you are officially complacent. How about YOUR education? Happy with your job? Happy not being qualified for the jobs you see other people getting? Hate it, don’t you? So how many hours of college do you have? How many do you lack from getting your degree? Do you think you can earn a degree? Guess what, you can. There are very ordinary people doing extraordinary things daily. The only thing that separates you from them is that YOU are complacent. You don’t feel a real need to get your college degree. They do. They have a burning desire to prove not only to the outside world, but to themselves, that they have the self-discipline and determination to earn that honor. You tell the world every day that you don’t WANT do it; that you’re happy being mediocre and an under-achiever. Maybe taking the time out to earn that degree would make you uncomfortable. Maybe obtaining advanced education would get you away from the lifestyle you enjoy….or take money away from your frivolous and pointless shopping for trendy things that you don’t even need in your life. Maybe earning your degree will keep you from getting those 18 inch speakers for your car…or those weave products you cling to so much for your identity…or keep you from getting those baby Jordans for your 11 month old (instead of putting it in a college fund for them). Are all of those things really more important than the changes you so desperately need?
I am, in no way, saying that I am better, stronger, or faster than any other black people I know. I am not the “Million Dollar Man” of black people. I am, however, one of the few that is able to take an objective look at black people, and myself, and say, “Enough is enough. There needs to be a change.” If we look at change in nature, we can take not only a lesson, but a sense of hopefulness. Change in nature tends to be violent and indiscriminate. Change, in nature, causes death and destruction and, from the outside, looks horrible and detrimental for all life involved. But, if you take a step back, and wait for the aftermath, you’ll see signs of new life beginning. You’ll see nature rebuild. You’ll see nature take all of the needless excess that was choking and stifling life and use it to bring forth new, greener, brighter, and stronger life. What became a really sad occasion turns into a time for rejoicing. That’s the state of black people, right now. As of right now, in our history, as happens in nature, there is an excess in just about every negative aspect of black culture. There is excess ignorance. There is excess stupidity. There is excess laziness. There is excess lethargy. There are excess broken homes and single parents. There is excess complacency. There is excess spending. There is excess emphasis placed on superficial looks. There is excess emphasis placed on street life and gang affiliation. There is an excess need to copy everything “white” and try to ignore everything “black”. And, just like in nature, the time for purification has come. The time to “burn away” all of the excesses has come. The time has come for nature to destroy the excess because it is choking the decency out of black people. The excess is choking the discipline out of black people. The excess is choking the spirituality out of black people. The excess is choking the accountability out of black people. The excesses must be purged so that our children have a chance. The excess must be purged so that future generations can be born into a group of people that create their own destinies and are the envy of the world, instead of the scourge of it. How many will join me and other like-minded individuals such as myself? It’s not easy. Before we can ban together, we must shuffle off all excuses. We must shuffle off ignorance. We must shuffle off bad habits. The change that is required for us to come together is Earth-shattering, but necessary. The change we must institute is scary, but vital. Can we do it? Can black people come together and make this happen? We came together to help elect this nation’s first African American president. Can we come together to effect the changes we need to help our communities become innovators of social change instead of dedicators of the status quo? Instead of just voting a black president into office, can we raise a black president to take office?
Time will tell. But for now, let’s hear your thoughts. What can you do to implement change? Let’s start with a really close introspection of our lives and let the change emanate outward from there. As we love to quote that most beloved Negro spiritual hymn “This Little Light of Mine”, let’s let it shine for all to see. But the catch is, you have to turn it on first.