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JBI don’t know about you, but I feel like I’m involved in one of the biggest boxing matches and Catch-22's in the history of the world.

The two contenders in the middle of my ring are: “Advocating For Black People to Have Better” vs. “Challenging Black People to Do Better.”

I mean on the one hand, I find myself advocating against the injustices that Black people are faced with while at the same time advocating for more opportunities and access to the necessary resources that we as a people need to grow our communities and better our lives.

Then on the other hand, I find myself having to witness, time and time again, Black people deal with the same recurring issues that cause me to shake my head in utter disbelief; issues that, I must admit, often lead me to wonder if there’s any hope for us at all as a collective group of people.

When I get those latter thoughts, I find myself quickly casting those thoughts aside and adopting an attitude where I force myself to keep hope alive and embrace a belief that there is still hope for us and that a true change is coming. Call me a blind optimist or a wishful thinker, but I believe the best about Black people. I am proud of our rich history and our storied culture and I know that we have the potential to operate at a greater level as our African ancestors once did.

But man, I have to keep it real with you. I am getting down-right sick and tired of seeing Black people deal with some of the same elementary issues and rudimentary challenges that have plagued us for years.   It’s truly frustrating. Why haven’t we learned from these things and why do we continue to fall victim to the same thing?

It’s like looking at a little child being spun around on a merry-go-round at the park. They keep spinning round and round and round on the merry-go-round so fast that when it finally stops, they jump off and are extremely dizzy. Many of the recurring issues we face have us constantly going round and round, yet sadly we choose to hop back on the merry-go-round of life and practically ask someone to do it to spin us around once again to the point that we find ourselves in a constant state of real-life dizziness.

Many of us consistently sit back and make excuses about what is really going on in the Black community and then we have the nerve to shout the usual “I told you so” statements and ask the proverbial “Where are/were our leaders” questions. This has got to stop!

Since it is Black History Month and all, let’s take a moment to look at how many of our storied institutions and Black-oriented establishments have been taken away, run down, mishandled or even given away.  

If you take a deeper look into what as happened to many of our storied institutions you can find a pattern of issues that could have been handled differently or avoided altogether. If you take a moment and look at other issues such as politics, the public school systems, business, law enforcement, the justice system, education, health and government, you will see that Black people tend to react to what often appears to be the same sort of issues; rallying ourselves to get on the defensive when we didn’t have to be if we simply handled our affairs properly and if there was some level of true accountability.

Then we tend to call on the same select group of folks, typically a few elected officials, to deal with our issues and problems. We look to them to be our savior and a group who will speak up for us and best bail us out of our current predicament and mess. We look to them to stop someone from taking our stuff away from us; or stop someone from shutting down or stuff; or help us undo the mistakes and make right the poor decisions we made that caused the issues in the first place.

Black people! My people! We as a people have allowed our most precious resources and institutions to be taken over and controlled by others; coming across as if we don’t have the wits and wherewithal to handle our own business properly. We act like we need somebody else - somebody White - to manage us and handle our affairs effectively.

Tell me, is that the case?   Do we need somebody White to manage us and handle our affairs?   I mean, it sure does look like it. Choosing to go that route is identical to us going back to the days of slavery and having slave masters. See, it was the slaves who were told where to go and what to do by their slave masters. It was the slaves who had no control over their own affairs and their own resources.

Black people….we aren’t slaves anymore. Our ancestors have already fought and died for the right for us to handle our own affairs. But now instead of having physical chains and whips, we have allowed the mental chains of slavery to dictate many of our modern-day actions. When are we going to WAKE THE HELL UP, shake ourselves loose of these mental chains, and realize that unless we start challenging ourselves to be more accountable and more responsible with our actions, we will find ourselves deeply scattered with no control over anything beneficial to our long-term sustainability?

You can agree to disagree, but somebody needs to sound the alarm and we ALL need to do something before it is too late. No more excuses. We have to take responsibility for our own village and be the saviours of our own village.

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

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