Houston Forward Times

09 April 2014 Written by  Jeffrey L. Boney


Can somebody within the Black community please tell me why we, as a collective group of people, continue to make excuses for other Black people within our community who consistently make poor decisions and detrimental choices that contribute to their overall plight? I really need an answer from someone who can explain this peculiar phenomenon to me.

And for those of you who are reading this, and find it applicable, let me first start off by saying that this isn’t an attempt to throw any "I’m better than you" or "I have arrived" statements in your face. On the contrary, I am directing this commentary to the many African Americans within our community who continue to make every kind of excuse to justify why we should not challenge our people to collectively do better and act better. Most people call it "judging," but I call it an unforgiving necessity.

Too many Black people have the ability to do better, yet they choose not to. Many members of the Black community need a serious kick in the behind, but who in the Black community is prepared to do it? I believe that there is only a remnant of Black people who truly care enough about their own collective community that they are willing to challenge the current warped paradigms that plague the community and are prepared to face the consequences of speaking out because of it.

We can’t continue to look to the government to solve our social and economic problems, because the majority of the people in elected office who make the decisions and craft the legislation that impact our collective community don’t look like us; so why should they be obligated to care?

Black people need to stop encouraging this ignorance that we regularly celebrate and we need to immediately refrain from being a collective community of enablers of ignorance and apathy. The bottom line is; Black folks need to stop making excuses for those who remain trapped on the hamster wheel of poor choices and negative circumstances, especially when we know that those same Black people have the ability to do better for themselves, yet choose not to.

I grew up in the inner-city of Houston, Texas, and I had a number of friends whose family relied heavily on government assistance; so much so, it was as if they were addicted to it like a drug.

Years ago, I can recall one of my childhood friends’ mother, who used to sell her food stamps (what they had before they switched to the Lone Star Card) for cash and then turn around and use the money she got from the transactions to gamble. This was a regular occurrence. As if it were yesterday, I can vividly remember being over my friends’ house one day and hearing his mother become irate with the government employee she was with on the phone, because she had gotten a letter letting her know that there was a new law that required her to search for gainful employment and get off of welfare. Yes, you heard me right. She was pissed because she didn’t want to work for her money, but would rather have the government take care of her every day. She was an able-bodied woman, who had no disabilities and could easily find some form of gainful employment, but became so comfortable with the comfort of being dependent on the government that she was forced to deal with this challenge to her adopted paradigm. Sadly, instead of going to work, she opted to hook up with a couple of "sugar daddy’s" who paid some of her bills and gave her some occasional spending cash, in exchange for a lack of emotional and physical stability for her and her family.

Even when challenged by family members and friends to do better, many African Americans with this mindset refuse to change and tend to raise children who grow up to adopt a similar mindset, unfortunately. It becomes a sad and vicious cycle. I know there are many enablers out there who will say, "You just don’t understand. You’ve got to be patient with Black people and meet them where they are, because they are still dealing with the effects of slavery and everybody isn’t as resourceful and knowledgeable as you are."

That’s about as foolish of an argument that I have ever heard. Now, I will be as straight-forward and direct as I can, when I tell you that there is absolutely no way that will ever accept that type of asinine and excuse-centered argument, when I know that we have so many tools and resources available to us and at our fingertips. Let’s be real for a second.

Almost all of us have smart phones and other forms of technology that accesses information these days. According to the global information company Nielsen, 71% of African Americans own smartphones, compared to 62% of the total population. So, when it comes to seeking out information, there really is no excuse. There is no excuse for ignorance in this technological society, especially when there are tons of resources and a boatload of information on the Internet that can better our lives and help us in many ways. All a person has to do is seek it out.

Why should I accept an excuse from somebody who refuses to do better, especially when I know they can do better? I mean, besides, they use their smart phones and other forms of technology to access all other types of information, such as – knowing when "Love & Hip Hop" or "Basketball Wives" comes on; figuring out how to set up direct deposit to get their government assistance; finding out what day the new Jordan’s are coming out; knowing what time the championship game comes on; or finding out when the concert, party or comedy show starts.

Look, I know everyone is different and I understand that you can’t group everyone together. However, we live in an information age where Black people can retrieve all types of information at the touch of a button. For those that don’t have smart phones, a Black person can still access the information, because they can access the Internet, either at home or through a local library.

Many of the poverty pimps of today promote the downtrodden nature of Black people and our communities, hating to see progression because that impacts their bottom line. If you didn’t know, there is a lot of money in trapping people in a cycle of poverty, government dependency, illiteracy, limited education and health disparities. Open your eyes.

We need to put an end to this foolishness of making excuses for people and step up and challenge ourselves to do better and act better. It’s a shame that so many other groups have taken the Civil Rights blueprint that Blacks designed to rise from the ashes of slavery and Jim Crow, and have used it to advance their own causes and agendas, as we remain stagnant.

Jeffrey L. Boney serves as Associate Editor and is an award-winning journalist for the Houston Forward Times newspaper. Jeffrey is a Next Generation Project Fellow, dynamic, international speaker, experienced entrepreneur, business development strategist and Founder/CEO of the Texas Business Alliance. If you would like to request Jeffrey as a speaker, you can reach him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

MAA WereReady